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All Blog Posts (392)


I don't know if it's a term anyone else uses but "place-holders" is one my subs heard from me all the time.  A place-holder is a temporary element that is put in place until it is replaced with something else.  A place-holder can be…


Added by James Olson on April 18, 2014 at 2:54pm — No Comments

How Many Does It Take?

Q: How many old-house owners does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Just one but it will take, at least, four years and more than 20% the cost of the house. 

(The base of the broken former bulb had to be removed first.  While doing that it's noticed the socket is damaged and needed replacing.  While doing that it's noticed the wiring insulation is degraded so the circuit had to be re-wired.  If that circuit needed re-wiring then the others did, too.  Some plaster had to be cut…


Added by James Olson on April 17, 2014 at 11:17am — No Comments

House Jewelry

My wife isn't a native English speaker so, when she doesn't know the proper English term, I'll ask her to describe when it's used, what it looks like, or what it does.  To this day we jokingly call one thing a "sponge on a stick" (sponge mop).  But I'm particularly fond of "house jewelry" for vergeboards, tracery, trelliswork, pendants, medallions, etc.

Added by James Olson on April 17, 2014 at 10:50am — No Comments

Great-Grandpa Olson


Added by James Olson on April 16, 2014 at 2:09pm — No Comments

25 Lessons You'll Learn From A McMansion: A Parody

Few things are as personal and protected as one's choice of residence.  Choice of lover, career, and fashion rank "up there", also.  I have found, however, if one truly feels good about their choice and are comfortable with their circumstance then they don't mind the humour in it.  We are all funny and strange to someone and we tend to do funny and strange things when given the opportunity.

The following is a parody on myself, my attitudes,…


Added by James Olson on April 13, 2014 at 11:12am — No Comments

Every Old House Was Once New

Every old house was once new.  It had no patina of age; no dings, nicks, or wear from use; no aura gained through the passage of time.  But such a new house was no less a home for the first owners as it was for the owners who took care of it through the years or the owners who rescued it generations later. 

There will always be a special relationship between the house and those owners who contributed toward it reaching its potential.  Just as every brick, board, and nail wanted to be…


Added by James Olson on April 12, 2014 at 11:16am — No Comments

Dismantling the deck.

Dismantling the 1996 deck revealed concrete steps (upon which I'm standing).  The top landing (my left foot) indicated where a single hinged door was located before the glass sliders were installed.  The joists for the deck were rotting where they rested against the concrete.  The aluminum downspout terminated right…


Added by James Olson on April 11, 2014 at 4:01pm — No Comments

No one will love your house as much as you do

As we finish up some details with the demo, life gets in the way sometimes and plumbers in the area are busy, I am reminded that no one will love your house as much as you do.  We learned this recently during a kitchen remodel.  When the time came for new countertops to be installed I had not taken the olds ones off yet.  The installer took a sledge to the countertops no lasting damage was done but twelve screws were all that held them in.  If I would have done the work myself I would have…


Added by Nick Wylie on March 18, 2014 at 10:19pm — No Comments

Looking for help with oversized dormers

I am desperately seeking advice on how to improve the appearance of our house.  We purchased this house nearly 4 years ago (built in 1915) and have been renovating the interior ever since (think every room being taken down to the studs, custom mill work, new windows, etc).  Perhaps we should have started with…


Added by laura oldenburg on February 25, 2014 at 5:31pm — 1 Comment

upstairs bathroom renovation

So we finally decided to tackle the upstairs bathroom.  It has been a pain in my side since the day we moved in.  The plumbing was bad, there were no outlets, cracked toilet and measuring 48 square feet....SMALL.  Nobody liked going in there.  It was a total gut job and the only thing in there that remained original was the window casing.....which was covered in about 100 years worth of bad paint decisions.  My oh my....the things you find when you start digging....anyways I thought I'd…


Added by Ali Aitken on February 18, 2014 at 2:17am — No Comments

Demo done - mostly

We finished up the demo today.  The lath is still up but we feel like we can move forward with plumbing bids now.  Spent the day pulling plaster down to see a "new" to me way to do it. Using a circular saw to cut the depth of the plaster and the lath cut on either side of studs and pull the whole section plaster and lath at the same time.  The plus side to this method is less mess and faster but I can see that if you are not sure what is behind the walls or have trouble finding the studs…


Added by Nick Wylie on February 11, 2014 at 9:31pm — No Comments

Light at the end of the tunnel!

It's been a long 3 1/2 years to complete the renovations on our home. I would be lying to myself if I said we will be completely finished..because I know the exterior will be next. lol 

We are investing in our own molder so we can duplicate the trim that I am running out of.. 2 bedrooms left to finish and another bathroom that needs tile.

I'm really getting excited about the extra room . It's been hard living in 4 rooms but we did it!  We have renovated this awesome home and…


Added by Paige Meyer on February 10, 2014 at 6:43am — No Comments

Really! Glue, Deck nails , and Caulk!!!!!!

Spent time working on removing all of the trim around doors, windows, baseboard, and wainscoting.  This would not have been such a big deal if the previous owner during a 1980's "update" did not use construction adhesive or wood glue, spiral deck nails, and caulking where the trim meets the wall not just in a few places but on every piece.  It made the removal, especially since I was trying to save as much as possible, very slow and tedious.  I only get about 4-6 hours a week to work on this…


Added by Nick Wylie on February 6, 2014 at 10:09pm — 1 Comment

If you don't succeed try, try again

Well this weekend did not go as we had hoped.  I removed the door that use to bridge the two upstairs bathrooms.  I also removed the access panel to the shower plumbing in the maids room bathroom that will become our master bathroom.  We saw pretty much what we expected.  The access to the plumbing is pretty straight forward.  What was disappointing is the layout in the small bathroom, which was the original bathroom of the house, did not work the way we thought.  We wanted to put in a walk…


Added by Nick Wylie on January 27, 2014 at 2:51pm — No Comments

Bathroom inspection Pictures

Pictures of what I found during the discovery phase of our bathroom renovation

Photo 1 Tar paper underlayment

Photo 2 water damage…


Added by Nick Wylie on January 21, 2014 at 9:08pm — No Comments

Day one

I only had about 4 hours to work on the bathroom so removing the carpet, tack strips, a gazzilion staples, and getting the old stuff out to the curb for pick up.  

As expected found trap paper under the carpet, spent some time poking the floor looking for soft spots and found a few areas of water damage and or poor framing under the toilet, or at least that is my worry, until I get a chance to remove the toilet and inspect more carefully.  One other concern is the height of the base…


Added by Nick Wylie on January 21, 2014 at 8:59pm — No Comments


I bought a 1924 bungalow a year ago and recently discovered in my attic I have knob and tube patched into romex, and from what I can tell its copper K&T. The crawl space for outlets etc. has been totally changed over, but apparently they did a half *** job in the attic for the ceiling fixtures. It looks like the K&T terminates into electrical boxes all over and from there goes on to other electrical needs in the attic, bath fans etc. Of course the attic is full of whatever the…


Added by Michael Costello on January 21, 2014 at 4:19pm — 1 Comment

Bathroom reno background story

The previous owner converted a small bedroom (maids room) in to a bath but left out a toilet, even though there is plenty of room.  The original  bathroom in the house was rearranged and the claw foot tub was removed leaving us with two half baths side by side.  Our plan is to add a toilet, second sink to the maids room and remove a fiberglass insert shower/tub and replace it with nice tub.  In the original bathroom we will be adding a walk-in tile shower where the old claw foot tub was and…


Added by Nick Wylie on January 20, 2014 at 10:03am — No Comments

The Story & Surprises Of My Old Home

When taking on a remodeling project, it is common to be concerned about the "additional cost" that occur once the roof, siding, or whatever is ripped off.  I know this, because I am currently having a new roof, siding, doors and windows installed on my 92 year old home.   That's right, my home was built in 1921; 3yrs after the completion of WWI (not II), and 6 years before Ford stopped…


Added by Opal Enterprises on November 13, 2013 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Urgent Historic Home Sale

A rare, Dutch colonial home in Milford, CT, is currently under threat of demolition. Following a temporary injunction, an agreement was reached in court that this home must be sold by 13 January 2014, after which, the current owners will be free to demolish it. They want $200K, cash, firm. The home resides in a scenic and affluent location, and IMO, could provide a good return if proper restored. For more specific information, please see the following link:…


Added by John Poole on November 11, 2013 at 8:42am — No Comments

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