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 […]

The Gothic Revival Cottage

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Andrew Jackson Downing, Building Styles, Gothic Revival, History, Miscellaneous, Picturesque

Andrew Jackson Downing casts a long shadow in American architecture and design.  Although Downing died in 1851 at the young age of 36, his aesthetic and design principals remained current through the end of the 19th century. Downing was particularly influential in the design of farmhouses and rural cottages where his emphasis on architecture as […]

We preserve the high and mighty, but what about the little and lowly?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, Economic Development, History

Early preservation efforts usually focused on landmark buildings associated with important historical figures or events.  We call this the “George Washington slept here” principle and explains why so many grand houses have been preserved and restored.  But, is that all we should do?  My ancestors never lived in mansions or owned plantations.  Instead they were farmers, […]

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

Posted 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 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.  Although 19th century house joiners did rely on pattern books, these books didn’t […]

Michigan House Detective

Posted 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 […]

Historic Paint Colors for the Victorian or Arts and Crafts Era Home: Part Two

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

In a previous post I described my process for selecting historic paint colors for Victorian and  Arts and Crafts era homes and businesses.  Rather than relying on the historic color collections from modern paint manufacturers such as Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams, we use our own collection of period color swatches and advertising for authentic Victorian and Arts […]