Not all stylistic makeovers are of recent origin – homeowners have had a penchant for remodeling for as long as there have been houses.  Here are a few “Before and After” transformations taken from vintage decorating magazines and a promotional brochure for stucco:


This house had already suffered one makeover before it was transformed again. Probably dating to the 1860’s, this former Italianate style house had been remodeled in the early 20th century in the Colonial Revival style with a centered gable and full-width porch.


The house looked like this when House Beautiful showcased a second makeover in 1964. The eaves have been cropped, but the ornament above the windows gives the cornice an Italianate flair once again. Amazingly, the original 4 over 4 window sash survived both remodelings and was even reproduced over the entry. The house acquired a formal tone which was neither Italianate nor Colonial Revival, but somewhere in-between (with a dash of Hollywood Regency!).


The original staircase so typical of many Italianate houses – walnut with a beefy turned (or octagonal) newel post.


More Hollywood Regency/Colonial flair. The newel has been replaced with a slender version topped with a brass finial. Balusters have been painted, but the balustrade is the original.


This mid-19th century house of vernacular styling hinting at Greek Revival was deemed passé by enthusiasts of Portland cement-based stucco. The image below shows what stucco did for this house…


This is how the house appeared on a 1920 brochure. It looks like the roof pitch was changed to me, but it is hard to tell. Nothing is left of the original exterior that I can see.


The February, 1958, issue of Household magazine celebrated the transformation of a formerly distinctive Craftsman style house into a rather ordinary looking house that could be found in any suburb at the time.  Of course, the design integrity of the house had already been compromised by new windows and what appears to be white paint in the “Before” photo, but the low-pitched roof with exposed rafter tails reveals its true origins.


A Craftsman bungalow shorn of its masonry porch supports looks, well, oddly proportioned while a nominally Craftsman style Foursquare got Colonialized.


A c. 1910 Colonial Revival Foursquare gets… a c. 1958 Colonial Revival makeover!


The caption says it all… What were they thinking?




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