Northwest Renovation Magazine

A Home Improvement Magazine

People who love the charm and character of old Portland homes don’t have to deal with high heating bills and drafty bedrooms forever. Many energy efficient upgrades can make a tremendous change in your comfort, safety, and utility cost. When you think of the energy efficiency of your Portland charmer, you’re often confronted with a seemingly endless list of problems: inadequate insulation, single-pane windows, outdated furnace and appliances… Rather than be overwhelmed with questions like “Where... more

A custom-designed daybed makes room for sewing and crafts by day and rolls out to provide a queen-size bed by night. The above photo shows the bed closed The under-sized entry into the attic space was moved and incorporated as a cabinet door (far left) into the entertainment center, which now commits the room to a new statement and purpose. The pull-out work surface in the sewing room’s bookshelf lends an area for cutting fabrics and other tasks, without imposing on the graciousness... more

This issue’s musings ponders how to be sure a contractor’s competitive bid is fair, accurate, and complete. Not only is comparing apples to apples important, getting to the apple core is equally essential. The Seed for a Shiny Apple Place yourself in the contractor’s position. How would you determine how much a project is going to cost before you actually do the work, and also be certain it is exactly what the homeowner wants? You would need a very clear description of every aspect of the... more

When you own a vintage home, you know what you love about it. It’s the ornate woodwork, ornamental trim, pocket doors, moldings, high ceilings, and vintage fixtures. You also know what you don’t love about it: those small closets, creaky pipes, and poor insulation. But those are mere annoyances, and, like the character quirks of your favorite elderly aunt, they only endear the house to you more. When it comes time to sell your vintage home, however, other factors apply. Buyers... more

I drive around a lot. Needless to say, I find myself looking at a lot of yards while I am out and about. And there it is: the ever present lawn. I know, I know; your neighbor has it, their neighbor has it. What else is there? It is hard to imagine that there is another way of landscaping your yard, but I promise there is. I call it the “Lose the Lawn” plan. I think that most people accept the status quo of what a garden should look like because they don’t know anything else is out there. I... more

Wet basements are the bane of many homes, especially older ones. Moisture in a basement can breed ruinous mold and mildew, impart a musty odor to storage items, and render valuable square footage unusable. Clogged rain gutters and downspouts, broken or leaking pipes, seepage and condensation are among the causes of wet basements. Fortunately, there are a few simple things homeowners can do to diagnose basement moisture and keep it from developing into a serious problem. Water damage in a basement.... more

Have you ever noticed how the sound of running water gets your attention? I have a water feature in my front yard that you can hear from the street and I’ve noticed how people walking by actually stop and say, “Do you hear that?” It is so soothing and inviting. When I bought my house it had a huge pond in the front, complete with a waterfall — except for the fact that it didn’t work nor was it likely to in the near future. We spent years trying to get it working and no matter what we did,... more

Several times a month we have customers through the shop with a common frustration. Somewhere in their old home they have a new door or doors with modern hardware. They want to replace the modern hardware with something keeping with the age of the home, but have found that old hardware seems to be incompatible with the newer door. We hear the same lament from owners of newer houses that are trying to add some “old world” character to their home. Left; mortise lock, above; tube latch and square... more

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