Early issues of Old-House Journal were full of glossaries. It was necessary to define architecture-related words not in common use during the reign of Modernism. We can’t talk about something without a vocabulary—nor will we care enough to save it. This page excerpts a four-pager published in OHJ’s April 1982 issue. Illustrations are by Leo Blackman, who was then a preservation-studies student at Columbia.
An urgent question from an OHJ staffer: “How hard would it be to get rid of my hideous popcorn ceiling?” (If you don’t remember, this is a heavily textured, spray-on finish, sometimes with glitter, popular from the postwar years through the 1970s.) I looked through our archive and found little encouragement. Then I trolled the internet and YouTube. Still not encouraging but certainly entertaining. Here’s my take on the options.
Culled from readers and editors over the years, here are 10 nuggets to help you renovate and decorate without spending a fortune. Taken together, they suggest both a timeline (plan ahead!) and an approach (listen to the house). Take your time. Seek advice from other renovators, reliable contractors, and a designer who can help you avoid pitfalls.
Stripping paint from woodwork is on the list of most-hated restoration jobs. It’s among the most hazardous, too. Fortunately, you no longer have to strip door casings or painted balusters with such hazardous chemicals as methylene chloride, nor should you blast them with high heat. Recent years have brought gentler methods that are just as effective, safer for DIYers, and easier on the wood itself.
Restoring architectural elements damaged over time requires ingenuity and labor but it isn’t necessarily difficult. Two recent projects—one pro, one DIY—show how perseverance brings wood ornamentation beautifully back to
Lately, casement windows have been on my mind. No surprise: my 1913 Adirondack-style cottage has a dozen wood casements—and they all need work. Unlike double-hung sash windows that move up and down, casement windows swing outward, inward, or occasionally upward, turning on hinges attached to one edge of the frame.