Friday, November 20, 2009

What lurks under the aluminum siding?

1925 East 89th Street

I've been meaning to photograph this house, at 1925 East 89th Street, between Chester and Euclid for a while. I often pass by it on my way to or from work, but despite my best efforts, I just can't get a good photograph of it while driving. There isn't any on-street parking on this block, due to heavy traffic to and from the Cleveland Clinic.

This past Saturday, the weather was perfect. It was bright, sunny, and warm. I knew that there wouldn't be many more days like this before winter, so I took advantage of it and went out for a walk with my camera.

When aluminum siding is put on a building, architectural detail is usually either hacked off or completely obscured for the sake of an easier installation. This does not hold true with 1925 East 89th Street. There is no doubt that quite a bit of detail has been lost, but it is not to the extent that one might normally find on such a house. For that reason, it is especially interesting - it hints at what might be hiding underneath - unlike the houses that have been turned into boring aluminum or vinyl boxes.

Note the attention to detail in the installation. One can see the bevel in the sheet aluminum on the gable, for instance. Some care has been given to the shape of the faux Tudor elements above the second floor. Elsewhere, the leaded glass windows on the second floor, on the front of the house, might have been sided over.

1925 East 89th Street

There is likely much detail hiding underneath the aluminum siding. The second floor bay windows are probably graced with complex mouldings. The windows as a whole probably have some sort of trim - the level of detail is unclear - if it was not removed for the installation of the siding. It is reasonably likely that there is at least one window underneath the siding on the bay window on the side of the house.

The house hints so much at what could be - hopefully someday it will be revealed.




I apologize for the delay since my last post. While I was out on the photo shoot last Saturday, I was mugged by four or five teenagers, just a couple blocks from my job. They went for my wallet, but discarded it when they found that the only money I had was a bit of change. They didn't take my camera (why, I do not know).

I'm ok. A bit sore, still, but ok. I don't think I'll be going out taking photographs here on foot by myself again anytime soon. That said, I got plenty of good photos that day, and I look forward to sharing them.

8 comments:

  1. I am so sorry, and glad you are recovering. I suspect it takes a long time to recover emotionally from something like this.

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  2. I've really been enjoying checking your blog each and every day and wondering where the home will be that's highlighted next. That being said, your safety is very important. I understand the desire to capture some of the fantastically awesome structures on film in the not so nice areas (where they typically are hidden!) Hopefully you can get some good shots from your car if you're in a particularly rough area. Stay safe and keep up the great work!

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  3. Sorry to hear about the incident. I hope it doesn't discourage you from your next outing. If you want to try something a bit less "risky," try the two houses owned by Mt. Zion Congregational Church - right in the thick of the Magnolia/Wade Park Historic District. They may not be long for this world.

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  4. Christopher do you have any contacts of people or organizations that do siding removal and restoration? I love my house but unfortunately it was sided sometime in the 80s. Its not anything I can afford to do right now but eventually I'd like to have the siding removed and clapboard restored.

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  5. Lisa, I don't know of anyone offhand, though I don't imagine the work would be that specialized. More importantly, the clapboard underneath might not be in that bad of shape or require that much work - I've seen plenty of houses where aluminum or vinyl siding was installed just to avoid the work involved with painting.

    You can get a special tool for unhooking sections of vinyl siding from each other for a couple of dollars at your local home improvement store. It would allow you to take a look and see just how bad things are underneath.

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  6. Call Rich Stanovich at the Cleveland Restoration Society. He can help. 216-426-1000

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