I poked around the exterior of our house a bit more, looking for clues as to the condition of our brick. I noticed many things that should have tipped us off to the fact that there was an extra layer of siding....
The Front Door Jamb:
If you look closely, you can see that it is extra deep... and you can see the seam! The newer, unpainted wood is to extend the jamb out to the new siding.
A Window Frame:
The frame out is even more obvious here... I'd been thinking the window boxes were extra deep and didn't let in much light for a while. Turns out they ARE extra deep!
The Bottom of the House:
The siding sticks out a good inch or two beyond the foundation (there is a chain link fence post in the picture that takes up the empty space). This is not super normal... in fact, NONE of the other houses on my street look like this. Whether brick or clapboard, they are all flush with their foundations.
One more observation:
This is the east side of our house:
The window on the far right is not original to the house. Too bad, because it is a really cool multi-pane window.
I know this because there is no brick underneath it; it is just framed in and insulated. Also, its window sill is completely different in shape, slant, and construction than every other sill on the house. It SHOULD be the same window as the first window; the house next door is intact, identical, and shows this. Why in the world did they put a smaller (though much cooler) window there? They did use these same windows on the addition; I will likely just install this window there when we remodel.
We will likely have to find a replacement window for the original... too bad we didn't salvage the ones ripped out of an identical house across the street a year ago! (We had no idea we would need them then).