My Old House Online

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Featured Blog Posts (84)

A/C...finally...

So this week we finally got our 60 amp panel swapped over to a 200 amp panel... that in itself isn't news to write home about, however getting the central air working due to the new panel is....woohoo!  We do notice that the upstairs
(that still needs new insulation in two of the three bedrooms) is still about 5-10 degrees hotter than the main floor....but we can rectify that overnight by adjusting the air cooler and then having a good night's sleep. Nice.... very satisfying...

Added by D. Brandson on July 1, 2011 at 4:23pm — 2 Comments

Birds-eye map (1875)

This is a clip from an 1875 "birds eye" map showing my house.  

According to a local historian, the town summoned artists to prepare such a map by lifting them in a hot-air balloon, from which they would prepare drawings of the neighborhood one block at a time.  The original of this particular map,…

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Added by A Polzin on June 4, 2011 at 12:11pm — 4 Comments

Econo-Kitchen, Sweat Equity Style...

I mentioned in a previous blog that I had ordered new, unfinished kitchen cabinets for my house. It was the only way I could afford to replace the existing cabinets, which were old and filthy. I would have had to do some major work to get them clean enough to even use, and they were built in place at some point after the house was built, I believe. The back…

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Added by Karan Andrea on May 30, 2011 at 8:00pm — 7 Comments

Getting rid of "circa"

So the real estate record indicated my house was built in 1880, as I mentioned in my previous entry...  and I found evidence that the house already existed in 1875, since a local map surveyed that year clearly shows my house at that time.  After speaking to some historians and experts in this particular architectural style, we concluded that the best guess was that the house was probably built in 1874.  Hence, I have always used the notation "c.1874" thus far in describing the…

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Added by A Polzin on May 27, 2011 at 1:50pm — 10 Comments

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

I have a circa 1895 wing and gable home with yellow pine floors. The floors in all the rooms are bare where the original owners had a rug then the rest of the hardwood floors were painted brown around the rug. I would like to have all the paint removed so that the whole wood floor can be seen and then have the whole floor finished. There are remnants of a reddish stain under the brown paint so I know that part of the floors where stained. I have heard not to sand yellow pine floors. Stripping… Continue

Added by Jaime Maravia on May 9, 2011 at 10:30pm — 6 Comments

Is That Antiqued, or Is It Just a Crappy Paint Job? :)

As we were putting the finish on the bedroom cabinets, I reminded my dad, who is about as bad a perfectionist as I am, that it's supposed to look kinda crappy, but when it's all done, it will look incredible. OK, well, I was hoping for incredible, but would have settled for 'not bad.'

To review from my previous blog, the finish is done in layers of acrylic 'milk paint'. The first coat was a dark brown. Then we clear coated it to create separation between that color and the next color…

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Added by Karan Andrea on May 8, 2011 at 5:53pm — 1 Comment

Colors for 1900's home.

I live in a 1901-02 built house that has a Queen Anne exterior, but  strongly colonial revival, large 1st and 2nd floor foyers.  So you could call it an eclectic house.  Because of the date of construction and the foyer style, I'm not sure if the strong colors of the high victorian era would be appropriate for it's exterior.  Can anyone make  suggestions or give opinions on this?  It's a 3-story house, set back from the street with lots of mature trees, and a brick carriage house in the rear.… Continue

Added by Deborah H. Ostrow on May 2, 2011 at 12:39pm — 2 Comments

Floored! Much Progress...

Last time I checked in, I had just finished the slate tile in the stairwell off the kitchen and was planning to set the kitchen tile the following weekend. There has been much progress since that blog - I finished the tile floor in the kitchen, had the awful, urine-soaked floors in the dining room, living room and sitting room sanded, stained and urethaned. The stairs to the second floor have also been sanded and stained, and we have sheetrock in the kitchen that is now primed and painted.…

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Added by Karan Andrea on April 27, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Wanted - Drain for antique sink

I have this awesome antique sink that I have had resurfaced. My brotherinlaw carried it out of the Canadian bush for me while on a hunting trip. True story! However, it does not have a drain and I have since found out that the drain size it needs is not standard.  We are planning on using it as the sink in the main bath at our log Chalet in Quebec, Canada.  Can anyone help? Desperate in Carp, Canada… Continue

Added by Olivia Nixon on March 28, 2011 at 11:52am — No Comments

Working on livingroom floor

Its seems that sometime in the past 60 years of DIY renovation that plywood was considered a "Wonder product"

as the walls and floors of my livingroom were covered in it. That is until today when I removed the last piece of

plywood from the walls and started on plywood abatement on the floor. I also got to thinking whilst on hands and

knees how many nails does it take to hold down a 4x8 sheet of plywood. The answer in my case was hundreds. I litterally

pulled out…

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Added by Frances Reay on March 26, 2011 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Save our History

When I moved from California to Colorado to escape the city, for the last 15 years all my preservation work was with the Colorado State Historical fund.  About one year ago I ventured back into the consumer market.  Since I been back I have meet many homeowners and visited many historic homes.  One common thread I have witness is how unqualified general contractors have severely damage many beautiful historic homes in the Denver metro area.  The horror stories that homeowners have shared and…

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Added by Randall Marder on March 15, 2011 at 11:30pm — 3 Comments

4 years ago, I purchased an antebellum home...

4 years ago, I purchased an antebellum home for an investment as it had acreage near a thriving lake community.  Needless to say, the economy went south and I have had difficulty renting to good rentors.  At this point, I have sunk

additional monies in this place and cannot afford to do so any longer.  I would like to keep the land and either sell the home and have it moved, dismantle and reclaim the wood, or tear the structure down.  Are there any  suggestions as

to how this…

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Added by doug frohman on March 10, 2011 at 9:00pm — 2 Comments

Replacement bath/shower set

I have a 1924 Craftsman style house in need of some new plumbing.  As part of this project I need to replace the bath fixtures.  The problem I am having is that my current fixtures are 10" on center.  Three handles 5" apart.  The current standard is apparently 8" center.  I have found one brand where the valves are independent and can be assemble how you like.  The problem is that I have never heard of them and they start at $700.00.  I was hoping someone might know of another source for…

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Added by Bob Stall on March 8, 2011 at 11:05pm — 2 Comments

Looking for advice on leveling foundation

In preparing for restoration, it looks like the first step is to remove and replace front chimney. The footings for the chimney are crumbling and it is pulling away from the house. This is causing the large rocks under the house to raise, which is raising the floor in the main front room. I am sure this is causing an upward movement of the floors for the rest of the house. Any advice on the best way to proceed is appreciated. I will post some photos of the chimney, foundation and floors. I… Continue

Added by Bobby on March 8, 2011 at 12:08pm — 1 Comment

How do you hang gas ceiling fixtures?

I've recently converted a gas/electric ceiling fixture and need advice on mounting it. Fast. It's going up in a couple of weeks.

The guys at Lowes and the local hardware store thought the wiring would be difficult. It wasn't. I just followed what I think was done originally, snaking a wire guided by bead chain up the gas pipe on the gas side and flattening a wire next to the pipe on the electric side. Because each arm screws into the cast iron pipe base separately and because there's…

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Added by Lynn Stevens on March 1, 2011 at 2:04pm — 5 Comments

On a Mission for Dog (and no, I'm not Dyslexic)

I had the best dog ever. (Don't all of us dog people think that?) I can't even begin to describe her awesomeness, but gushing about dogs is a lot like gushing about children. Nobody really wants to hear it. So I'll spare you. Anyway, after 16 years of companionship, I had to put my best girl down. I couldn't handle even the slightest notion of having another dog, and soon after, I sold my house and spent the next 6 years living in apartments - not a good doggie environment. After that amount…

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Added by Karan Andrea on February 25, 2011 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

See you at the Historic Home & Designer Craftsmen Show!

Anyone planning on coming to the preview party this Friday? We'll be out there with our editors (well, at least Demetra Aposporos and Patricia Poore--Clare Martin had an unfortunate roller derby incident!) and some of our favorite restoration professionals and designer craftsmen, plotting our purchases for Saturday and Sunday. Here are a few things we have our eyes on:…



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Added by Community Host on February 1, 2011 at 11:35am — No Comments

Sink or Swim - The Bathroom Tile Saga Continues...

My last blog post was October 20, 2010, and I was waiting for my tile saw to arrive. It is now January 10, 2011. I didn't want to blog again until I was completely done with my bathroom - right or wrong, good or bad, crappy tile job or not. Well, I am pleased (in that Cheshire Cat sort of pleased) to report that the bathroom is done, the tile saw was a champ, and I have moved my restoration work downstairs. I will not be silent for 2-1/2 months before blogging again (lucky readers!) - things…

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Added by Karan Andrea on January 10, 2011 at 10:42pm — 2 Comments

Pecky Cypress & Shellac

We recently completed a project for a great Historic Shed customer who had saved a variety of cypress boards that she wanted incorporated in her new home office shed. We used the wide cypress planks to build the desk and shelves, and installed the random width pecky cypress on the ceiling of the 12'x14' shed.… Continue

Added by Jo-Anne Peck on December 29, 2010 at 9:13pm — No Comments

In search of the past

The real estate listing sheet indicated that the house was built in 1880.  I then communicated with a local historian who found an old map of the region prepared in 1875, and the house is clearly shown in the map then.  So that's how I found out that the house is older than initially thought.  Then began my quest to dig into the history of my house.  We found that the first resident of the house was an architect by the name of Samuel M. Barton.  Well, at least he was listed as "an architect"…

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Added by A Polzin on December 26, 2010 at 2:55pm — 2 Comments

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