History of Your House

Step 3: The Architectural History of Your House – What to look for Inside

The Interior Overview

When inspecting the interior of your house, look for the different types of building materials that may be present. Are the walls plaster, wallboard, knotty pine or paneling? Also take note of the construction techniques and finishes that were used, paying particular attention to the woodwork. Remember that the interior of a house is renovated and updated more frequently than the exterior. In many cases only evidence of earlier construction techniques can be found.

Survey the interior of your house

1. Take note of the following features inside your home:

– Floors: type of wood, wide or narrow, painted, stenciled, linoleum, etc.

– Walls: plaster? Wallboard? Wood? Any evidence of old paint or wallpaper?

– Ceilings: are they tin, plaster, dry wall, acoustical tile? Any exposed beams?

– Trim: look for wainscoting, crown molding, baseboards, chair/picture rails.

– Doors: Do you have pocket doors, French doors, solid/hollow/paneled wood?

– Hardware: notice the hardware on doors, windows, cabinets, floor registers, hooks, shelf brackets, etc.

– Fireplaces: check out the number, placement, and location as well as the design of mantels and inserts.

– Stairs: take note of newel posts, balusters, handrails, tread bracket designs.

– Cabinetry: built-in or free standing?

2. What mechanical systems are present or evident?

– Heating: Wood, coal, oil, propane, electric, solar? Are there radiators, or evidence of radiators? Hot air ducts? Franklin stoves?

– Plumbing: lead or copper pipes, sink/bathtub/toilet design, evidence of an attic storage tank.

– Electrical: circuit breakers, fuse boxes, conduits, junction boxes, wiring.

– Lighting fixtures: wall sconces, gas lights, ceiling fixtures, lamp shades.