My Old House Online

An online community for people who love old houses.

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  • Williamsport, PA
  • United States
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Phil's Friends

  • Will H
  • Kelly Delong
  • ron tanner
  • greta grasso
  • Shelley
  • BenningtonColonial
  • Karan Andrea
  • Ashling
  • KenK
  • Dave H.
  • Charles J
  • Lair Tienter
  • Martin
  • Susan
  • jane

Phil's Discussions

Has anyone used a bathroom exhaust fan in a kitchen?
2 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Lair Tienter Jul 28, 2013.

Tankless or other hot water heater experiences
24 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by James Olson Jun 21, 2012.


Phil's Page

Latest Activity

Phil replied to Leigh Semilof's discussion Hanging Lincrusta
"Lincrusta is such a rare product that I bet it is a special order at best, likely online order product.  In my town your only move would be to network and talk to old home owners to find the contractors who could do it.   Maybe…"
Phil replied to PStewart's discussion Victorian Dining Room Almost Reborn
"Ceiling looks great here.  Everything does, actually.  Now you can shift some of your carpentry time into entertaining time. I predict some gracious entertaining. "
Phil replied to John Dingman's discussion What do you call this door knob/latch?
"Most modern hardware does not have slotted head screws.  Not sure when that switchover occurred, though."
Apr 17
Phil replied to Tom owns a Barber #1's discussion Easy rules for old house types
"Most of us have cursed the decisions that previous owners have made.  Try to not be that person being cursed for today's decisions 30 years from now. "
Apr 6
Phil replied to lauri lombardi's discussion is soapstone the costliest choice for counters?
"I think about $90 a square foot. "
Mar 26
Phil replied to lauri lombardi's discussion is soapstone the costliest choice for counters?
"In my market soapstone is similar in cost to granite."
Mar 26
Phil replied to James Olson's discussion OHJ Reader Feedback
"Ah, Cottage Living. I remember well in 2009 when we got the letter saying that our Cottage Living subscription was being converted over to Coastal Living.  Ouch.  Our Gourmet Magazine was converted to Bon Appetite that same year.  It…"
Mar 24
Phil replied to James Olson's discussion OHJ Reader Feedback
"OHJ is the only serious old house magazine around.  I subscribe to Victorian Homes, and every once in a while This Old House magazine, but OHJ is clearly the superior product. "
Mar 20

Profile Information

Tell us about yourself:
My family has lived in a c. 1895 Queen Anne Victorian since 1995. I am an economist.
Tell us about your old-house experiences and dreams:
Over the years I have slowly learned about how it was built and how to maintain it, as well as how not to maintain it. Whenever possible, I try to use original materials or ones that could have been used originally, or at the very least ones that look like those materials.

My house had many original elements, and I have maintained or restored most of those. Other things like lighting and doorknobs had been "upgraded" over time, so I spent the better part of 10 years haunting antique shops and ebay to find replacements that matched the style and level of my house. In the case of lighting, we have only one original gas fixture in our entry. I have tried to purchase a restrained level of gas lighting for the rest of the house, avoiding the temptation of lighting that would have been too fancy for my nice, but ultimately middle class Victorian. Lighting of that type is surprisingly cheap (much cheaper than repro), and I enjoyed collecting them.

Phil's Photos

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Phil's Blog

The window is stripped

I fully stripped the stained glass window shown in a previous post. I haven't stained it yet, though, because I didn't want to be distracted with painting or work, and I want to try to get a decent color match with my stairway. I ended up putting multiple coats of zip strip on it and scrubbing it down with 000stainless steel dipped in lacquer thinner. One day I will have to take the plunge and stain it, but I am afraid that there is paint in the pores that will end up making the wood blotchy.… Continue

Posted on August 31, 2010 at 8:37am — 6 Comments

Much progress on the painting

Things are almost wrapped up. The second floor landings and hall are done and the furniture is back. Those floors are painted pine, so I felt that the paint had to cure for at least 2 weeks before the furniture was put back. We decided to put furniture felt on the bottoms of everything to reduce paint damage on the floor. If it works so well on clear coated floors, why not on paint? Also, we took this opportunity to put less stuff back on the landings than we used to have. We like the new less… Continue

Posted on August 31, 2010 at 8:31am

More Summer Painting

The entry foyer has an open stairway that goes up to the 3rd floor. Tomorrow I tackle the foyer and the landings on the 2nd and 3rd floor. 10 windows, 9 doors and some painted floors to boot. I have assembled lots of sandpaper, plastic sheeting, drop cloths, quick setting plaster (for rapid repairs on some water damaged drywall) for an all day prep fiesta. I have hired a student to help. Also, just in case that doesn't absorb all of the time, I have decided to strip a stained glass window down… Continue

Posted on July 24, 2010 at 10:08pm — 1 Comment

Summer painting jobs

So far, more than expected

Posted on July 8, 2010 at 8:02pm — 6 Comments

Comment Wall (27 comments)

At 9:13am on September 15, 2008, Eden said…
Hey Phil

I only have access to email on weekdays, so am just getting back to you. I bought my home in 1999 and after striping paint off a front porch column and woodwork in the kitchen, I found stamped in ink, NTY Wm. H, Shugars, Gordon VanTine, plus the backs of the basment steps had blue #s handwritten on them. Shugars was the original owner on my deed, 1912.

While searching for information, I asked folks on another forum if they knew of this company. Lucky for me, the GVT expert saw my quest that day and asked for a picture of my home. He ID'd it from GVT's Book of Plans, 1912-1915/1916, House Plan #122. This company was a competitor of Sears. He sent me a copy of that book of plans and a black and white photo to hang in my foyer, I think I paid him $10. A plan house differs from a kit house whereby it"s the same house you would buy as a kit but the carpenter would cut the lumber from the plan house blueprints< thus saving money There are many companies that sold these kit and plan homes darn computer will not let me type comma and periods so I will send this now
At 11:13pm on September 16, 2008, Demetra said…
I'm with you Phil. That roof should be slate, in a rich array of variegated colors...
At 8:21am on November 11, 2008, Susan said…
I should have done re-wiring a little at a time. I wasted $4,000 last summer on a guy that did not do the things I requested and did a bunch of things that I did not need. I still have wiring that needs to be completed even though I paid for things I was told I had. Live and learn. Thank you, Phil for the input.
At 8:57pm on November 21, 2008, Susan said…
The roof on the tower is copper. The seams stand up about 1/2 inch and are crimped together. I am not sure what you call the seam design. The roof is original to the house. As for dating the house I have found that the couple that built it bought the lot in 1896, and the sewer line was connected to the city sewer system in March, 1903. I have discovered a newspaper article in our local library that showed pictures of the forest that was leveled and cleared for my street. The same article stated that the houses were built, the walls plastered, and the plaster left to cure for twelve months with no windows in the houses. When the plaster had "seasoned' the windows and woodwork were installed and the houses were finished. I have uncovered signatures in pencil under the old siding on the sheathing boards.
At 4:57am on December 7, 2008, Morgan Campbell said…
Thank you for the comment Phil. I am very new to this sort of "online community" so am slow. My home reads Vancouver Edwardian/craftsman builder (very humble) and I am searching through my photos to find one to add online. Your home is beautiful! It is unusual in its combination of styles - the gambrel roof, tower, Eastlake elements - this old house passion is exciting!

See you online,
At 3:45pm on December 20, 2008, Jane Powell said…
Thanks, Phil. Glad you liked the article. My favorite built-in in my own house is a bench in the upstairs hall which opens to reveal the laundry chute. And all my built-ins have fake pegged thru-tenons, which amuses me no end.

Since it's been cold here the last few days (in California that means 50 degrees- that's Spring in places with real weather!), I've been in the attic rolling out more insulation. It has to be that cold outside in order to go up there for any length of time, since there's absolutely no ventilation.
At 10:37am on February 2, 2009, Craig Phillips / B & C Emporium said…
Hi Phil, Welcome to the Jewlery of the Antique homes goup,
Craig Phillips
B & C Emporium
At 3:38pm on March 6, 2009, John ( said…
I have video of the house with the tower that I will be putting online probably next week. Stay tuned. I will be launching a new site with it.
At 7:01pm on March 10, 2009, Swede said…
My building is in "downtown" Lindsborg. I've driven through Newton. Good looking town with nice hospital.
At 3:33pm on March 31, 2009, Sarah said…
Phil - your house is gorgeous! I love the exterior color scheme - and kudos for doing the slate roof. We have a slate roof in the building where I work, and it unloads snow like crazy - no ice dams! Thanks for your kind comments about our kitchen.

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