Five handy, high-quality devices make carpentry jobs go smoothly.
Glasgow School in the Bathroom
A tutorial in bracing color and geometric, stylized forms.
STUFF MY M-I-L SCREWED UP
My mother-in-law is an active 83-year-old who still lives in her own home of many years. When we last visited, we were horrified to discover that she has hung a collection of disused and out-of season clothing on Romex electrical cable, which runs through the joists under the basement ceiling. Now we’re worried about other safety issues down there, too. —Anthony (and Julia) Wisniewski
MATCHING INTERIOR MILLWORK
If one lacks professional expertise, installing crown moulding, replacing missing bits of casing or trim around windows, and retrofitting lost baseboards may be an exercise in frustration. Especially when nothing in an old house is square! First learn about the role of trimwork, building up profiles, turning corners with mitered and coped joints, and what tools to use where.
The Tradition of Burnt Wood
An ancient Japanese method for finishing woodwork was adapted by bungalow builders, and it’s back in style.
“Turning the corner” is easily the most challenging part of any moulding installation or repair. It helps if you aced geometry in high school. For all others, learn to use a miter box, preferably one with a clamp. More experienced? Upgrade to a compound miter saw.
ARTS & CRAFTS DO-OVER
With generous living space yet a focus on the outdoors, an undistinguished cottage is rebuilt in the Craftsman tradition.
Salvaged icebox hinges make new cabinets look like vintage equipment.
ASK OLD HOUSE JOURNAL
ASK OLD HOUSE JOURNAL
A House unbungled
A couple embarks on the restoration of a diminutive house, aiming to reverse a mid-century Colonial style remodeling. Replacing one wall with a period colonnade lets light flow front to back.
Vision for an Old House
This hands-on couple have been reading OHJ since its newsletter days. Their forever project is an exemplary unmuddling that took them 22 years. Now the 1880s Queen Anne house is a showpiece in their New Jersey neighborhood.
unmuddling well done : the PROCESS
The biggest project in our 1790 farmhouse would be the kitchen, located in a narrow extension between the original house and the barn (now a garage and bedrooms). The connector, which was there by 1830, probably held a woodshed and summer kitchen. The 1970s owners added a bump-out; another renovation came in the 1990s. By now, the remodeled extension detracted from the integrity of the historic house.
Cottage Style for a Kitchen
Nostalgic details belie the room’s efficiency and storage capacity.
A REMARKABLE COMEBACK FOR A BEAUX ARTS BEAUTY IN ST. LOUIS
Built in 1896, the brick and terra-cotta Beaux Arts mansion needed new systems and repairs. Most remarkable is the addition of period murals and stenciling by the current owner, herself a fi ne artist and accomplished seamstress— who’s worked on the house since its centennial in 1996. Almost everything in the house had survived, or is antique.
Stylish, tactile, and colorful Arts & Crafts tile.
Repairing Pebble-Dash Stucco
Maybe your old house has stucco with the rough, pebbly finish that’s often referred to as “pebble-dash.” Or maybe it’s the variation accurately termed “roughcast.” The difference lies in the aggregate (pebbles) and the method of application. True pebble-dash requires that the wall be finish-coated with fresh stucco while pebbles are literally thrown (dashed) onto the wet surface, where, with any luck, they’ll stick. Most pebble-dash finishes use sharper gravel to aid in the binding process. Roughcast, on the other hand, is a bit easier for the homeowner to achieve. Either sharp gravel or pebbles may be used since the aggregate material is added to the wet stucco topcoat during the mixing. Once applied, the thin surface slurry can be removed with a soft sponge, or even by using a misting spray from a hose.
Framing a Pocket Door
For rooms where space is at a premium, pocket doors neatly slide in and out of a wall cavity.
It’s never been more important than now.
The Art of Juxtaposition LIVING LIGHTLY IN A HISTORIC TOWNHOUSE
This Victorian-era brownstone is deeply appreciated by its owners for its fine craftsmanship and age. “My clients respect the house for the same reasons I do,” says interior designer Deborah Mariotti, a transplant to Brooklyn from Italy. “We were responsible for its continued preservation, wherever it remained authentic. In areas where it was not original, though, we had no doubt that we would design contemporary space. It wasn’t even a question.”
THE CHINABERRY KITCHEN
Strong color unifies a revival kitchen in a 1910 Seattle house. A NOT-TOO-BIG HOUSE WITH CURB APPEAL WAS WHAT MARISA MUNOZ WAS LOOKING FOR WHEN SHE CAME UPON THIS ONE ON QUEEN ANNE HILL IN SEATTLE. THE 1910 HOUSE, A TRANSITIONAL FUSION OF LATE-VICTORIAN AND CRAFTSMAN ELEMENTS, HAD JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING SHE WANTED: STEEP GABLES AND PRETTY WINDOWS; ORIGINAL MOULDINGS, HARDWOOD FLOORS, AND A ROMANTIC WINDING STAIRCASE. WELL MAINTAINED, THE HOUSE GENERALLY WAS IN MOVE-IN CONDITION . . . EXCEPT FOR THE KITCHEN.
An ARTIST'S HOUSE
ULTIMATE SALVAGING IN PROVINCETOWN
Brrrringing It Back
A phone niche is useful today for keys, tablet—or telephone.
A STAY OF DEMOLITION
Neglected and then damaged by fire, a historic Queen Anne house is rescued by Indiana Landmarks.
A Principled Synthesis
The new design for a kitchen follows Prairie School doctrine.
Walls & Ceilings
DISCOVER DECORATION you could never dream up! Even early on: It turns out that the murky “colonial” palette of the 1950s–1970s was based on paint samples embedded with dirt and altered by time.
Kitchens & revival baths
As we all know, kitchens have rarely escaped remodeling. Oddly enough, a period-inspired kitchen is less likely to look “dated” because it’s timeless, and takes cues from the rest of the house. Rely on classic, natural materials like wood and stone. For cabinets and millwork, mimic woodwork in the dining room or pantry, but make it simpler rather than grand.
CIRCA 1930 KITCHEN REDO
Functionally modern but thoroughly vintage, this Depression-era kitchen adds character to a Colonial Revival mid-1920s house in Connecticut.
GARDENS FOR A MANSARD
Despite its imposing Second Empire façade, the 1855 Victorian was a farmhouse at heart.
AN ARTS AND CRAFTS BUNGALOW
Inside and out, this 1916 house in Spokane, Washington, retained all of the original detailing. The owners brought out its inherent charm.
Curtains to Carpets
Textiles do not have to be excessive to be effective. The homespun, damasks, and quilts of early American interiors added color and comfort without fussiness.