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 […]

Insulation, Cold and Drafts in Your Historic Home.

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Doors, Historic Windows, Insulation and efficiency, Maintenance, Miscellaneous

Our national cold snap has led to many questions about insulating historic homes, thermal efficiency, windows, doors and much more.  I thought I would outline a few things that you should consider when trying to improve the thermal efficiency of your older home. Generally speaking, houses lose heat in two ways. One is radiation. Radiation […]

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 […]

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 […]

Painted Floors in the Victorian Era Home

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Greek Revival, Miscellaneous, paint

Painted floors were common in American homes throughout the 19th century. Durable paints would seal soft pine flooring which made them less liable to stain and easier to clean.  An 1850 edition of Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House Book recommends cleaning heavily soiled, common pine floors using:      “an old tin pan with some gray sand in […]

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, […]

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 […]