Indiana Wedding Photographer Photography


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Remodeling a 130+ Year Old Victorian House: Personal

100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel

You guys! This blog post has been a long time coming! I know a lot of you have been asking to see photo of the inside of my house and everything that I've done. I've been waiting to this blog post until everything was done BUT as a homeowner, nothing is ever completely done. The remodel on my upstairs bathroom was just finished and since that's the last major thing for awhile, I figured it would be a good time to FINALLY make this blog!

For those of you who don't know, I purchased my house back in 2014. It's a Victorian Stick Style House that was built in the 1890's! I fell in love with everything about the house, the original accents, the size, the rooms, the detail, the proximity to downtown Lafayette.

The history of my house is pretty special! The land my house is built on was given to James Cochran from President J.Q. Adams in the 1820's. The land passed hands a few times and eventually in the 1870's Thomas and Margaret Stingle owned the land and eventually passed it on to their daughter Eliza Vickery in 1884 who was married to Onias Vickery. Eliza and Onias built our house! It changed hands a few more times and then in 1919 Herman and Emma Steffen owned the house. The Steffen family owned the house for many years until about 1974. One of the Steffens owned Taylor Steffen Co. and they were tailors. They were the ones that started the corduroy pant trend and decorated cords for college Seniors! A couple of Purdue Seniors saw some yellow corduroy in their shop window and had them make them into pants which they decorated to celebrate their graduation. This is what started this whole trend! How neat is that! If you read the recent issue of Vogue with Harry Styles, you will see the Steffens mentioned since they inspired the cords Harry wore! Another one of the Steffens' husband, Jacob Link, was the president of the Lafayette City Council! After the 70's there's not a lot of info on the home and it seemed like it passed hands throughout the years and was an antique shop at one time as well as a knitwear shop.

Sadly, when I purchased the house, it had certainly seen better times. It went through a foreclosure and someone purchased it who lived out of state. They just "gave" it to a rental company to run and rent it out. That certainly wasn't the best idea! I think most of the wear and tear and neglect on the upkeep happened because it just wasn't cared for and loved by the people who rented it out. So I spent the last 6+ years fixing it up and helping it get back to it's gorgeous state!

I'll talk about each room below and show you some before and after photos so keep reading! Most photos of the remodeling process are taken from cell phones and a lot of the before photos are from a previous listing so the real before was in worse shape that what you see, some of the after photos are with a cell phone and some are with my camera. I'm also not someone who styles their home for the photo and re-arranges things so these are in no way HGTV quality! haha

Also, fun fact, last year I went through the process to get the house designated as a Local Historical District! What this does is it will make it hard for someone to come in and demolish the house or change it in a way that isn't sensitive to its design. So the house is now the local Vickery-Norris-Dixson Historical District! Huge thanks to the Preserve Lafayette Historical Committee for helping me and all that they do to save historic properties!

A lot of time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears went into this house! So before we dive into the before and after's here are some fun photos of the remodel!

100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel
100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel
100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel

Sooooo, the first place we should start is the exterior!

There is still have a lot of work left on the exterior of the house but it's certainly came a long way! When I purchased the house, someone put vinyl siding on the 1st floor but didn't put it on the 2nd floor so it was certainly a mismatch. It was light and dark green, which I didn't hate! (Apparently in the 80's our house was a Pepto-Bismol pink!) I decided that I wanted to change the color to a light blue and white. The one thing I really didn't want was to cover up or remove any of the Victorian accents, I mean, that's what really makes the house. I originally wanted to paint and restore the original wood but a lot of it was deteriorated too badly and it just didn't seem like it would be possible. Although I hated the thought of having to put vinyl on this house, it seemed like it was the best bet in the long run to stop any water intrusion and to insulate the house better. It took a lot of searching but we finally found a siding company that would side our house to protect and keep the Victorian Stick Style. We had a lot of trouble with this siding company throughout the whole process (but that's a story for another time!) but in the end it looked exactly like what I wanted and kept all of the details!

Here's a little before and after for you! I also had the roof re-shingled back when I bought the house. I still need to finish painting the windows, porch/step areas, corbels, and accents.

100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel

While we are talking about the exterior, I will also mention that we refinished all the doors! They were in pretty bad shape as you can see below when I bought the house. They are the original doors so we wanted to make sure I did them justice! If you want to read all about how we refinished the doors, click HERE!

100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel

100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel

But now they look great!

100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel

For the backdoor, I had a custom storm door made to keep it aligned with the Victorian Style!

100 Year Old Victorian House Remodel

The Details

I was really lucky that even though the house was in rough shape when I bought it and that it passed through a lot of owners in the last decade or so, that most of the original Victorian accents were still present like the trim, transoms, stained glass, doorknobs, hardware, etc. Here are just a few and a few more are sprinkled throughout the post.