How to Add Character to Your Home

One of the things that makes old houses so attractive is the craftsmanship. Architectural details and the quality of work that went into making older homes is what gives old houses that vintage charm. When we bought our 1907 Craftsman, most of the original detail had been removed or destroyed. The only thing original left was some knob and tube wiring, bead board and hardwood flooring upstairs. This is what the upstairs looked like before…scary. 

 

 

 

Normally, I’m an advocate for restoring rather than replacing. However, the hardwood flooring needed lots of patching and had termite damage beyond repair and some genius decided to nail drywall to all the bead board ceilings. For a moment, I considered removing the nails and patching all the holes but ultimately decided that tearing out the bead board was better than getting lead poisoning from scraping and sanding lead paint. 

 

Some of the bead board was still salvageable for reuse, so I requested that we keep it for projects around the house. One day, when checking in on the house progress, we found that the drywall guys had ripped out every bit of bead board and threw it in the DUMPSTER! Desperate to maintain something original, I scaled the side of the dumpster, ready to dive in head first (without any regard to sharp objects) to rescue my precious bead board. To my dismay, it was buried under construction material and everything was soaked from the rainy weather we had that week.

 

After such disappointment, I turned my attention toward adding character that would have been original to a turn of the century Craftsman home. Some people may like mixing and matching styles, I however prefer consistency. I wouldn't do Craftsman style finishes and then use Victorian trim. That's just my opinion. 

 

Here are some of our replicated Craftsman details…

Shaker style cabinets and doors: There are so many door options! Don’t just go with the standard 5 panel door, find something that compliments the style of your home.

Shaker style cabinets and doors: There are so many door options! Don’t just go with the standard 5 panel door, find something that compliments the style of your home.

Trim and Hardware: We used wide square trim around all the doors, windows, and baseboards. Pinterest has lots of great resources to reference different styles of trim. Using dark hardware gives a less modern, more original look. Someone even asked me if all of our doorknobs were original...I wish!

Trim and Hardware: We used wide square trim around all the doors, windows, and baseboards. Pinterest has lots of great resources to reference different styles of trim. Using dark hardware gives a less modern, more original look. Someone even asked me if all of our doorknobs were original...I wish!

 
Solid Flooring: Yes, there are lots of really nice laminates today that make it hard to tell the difference, they are durable and they have their place…but they don’t belong in a 100+ year old house. Our floors are actually solid bamboo instead of wood. I’ve learned more than I ever cared to know about wood flooring during this process. I won’t bore you with details this time, I’ll share some of my floor “wisdom” in a later post.  Air Conditioning Vents: Old houses are usually wood frame and sit up off of the ground with a crawl space underneath, so the a/c vents are in the floor. We spent around $200 to upgrade our a/c vents with these and I’m really happy we did!

Solid Flooring: Yes, there are lots of really nice laminates today that make it hard to tell the difference, they are durable and they have their place…but they don’t belong in a 100+ year old house. Our floors are actually solid bamboo instead of wood. I’ve learned more than I ever cared to know about wood flooring during this process. I won’t bore you with details this time, I’ll share some of my floor “wisdom” in a later post.

Air Conditioning Vents: Old houses are usually wood frame and sit up off of the ground with a crawl space underneath, so the a/c vents are in the floor. We spent around $200 to upgrade our a/c vents with these and I’m really happy we did!

Black and white Tile: Black and while tile was popular and widely used throughout the 1920's. So, I decided to do something fun in the powder and laundry room. At first I was unsure about this bold print but now I wish we had more of it! I love how it turned out and we get a lot of compliments on it.

Black and white Tile: Black and while tile was popular and widely used throughout the 1920's. So, I decided to do something fun in the powder and laundry room. At first I was unsure about this bold print but now I wish we had more of it! I love how it turned out and we get a lot of compliments on it.

Subway & Penny Tile: Another common tile trend in the early 1900’s was white subway tile walls and penny tile floors. Which is why we decided to use the classic look in our master and guest bathroom.

Subway & Penny Tile: Another common tile trend in the early 1900’s was white subway tile walls and penny tile floors. Which is why we decided to use the classic look in our master and guest bathroom.

Plumbing Fixtures: Of course no vintage home is complete without a pedestal sink (see our guest bathroom above) and a clawfoot tub (in our master bath).

Plumbing Fixtures: Of course no vintage home is complete without a pedestal sink (see our guest bathroom above) and a clawfoot tub (in our master bath).

If you’re an old house junkie like me, I hope this inspires you to create character wherever you are! 

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