When working on your home, show exterior etiquette


Sandi Butler

By Sandi Butler | For The Times-Post

Historic Pendleton is unique because it is on the National Register of Historic Places and because of its diversity in architecture.
Historic Pendleton does not have your cookie-style homes; it proclaims Federal Style, Carpenter-Built, Gothic Revival, Eastlake, Queen Anne, Prairie Bungalow and Art Deco architecture, to name a few.
Historic Fall Creek, Pendleton Settlement has a walking tour brochure to help identify many of these different styles.
These maps are in local businesses as well as the library and town hall.
Once you are familiar with these styles, your tour of Pendleton will provide you with another perspective on the beauty and uniqueness of Pendleton.
The exterior of our homes provides defining features of the different styles of architecture.
Remnants of these styles are still present in many of the homes that have been remodeled instead of restored.
Vinyl windows, aluminum, or vinyl siding reduce the historic aspect of any building.
Many times, hidden under these modern products are the original layout, windows, wood siding, and mill work for trim and doors.
Old materials such as wood are a better material than today’s wood products.
Old wood came from old growth natural forests, which produced a dense, stronger wood, whereas today’s wood has been marked to grow fast, which produces less-dense wood.
This past summer I restored our wood back door, installed in 1939, which had seven layers of paint. The beauty of restoration is the final product; this old back door has been brought back to its former splendor.
Look at your home; study the details. What style is it, or what style was it?
If you are thinking about updating, I encourage you to think of restoration instead of remodeling.
Old homes’ facades cannot be modernized without losing the very features reflected in their style of architecture.
Do not let the new “farm look” distort your thoughts on your home.
Queen Anne or
Carpenter-built homes should remain Queen Anne or Carpenter-Built.
Take time to look at those homes that have been updated through modernization.
If the final look is completely out of character of the original style, we tell ourselves something is not quite right.
In the restoration world, we call this remuddling!
To retain, or regain, the features of your home, discover your architectural style.
Look closely at the original layout, such as existing doors and windows, or those areas that have been covered up. Opening the space up again is a good step to take.
If there is a transom over the door, keep it — it is an important element to the style of your home.
Those old doors are a better product than what is in the big-box stores.
Over time, porches have been eliminated or modernized with smaller columns.
Remember, when columns are being replaced, keep the size in conjunction with the original appearance of the home. Old siding should not be replaced or covered up. If the siding is not in good shape, then cedar or hardy planks can be used.
Today’s market provides painting products made for old wood siding. Never add bricks or stone to the home unless the style justifies it.
Windows should be the same size as the ones they are replacing.
The facts on vinyl windows and siding: they will not last!
Pendleton is home to windows that are more than 100 years old.
Windows can be rebuilt or replaced with wood windows.
Storm windows are needed, since many of our homes still have old windows with a single pane. Storm windows should reflect the style of home.
Continue looking for those “defining features” such as mill work on trim, doors and windows.
A few years back, I witnessed the removal of vinyl siding from a Queen Anne home in Pendleton.
The removal of the home’s vinyl siding exposed beautiful, detailed trim around and under the windows. Many times, vinyl or aluminum siding covers up the existing siding rather than removing it.
Research your paint scheme for your home. Normally staining was not used except on the doors. One mistake we all make is the added features of shutters. Exterior shutters used before 1920 had a purpose, which was to control light, ventilation and privacy.
When the shutters were closed, they would completely cover the window. Today, we use shutters as an added decoration to our homes. On our old homes, shutters should be used as an important feature to the home’s architectural style. Never use small shutters to frame your windows; the size should cover the window completely.
Historic Fall Creek, Pendleton Settlement is here to help with questions about your “old” home.
We have resources to help with restoration questions. Please reach out through our email, [email protected].
Sandi Butler is a cofounder of Historic Fall Creek, Pendleton Settlement Inc., a historical preservation group focused on preserving historic buildings and culture in the area.

Helen Reske

This column’s author refinished the back door on her home (shown here before the work), removing layers of old paint to reveal the original wood, returning the door “to its former splendor”

Submitted photos

This column’s author refinished the back door on her home (shown here after the work), removing layers of old paint to reveal the original wood, returning the door “to its former splendor”

Submitted photos