Old House Resources

old house resources


I thought it would be helpful for my readers if I created an old house resources page full of the things I use the most while restoring and researching old homes.

If it’s on this page I either have it in my own home, use in my shop, or its a product that I have created specifically to help readers like you.

I’ll continually be adding things to this page so it is a good idea to bookmark it and come back often.

My Most Recommended

Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and if you decide to make a purchase I will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you). Please understand that I have personal experience with all of these companies and products, and I recommend them because I feel they will help you just as they have helped me.  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel they will provide the same benefit to you.


Indow Windows
Indow Windows
– These interior storm windows were specifically designed for historic homes. I have them on my own house and they truly are all that they claim to be. They block 50-70% of outside noise. They seal leaky old windows making them about as efficient as double-paned windows. They require no modifications to your original windows. In the end they save me money on my utility bill and look great. They’re worth every dollar!


– This is hands down the best alarm system for old houses. Simplisafe is a home security system that doesn’t require drilling holes in your window trim and running wires that tangle with ropes and pulleys. There are no holes punched in plaster walls either. It’s a wireless system that you can install yourself in just a few minutes and monitoring is only $14.99 a month! That about half the price of the other alarm companies I’ve checked.



living in the past front print cover

Living in the Past
This is my full-length book about the why and how-to of old home repair. I have read dozens of books about restoring old homes and there were two things that I always felt were missing. First, the “Why.” Why were things built the way they were and why did they change? Secondly, I wanted a book that walks you thru the most common repairs needed for a historic house on a level that makes sense to a DIYer and not just a structural engineer. This book is the answer to both of those!




Old-Windows-Made-Easy-Cover-SmallOld Windows Made Easy – 
The simple way to restore wood windows! This book walks you step-by-step through the process that professional restoration companies (mine included) use to restore historic wood windows. Learn the best practices and pro tips to do the job the right way the first time all by yourself and save thousands of dollars in the process. No history or theory here, just tried and true practices laid out in an easy to follow format that anyone can do.






The Craftsman’s Guide: Restoring Steel Windows – Steel casement windows are all over historic buildings in this country. Surprisingly, there was a not a single book covering the restoration of these windows. Until now. This guide is filed with step-by-step instructions and tons of pictures to teach you everything you need to know about restoring steel windows. I outline best practices for lasting repairs, discuss materials, and warn of potential issues to avoid.


Guide to Restoration Plan cover


The Craftsman’s Guide: Building Restoration Plan – I get asked all the time where people should start renovating. A lot of folks think it’s the foundation, but if you read this guide you’d now better! This is a step-by-step plan for your project, complete with a printable checklist for your refrigerator. A successful renovation is all in the planning, and proper planning saves you time and money!



Free Online Guides


  • What Style is My Old House – So many people buy an old house and then wonder, “What kind of house did I just buy?” Is it a Bungalow, a Victorian, a Tudor, etc.?? There are so many styles and so many differences in the items that belong to each style. Would you renovate a Craftsman Bungalow with super ornate ginger breading? Hardly! So, why not use this handy guide to the most common architectural styles of historic homes in America. You’ll find all the info you need to renovate your old home the right way!


  • How To: Repair Old Windows – Historic windows are one of the most talked about topics when it comes to old homes. Should you save them? If so how do you fix them? How can you make them efficient? Well, the answers are here. Everything you need to know about old windows is right here. From their history to their design to the inner most workings and how to bring them back to life on your own home. Learn all the materials and skills you’ll need to bring your old windows back to life.


  • Historic Paint Colors – I get so many questions about painting an old house it’s crazy! From techniques to design it’s all covered in this resource page just for my readers. I’ve listed the tools and techniques right here to deal with proper paint removal and prep. You’ll learn how to deal with oil-based and latex paints. And I cover the most valuable info of all…how to pick a color scheme and make a solid plan for a historically appropriate paint job. I’ve even included links to all the major paint manufacturers who carry historic paint palettes.


  • Historic Home Tips – Owning an old home comes with some unique challenges. In this series of posts I try to give you answers to some of the most important things you need to know. Some will be answers to questions you have been searching for and others will be things you may never have thought about. Either way it’s information you should know.



  1. tara on said:

    I need to identify a siding…who can I send a picture to?

  2. Kristina Young on said:

    My husband and I purchased a home built in 1919. It has almost all of the original woodwork throughout. The fireplace mantle has a hole on either side that’s about an inch and a half in diameter. It’s a gas fireplace. What purpose did these holes have?

  3. Peggy on said:

    My husband and I recently purchased a historic home in north central Texas. It was built in 1886 and we can’t tell if it is a foursquare style home or a craftsman bungalow. It has a bay window on the front which seems out of place, too. It looks like a foursquare but does not have the iconic dormer in the center of the roof. Can I post a picture and how do I do that to get your thoughts?

  4. Leon on said:

    Anyone ever had a basement leaking around watter line and sewer line every time it rain. Only this is a business building has sidewalks all around it and a asphalt drive leading about 30ft away from building. Now this building is only 10 yr. Old and is in descent shape and has all the drainage pipe around it and their is gutter all around it. Any suggestions

  5. Irma Jones on said:

    What are the exterior paint colors you used on the 4-square which you captioned “Very unique 21-over-1 windows with porte-cochère” I have a house built about 1880 in a canyon in San Diego. I like the gray with red and white accents that you used.

    • I honestly don’t know the paint color names for that house, but the color scheme is beautiful.

  6. yoram on said:


    where to buy replacement muntins in los angeles?

    • Try WoodWindowMakeover.com. They’ll make and ship them to you.

  7. Lilly on said:

    Know of any experts in or near the Hudson Valley/ Beacon,NY? My husband and I are first time home owners who just bought an 1886 victorian handful and are having a hard time finding contractors who are knowledgeable enough to help us put this place back in order. The last people did some rotten work (siding, new junky windows, doors, bathrooms & kitchen) but they saved all the old doors and windows!! Now we just need to find some skilled people to work with for the things we can’t handle ourselves. Already bought the book and it’s definitely helping us determine what we can do and what we need help with!

    • Awesome Lilly! I don’t know anyone in the area, but try calling Seekircher Steel Windows in Peekskill and see if they can refer you to a local pro. My family used to live in Highland Mills, NY so you’re in my old stomping grounds!

      • jane on said:

        Custom Wood Reproductions Westfield, MA
        restores wood windows and sashes and manufactures new

  8. Jose Suarez on said:

    Do you have any contacts in the Los Angeles, near Pasadena, CA? We have a craftsman house that needs work on the double-hung windows – ropes torn. How much should we be paying for the repair of this problem? Is there a standard amount?

  9. KIF on said:

    One resource that is needed in a big way is a list of historic home insurers.

    Are there any that are nationwide with decent rates for these lovely old beauties? I’m in SC and being quoted $140 a month for minimum coverage!

  10. Mark on said:

    While there’s much to admire about the vintage tile colors in historic homes, the truth is that many of the glazes contain lead. They should be tested for lead content before keeping or replacing for health reasons, especially with children living in the premises.

    Today’s tile glazes are safe and most retro colors can be found with a little research.

  11. Michelle on said:

    Hi, I’m remodeling our 1950’s home. They have their original sinks, tubs & toilets still. One pepto pink and black motif and the other that yellow color. We want to upgrade.
    WHERE or who would I contact about selling these?
    I live near 32738
    Thank you!

    • austinhomerestorations on said:

      Michelle, If you do decide to get rid of the pink and yellow bathrooms I would talk to the folks at Save The Pink Bathrooms. They might try to talk you out of completely removing your pink bathroom, but they will definitely know the places where you can get the best prices on your vintage fixtures. Plus it’s always nice when they can find a new home with someone who really will use and appreciate them. Good luck on the reno, and let us know if you need any help. You’re right in our area!

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