Window Making Demonstration in Rockford, MN on June 14, 2017.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Historic Windows, History, Joinery, Maintenance, Millwork

On Wednesday, June 14th at 6:00 PM I will be giving a demonstration on 19th century window making and restoring historic windows for the Rockford Area Historical Society. The event will be held at the historic Ames-Florida-Stork house, an 1860s Greek Revival house in Rockford, MN. I will use use authentic 1850s tools and techniques […]

Making a 19th Century Door: Or, Why do Modern Replacement Doors Look so Strange on 19th Century Homes

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Doors, Historic Preservation, History, Joinery, Millwork

There are many differences between woodworking in today’s machine age and the 19th century. Contemporary carpenters and furniture makers rely on drawings, dimensions, and precise measurements to help them plan and build things. Before the Industrial Revolution, however, things were very different.  19th century house joiners certainly did rely on pattern books, but these books […]

Michigan House Detective

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Building Research, Building Styles, Greek Revival, History

A recent book by Fred Peterson titled Homes in the Heartland describes the evolution of the balloon-frame farmhouse in the upper Midwest.  Peterson notes one characteristic of many, first generation farmhouses: an eclectic nature where they were built in stages with several additions. When settlers arrived in the Midwest one of their first priorities was building shelter.  This […]

Preservation in Action: Minneapolis and Amboy, MN.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, History, Miscellaneous

Historic preservation has changed its focus over the last few decades.  Years ago historic preservation was largely an antiquarian exercise where citizens would save extraordinary and singular examples of historic architecture in their communities.  Today preservation efforts are directed at a much broader slice of our architectural resources.  In fact, we hardly think of it as […]

The National Register of Historic Places

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

Historic Design will donate free architecture research services for a local institution, business or individual in 2017!  Click here to learn more. We frequently see and hear about historic buildings and other structures being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, it isn’t clear to many what the National Register is and what […]

Selecting Doors for your Historic Home

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Carpentry, History, Joinery, Millwork, Molding, Tools

One frequently neglected step when restoring a historic home is the selection of millwork that is appropriate for the building’s age and style.  This includes interior and exterior doors, which are often hastily chosen after thumbing through a catalog or browsing in a showroom.  Few salespeople in home centers or millwork outlets know the differences […]

The I-House

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, History

When people think of 19th century houses they often  imagine grand Queen Anne homes with towers, elaborate porches and oodles spindles, brackets and fretwork.  However, if you read through my blog you might have noticed that there isn’t much devoted to high-style Victorian homes.  I have, however, written a fair bit about more common houses.  […]