West side neighborhoods can have lots of fairly small and simple houses. Mechanicsville and Hintonburg have lots of boxy small homes, and many are found on the stub streets off Preston.
Here, from Google Street View, is 34 Merton “before”:
It was a typical small house. Basic old-style aluminium siding. Mismatched windows. Odd, two level front porch (note location of the posts). Useful side door. One mailbox, so its likely a single home.
And after the facelift, voila:
I like the restrained use of modern materials. There is the ever-popular and trendy corrugated siding, used with some restraint. Ditto for the cement board (“Hardy”) coloured panels. Both porch roofs have curves, which adds a playful note, almost art deco. The windows match, and are an appropriate vertical format typical of homes in the area (at least, for those that weren’t renovated before with ranch style horizontal windows) but with an unusual pattern of dividers. Three matching glass doors. Restrained use of stone face material.
There is no front yard, the porch is right on the edge of the sidewalk. I suspect they reused the old post support (see the “before” picture), perhaps because it had non-conforming rights. The north side of the house has a bit of new corrugated siding, this time horizontal, and the rest of the house kept the original aluminum siding. I wonder if this is for economy, or part of the “reduce/reuse/recycle” mantra, or if it is just pending funds to reinsulate that side and repanel it later. If it is permanent, I think the original white siding might blend in well painted to match the gray, after which most people wouldn’t even notice the change of material. Or maybe its a “wall of truth” to demonstrate to the observant that it is indeed an old home.
From the south, notice the single gas meter and electrical post, which hints that it is still a single. One of the leakiest areas in these older houses is the join of the wood house to its foundation. When recladding, it is possible to bring the new materials down over the join between the foundation and house, which achieves astounding air infiltration reduction, energy saving, and virtually eliminates sow bugs in the old basement.
The blob on the top left corner of the front wall of the house is the anchor for an electrical mast for the overhead wiring. It appears to have been replaced by another new anchor on the side, which unclutters the front. I wonder if that thin strip of gray metal was left (beside the stone facing) for the mast.
I think the owners here did a great job of signalling their home is modernized, without being so extreme as some of the shoe box infills are. If it was mine, though, I would figure out a way to get some green material in there … maybe a steel-edged planter on the side, or a grassy strip down the driveway. A real sidewalk to the side door would also help.
Otherwise, it appeals to me enough I could move right in. Could you?