how to remove a popcorn ceiling

How To Remove a Popcorn Ceiling (and keep your sanity!)

Popcorn ceilings came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s and were a very popular ceiling treatment in homes across America. They became popular because of their inexpensive price tag and ability hide most ceiling imperfections. Rather than applying 3 coats of mud (joint compound) and sanding to perfection, builders could apply just one coat [...] Read on →

How to find studs in plaster wall

How To: Find Studs in a Plaster Wall

If you own an old house with plaster and lath walls you may have discovered how utterly useless a stud finder can be. Most smaller items can be hung pretty securely anywhere on the wall by screwing into the wood lath, but for heavy things that weight more than 10-15 lbs, like large mirrors and [...] Read on →

How to repair plaster walls

How To: Repair Plaster Walls

Plaster walls are some of the most misunderstood parts of an old home. And many homeowners are quick to tear them down and put up drywall. But replacing plaster walls with drywall is not only a major mess and expense, but it also destroys the character of your home. Each plaster wall is unique. You [...] Read on →

Old Drywall

Why Drywall is Dead (and what I’m doing about it)

Drywall is dead. Long live drywall. I can’t say that I’ll miss him (I’m assuming drywall is a him), but he seemed nice enough. Faster than a three-coat old-fashioned plaster job and less expensive to boot. But there has always been something about him I just couldn’t put my finger on. Something about drywall that [...] Read on →

Yestermorrow Design Build School

My Yestermorrow Weekend

I recently took the opportunity to travel up to the Mad River Valley in Vermont to attend a weekend workshop at Yestermorrow Design/Build School. Yestermorrow is anything but a traditional design/build school. They offer classes in some trades that are hard to find these days. Classes like plastering, straw-bale construction, tiny house design/build, woodworking, and [...] Read on →

Old House Personality Type

Personality Types (Old House Style)

Personality types are a fantastic way to learn a bit about yourself. There are countless tests like the DISC or Myers/Briggs. And there is one test you’ve probably not heard of. The reason you may have missed it is because . . . well . . . I just invented it. The “SPA” test is [...] Read on →

Ivy covered stone tudor. Note the slight flair of the roof at the soffit (a distinct dutch influence)

Tudor Architectural Style

The Tudor style is one of the American Eclectic architectural styles that, like other American house styles, borrows heavily from the original Tudor style of England in the 16th century but adds its own regional American touches. In America, the dates for this style are loosely pegged between 1890 and 1940 though the most popular [...] Read on →

Crumbling Plaster Wall

How To Repair Old Plaster

One of the easiest mistakes to make when renovating a historic home is to tear down the old plaster walls and replace them with modern drywall and joint compound. This not only destroys the historic architecture and features that make a historic home great, but it also adds to the overall costs of the project [...] Read on →

A Queen Anne in all its splendor is a beautifully ornate and complex piece of architecture.

American Queen Anne Style

The Queen Anne was a vastly popular form of high-style architecture in America from about 1880-1910. It is somewhat less common in the heavily populated states of the northeast; however, the cotton rich states of the New South have some of the most fanciful examples. The style was popularized by a group of 19th century [...] Read on →