Monday, October 19, 2009

A Guest Post For Those Old House Lovers

Happy Monday! Today I have something very special to share with you, an amazing blogger named Rue. She has a beautiful blog called Rue's Peanut Butter and Jelly Life. After you read her guest post today be sure to go visit and say hello, you can find her HERE. She just completed a kitchen renovation that is beyond amazing!

When I first visited Rue it was like meeting a kindred spirit as she also loves old homes, especially all the history and stories they hold. She recently did something that some would think is crazy, she took off her new vinyl siding. Yup, you heard me right, I said she took it OFF.

She's a brave lady with a handy hubby and I'll stop talking now so you can enjoy her post:

I’m so excited to be doing a guest post for my sweet blogging friend Michelle and it’s so nice to meet all of you!

Michelle asked me here today to talk about our old house and why we are taking it back to the way it was before someone came in and “updated” it. Well, to start. I have always wanted to restore an old home. As my readers already know, I have a great passion for things of the past and the need to preserve them. I believe that old houses are especially in need of our love and devotion, because they’re part of our history and of a time when people cared about craftsmanship.

Sadly, more and more of these beauties are being torn down in order to build new and supposedly better houses. I say supposedly, because I’ve lived in a new house and it needed more maintenance than the 100 year old beauty that we’re living in now (lol). Just so you know, I don’t have an issue with building a new home, if that’s what you want, but I think it’s a tragedy to replace an old home with a new one unless it’s beyond help and falling down.

Now that you know a little bit about how I feel, let me tell you what we’ve been doing to our 100 year old foursquare.....

This is our home when we bought it…

The porch and dormer were taken off years before, but the recent previous owners thought it was a brilliant idea to tear off the rest of the beautiful trim and encase the house with vinyl siding.

You can find an article on the lies about vinyl siding ‘here’, but here’s the part the stood out to me the most:

The Vinyl Lie

by Gary Kleier

Every day unsuspecting owners of historic homes, believing they are actually making an investment in their home, succumb to the vicious lies of an unscrupulous industry. Unfortunately, most will never know it. Most will never see the immediate undermining of their property value or the long term destruction of the structure of their house. And what is this vicious lie? Vinyl siding. Vinyl siding installed over wood siding. And the most vicious lie is that it will improve the property value of an historic house.

Lie number one: Vinyl siding will increase the value of your home.

As an architect involved in numerous historic restorations, I am frequently asked to evaluate an historic house prior to purchase. In virtually every case where vinyl siding has been used to cover original wood, the buyer wants to know the cost of having the vinyl removed and the original siding restored. In every case the same question comes up; "Why would they desecrate an historic house in this manner?"

Increasingly people across America are understanding the value of our historic properties. Like antiques, the closer it is to original the higher is its value. Frequently, the buyer not only sees vinyl siding as decreasing the value of the house, but wants the seller to pay for its removal. This removal and repair of the original wood siding is normally as expensive as the original installation of the vinyl siding.

In a typical historic house of wood frame construction a wall would normally be composed of the following: plaster on wood lath, the wood studs, exterior sheathing, and wood siding. While these materials may seem solid to us, water vapor easily moves through these materials and escapes from the house during the winter months.

During the installation of vinyl siding a layer of styrene insulation board is applied over the wood siding, and the vinyl siding is applied to that. This insulation board forms an effective barrier to the passage of water vapor, thereby trapping it within the wall. During the winter months this water vapor will condense to liquid water and began rotting the wood materials. Over a period of years the structural integrity of the exterior walls can be completely destroyed. Further, the presence of deteriorating wood has been shown to attract termites and other wood attacking insects.

©2000-2002 Gary Kleier,

Gary specializes in restoration architecture and architectural forensic services.

Besides all the information found online about how bad vinyl siding is, my husband and I really wanted to own an old home and covered in vinyl it does not look old. It looks devoid of character.

Here’s my brave husband tearing off the vinyl…

I think I actually heard the house exhale ;)

And here’s the house after it was painted …..

Much better right?

We still have 3 sides to go and a porch and dormer to replace, but it’ll have to wait until spring, since snow is coming very soon to Ohio.

Not only are we bringing back the outside, but the inside as well.
The refinished stairs before...

and after….

And we’re in the process of taking out the new wood floors and carpet to refinish the original wood floors. So far we have one room finished.

Before (after we took out the carpet and sanded) …

and after…

Look at the beautiful floor that was hidden!!

To tell you the truth, a lot of people have had their doubts about what we’re doing, but you know what? Although, anyone could have moved into this house and left it as is, they would have been missing out on enjoying the beauty that was covered up. To us it would have been pointless to buy an old house that looks brand new. Why not just buy a new house?

As for us, it’s the love of this old place that makes us want to pull up our bootstraps and bring it back to life and if houses could smile, I believe that this one surely would.

Thank you for reading,


Theresa said...

Beautiful before and after shots... yep, I loved them both. My favorite pictures are the steps and hardwoods. OMG gorgeous! Have a blessed day and nice to meet you:)

The Vintage Kitten said...

Hi Rue, Great post on your friends lovely blog. Your home always looks fabulous. I have an old house which always needs attention but I couldnt live in a new build X

Gaston Studio said...

Good job Rue! As president of our Historic Society, I have to deal with this on an almost daily basis and it's really hard convincing someone of the damage that vinyl siding can do to the original wood siding... not to mention how awful it looks!

Thanks for posting this.

Jessica said...

Beautifully written Rue~

Thanks for having our Rue over~ Plus I found a new yummy blog to enjoy!

J :)

Country Log Cabin Quilter said...

I love your house! I hate the news about the vinyl siding. The house I grew up in (which my sister now owns) was built in 1948 by my grandpa and father, and it now has vinyl siding on it. Yikes!

Kathy said...

I love the windows too! Beautiful work.

Jamie said...

What a great post! I love the info on vinyl siding.
I shudder every time I see an old home being covered in vinyl siding.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Your home is just gorgeous and it has such wonderful character. So glad you are bringing it back to life. Hugs, Marty

Lou Cinda said...

I love Rue's blog and have been following her for quite some time. I love her style and think her home just keeps getting better and better!!

Thanks for having her!

Lou Cinda :)

Anonymous said...

Great post I learned alot.


Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

How fun to see Rue here at your place! Love her (and her house!).

VERY interesting about the vinyl siding. And a little scary, too, to think about how many people have fallen for the sales pitch that vinyl is better.

Those hardwood floors are gorgeous!

Rita said...

Hi Michelle,
I have just discovered your blog from a link somewhere in blogland and I am so glad I did. it is so nice and inspiring. I especially love your pics and the "shabby" charm they convey. just amazing.
Also very nice today's post on Rue's house makeover.
I'd like to invite you to visit my blog at
I'l be happy to meet and welcome you there.
Have a happy and peaceful week!

{ L } said...

Oh, this post was SO motivating! I can't believe how good the outside looked without the vinyl and painted! Beautiful home and I so enjoyed this post.

Nikki via The Scarlett Rose Garden said...

Congrats on the guest post Rue! You both have lovely blogs.

You know you're preachin' to the choir on this one... I'm right there with ya.
You go girl!

the wild raspberry said...

michelle....i love your much beauty packed into this place.
i can't wait to come and tour your home pics when i have a bit more time~
have a lovely day~

xinex said...

I have been following Rue also since RMS, Michelle and I love what she does to her home. I am glad you featured her here. I love old houses too. My hubby loved the pedestals. He really doesn't need anything for himself cause he can just buy if he needs anything but he loves something for the home so it went well...Christine

Rue said...

Old friends and news ones... thank you all so much for coming by to read what I have to say :)

Thank YOU too Michelle!


Lee Laurie said...

OMGoodness! It looks so much better painted! I never have liked vinyl. Makes me think of a plastic house. It is looking so beautiful with all of your re-do's.

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

How wonderful that you have Rue guest blogging!

Hi Rue!

I love what you've done to your home! I much prefer the charm of an older home (that's just my preference) rather than new.


Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

I'm feeling soooo guilty, RUE! Our house in wrapped in vinyl....when we got it, it had those asbestos shingles all over it. The vinyl actually improves the look of the home compared to when we got it. This makes me think I should do a post on the before and after of our house. Your house really does look so nice, it's been fun watching all your progress.

Rue said...

Hi Joni :)

I'm talking about covering wood siding with vinyl, not asbestos shingles, so I understand why you did that. Sounds to me like your wood was replaced with the shingles in the 30s or later.


LuLu said...

I adore Rue and how much love she is pouring into her home... such a special family! I am so glad she was your guest blogger... you both are an inspiration to me!

sarah { abeachcottage } said...

love this! the house to die for, I'd love it

I too cry when yet another old home is pulled down for a modern kit home horror


El said...

I am so glad to read this post about vinyl siding. I regularly hear people extol its virtues. It's good to have confirmation that it is destructive. I was incredibly saddened when I drove through historic Newburyport, Massachusetts recently and saw several magnificent historic homes being covered in it.

It's also amazing to see you re-work your own house. Beautiful work!

The Elegant Thrifter said...

Congratulations on your bravery and your ingenuity to remove the vinyl siding. It's such a sad thing to see a beautiful, old home that my French friend likes to say is covered in plastic!

Gorgeous new, old home!


Heather @ Sugar N Spice Mostly Nice said...

I love Rue. She and her Hubby are incredible. Great post!!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Nice post! I have an old house and I have tried to preserve the character of it as much as possible in the 35 years I've lived in it.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Rue, this is very important info you've shared. Thanks!

And you know I love your house and you!


Sheila :-)

Anne Marie said...

oh man........that's a job......we've done that.......and wow the dust! even with that one sander with the dust catcher attached.......but totally worth it -
what a beautiful entry you have now!!

Sharon said...

Your home says Thank You.

You are doing a great job restoring a house to what it should be. Congratulations.

trish said...

Oh, I wish I had real hardwood floors under my carpet. Unfortunately, my house was built in 1986, so I don't think there's anything as beautiful as your hardwood floors underneath my carpet! :)

By the way, I sent you an email...I hope it didn't go to spam!

Concord Carpenter said...

Nicely done, sweat equity is always the best!