Historic Mortar: Part One

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Masonry, Miscellaneous, paint

One subject that is of great interest for the owners of masonry buildings is mortar.  We all know that mortar is the cementitious material used with brick, stone, tile and terra cotta.  Most have also heard that there are different types of mortar and that some are not appropriate for applications on historic architecture.  Indeed, […]

The Downing Colors and their Critics

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Andrew Jackson Downing, Historic Preservation, History, Miscellaneous, paint, Picturesque

I have discussed the career of Andrew Jackson Downing previously and the long shadow he cast in American architecture and design during the 19th century. Downing was a romantic who stressed “truthfulness” in architecture where proper design should express the purpose of the building. That is, the purpose “is conveyed by the features of the […]

St. Donatus, Iowa: A Little Luxembourg in Eastern Iowa

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Masonry, Miscellaneous, paint, Vernacuar, Vernacular

Vernacular architecture is a term that can mean different things to different people.  It is generally defined as a building style based upon local or traditional designs, materials and building techniques.  However, the nature and origins of designs and techniques varied. Immigrants brought traditional building designs and construction techniques with them to the United States […]

Danebod: A Danish Community in Southwest Minnesota.

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, History, Miscellaneous, National Register of Historic Places

Immigration to the United States has always been a difficult experience that led many newcomers to question their own identities as they tried to build a new life in their new home.  Immigrant groups reacted differently as some quickly learned English and adopted American culture.  Others clung to their language and customs as they feared […]

Northern Bedrock Preservation Corps

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Doors, Historic Preservation, Maintenance, Millwork, Miscellaneous, paint, Preservation News, Tools

I just had the great pleasure of doing a presentation on the historic trades and preservation for the Northern Bedrock Preservation Corps.  Northern Bedrock was established in 2011 to help young adults enter the preservation trades by providing training and hands-on experience repairing historic structures and architecture.  The founders of Northern Bedrock are aware that there […]

Project Update Part One: White Bear Township Town Hall Building

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Research, Historic Preservation, Miscellaneous, paint

I have had the pleasure recently of working on a local building designed by the prominent architect Cass Gilbert. Gilbert is known for designing landmark buildings such as the Woolworth Building in New York City, the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC and several state capitol buildings, including the Minnesota Capitol Building in […]

What Style Is It???

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, Folk Victorian, Greek Revival, Historic Preservation, History

“What style is my house?” This is a common query from homeowners as they wonder how their home fits into the local architectural landscape. This is, however, a question that can be difficult to answer. Is a house a Victorian, Folk Victorian, National Folk, Vernacular, Queen Anne, Italianate, Second Empire or something else? Answers depend […]

Restoration, Renovation, Rehabilitation, Conservation: What Does it All Mean?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Maintenance, Miscellaneous

When we read about historic architecture we often encounter the terms restoration, renovation, conservation or rehabilitation.  However, these terms have very specific meanings when used in particular contexts which can be quite different from how they are commonly understood.  It can be especially confusing when speaking to preservation professionals who use these terms following established […]