Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Remodeling nightmares!


I have nothing against remodeling homes; I spent a big part of my life doing just that to people’s homes--even my own.  My own house was built in 1930.  I would not consider it a Northwest Craftsman Style—but perhaps closer to that than anything else.  The long range remodeling plans for the home was to bring it a little closer to the craftsman style.

In the 1960s someone rather tragically altered the home in a “60s” direction, which I have been ruthlessly working to correct over the years.  Perhaps the most egregious of the errors was taking out the original front door and its side lights and moving the door to one side.  A large piece of wavy glass, 34” x 80,” was installed in the space next to the door.  The door was no longer the wood door that most likely matched the side-lights, but was instead a solid wood flat panel door.  Neither the glass nor the door fit the style of the house as can be seen in the following picture.

I have no real issue with morphing a house in an entirely new direction from where it started, but remodelers should keep in mind the commitment that this new direction entails.  If significant design changes are made, it is a good idea to carry those design changes throughout the structure—if we are to make the home “believable.”  More “eclectic” styles are more forgiving, while more rigid styles are less forgiving.  Flat panel, hollow core doors in a “colonial” is just plain wrong for example.

Changing this front entryway door back to a center door with side-lights was the last step in transforming this home both closer to a craftsman style and away from the 60’s.  It was prompted by coming home one day and finding the door jamb in the middle of the living room floor and three laptops having escaped through the open door.

The project is now complete and door is an out-swing type door—which is quite difficult to kick in.  Needless to say we have waved good bye to the large sheet of wavy glass.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Comment balloon 7 commentsCharles Buell • October 26 2013 01:41PM


Charles, I would leave the aspect of correct construction to your professionalism, but I can state that the new door is far more appealing than the old one.

Posted by Kathy Stoltman, Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793 (Rockwood Realty) over 6 years ago

Oh yes making changes to the home may or may not be good for its sale ability.

Posted by Elite Home Sales Team, A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team (Elite Home Sales Team OC) over 6 years ago

Hi Charles - Having had a project like that done once, I know it's not a trivial effort. Yours came out very nicely - a big improvement.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 6 years ago

Kathy, thanks

Elite, yes---sometimes the things we do to our homes---even things that cost lots of money---hurt us when we go to sell later

Dick, thanks.  Yes--the door change literaly only took a few hours but the trim inside and out the painting inside and out took several days.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

What a beautiful home you have!  Definitley a great improvement restoring the entry.  I do love the red! Over the years, working in construction, I have seen such kooky things that home-owners have done to homes.  I always put my foot down when they would say "what do you think about those stick-on vinyl tiles?"   Egads!  :)

Posted by Janell Kittleson, Rentec Direct (Rentec Direct) over 6 years ago

Definitely better looking than the first door. Surprised you had a break in. Things must be a bit tough over there. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Janell, thanks, we do love our home---no stick on tiles either

Jim, we left the house for an hour and a half---they must have been watching because there is almost always someone home.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago