Monday, November 10, 2014

The Crime of Stupidity

This is my next-door neighbors' house, the house where Gwen and Floyd live.  I've talked about Gwen and Floyd several times on this blog, because they're wonderful neighbors and they're always ready with words of encouragement about my house.  

Their house was built about the same time mine was or perhaps a few years earlier.  Floyd knows the exact year it was built, but I didn't see him today to ask him.  The house is on a half lot, as is mine, so they're very close together.  This leads us to wonder if the people who built their house and mine might have been relatives or good friends.  The two houses have very similar construction as well, but theirs is a little fancier.  Look at the gingerbread on the front bay--if you bigify the photo and look closely, you can see the teardrop finials on it and the sunburst detail in the corners. That curved porch is beautiful, and look at the details on the brackets and the posts.  Just lovely.

But then there's the matter of that siding...

It's stucco, or "concrete siding" as Floyd calls it, and it was applied to the house sometime in the 1930s. It's not ordinary stucco, which is finished somewhat smoothly. This stuff must have been applied with a trowel or similar tool, and it has a very rough finish.   (Incidentally, the house next door to theirs was stuccoed too, and it's yet another strange stucco finish that looks like gravel.)

I think that siding is hideous.

Let me clarify that--I think it's hideous on that house.  On a little Craftsman cottage or a Tudor, I think it would look good, especially if that stucco finish was original to the house.  But underneath that concrete siding, there are clapboards.  Clapboards fit better with the architecture of the house. Rough stucco is too heavy-looking for this little Victorian.  It doesn't go with the style of the house at all.  To make matters worse, the original window trim was sawed off square and now the windows look buried in the stucco.  Compare those windows to mine, where the window frame sticks out from the house a bit, the sill extends past the frame a tad, and the upper frame is trimmed out with quarter-round.  Whoever decided to stucco this house should have been charged with the crime of stupidity and made to pay a hefty fine of at least ten times whatever it cost to have that junk put on the house.

But is it reversible?  Marion says it is.  He says that before the stucco was applied, firring strips were nailed to the house and then wire mesh (similar to chicken wire but heavier) was attached to the strips.  "Whack it with a hammer a few gazillion times to break up that stucco, pull those strips off there with a pry bar, fill in the holes, and paint it," he says.  Wouldn't that house look adorable if someone did that?  Maybe do it up as a little Painted Lady, with jewel colors picking out the architectural details on the trim and the porch posts...Can't you just see it?

7 comments:

  1. My first house had that type of stucco. It was built in 1921 and was a Dutch Colonial.

    Gwen and Floyd's house is so sweet and adorable even with the stucco but clapboards would make it even sweeter.

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    1. I agree, it is a really cute little house even with the stucco.

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  2. Yes, I can see it. How do you tell those nice folks that :-)


    Do I remember they're elderly, so this is not something they can do themselves?

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    1. Yes, they're elderly, so they wouldn't be able to do it themselves. Maybe when I get done with my own house I'll start on theirs...of course, they'd be about 127 years old by then.... ;)

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  3. I agree. There are a couple houses in my city that are stucco and you just know there is clapboard underneath. I hate it. I think it will probably be easy to remove. Make a hole, grab a hold of that mesh and pull. Then it'll probably just be a matter of scraping what's still stuck to the clapboard. If you know how the window sills/trim looked originally, you can mill that and repair it. All my window sill edges (the part directly under the vertical trim) were lopped off when some idiots installed aluminum siding on my house. I removed the siding and replaced all the window sill edges and drip caps.

    I agree there are some things that should be criminal. I am currently stripping the built-in cabinets in my dining room. I will spend a good portion of my life with wire brushes, various scrapers, dental picks, etc getting all the paint out of the crack so I can refinish them as original. I also have all the baseboard and window trim in the entire house to do and have already done the brick fireplace. I strongly believe that painting over natural woodwork or brick should be a felony. I've decided that we need to start some kind of 800 # hotline for anyone who is considering painting woodwork or brick. We need to get these people the help they need.

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    1. I went back and looked at the house I grew up in when it was for sale awhile back. It's a double decker tenement from the early 1900s that my grandfather had built, and the people who occupied the first floor had sawn off the woodwork on the windows so that they were just rectangles left, so they could put on some wallcovering...replacing wainscoting and so on...

      I really had to struggle not to buy that house, it was for sale for almost nothing, really, but the neighborhood was gang-infested and has gotten worse since then :-(

      The second floor, which was where we lived, had its interior woodwork almost untouched, except for the windows being replaced...

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  4. i agree to all your discussion .
    like this link.http://www.overheadgaragedoor.net/

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