The Original Restoration Magazine for people who are passionate about old houses to repair, rehabilitate, update, and decorate their homes; covering all classic American architectural styles,—from the earliest Colonial-era buildings to grand Victorians of every variety to Arts & Crafts bungalows and mid-century ranches.
It’s all about unmuddling.
Old House Journal
Gifts for Home • For you, for friends, for the house itself.
Gifts Unexpected • Delightful surprises that are both useful and beautiful.
Red & Green • Complementary colors of the season and beyond.
Brick & Stone • Masonry construction gives a house permanence, as these examples, spanning three centuries and various styles, demonstrate.
CELEBRATING THE SEASON • An ardent collector uses ornaments from the past.
unmuddling well done: the PROCESS • The biggest project in our 1790 farmhouse would be the kitchen, located in a narrow extension between the original house and the barn (now a garage and bedrooms). The connector, which was there by 1830, probably held a woodshed and summer kitchen. The 1970s owners added a bump-out; another renovation came in the 1990s. By now, the remodeled extension detracted from the integrity of the historic house.
DECORATIVE CLAY CHIMNEY POTS
Call to Remodel, 1928 • From a spread in the Henry Simons Lumber Co. catalog.
Cottage Style for a Kitchen • Nostalgic details belie the room’s efficiency and storage capacity.
A Transcendent Bathroom in Ojai • A seamless addition allowed for this master bath, imagined as a ca. 1930 upgrade.
FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS • You’ve fallen in love with a house. Not just any house—an old house, whether that be your dream, or for its location or its price. Taking on an old house for the first time is a true adventure not without its perils. Unknowns abound in all houses, even newer ones, from water in the basement to roof shingles that crumble at a touch. In an age of buyer beware, what’s to protect the newcomer?
the essentials • You’ll turn to these tools again and again.
ELECTRICAL & PLUMBING
HAZARDOUS materials • The most common hazardous materials found in older homes include asbestos, lead paint, radon, and mold.
tools for safety & power
basement & FOUNDATION
BURIED OIL TANKS?
Check the Flood Zone!
fireplace & chimney
How to Diagnose (and Fix) a Door • It’s a rare door in an old house that swings effortlessly and closes shut crisply.
REMOVING A DOOR • To remove a door for repairs, close the door and wedge it underneath to take weight off the hinges. (The more weight on the hinges, the harder it is to remove the pins, increasing the chance of damage.)
Door Curtains & Portières • Expert advice on traditional placement and installation of drapery at doorways.
MORE ON THE Curtains
A Feather Vase • This odd, abused vase had sat for years in the seller’s garage.
Removing a Paint Splat from Carpet
Vision for an Old House • This hands-on couple have been reading OHJ since its newsletter days. Their forever project is an exemplary unmuddling that took them 22 years. Now the 1880s Queen Anne house is a showpiece in their New Jersey neighborhood.
AMERICAN QUEEN ANNE, 1874–1910 • ASYMMETRICAL, MEDIEVAL, AND DELIGHTFULLY ORNAMENTAL.
American Queen Anne • Related to Gothic Revival, Shingle, and Free Classic styles; not every example is a tower house.
A REMARKABLE COMEBACK FOR A BEAUX ARTS BEAUTY IN ST. LOUIS • Built in 1896, the brick and terra-cotta...