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Demetra's Discussions

Photo preservation project
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Started this discussion. Last reply by James Olson Jul 25, 2012.


Demetra's Page

Profile Information

Tell us about yourself:
I'm the editor-in-chief of Old-House Journal, and I've been in love with historic architecture and design since I was a kid.
Tell us about your old-house experiences and dreams:
My old-house experiences started long before I worked at OHJ when I owned a circa 1900 Foursquare in Pittsburgh—a house that required constant maintenance and unmuddling (it came with an avocado green kitchen—need I say more?). I quickly learned all about “the mushroom factor” firsthand. I also learned the joys of uncovering pocket doors sealed in the wall and forgotten for decades, and the thrill of seeing a faux graining pattern begin to emerge as I painstakingly removed bright red wall-to-wall shag carpeting from my living room floor (I think stapling carpet pads to wood floors should be illegal, by the way). Oh yes, and I also learned exactly how hard it is to remove gloss white paint from mahogany woodwork, by any number of techniques. As for my old-house dreams, the list keeps growing…

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Demetra's Blog

Our friend Jane Powell

Old-House Journal readers know longtime contributor Jane Powell, an Arts & Crafts expert and author extraordinaire best known for her books about bungalow décor and linoleum. We’re sorry to report that Jane is suffering from advanced cancer. To help her during this difficult time, friends have set up…


Posted on July 16, 2012 at 11:43am

Mainstream old houses?

One of the dozens of emails that regularly clogs my inbox comes from Zillow, an online real estate database that sends me housing updates, pricing information, and statistical background with metronome-like reliability.  But I’ve never seen pictures of any fine old houses in their emails. Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened a message from Zillow yesterday that, in honor of our national birthday, celebrated evolving American house styles.

While they didn’t include very many (nine,…


Posted on July 6, 2011 at 9:41am

Get Out the Vote for Preservation

When I was in Boston last month, I walked the Freedom Trail and marveled at the countless architectural gems I stumbled upon around seemingly every corner of that history-steeped city. Today I found out that I can help fund preservation efforts at one of them. Thanks to the Partners in Preservation program, a joint effort by American Express and The National Trust, 25 historic sites are eligible for grants of up to $100,000 to fund preservation efforts. Members of the public get one online vote… Continue

Posted on April 16, 2009 at 10:30am

Restoration in 3-D

It’s not often that I take my kid to the movies and leave the theater with a full-blown case of old-house envy. But such was my experience after venturing with my seven-year-old to see Coraline last weekend. For those not in the know, the movie boasts spectacular 3-D special effects; they make the house that serves as the story’s backdrop spring readily and realistically to life. And what a house it is--a dazzling Queen Anne complete with turret, wraparound porch, cotton-candy-pink… Continue

Posted on February 11, 2009 at 10:38am — 2 Comments


If you think homeschooling refers only to parents teaching their children, think again. In Portland, Oregon, some homeschooling of my favorite variety—the kind that has the best interests of historic houses at heart—will be taking place via an innovative holiday open house. The in-progress fire restoration of a 1937 Tudor is being opened up to the community to help answer questions about fire safety, home repairs and design, era appropriate materials and fixtures, researching house history—you… Continue

Posted on December 5, 2008 at 1:09pm — 4 Comments

Comment Wall (18 comments)

At 4:47pm on September 18, 2008, Robert Arena said…
Thanks for the note Demetra. I joined the group.

How did you find me ? Via Old House Journal's subscription list?????

Is this a new group? Or have I just had my head buried in work and sand?

At 10:26am on September 20, 2008, Phil's friend said…
Great site Demetra and thanks for the invite. Looking forward to the next issue. Warm regards Dan & Joan Nicolle
At 7:26pm on September 20, 2008, Patrick M Doyle said…
It is at times a 24/7/365 and with only a few naps in between, but yes I live in the house through the whole process. Sometimes to get a new handle on a design issue a few cocktails don't hurt. Typically my day starts around 5 am and some days are past minnight. I dedicate myself totally to the house full time for me is the only way and when I go to a closing thats when the payback comes through both dollar wise & having a very happy buyer. I also have been working with the same bank where many times that they are the owner [ forclosure propeties]. I am now looking for another to start the next season.
At 9:14am on September 21, 2008, Paul Denys said…
The photos are up. Plus you can see more detail of the work on the my web site at
At 2:25pm on September 24, 2008, John Rodgers said…
thanks, and I will certainly be updating with more pictures and progress reports. There is so much work going on in the community (especially now that Hurricane Gustav rolled through) that it has been hard finding time to work on the house.

That and working alone on a house this big leads to getting bored, so I have about a dozen projects going on at the same time, and no one room 100% complete yet. Hoping to get it done or close to done by April 2011 for a grand unveiling/100-year birthday party for the home. :)
At 6:17pm on September 25, 2008, Liz Dircksen said…
WOW!! What a slide show. Are those your houses?
At 12:30am on September 26, 2008, Dennis Cosmatos said…
Here is a picture of our house in spring. It is quite unique in style and was wondering if it fits any given category? Many high victorian, eastlake, chinese chippendale and arts&crafts features (coffered ceilings, huge stained glass paneled sliding doors, tall french doors, bordered hand nailed parquet floors, original bathroom fixtures, servants quarters.
At 2:22pm on October 23, 2008, Shawn Paul Songer said…
Thank You! Pittsburg PA ? Im from Brookville. Took me forever to find a house in Texas with a basement. We fell in love because it reminded us so much of up north. But not so cold, some snow, and no mushrooms.

At 8:54pm on October 23, 2008, John Rodgers said…
thank you for posting John's steam paint removal video...I stumbled across it a couple of months ago after begin my frustrating restoration of 27 cypress doors that had been painted over the years.

On an unrelated note, how do members become featured? I keep seeing people popping up, but not sure what it means or what it entails to become featured.
At 11:16pm on November 17, 2008, Larry said…
Oh WOW!!! You have a cool job!!

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