Welcome to the Landmark Services Old House Renovation Blog

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). 

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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
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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.

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Topics: Historic Preservation, Insulation

Case study: Planning a Kitchen Renovation

We have worked with the owners of a ca. 1895 Shingle Style house just south of Boston for over five years.  We started by renovating the exterior, stripping the house of its shingles and installing new ones, rebuilding the porches, and restoring the carriage house. Two years ago we completely renovated the third floor (I'll post an article about that at a later date).

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Topics: Renovations, Kitchens

Protecting Historic Houses

There are many methods to protect historic properties. Here's a quick primer.

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Topics: Historic Preservation

Managing Renovation Projects Effectively

I wanted to take an opportunity to explain our approach to managing renovation and addition projects. Residential construction is a challenging business but we've learned a lot in the twenty years since we started the company. That experience has led us to conclude that the best way to set up our projects on an open book, "cost-plus" basis. You're probably wondering exactly what this means.

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One approach to old house kitchen renovations

Kitchen design is a very personal thing, especially when it comes to old houses. Some people want the kitchen to match the period look of their house while others don't mind having a more modern looking space.

old style kitchen renovation
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Topics: materials and techniques, Renovations, Kitchens

Restoring the original look of your historic house

Last time we did a survey of the Greek Revival houses in my town of Medway, Mass. There are some great examples of the style in town, ranging from humble to high style.  Now let's take a look at the potential pitfalls of altering the original siding and trim details.

MA Greek Revival
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Topics: exteriors, Historic Preservation, materials and techniques

The Greek Revival in small town New England

One of the things that I appreciate about historic houses is the thought that the builders put into the ornamentation. They seemed to have an almost innate understanding of the use of proportion and, of course, a deeper understanding of the architectural orders than today's builders who either slap a bunch of decorative trim on their houses arbitrarily or, at the other end of the spectrum, have almost no ornamentation.

Greek temple
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Paint Color Do's and Dont's for Historic Houses

The selection of exterior paint colors for historic houses is, admittedly, a very subjective topic. Color schemes that please some people might give their neighbors nightmares. As subjective and personal issue as this topic is, however, it is clear to me that some color schemes enhance the look of an old house while others can make a house look either too bland or clownishly over the top.

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Topics: Historic Preservation, Paint Colors