Intro and Question

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

Moderators: oldhouse, TinaB, Don M, Schag

Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:07 am

Intro and Question

Post by Accolay »

Hey Everybody,
I just signed up today and since I'm buying my first house, and a fixer upper at that, I hope I'm in the right place.

I'm closing on March 31st on a small house (900sq ft) in Minneapolis that was built in 1904. It needs a lot of work, but mainly in the kitchen and bathroom, which have both been "updated." This means I have to gut both spaces to make them pass any inspections. I also have to take out a "bedroom" in the basement that is built out of drywall and has mold growing on it. Also, since the snow started melting, I went in the basement today and find that the melting snow is leaking right through the mortar in the block glass "updated" windows in the basement. Someone also put a wall and door to divide the porch and make another "bedroom" I think. Another thing to add to the dumpster I will be removing when it arrives.

Since the inspection was done I'm crossing my fingers that the water heater and boiler both work, since it has been winterized since September of last year and there is no gas yet.

I'm electing to buy new storms and redo all the old windows myself (only nine) because I don't think putting in cheap new windows is such a great idea for me. I'm also going to need to paint the cast iron radiators and I'll be painting the entire place, and stripping a bit of the woodwork to see what's under the paint. I'll also sand the wood floor on the main level.

One question: this is late Victorian yes? There are only a few elements in the house like there is some leaded glass in the front picture window and a couple of door knobs in the picture below. Whatcha think?


Posts: 2428
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:22 pm
Location: Ayr, Ontario

Re: Intro and Question

Post by wletson »

Hi! Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you should find that you have indeed come to the right place! We love fix-er-uppers around here!

I thing I'll suggest right away is make sure that the ground surface is sloping away from the house where you have the leaking. If the water naturally flows away from the house, the less likely you'll have water in the basement. I eliminated a lot of issues by doing a bit of grading of my lawn.
Image1883 Schoolhouse, rural Ontario, Canada

Posts: 1497
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:42 am

Re: Intro and Question

Post by PowerMuffin »

Another welcome. We would love to see more pictures of your house? How about an outside pic?

Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:07 am

Re: Intro and Question

Post by Accolay »

Thanks guys.

I'll post pictures and do grading as soon as the house mine (after closing). The only other picture I have so far is that of another door knob, except it's black porcelain.

After that I'll have the keys and take a plethora of pictures. I'll also be:
-fix the gutters
-fix leak in roof- I think it's probably the flashing around chimney
-cutting down the two trees too close to the foundation
-taking the windows down for the work to be completed. (Last contractor "highly advised" me to just replace them since "they'll never work right again." I intend to prove him wrong.)
-and everything else I don't have to pay a contractor for in order for the bank and FHA to support the loan.

So many decisions too. That's why I need to figure out what style this is. For a few of the lights I might have to go el cheapo route and buy some cheap fixtures. This is slightly derogatory (and I don't intend for it to be so much so) but the house has been slightly "Mexicanized." What I mean is somebody used it as a stuffing house for Peoples from across the United States Southern boarders, hence the non-conforming porch and basement bedrooms.

Don M
Posts: 6965
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 11:35 am
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Re: Intro and Question

Post by Don M »

If you can post an exterior photo we can give you a better idea of what the style may be. It sounds interesting! Don
1840 Limestone Farmhouse

Posts: 1277
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:17 am
Location: Cornwall, Ontario

Re: Intro and Question

Post by sooth »

Well, from the description, it sounds like a typical old house in need of some love. The door knob in the photo has an Eastlake style backplate (geometric linear type design). If you have any missing, it's fairly easy to pick some up on eBay but they can be pricey. If you have old doors they would be solid wood, so tripping those would look great. Sounds like you have a lot of work ahead. Hope you have lots of handy friends to help. Can't wait to see more photos.
1923 Foursquare
Clockmaker, & Old House Enthusiast

1880 Stick Victorian
Posts: 833
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:35 am
Location: Lyons, NY

Re: Intro and Question

Post by 1880 Stick Victorian »

welcome!!! wow...900 sq ft...sounds very interesting...can't wait to see the picture(s)
Theo. & Alice Fries House
Lyons, New York - 1880

Posts: 892
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:26 am

Re: Intro and Question

Post by rehabbingisgreen »

Welcome! I am adding myself to the list of those who would love to see more pics! :D

Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:07 am

Re: Intro and Question

Post by Accolay »

I'm pretty sure it's a blue collar Eastlake Victorian. Too bad I'm missing a lot of the elements and some others are in poor condition, or some weren't there in the first place. Pictures will come as soon as I close. Who knows? The FHA or bank might decide that I can't have the house.

Crossing my fingers for the last contractor bid coming in tomorrow.

Kansas. 1911.
Posts: 848
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:56 pm
Location: Junction City

Re: Intro and Question

Post by Kansas. 1911. »

I love that term--"blue-collar Victorian."

In 900 square feet, you won't have much room to decorate in the style of "excess." You might have to be a minimalist Victorian. Just keep inventing those names and styles as it suits you.

Your best clues might come from the neighborhood. Start looking around for a twin house. Are you a two-story or a single story? I think of Victorians as two-story houses but here in the Midwest, all kinds of variations appear.
American Foursquare with Prairie and Colonial Revival influences


Post Reply