New Restorer Buys Two Huge Houses- can't even identify style of one!!!

Just bought this large 1910 house at auction Saturday.  It is divided into 4 apartments with a communal living room, but almost looks like it might have originally been a boarding house, so will have to make tough decisions on what stays and goes (4 awesome original looking kitchens). Incredibly ornate and huge fireplace mantle, floors, and pocket doors, though :).  What is the style of this house? I think maybe Classical Revival?  What advice would you give me?

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Here is one that gives a little better view of the dilapidated front....and side.

Congratulations!  looks like you have a real beauty there.  It looks like it has a few Queen Anne characteristics.  When you say original kitchens be careful what you are looking at.  After the depression in the 1930's a lot of homes were foreclosed and ended up becoming owned by banks and nobody could buy  them so the bank remodeled and became landlords.  They became very good at splitting big older homes into several apartments. Sometimes they did a very good job and can fool everyone.  Before you do any gutting I would look at a few similar homes and compare floor plans to yours. Whatever you do I suggest you move slowly and don't end removing anything you may want later.  Good luck!  Lair

Thank you for your wise words!  Indeed, some of those kitchenettes may very well be appointed with 30s sinks and such.  One particular one that I do not want to tear out on the south wall of the second story.  It's just a modest group of original handmade cabinets, a lovely cast iron sink, and some to die for hexagonal tile work for the counter top.  The location on the second story doesn't make much sense if we convert it to single family home again, but maybe I could play it off as a butlers sink, or mother in law suite.  But yes, I would definitley like to peruse some similar floorplans and see if we have one that has been slightly modified.  I think we are going to have to turn the entire staircase around to make it work, so I would love to see some plans. As it is, there are three entrances on the front.  The middle door goes directly to the enclosed staircase leading to the second story.  The ground floor does not communicate wth that staircase. So, it will be tricky to open it back up.

Think long and hard before you touch the original staircase.  You will never get it back the way it is now.  Building codes change. Once you touch the stairs you will end up with different size steps, rise, and the banister and spindles will need to be higher and probably closer together.  Once you change all that you will lose the Victorian charm not to mention a BIG chunk of money.  Been there, done that.  Lair

That's good to know.  We imagined dismantling it piece by piece and re installing it facing the other way, so it works better as a single family home.  You don't think it will work?

In my case even if I used the same wood the building code required the tread had to be an inch deeper, the risers had to be an half inch shorter, so that made the length of the stairs almost a foot longer than we had room for.  Also the banister had to be 6 inches higher and we couldn't use the old spindles and the new tall banister made the whole staircase scale just off.  It looked awful and could not be fixed with getting variances of the building code.  The variances took more than a year and were turned down. Look around at the baseboard, that may tall you where the old doors were before they were moved.  If the house was built as a one family home then yu should be able to return it to one family without changing the staircase.  

Wow...that sounds like a stinking deal.  Glad you told me about it, though, I would have never imagined something like that happening!  Where is a good website for looking at old house floor plans?  

If you look on Amazon, you'll be able to find a few different reproduced catalogs full of houses and features from the late 1800s/early 1900s.  Almost all of them are Dover books.  One that comes to mind is "Victorian Domestic Architectural Plans and Details" by William Comstock, but there are others too.  

Your new house is absolutely amazing - congratulations!

The president of our local Heritage Commission tells me it is a Neo Colonial.

I see that you live in Brookville. I grew up in Kansas back in the day, and my family used to like to go to Brookville for a special sort of outing, eating at the Brookville Hotel for a family style feast.  Is that restaurant still rolling?

Phil- I loved the Brookville Hotel too!  I cut my teeth on real estate by purchasing the house directly behind that shared the alley with the hotel.  I went to college in Salina and waited tables in the evenings at the Hotel.  I cannot tell you what a wonderful place it was to work or say enough nice things about the owners!  Sadly, though, they actually built a replica of the hotel over at Abilene on the interstate.  They did an amazing job, it does capture the essence of the original place and the rumor is they do 3X as much business there.  However, the subsequent owners of the Hotel have basically dismantled all the historic parts and replaced with a poured concrete facade :(.  It has been that way for several years, with no one living in or running a business there...and it's slowly falling apart.  So...if you are ever in Kansas, go to the replica hotel at Abilene, because the one in Brookville looks like every restorers nightmare!

That is too bad.  I think that my last visit there was maybe 1986, so it has been a while.  The cole slaw was my favorite.  Probably just as long since I have been in Salina. That was the home of the iconic Russell's truck stop--I worked for years at the Newton spin off of Russell's.


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