Welcome to the Landmark Services Old House Renovation Blog

Fixed-Price or Cost-Plus Fee: Which is better?

My dear friend David reached out recently on the eve of starting a construction project on his home. He said that he’d received two quotes from reputable builders and that one of them wanted to work Fixed-Price and the other offered a Cost-Plus Fee model, and he wanted to know which I thought was better.


Topics: New construction, Renovations, Cost Plus, Fixed Price, Contracts

Make Your Historic Home Energy Efficient!

A historic home has numerous perks for its owners; original hardwood floors, high ceilings, intricate detail, and the fact that you have, and are living in, your very own piece of history. However, with the good also comes the bad; poorly insulated walls, air leaks in windows and around doors, and less than perfect water pressure.


Topics: exteriors, energy saving techniques, money saving ideas, Historic Preservation, Window restoration, Insulation, materials and techniques

Renovation of an Historic Carriage House

As renovation contractors, we love it when we have the opportunity to take a neglected old building and - with the help of dedicated clients and a good designer- give it a new life.

Brookline MA carriage house resized 600

Topics: Historic Preservation, Renovations, Kitchens

Project focus: Our new barn project

I posted a few months back about a new barn that we've been building in Weston, MA. Well, apart from the landscaping and a final coat of paint on the exterior, this project was wrapped up this week. 

Weston, MA barn

Topics: Barns, barns ma, post and beam barn, timber frame barn ma, new barn ma

Project focus: A New Timber Frame Barn

We're known primarily as Old House Renovation guys. Maybe that's why we have so much fun when we get an opportunity to do some new construction from the ground up. A year or so ago we teamed up with the timber frame company Bensonwood to build a new house out in Harvard, MA. Right now we're teaming up with them again to build a new barn in Weston, MA.

stone veneer resized 600

Topics: Barns, New construction

Historic houses: Beauty through imperfection

Several times a year I am asked to look at old houses for potential buyers.  I'll walk through the house and give them my opinion on the condition of the house, the feasibility of renovations and additions, ballpark costs, etc. 


Topics: Historic Preservation, materials and techniques

Renovating your home? Watch out for the hidden costs!

From time to time I see projects tabled or postponed due to budgetary reasons. It's unfortunate at any point in the process but it's particularly heartbreaking when the clients have spent many months and many thousands of dollars on design fees, only to learn that the beautiful project depicted in the architect's drawings will cost much more than they are able or willing to invest.


Topics: exteriors, Renovations

Dealing with Lead Paint on Historic Houses

Most people have probably heard by now about the new rules put into place by the EPA concerning lead paint and renovations. The goal of the rules is to increase awareness of the danger of lead paint and decrease the risk of harm to occupants of old homes where lead paint is present. The rules apply to projects that involve renovation or painting of houses built prior to 1978 (when lead paint was banned). 


The evolution of historic architectural details

This past Thursday I attended a lecture by architect Matthew Bronski about the year in Italy he spent studying the architecture of that country.  He wanted to see why some ancient buildings have survived to this day while others failed miserably.

eterior restoration MA

Topics: Historic Preservation, Old House repair, materials and techniques

Energy retrofitting and historic preservation. At odds?

Yesterday Landmark Services co-sponsored a symposium called "The Greenest Building is Already Built".  It was meant to explore the relationship- good or bad- between sustainability and historic preservation.  Five panelists provided wonderful presentations exploring the issues from divergent points of view.


Topics: Historic Preservation, Insulation

Landmark Services, traditional builders specializing in historic renovations, restorations, and additions to historic Massachusetts homes and barns and new construction in traditional styles

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