Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's Greek to me.

I have to admit, when I bought my house I didn't know a lot about Greek Revival style. I had previously lived in a condominium in a Greek Revival house that had a large porch across the front but my new house was oriented differently. This is that Greek Revival house with its flank side turned to the street.

It wasn't until I came across this house (below left) by Harvard University that I really understood what my house should look like. I've pasted the two photos next to each other so you can see what my house should look like. My porch is missing and all the characteristic details have been presumably covered up by the vinyl least I'm hoping they're still there. I'm excited to find this example of Greek Revival architecture so I can use it as model to restore my house.

As it turns out, there are quite a few other examples of the Greek Revival style right in the city so I'll set out to find them. I'll also see if the local Historical Commission can help.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where do I start?

Here's a photo of my house as it looked on closing day. This gives a really good idea of the scale of the house. I have two stories and an attic but you can see how it's dwarfed by the three-story Victorian next door. I have 1281 square feet on a 2200 square-foot lot. That may seem small to many but it's not unusual for the city. In fact one of the things that attracted to me about the house is that it has yard on both sides of the house. In addition, I'm on the corner of a tiny street that separates my house from my neighbor to the left. It was Cambridge's only unpaved street.

My house was one of the first built on the street but most of the houses were built in the short span of about 1840 and the 1880. Even though my cottage is a true Greek Revival, it's missing the front porch as well as many of the typical details. I'll address those details in later posts. The second photo is a view from down my street that show a few other of the Greek Revival homes on the street. They say you should never buy the best house on the street so I think I'm safe; in fact, mine is clearly one of the worst. There's a lot of work to do. Where do I start?