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Old House Journal February 2017

Old House Journal February 2017

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Editor’s Note
Victorians and Craftsman Bungalows have gotten oodles of preservation love in the past 40 years, while Georgians and Federals continue to be revered. Yesterday I toured Gloucester’s Captain Elias Davis house, built in 1804—where mantelpieces, beautifully proportioned and articulated, are different in each otherwise modest room. Once again I was smitten by the houses of the Colonial and Federal periods, built by housewrights and carpenters.

Colonial Revival sentiment goes back to the country’s 1876 centennial, when the early houses that remained were in danger of being lost, and architects including Charles McKim and Stanford White made studies of Colonial architecture that informed their own designs. Old houses were purchased by wealthy revivalists to be interpreted in a nostalgic “Old Colonies” style—using such still-familiar motifs as hooked rugs, paneled walls and mural paintings, dimity curtains with ball fringe, tester beds with net canopies, white-work bedspreads and pieced quilts, and “grandfather” clocks.

The popularized Early American look was degraded by the middle of the 20th century. But Colonial Revival, or the American Traditional idiom it became, can be done very well. It is the chicken soup of domestic architecture, comforting and available to the majority of American houses that don’t fall into a clear style category. Aspirational examples abound—at Winterthur and Greenfield Village, at Beauport and at other Historic New England properties in the Piscataqua region of Maine. Find inspiration in the work of Royal Barry Wills, the New England architect who adapted the Cape and the Garrison Colonial for modern living and helped spread those house types coast to coast. We visit one of his homes in this issue.

Patricia Poore, Editor of Old House Journal

In This Issue:

All About Cabinet Hinges

Hinge style and even finish determine compatibility with certain eras. Many options are available—invisible hinges, various pivot options, self-closers; it can be confusing!
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Chicken-wire Glass

Thumbnail image for Chicken-wire Glass New Yorkers Gretchen and Ray Master embraced the use of salvaged wire glass in transoms and door panels at their early 20th-century loft apartment.
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Inspiration: Where do ideas come from?

Thumbnail image for Inspiration: Where do ideas come from? Whether you’re restoring, renovating, or adding to your house, eventually you will need to design something compatible. Some cues follow.
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Cape Catastrophe

Thumbnail image for Cape Catastrophe "Just an in-Cape-able remodeling!" - Cathie Casey
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By Simplicity Saved

Thumbnail image for By Simplicity Saved Restoration was always our goal, rather than renovation, but in the kitchen we were starting from scratch. So we chose to emulate our favorite period!
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Easements Explained

Thumbnail image for Easements Explained A historic preservation easement protects privately owned properties.
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High Tech, Historical Revival Lighting

Thumbnail image for High Tech, Historical Revival Lighting The future of lighting has never been brighter. Options are more energy efficient than ever before, and possibilities range from traditional bulbs to tiny emitters that can go anywhere.
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Royal Barry Wills

Thumbnail image for Royal Barry Wills The architect of tradition and the firm's continuing legacy.
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Royal Barry Wills Colonial Revival

Thumbnail image for Royal Barry Wills Colonial Revival Traditional American conventions and motifs have never looked better than in this beautifully interpreted home by the renowned architect, in North Carolina.
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Stair Rods & Dust Corners

Thumbnail image for Stair Rods & Dust Corners Victorians never overlooked a chance to embellish.
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Stuff Thermals Screwed Up

Thumbnail image for Stuff Thermals Screwed Up "We’ve had the wall checked for mold, and the vents checked for a fuel leak; there was no sign of either." - Gene Leigh
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Tale of a Charleston Single House

Thumbnail image for Tale of a Charleston Single House The 1836 Greek Revival house, built by a member of the prominent Taft family, remains under the diligent care of Umbrian-born preservationists with a light touch.
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