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Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s? (Read 323 times)
woodssj
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Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Oct 29th, 2019 at 12:19am
 
I work in museums.

I'm mildly insane.

I'm decently handy.

I'm looking to buy a house.

There's a house near me from 1830, an old tavern right near the river with amazing views, and supposedly the frame and the roof and the major bits are solid, but it's been basically ignored for a decade and needs some restoration.

I might be able to get it for really cheap, though.

How bad an idea is this? Anybody have anything similar they tried?

Oh, yeah: The spot it's by on the river is an IDEAL slinging spot.
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NooneOfConsequence
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #1 - Oct 29th, 2019 at 1:11am
 
I donít think you need us to tell you to do it. It sounds like youíve already decided you want it. Iím pretty sure it will take longer and cost more than you think it will because... itís a house. The oldest house Iíve fixed up was built in 1985 though, so I canít offer much more than that Smiley
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slingbadger
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #2 - Oct 29th, 2019 at 6:40am
 
Do you mean restore it to what it looked like then, or make it livable? BTW I work at a museum also.
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #3 - Oct 29th, 2019 at 7:06am
 
it would all depend on the rules you have over thyere that govern historic buildings.

In the uk old buildings come under the 'listed' buildings regulations and that prohibits you from using a lot of modern materials and building techniques.
Which makes restoring or rebuilding any old building a total nightmare.

I've got a mate who lives in a building dating back about 800 years. He can't even fit pvc textured wood effect windows. Has to keep the same crappy wooden frames.

Also an old house that's just been sitting for 10 years will have deterioated to an amazing degree.

If you're prepared to put every single minute of spare time and every last cent of your money into the project - go ahead.
Otherwise, buy the housde, knock it down and build something new. That will be easier, quicker and a LOT cheaper Smiley
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perpetualstudent
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #4 - Oct 29th, 2019 at 8:03am
 
If you're serious, here in the States we have "house inspectors". Don't bother, they are the quintessential jack of all trades master of none.

Instead hire a specialist in each area. Have an electrician come look at the wiring, a plumber to look at the plumbing, a builder to look at the foundation/interior support, an HVAC guy to look at the heating and cooling system. And like CA says, hire somebody who knows what the rules for old buildings are to give you their professional 2 cents. It might run you a little more but then you're going in eyes open.
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #5 - Oct 29th, 2019 at 8:44am
 
If you can do what you like and are not held to any restrictions I say go for it!
If there will be someone over your shoulder the whole time telling you you need this or that to reach historical requirements, I say investigate further and see if your really up for the challenge.
I'd love to live in an old building with history.
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woodssj
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #6 - Oct 29th, 2019 at 10:53am
 
Thanks for the replies!

I've looked a wee bit into the historic requirements, and evidentially this building isn't listed itself, but the town it is in has some less stringent requirements. Those should be relatively easy to stay within, but I've yet to get a copy of the rules in full to review.

The project would be to keep the exterior in original-ish looking condition, and then revamp the inside to be livable. If I can keep the original woodwork and all in shape, I'll likely try, because it's neat stuff.

Nooneofconsequence, for your restoration/renovation job: How much over-budget were you once you'd gotten done? 110%? 500%? Somewhere in between?

PerpetualStudent: Thanks for the heads up. I'll make sure to get a full crew into the place to take a look before I make an offer.

CA: 800 year old building, eh? That's both impressive and frustrating, with his situation, insulated windows would likely be a great improvement!   I'm hoping this house isn't completely wrecked by neglect, but we'll see.
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slingbadger
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #7 - Oct 30th, 2019 at 6:24am
 
Near me is a company that specializes in house reuse. They strip old houses and resell the materials. They have porch pillars, tin ceilings, all the fixtures and a warehouse  of wooden beams and other incredible stuff like that. You should see if there's anything like that near you. This company is non profit. They teach carpentry and other skills to people, so it's a good cause, also.
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The greatest of all the accomplishments of 20th cent. science has been the discovery of human ignorance† The main difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits.-Einstein† †I'm getting psychic as I get older. Or is that psychotic?
 
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #8 - Oct 31st, 2019 at 1:11pm
 
roofs.
roofs are expensive things and if that one hasn't been touched for 10 years. It will leak and the timbers may well need replacing. There will also be various critters living in the roof space, and possibly other areas.

Until you've had a proper survey done - don't take anyone's word for the condition of any part of the building.

I know this all sounds negative - but it's actually just being realistic Smiley
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Rat Man
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #9 - Oct 31st, 2019 at 9:37pm
 
    Houses back then were built to last.  They are much sturdier than houses of today.  It would probably be worth the effort.
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #10 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 1:18pm
 
does the river flood ?

Given that pretty much everywhere round here is currently in flood - it's worth checking on Smiley
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perpetualstudent
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #11 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 3:58pm
 
oh yes flooding. The house I rented was near the river and the basement was constantly flooded in the spring. The floor wasn't slanted to the sump pump. And the lower drains were clogged  with silt.

That got old really fast.
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"Facts stand wholly outside our gates; they are what they are, and no more;they know nothing about themselves and they pass no judgement upon themselves. What is it, then, that pronounces the judgement? Our own guide and ruler, Reason."
 
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #12 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 9:32pm
 
Rat Man wrote on Oct 31st, 2019 at 9:37pm:
† † Houses back then were built to last.† They are much sturdier than houses of today.† It would probably be worth the effort.†


Well, the houses that were built to last... did. The others ate long gone!
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woodssj
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Re: Should I try to restore a house form the 1830s?
Reply #13 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 10:30pm
 
Oooooh. Flooding is a good point. It's the Hudson River, though, and a wider plain is just upriver, and another downriver. That bodes well for this location since there's some bufferzone above and below.   I'll look into that.

The building is a big old brick house, so it's either very solid or complete garbage. We'll see which soon, I hope.
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