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 […]

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

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in paint

In a previous post I described my process for selecting historic paint colors for 19th and early 20th century homes and businesses.  Rather than relying on the historic color collections from modern paint manufacturers such as Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams, I use my own collection of period color swatches and advertising for Victorian and Arts and Crafts […]

Historic Paint Colors for Your Victorian or Arts and Crafts Era Home or Business: Part 1

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in paint

I am asked quite often if I use colors from the historic color collections of major paint manufacturers such as Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore during my paint consults.  My answer is always the same: “It depends.”  Unlike many colorists and consultants, I do not like relying on someone else to research historic paint colors and […]

Pressure Washers and Painting: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Maintenance, Miscellaneous, paint

There are conflicting messages about using pressure washers when prepping building exteriors for painting. Some insist that pressure washers should never be used while others maintain that they are just fine and use them both for paint removal and cleaning.  Which is accurate?  As with most things, the truth is somewhere in between and depends on circumstance. […]

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.  […]

Minnesota Romantic: The LeDuc House

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Andrew Jackson Downing, Gothic Revival, History, Picturesque

Andrew Jackson Downing ([October 30, 1815 – July 28, 1852) was a prominent landscape designer, architectural critic and advocate for romantic architectural styles in the United States. His pattern books Cottage Residences (1842) and The Architecture of Country Houses (1850) were widely read and introduced Americans to revival styles popular in England. Jackson’s advocacy for the […]