Northwest Renovation Magazine

A Home Improvement Magazine

Old School

Gone are the large, boxy TVs, replaced by wall-mounted flat panel screens and mobile devices. Young people have no memory of the large furniture-like TV sporting a black and white screen, with only ABC, CBS, and NBC as the program options, or the heavy “clunk, clunk, clunk” as the dial was turned between them. Nor do they have memories of the “TV Lamp” that could often be found glowing above the TV, as the screen below flickered in shades of gray. So what were TV lamps... more

The quest for appropriate hardware can be very confusing, and the choices overwhelming! For those looking to select appropriate hardware for their period home, there is the need to understand what would have been used in a particular time period, coupled with personal taste. For our purposes, the focus will be on the kitchen and bath areas. These are the two rooms most commonly “re-muddled” in vintage homes. Sometimes it may be just too expensive to remove a previous owner’s misguided mangling... more

Vintage fixtures have become increasingly rare with the successive remodels that have become so common in the past few decades. Perfectly functional vintage fixtures have given way to the latest and greatest fashion statements, being promoted by designers and those in the business of selling product. Untouched Victorian bathrooms are exceedingly rare, with 1920s and 1930s bathrooms and kitchens in the next-rarest category. It’s more common for 1940s and 1950s bathrooms to survive. But now, even... more

Wall decorations go back to the days when people lived in caves. There, on the stone walls, are the images of hands and animals. Mystical beings look out at us as artistic memories of that time and place. Although the Chinese were using decorated rice paper to embellish their walls for thousands of years, the story of wallpaper in Europe started with the use of beautiful tapestries that were hung to both bring beauty into the space and act as a form of insulation. Castles with stone walls were cold!... more

There has always been a blending of decorative arts with functionality in the design of domestic kitchen tools, everything from painted scenes in the glazes of ancient clay vessels to the graceful curves in hand wrought iron kitchen tools. The Shakers, for example, were known for blending simple elegance with form and functionality in a way that parallels that of ancient Japanese artistry. General Electric marketed the first electric toaster in 1909. It was simply known as the D-12. Of the three... more

So you have an old house and you want the kitchen to look more period appropriate. All you see in your neighbors’ houses, the advertisements, and the builders’ supply places are stone, stone, and stone. And yes, stone can be beautiful! But is it appropriate for an old house? Historically, stone was rarely used as countertop material. The method for economically processing large slabs of stone is a relatively new development. Thus, continuous stone countertops are more of a modern countertop treatment. Formica... more

So you are trying to achieve a more period look in your old house kitchen. At some point you will need to make the decision between using actual vintage appliances or reproduction appliances. When consulting with clients on their kitchen restoration projects, I carefully assess what their needs are and then advise accordingly. Big Chill replica refrigerator sports a 1950s vintage personality outside, but has modern functionality inside. The best of both worlds. Heartland vintage six burner... more

Historic preservation consulting is a multifaceted area. There are professionals who specialize in nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, historic tax credits, research of historical records, and policy administration relevant to historic properties. There are also preservation consultants who specialize in traditional building crafts, architectural plans and drawings, historic landscapes, period lighting, plumbing, tile, paint colors, wallpapers, and other... more

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