Many Victorian homes are renovated with extreme attention to historical detailing. This can become a bit manic and extremely expensive. These Victorians are colorful, vibrant, quite wild and beautiful, while more modern, newly built Victorians have a simpler palate. We wanted something in-between, non-traditional but also respectful of its history. We liked the idea of the tall 10 foot ceilings, typical of early Victorians. Most homes in our price range were bungalows and had lower ceilings which to us felt a bit confining. The attic was uninhabitable and there was no access to it but we thought we could make it into a living space eventually, which would add significantly to the square footage of the entire house. The neighborhood was one of our favorites and since our first month in Portland, it was the one area we returned to to shop and enjoy a pleasant meal.
We knew the house had great bones but quickly became aware of some of the issues, especially after the “heady” feeling passed and we had our inspection. The water in the basement, the unpleasant odor permeating the whole house, old fixtures and pipes and many other not so charming details suddenly loomed over us.
The siding was metal, pale blue, unattractive, and covering up beautiful original trim details and old wood siding. We realized you cannot paint it, the paint won’t stick and you cannot paint or trim any detail on it. The only solution was to rip it off. Once we did we were happy to find the original wood siding in great condition, but the trim was missing. Basically all the normal trim on a Victorian house was gone. There were gaps everywhere that allowed you to look through right into the inside of the house. The old paint also had to be stripped. So our two painters took to their heat guns and proceeded to spend the next 3 months hand stripping the original lead paint off the entire house.