My Old House Online

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Featured Blog Posts (83)

Masonry stripper, has anyone used any?

Yesterday I went out to repair a couple spots on my painted brick. I used a scraper on the edges. No need for that, I could take a piece and pull and it came off like vinyl wallpaper. Big pieces of several square feet. All 5 layers right down to the dusty first layer. I tried it in 3 places with the same results. As a result I have a very ugly wall and a dilemma. Should I scrape it all off and repaint or strip. I did a lot of stripping back in the late 80's and have the scars to prove it using… Continue

Added by Lair Tienter on October 13, 2010 at 2:56pm — 2 Comments

The Upstairs Rooms: In Color

We still have a few things left to finish - installing the ceiling fans, putting on the outlet covers, tiling the bathroom - but it has been quite the haul just to get to the point where the walls are painted, the floors are finished, and most of the baseboard and shoe mold is installed. I'm too happy about getting to this point, so I'm posting photos...


This is the bathroom floor - stained and finished. We had to put a dark stain… Continue

Added by Karan Andrea on September 29, 2010 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

Curb Appeal

Late in the day on Labor Day, a car drove by my house, slowed, stopped, and the driver leaned out the window. "Thank you! It looks great," he said. Car after car, neighbor after neighbor driving by, walking by - their first words were "thank you."

Much of the work I have done on my house has been inside, so even though I have done a great deal of work that has improved the property, very little has been visible from the outside. And let's face it - my house is, well, in a word, ugly.…


Added by Karan Andrea on September 10, 2010 at 1:30pm — 3 Comments

flr stains

Can anyone help me we have a 110 year old house with finished wooden floors. These floors have a stain from wetness on them. When we were moving into the house the dampness laid under some boxes and left the imprint of the box on the finished floor. Is there anyway to remove thses stains off the floor without damaging the finish.

Added by John Leigh on September 1, 2010 at 10:39pm — 1 Comment

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

Added by Phil on August 31, 2010 at 8:37am — 6 Comments

Our New Old House

Our old house, which we have owned for 10 days now, is an 1882 vernacular on a tiny lot in a wonderful historic district on a hill overlooking the ancient church steeples of the up and coming-back little downtown in our mid-sized Virginia burg. The local historic foundation calls our house an Italianate because of the roof brackets and arched window head trims, but that's a little bit of a generous stretch. When people see the house, I am too quick to point out that we bought it solely for the… Continue

Added by Dianne on August 19, 2010 at 11:17am — No Comments

Progress on George L. Chesbro

We are making progress! We have decided to keep the house on the hill on a 1.5 acre lot. The house is in the process of being approved for an historic restriction which has just been drafted. Preservation Worcester has agreed to hold the restriction and the house has moved to market! Wish us luck as we are looking for someone to fill the home with a family and to restore the old lady! Another photo by Andrew Barr, Photographer, for your pleasure!…


Added by Linda Weber on August 17, 2010 at 8:59am — No Comments

Barn: Painting

We broadcasted our barn paint and woodwork project the summer of 2009. The work included:

==> Steam Paint Removal: equipment, tools, methods and techniques

==> Lead Safe Operations: personal gear, ground containment, lead residue collection and disposal

==> Woodwork Repairs: clapboard splits, clapboard replacement, filling nail holes

==> Painting: pre-treatments, oil-base primer, acrylic… Continue

Added by John Leeke on August 12, 2010 at 2:14pm — 9 Comments

Re: Lightning Rods

If you read Jefferson Kolle's article on lightning rods in the July 2010 issue, this might be of interest Or, if you didn't, it is still fun 'cuz Mark Twain ALWAYS "cut to the chase" on an issue. . .Enjoy!


Political Economy

Written in 1870 by Mark Twain (1835-1910)

POLITICAL Economy is the basis of all good government. The wisest men of all ages have brought to bear upon this subject the --

[Here I was interrupted and informed… Continue

Added by Brian Flaherty on August 12, 2010 at 10:37am — No Comments

Holy Cow! There’s a Bobcat in My Driveway!

Many developments in these last weeks. Sanding, cleaning, priming, plating, excavating, concrete, water diversion. I can't believe how much

we've accomplished in so little time.

We finally finished the sanding, hallelujah! We were all tired, happy, and incredibly sore. So the next weekend, we rounded up wash buckets and rags and after vacuuming the entire upstairs - every blasted surface - walls, ceilings, woodwork, floors, radiators (amazing how much dirt those buggers can…


Added by Karan Andrea on August 10, 2010 at 8:07pm — 1 Comment

house colors exterior

My wife and I just closed on a 110 year old country house built by a doctor. We are trying to stay in the time period and would like to know if anyone would know colors for this or where we can obtain color schemes. The outside is pretty much a white house, can anyone help

Added by John Leigh on August 9, 2010 at 4:48pm — 1 Comment

Secret concrete room outside of barn

Hi everyone,

I just bought a 140 yr old farmhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Right outside in front of the barn is a 18" square "lid" that lifts up and underground is a 12 foot x 12 foot concrete room that has a drop of about 10-15 feet. You would need some type of ladder to get down. Above ground is the only access to this room. I was told that this area used to be a throughway for the Underground Railroad. I tend to think maybe it was a panic room during Prohibition. Any thoughts? I…


Added by Jennifer D. on July 30, 2010 at 9:51pm — 4 Comments

Windows - a pane in the glass

Setting panes in the basement last fall during freezing weather must have had its hidden merits. I think that darn glazing putty was just way more willing to cooperate. I think today holds the record for frustration level. How in the world do people put that little 1/8" bead of window glazing on that tiny 1/4" ledge around the sash before placing the pane of glass?

A "before"…

Added by Carrie Z on July 28, 2010 at 11:03pm — 2 Comments

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

Added by Phil on July 24, 2010 at 10:08pm — 1 Comment

Java & Plaster

The sheetrock & plaster finisher found a creative way to use the built-in drawers in my bathroom. He plonked a scrap of sheetrock on it and used it as a counter for…


Added by Karan Andrea on July 13, 2010 at 9:32am — No Comments

How the 2X Theory Happens

In a previous blog post I described my “2x theory” of renovation, which states simply that it takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you anticipate. Regardless of how carefully you budget. Regardless of how tightly you keep control of your contractors. Regardless of how much of the grunt work you do yourself, or are able to get done by people you’ve rooked for free labor. It just doesn’t matter. At some point in the…


Added by Karan Andrea on July 16, 2010 at 6:24pm — 1 Comment

Third Time's a Charm?

Well, here I go again – I am embarking on my third renovation project. The first was a cottagey-bungalow home I bought in 1998, and the second was the 25,000 square-foot building I currently work in. Today, in less than an hour from this writing, I am going to do the ‘walk through’ on my new house. New only in the sense that it is new to me. I close Monday, November 30, 2009 on an American Four-Square house, built in 1924, in a lovely Western New York village.

Here’s… Continue

Added by Karan Andrea on July 2, 2010 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Our Just Bought 2-3 Year Labor of Love.

So my partner and I just bought this 100 year old four-square house in Birmingham Alabama. It might be older because we saw some records that stated it was built in 1905. Anyhow, we've been living here for about 3 years now (originally from NY) and this is one of the first old houses we saw in this transitioning neighborhood.

Well now its ours...and now the fun begins. It was built by the prominent owner of the Alabama Coffin and Casket Company (this reno should be very interesting).… Continue

Added by Ivan Reyes on June 1, 2010 at 2:30am — 8 Comments


I think I just posted this in the wrong I will retry again.

Since I last posted....we bought out my brother that wanted to tear everything down. Currently we are working to separate the house on 1.5 acres to keep the land from endangering the house. The land is under contract. We put the house up for review with the Massachusetts Historic Commission and it was deemed "eligible" for restriction and "eligible" for nomination in the national registry. We are…


Added by Linda Weber on May 22, 2010 at 6:53pm — 1 Comment

bungalow bliss

hello fellow old house lovers. we got the bungalow!!!! :) we are overjoyed. we'll be moving into this historic home in 2 weeks. i hope to blog about our move & take photos telling a picture story about our move.

the other day i told the hunky husband i was going to wrap him in bubble wrap before the whole move was said & done;p! do y'all think anyone would claim him on the side of the road? i. am. kidding. i am typically *not* a husband joker (you know the kind of joker that… Continue

Added by jenn on May 17, 2010 at 11:41am — 2 Comments

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