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 hopes of passing on their experience to those who need it. There are thousands of blogs out there chronicling the ups and downs of old-house restoration; to help you wade through, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites:
Best Advice: Casa Decrepit
The owners of Casa Decrepit, an 1876 Italianate in California, clearly know what their readers want: The front page of their blog has direct links to posts on hard-won lessons and hard-to-find resources. If you don't have time to follow their day-to-day restoration activities (although you should—as their blog name would suggest, this couple entertainingly chronicles their restoration through the lens of good-natured cynicism), you can skip straight to posts on how to save money or adhere to building codes. They've even outlined tips for making sure your marriage weathers the restoration storm—required reading for any couple looking to take the old-house plunge!
Best Cautionary Tale: The Devil Queen
The story of The Devil Queen is almost a textbook definition of Murphy's law: The owners of this Arkansas Queen Anne bought the crumbling house for just $1 and moved it to another site, only to find that everything that could go wrong did. The good news is that they've chronicled every last one of the disasters, from shady contractors to break-ins to blowfly infestations, so that others don't have to learn the hard way.
Best Before and After: A Brooklyn Limestone in Progress
Looking at the magazine-ready "after" photos of this Brooklyn townhouse, you'd never guess what a sorry state it was in when the owners purchased it. But their extensive Flickr library of the renovation efforts reveals that, for example, the elegant parlor bathroom that now boasts gleaming penny round tile, luxe marble wainscoting, and a picture-perfect clawfoot tub and pedestal sink was once a filthy pit swathed in a nauseating shade of pink.
Best Interior Design Resource: Retro Renovation
If you're looking for products for your mid-century modern abode, this blog should be your first stop. Homeowner Pam Kreuber (whose own Atomic Age kitchen remodel will provide a healthy dose of inspiration) has amassed a wealth of information on funky mid-century decor. In addition to her regular posts spotlighting new and cool mid-century-styled products, she's also created photo galleries of vintage ads depicting kitchens and bathrooms from the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, plus lists of reproduction products organized by category (flooring, countertops, etc.).
Best How To: Bungalow 23
Photos of beautifully restored homes are great to look at—but they won't do you much good if you don't know how the homeowners got there. Enter Josh of Bungalow 23: He's a Minneapolis DIY-er who meticulously chronicles every bit of the work he undertakes on his 1923 Arts & Crafts home. In addition to detailing projects like replacing a shower valve and patching a drain pipe, he also features regular reviews of his favorite tools.
Most Comprehensive: Enon Hall
Back before most of us even knew what the word "blog" meant, the owners of Enon Hall, an 18th-century family plantation in Virginia, were posting weekly updates about their restoration progress. Although the blog hasn't been updated as frequently since the tide of projects has slowed (the most recent entry dates to October 2008), browsing through almost 10 years of back archives will give you as complete a picture of an old-house restoration as you can find on the web.