Your home wasn’t built all by its lonesome. It has friends all around the neighborhood, built at the same time by the same people using some of the same techniques and materials. Just like you can learn a lot about someone by asking their friends, your house is no different.
Maybe your historic house has been terribly remuddled somewhere along the line. To find out how it originally was, your best bet is neighbors and their homes. You might be lucky enough to find someone who has lived on your street since the time your house was built. They can be an invaluable resource for stories and details about your old home.
Often, you can take a walk around the area and find a house that bears a striking resemblance to your own. Builders are rarely blind to architectural trends of the time and neither are envious homeowners who beg, borrow and steal their favorite designs from neighboring homes.
So, when you get stuck on a project, take a look out your windows before you turn to designers and magazines for ideas. You might find the answer hiding across the street.