My partner and I just bought our first home, an 1867 victorian 6-bedroom in Providence. I grew up in an old victorian my dad was always working on, and I vaguely knew what I was getting into. The house had been a rental for about 50 years, and the bones are good but pretty much everything else is not. All the woodwork has been painted and painted and painted and painted. Even some of the floors have been painted! The windows were replaced with cheap (now broken) vinyl replacement windows, and most of the doors are hollow-core replacement doors.
But the floors are original, wide-plank; there are two original beautiful marble mantles (though one was moved down to the first floor from the second floor, who knows why!); some of the original plaster rosettes; and, though painted, most of the recessed cove moulding is in great shape.
The house was originally a single family, then converted into apartments, with a third floor semi-finished attic space that's been used as artist studios for the past 20+ years. I'm an artist, and we've filled the house with other artists who are part of our greater community in Providence, and named our house Unicorn Gardens. I'm working on researching it's original builders, floor plans, etc. and I think at one point it was used as an orphanage. Hoping to find out more as I turn up records.
We've decided we're not going to try to do a full restoration (we don't have the resources) but I want to make sure that when we're replacing things / fixing things I'm doing it with as much aesthetic and craftsmanship integrity as possible. I plan on living here until I die, so we have plenty of time, and we're going to take it pretty slow. But I'm going to need lots of advice from people who've done restoration/renovation of old Victorians.