Working on old houses alongside his father, Jerod Fitzgerald grew up learning about carpentry. The restoration bug didn’t hit him, though, until he met his wife, Maria—a real-estate agent with an eye for neglected, historic houses with potential. When the couple found the 1913 Craftsman in Portland’s Irvington neighborhood, a National Register Historic District, they were thrilled. With two full storeys, it had four bedrooms and a generous attic, plenty of space for their three boys. School was a five-minute walk away. Box-beam ceilings and generous mouldings hinted at the house’s past as a model home.
IT WASN’T SURPRISING, however, that there hadn’t been much interest in the house before the Fitzgeralds saw it. A 1960s remodeling had rendered it virtually unrecognizable from its picture in a 1913 newspaper ad. An open sleeping porch had been removed, along with side pergolas and overhanging eaves. Decorative rafter tails had been cut back to the roofline (probably secondary to rot that resulted from neglect). The flat-roofed porch was held up by 4x4 posts and the façade was covered in disproportionate aluminum siding. Inside, the dining room and kitchen had plywood ceilings dropped to 8', walls were painted an unsettling lime color, floral linoleum had been laid on oak floors, and fluorescent lighting hung overhead.
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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.
Sleater-Kinney – ‘The Role of the Artist Is to Thrash Around'
With Open Arms, at Last
The Dream Of The '90s Died In Portland
Once an up-and-coming city, Portland was destroyed from within by radical activism and political ineptitude.
IT'S A BOY!
A ROYAL WELCOME! PRINCESS EUGENIE AND HER HUSBAND JACK SHOW OFF — WELL A LITTLE BIT, AT LEAST — THEIR NEW ARRIVAL.
Cycling The Oregon Coast - ADNRENALINE RUSH
Getting outside and connecting with nature does wonders for the soul. Nowadays, it’s one of the best travel options on the planet, and what a way to see the world.
The 1985 police killing of his brother still powers his efforts to unite his adopted city
...says bassist extraordinaire Damian Erskine as he launches his new bass education portal
You're Gonna Get on a WHAT?
Traveling in the Times of a Pandemic
IN THE FACE OF THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN GENERATIONS, AMERICA’S CHEFS, BARTENDERS, AND RESTAURANT OWNERS ARE REINVENTING THEIR FOOD, THEIR BUSINESSES, AND THEMSELVES.
Not Your Grandmother's Milkman
Julia Niiro’s Portland startup takes its inspiration from old-fashioned dairy delivery and prioritizes paying producers