1930s house features(8 Posts)
We are in the process of buying a 1930s detached house.
It's a nice looking house on the outside but inside feels very much like a new build. Not that there's anything wrong with new builds but I would like it to have a bit more character.
Am wondering what features I could add/introduce to make it feel a bit more characterful. Apart from a pretty glass window with a flower in over the stairs and two nice fireplaces it has very little in the way of "older" features. It has a plastic porch door on the front which I am planning on removing for starters.
Any advice/suggestions would be gratefully received.
How about picture rails? Our 1930s house has them in every room (except the kitchen and bathroom). I really like them because you can paint in colour below them and then have white above them to and including the ceiling and it make the house look really spacious.
If you get a new porch you could get those original (terracotta, black and white) looking tiles on the floor.
I love picture rails. Not sure we have the ceiling height for them though as the ceilings look to be fairly standard height rather than the lovely high ones you get in older properties. Would picture rails look weird without high ceilings do you think?
The hallway does have a dado rail roughly halfway up the wall as does the main bathroom but I'm not sure if those are original features.
We live in a 1930's semi. The thing I love most about the living room is that all the exterior corners are rounded rather than 90 degrees. We also have the original interior doors which helps.
(The windows are terrible 1980's upvc double glazing )
We have quite a few original features, including...
1. picture rails: 2m high of 2.45m total height.
2. Two bedroom fireplaces: wood surround, inserts and hearths of 7.5x15 cm tiles, one in bright pink and one in sky blue. Downstairs fireplaces lost, except for the tiled hearth of one: same tiles as the bedroom fireplace directly above it.
3. Original bathroom tiles: 7.5x15m plain white, to dado height with a shaped border, very like the fired earth crackle glaze ones.
4. Quarry tiled kitchen floor: 15cmx15cm tiles, very smooth, uniform orangey red.
5. Internal doors: one panel over 3 tall, thin, side-by-side panels. Blackened steel rim locks throughout: mortice locks with keys downstairs, night latches upstairs. Small brown-black bakelite door knobs.
6. Back door has 2x2 oblong panes for upper half of the door.
7. Banisters have simple square newel posts, and square spindles grouped together in a 2-3-2-3- formation (II III II III II).
8. small larder: a cupboard about 50cm high by 40 cm wide, made of concrete, tiled with same tiles as bathroom, built into the kitchen wall and vented to the outside. Love that, even though the kitchen is frrrrreezing!
9. Original brick shed. Not the most practical feature, but it is fun.
We've reopened the downstairs fireplaces: one now filled with a reproduction all-tiled fireplace from 20th Century Fires (http://www.c20fireplaces.co.uk/). the other has a multifuel stove, which isn't even slightly authentic, but is very lovely. We've got rid of downstairs carpets... The bare floorboards aren't amazing, but they're fine for now. The house was probably never of the class to have parquet flooring, but if I had the money, I'd probably do it anyway. The downstairs layout is original: no extensions, tiny kitchen and separate dining room. If we were loaded, we might have knocked through between kitchen and dining room by now, but I think there's something to be said for the original plan: extra wall space to put the piano against, easy to shut away kitchen mess and smells.
The windows had been replaced with a jumble of horrible double glazing. We stuck with UPVC DG, but followed the side-by-side format of the last houses on the street that had their original windows. What made the difference was ditching the small, opening top panels - the windows are really too short for that to look good... Splitting the expanse side-to-side is fine; splitting top-to-bottom is bad. Our front door should have been essentially the same as the internal doors, but with a square light at the top rather than a solid panel. After scouring ebay, local salvage yards, and even asking round the neighbours, I settled for a 1930s door with oval light. Not perfect, but very nice.
The bathroom needs a lot of TLC... A lot of the tiles are damaged. I don't want to make it look too much like a museum, but we'll either go with 1930s style tiles (ie replace the damaged ones like-for-like) with plain, modern sanitary ware, or vice versa.
The problem with replacing original features is unless you buy them from a salvage place or pay top prices it is difficult to get original character.
You can get the feel with modern fabrics and décor though.
We have lots of features and it is lovely, I agree its much better than the modern look.
What are your floor boards like, are these worth salvaging and staining/varnishing.
Looking out for old house sales can help with furniture too. We got quite a bit from sales of old peoples houses. You can always recover with original fabric.
I think if you aren't in a rush to finish and treat it as an on going project you can get some good results.
Good luck and a word of caution, know when enough is enough.
We got original doors when we extended our 1930s house and they made a lot of difference.
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