An Old Photo of the Ravenna House
THE RAVENNA HOUSE When we first bought the Ravenna House, I tried to learn everything I could about the history of the property. I'm a sucker for old house history, and I wanted to know who had lived here before us, how they had lived, and what they had done to the house. The neighbors shared stories - some funny, some pretty sad - about the previous owner, John and long-time resident Josefa. But when it came to tracking down a historic photo of the property, I turned to the Puget Sounds Regional Archive, our local source for historic records.
I was pretty excited to find out that the archives had multiple photos of the Ravenna House. I purchased the oldest photo, this one from 1937:
The Ravenna House was a quaint little tudor in 1937, right?! I want to ball up that charm and sprinkle it back in 2014. Because I'm really not fond of the changes that have been made to the exterior of the house since this photo was taken. Previous owners added vinyl siding (an actual decrease in the house's value, according to our appraiser) covered the classic stucco detail at the top of the gable with Victorian-inspired vinyl fish scales, replaced the front windows with large vinyl sliders, and generally ignored maintenance on the house for a few decades...or 8 to be more precise.
This is what the house looked like in 2013, two weeks before we closed on the property (this is the picture our realtor took with my iPhone and we included with our offer):
Look how little Wilder was. Ahhhhhh so sweet!
But let's be honest. The house has lost soooooo much of it's original charm. If I had my druthers, we'd return the exterior to its 1937 glory, but sadly we do not have that kind of budget for this house. The vinyl siding was installed a few years back and it's in good shape, so we can't justify the expense of ripping it off and residing with cedar. We did pony up and replace the windows with vinyl and reconfigured the front windows back to the side-by-side configuration that you see in the 1937 photo. That, at least, was a real win for the exterior. But that's all we're planning to do.
I'm not going to show you an "after" photo today, because deep down I'm hoping that we'll change our minds (or win the lottery...!) and replace the front door with a wood version, reside in cedar siding, and free the gable's hidden stucco. Plus it's really, really cold in Seattle right now, and it's just too cozy in my house to even think about going outside to take a photo.
So tell me, what do you think? Do you prefer the 1937 version as much as I do...or is the vinyl siding not as bad as I think?
p.s. A few house exteriors I like better than mine. Much much MUCH better!
p.p.s. I didn't know this was possible - one of my favorite ice cream shops teamed up with one of my favorite blogs. And it sounds pretty delicious!
p.p.p.s. I dig this country house!