Clare Alexander's Blog (15)

Announcing MyOldHouseOnline's Home for the Holidays Contest

In the year or so since we started this community, we've been beyond impressed with the pictures of lovingly restored homes you've shared with us. And we're betting that when it comes time to decorate for the holidays, you're going to wow us once again. Think your holiday decorations have what it takes to win you a free year of Old-House Journal? Then enter them in our Home for the Holidays contest!

Here's the deal: Any holiday that falls… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on October 18, 2010 at 10:46am — No Comments

The Joys of House-Hunting

For all its related stresses, I genuinely do love the process of looking for a new place to live. I'm the kind of person who likes to walk around in the evenings, peering into people's windows to see what their homes look like inside. House-hunting offers the same thrill, magnified—instead of merely getting a glimpse of the kitchen or living room from the sidewalk, you get to poke around each and every room and (even better!) imagine how you'd do things differently.

For the past few… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on July 1, 2010 at 10:35am — No Comments

New Contest: Best Storage Ideas!

Calling all handy homeowners! In conjunction with our storage-themed April/May issue, the editors of Old-House Journal are looking for your best old-house storage ideas. We realize that a lack of storage space is often a huge disadvantage of older homes, but we also know it's true that necessity is the mother of invention—so we're betting you've found plenty of creative ways to get around the storage conundrum. Send us a photo,… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on February 16, 2010 at 7:01pm — No Comments

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Lair Tienter, Contestant #18, who swept MyOHJ's Perfect Porch Contest with a commanding victory!

Lair's porch will be featured in the September/October issue of Old-House Journal, so be sure to pick up a copy in early September to see his porch in print. If you voted for Lair and would like to share what you love about his porch for inclusion in our… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on July 27, 2009 at 9:16am — No Comments

MyOHJ's Perfect Porch Contest: Is your porch a winner?

Confession time: When I was proofing our July/August issue and read Jim McMaster's story about how he completely rebuilt the intricate balustrade on his Victorian lake house, I was in awe. Using nothing more than the tools he had on hand and a healthy dose of ingenuity, he was able to craft a spot-on replica of the original railing that will stay with his house for another century or… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on June 26, 2009 at 5:00pm — 6 Comments

Best of the Blogs

When OHJ was founded back in 1973, it was one of the only resources old-house owners had to connect with and learn from one another. Fast-forward 36 years to a very different world—the Internet and all the communication forms it's spawned have made it ridiculously easy for all of us old-house lovers to find one another. Blogging, in particular, is now one of the best mediums in which old-house owners can share their successes and failures in the… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on March 3, 2009 at 1:38pm — No Comments

Is the bad economy good for historic preservation?

Yesterday on my way home from work, I happened to catch a segment on NPR's "All Things Considered," in which they asked listeners to call in and report on signs of the recession witnessed in their daily lives. One of the comments was from a member of the historical commission in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who said that they were skipping their monthly meeting because there were no cases to review.

It brought to mind an interview that… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on February 3, 2009 at 1:32pm — 4 Comments

The DIY plumber

My toilet had been running intermittently for longer than I care to admit—but finally, last week, the incessant sound of running water (not to mention the massively guilty conscience that resulted from the incessant sound of running water) got the best of me, and I started doing some Internet research to determine what might be wrong. A few helpful sites suggested that the repair might be as simple as buying and installing a new flapper, so I drained the tank, disconnected the old one, and took… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on December 12, 2008 at 6:02pm — No Comments

Stepping back in time

To me, one of the best things about living in an old house is the opportunity to travel back in time every time you walk through the front door. However, my current 1950s-era rental isn't quite the exacting replication of eras past that I'm used to seeing on the pages of OHJ. (Our next issue's Old-House Living story, about a guy who works as a Thomas Jefferson impersonator at Colonial Williamsburg and lives on the premises in a reconstructed 18th-century tavern, takes the cake in that… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on November 25, 2008 at 4:59pm — 1 Comment

Two more days to save The Mount

We've been hearing a lot about foreclosures over the past year. It's a problem that's affecting houses of all shapes and sizes—even famous historic homes. You may have heard that The Mount, Edith Wharton's 1902 home and gardens in Lenox, Massachusetts, is currently under threat of foreclosure. It's news that saddens me both as an appreciator of historic architecture, and as a writer—Edith Wharton is one of my favorite authors. I love her novels (I'm currently devouring The House of… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on October 29, 2008 at 1:07pm — No Comments

A T-shirt with a cause

My love for all things vintage isn't just limited to old houses and the objects in them—I have just as much of an affinity for vintage clothing. I have a special soft spot for secondhand T-shirts—one of my most prized possessions is a worn-out green T-shirt that says "Office Team" on the front and "Paper Shufflers" on the back, which I purchased for $1 at the Salvation Army in high school. Whenever I find myself in a thrift store, I always make a beeline for the T-shirt racks (which, in every… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on October 16, 2008 at 10:40am — No Comments

Visiting some really old houses

I've been MIA on the community here for a couple of weeks, but for good reason—I was on vacation! I spent two weeks in Peru with two of my girlfriends, exploring the Amazon basin, sandboarding in the desert, and (the highlight of the trip) hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Along the way, we got to see some amazing examples of Inca architecture dating from the 15th and 16th centuries—much more seasoned structures than we're used to seeing here in America! I was constantly amazed by the… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on October 10, 2008 at 2:05pm — 1 Comment


Ever since I immersed myself in the world of old-house ghosts while writing the online exclusives for our September/October issue, I've found myself...well, haunted by them.

First there was the bed and breakfast I stayed in on a recent trip to Maine (I'll be posting pictures soon of all the gorgeous old houses I saw on my trip!), which was situated in a beautifully restored 1874 Second… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on September 18, 2008 at 3:43pm — 1 Comment

My Ghost Story: Emily Jefferson

When I was a kid, my small-town church (where my dad is the minister) bought Jefferson House, the 1848 Greek Revival house next door, to use as an office and Sunday school building. It didn't take long for us to become acquainted with Emily Jefferson, the daughter of the original owners. According to several different accounts, Emily was mentally ill, and when the Jeffersons would go out, they would leave her chained to the floor of her bedroom (a story seemingly corroborated by several large… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on September 3, 2008 at 12:00pm — No Comments

The Old Apartments

My obsession with old houses started early—at the tender age of 8, to be exact. That’s when I read The Ghost at Dawn’s House, the ninth book in my beloved Baby-sitters Club series, in which one of the sitters discovers a secret passage in her Connecticut farmhouse. From that point on, I was obsessed with trying to find my own secret passage. Since the 1950s-style ranch house I grew up in didn’t offer much in the way of secret-passage possibilities, I eagerly awaited the Sunday afternoons… Continue

Added by Clare Alexander on August 29, 2008 at 10:43am — 3 Comments

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