Oldest House in America

The Oldest House in America

  What is the oldest house in America? Is there any way to really tell? The answer is yes, we really can tell what the oldest house in America is…we think. When you go back centuries to colonial times records are not quite as complete or straight forward as they are today, but there are [...] Read on →


5 Types of Dormers

Dormers are like the eyes of a house. Resting on roof tops they add headroom and light to upper stories and add interest to an otherwise plain roofline. I remember spending the first spring in our little bungalow sitting on the roof restoring the two eyebrow dormers that were almost rotted away. It was exhausting [...] Read on →

Historic Lattice

How To: Build Historic Lattice

Lattice was a very common thing on old houses. Not just for flowering backyard trellises, but to protect foundations from critters, varmints and the neighbor’s nosing cat. Just because lattice performs a valuable function keeping your crawl space free of pests doesn’t mean it can’t be a beautiful part of your home’s curb appeal. Don’t [...] Read on →

Balusters in a balustrade

25 Old House Terms Defined

Old houses have a lot of terms that you may not be familiar with. So, having a working definition of those terms will help save you confusion and overuse of phrases like Whatchamacallit or Thingamajig. Save yourself the hassle with this handy guide to 25 old house terms you need to know. Baluster (Balustrade) – [...] Read on →

Italianate Style House

Italianate Architectural Style

The Italianate style was an elaborate architectural style popular in the U.S. at much the same time as the Gothic Revival style, from the early 1840s until the mid 1880s. The Italainate style was extraordinarily popular in the northeast, midwest and particularly common in San Francisco, which transformed from a small village into a major [...] Read on →

Photo Credit: timrodpark.com

American Foursquare Style

The American Foursquare, sometimes called the “Prairie Box” was a hugely popular architectural style in almost every part of the country. It is one of the consumate American house styles. Though not technically an architectural style on its own (it’s a subtype of The Prairie Style) the American Foursquare is so prevalent that I thought [...] Read on →


Getting Square with the 3:4:5 Triangle

This post may be a bit on the math nerd side, but sometimes in construction a math nerd is the one who makes the difference between a building falling down and one that lasts a hundred years. Old houses are notoriously void of right angles. They have shifted and settled over the years and nothing [...] Read on →

Photo credit Scott Sidler

Why Does My Old House Have Two Front Doors?

Lots of old homes have the mysterious second front door. Some were added in renovations over the years, but others are original. The explanations for these original double doors are all over the map. Many folks finally give up hope of finding an answer to this architectural mystery, but I have some ideas for you. [...] Read on →

Garage House

When Did The Garage Become So Important?

I was driving through the suburbs yesterday on the way to a friend’s place when I noticed something that has never really stood out to me before. House after house, street after street I noticed a pattern. The houses in this area were standard 1990s – 2000s stucco behemoths typical in Florida. Aside from being [...] Read on →

Mission Style Home

Mission Style

In areas of the country like Florida, Texas, California and other southwestern states the Mission style, sometimes called Spanish Eclectic style, was hugely popular in the early 20th century. This style was gaining in popularity early on and after being featured at the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 it exploded in popularity. So much so that [...] Read on →

Historic Neighborhood

What is a First Rung Neighborhood?

Occasionally, I use terms on this blog some of my readers may not understand. I recently mentioned “first-rung” neighborhoods in a post and got some comments about what on earth they were. So, for everyone else who didn’t know but didn’t ask, here is your answer. How Cities Grow When areas are first settled there’s [...] Read on →

Ranch Style Home

Is Your Home Part of the “Historical Cusp?”

I have a lot of friends and clients whose homes fall into something I like to call the Historical Cusp. They don’t live in a house of any particular historical significance, and it’s not quite old enough to have been built by hand with non-standardized materials. But it still maintains some of the characteristics I [...] Read on →

Historic Home Tips

Tips For Historic Home Owners {#14 Antique Glass}

If it’s your first time in an old house it may seem troublesome looking out the windows at the blurry images surrounding you. Generally, the older the house the more flaws and ripples you’ll find in its old windows. And despite the perfectionist in us all this glass, though old and outdated, is a rare [...] Read on →

Historic Home Tips

Tips For Historic Home Owners {#13 Keep Period Details}

When it comes to your old home’s exterior nothing is as important as the details. Fish-scale shingles, jigsaw cut balustrades, creative cornices. There are so many things that make your old house unique. And saving them or replicating the missing pieces distinguishes your historic home from its neighbors. If you own a crumbling Victorian or [...] Read on →