Restoring the Exterior Back in Atlantic City/Imagination Land

Back in imagination land, there are a lot of details on this house that (to me) absolutely cannot change – or have to be changed back – and some of that will be hard. But I like hard. So let’s start at the top.

The roof is terra cotta tile glazed green. There are fancy finials on all the gables – but with one or two missing. And there are box gutters integral to a fancy stamped copper cornice.

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You probably missed the ugliness. Here, have a closer look.

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The roof has been leaking for decades, and the salt spray has blasted holes in the outside of the cornice halfway around the house. You’re looking at a lot of money right here, probably about $300,000.00. It’s a good thing this house sold for a million dollars cheaper than similar houses in the neighborhood. An inaccurate roof and cornices would be really, really sad. Better than demolition of course, but sad nonetheless. And so if this were my house, it’s a no brainer. I’d save my money on things that don’t matter, like the kitchen.

Is there a way to save money on this that’s wouldn’t make you want to gouge your eyes out? Could we re-line the gutters with new copper, make spot repairs on the cornices, and leave the fancy corbels with holes in them? That would certainly be better than an inferior replacement.

Moving downward, you saw the big porch with the big balcony on top of it.

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But doesn’t it look a little off?

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Clearly it was redone. Badly. It looks like the cracks were patched up but re-cracked, and original detail was stripped off. And I have a treat for you!

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So what can we see from this photo?

  1. D’aww!
  2. Yes, that tiny woman had all those kids.
  3. A parapet! Here’s a closer look.

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So, I have a feeling it’s time for a new porch, and not a cheap one. We can’t know for sure what the parapet looked like, but the garage gives us a pretty good guess. There is a little more fanciness in the unaltered corner of the porch against the wall if you look back at that. (And also the garage clearly has issues, too.)

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Then, I said there are 11 Juliet balconies. And there’s a big hazard with these. The railings are too low to meet code.

And I have a story. Once I got locked out on one of these Juliet balconies. I squeezed through the aluminum storm door and never noticed that it was locked. I asked my friend’s little brother, who must have been like 3, to let me back in, and instead he locked me out on the next one over. And then I got upset and so he CLIMED OVER THE RAILING to be in the same one as me.

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So pretty scary, right? Nope, that’s not it. After all, this scariness would never have happened if the tacky storm doors weren’t there. So I don’t blame the railings for any danger. No, I’d be scared that I’d be required to bring them up to code. Especially since some of them definitely have to come down for restoration.

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So what to do here? Exemptions? Leaving them as is and repairing them without permits after the project is done? Temporary railings that come down the day after the inspection? Everything is on the table except permanently altering them to meet code. As Boar’s Head says, compromise elsewhere.

And… one more essential is missing from the front entryway. Can you tell what it is?

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It’s those piers with not-so-big flower pots on them. They are for the original lights. But we’re saved! They were in the garage!

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And then there’s one restoration I probably wouldn’t do. Originally the terrace had pretty tile. (Also my friend’s dad on a trike.)

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