Construction & Additions

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Old House Journal's compendium of articles about additions and various old house construction projects, including sympathetic additions, porch repair and additions, insulation and structure repair, and more. 

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brownstones

How to Repair Brownstone

Brownstone-faced buildings reveal their years readily. Many brownstone owners fight these ravages of age by giving their home's facade a facelift with patching techniques and, in a few cases, replacing the stone in kind.

A basic ell off the back of the house, the addition echoes the home’s original form through roof pitch and window sizes.

5 Ideas for Adding On

Traditional approaches help make old house additions more successful.

The ideal addition solution is a wing that is subordinate to the main house and positioned behind it. Emulating details on the original house like roof pitch and siding (but keeping them clearly later) helps integrate the new work.

How To Create Sensitive Additions

Understanding some basics about residential design and historic preservation can provide useful guidelines for creating sensitive additions to old houses.

Kitchen reconfiguration of added-on space in an 1800s Cape Cod

Planning An Addition

Adding on to an existing house can be tricky. These architects dealt with previous bad additions, cramped layouts, and setback requirements.

stairs

How to Repair Your Stairs

Whether your stairs are loose, squeaky, or moving away from the wall, we’ve got the cure.

waterproofing a basement

Waterproofing a Basement or Cellar

Whether your house has a basement, a crawl space, or a root cellar, any space below grade is subject to water infiltration and its damaging effects. Let’s look at how to keep the water (and damp) out.

wood cladding with stone

A Short Course on Cladding: Part 2

Replacing a few damaged shingles or even a section of them is a one-person job.

House with yellow cladding

A Short Course on Cladding: Part 1

Clapboards, shingles, and stone cladding are timeless, so it’s no wonder all three have made a comeback for houses built in this century. Just be sure any new materials match the quality of those on the house.

Old fence and new historic fence

How To Build a Historic Fence

Learn how to build a simple but historic fence to match the architecture.

A combination of warm wood tones and brick flooring make this a handsome entry.

How To Design a Traditional Mudroom

Contemporary perks tempered by historic detailing ensure successful new old mudrooms.

The LeVines devised a system that would allow them to keep the house's original radiators.

Heating Solutions for a Colonial Revival Addition

When adding on to their 1912 house, Don and Lana LeVine chose a mix of heating systems for ease and efficiency.

How to lay a random stone path

Weekend Project: Lay a Stone Path

Add some polish to your garden by installing a random stone path.

Vernacular Greek Revival details on a 19th-century house are echoed in a telescoping addition, which steps back and down. The garage is half a flight below the house (with a playroom above). A new family entry creates a transition to older, more formal rooms. Design by Frank Shirley Architects, Cambridge,Massachusetts.

The Art of Adding On to an Old House

An addition should enhance the house and the neighborhood—as well as the resale value of your home.

Concrete blocks add layers of character to this Queen Anne porch.

How To Make Decorative Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks add layers of character to this Queen Anne porch.

Winslow Homer Studio

Restoring an Artist's Studio in Maine

It was described as “maintained over the years,” but on closer inspection, the Winslow Homer Studio was more like the name of one of the artist’s iconic masterpieces: weatherbeaten.

new stairs

How To Rebuild Porch Stairs

Follow these steps to build porch stairs that will stand the test of time.

Because wood-frame houses are basically boxes, the power of earthquake forces works to collapse the structure by racking walls, separating joints, and upending vertical supports such as porch columns.

Seismic Upgrades for Old Houses

Earthquake forces are complex, but the methods for reinforcing houses can be relatively simple—and good for storms, too.

The author used a simple repair technique to fix the rotting soffit on his 100-year-old barn.

Fix a Rotting Soffit in 7 Steps

Follow these 7 simple steps to seamless, long-lasting soffit and cornice repair.

The sunken bathtub has no jets, but a heater circulates the water at a steady 105 degrees for a luxurious bathing experience.

Adding a Dormer for a Bathroom Makeover

After years of living with a tiny, haphazardly placed bathroom, a Portland, Oregon, couple makes way for a dormer to expand their space.

The original circa-1830 house got a fashionable update in 1877, gaining a high-style Italianate tower and touches of Eastlake ornamentation.

Shoring Up an Italianate Tower

To save a waterlogged 19th-century lumberman's house, Minnesota contractors had to both dig down and lift up.

The new porch is not only picture-perfect, it's built to last, thanks to thoughtful structural details.

Fixing the Porch

Don’t let an old porch crumble away. The key lies within the small construction details.

Zimmerman-6

Additions 101

The do's and don'ts of successful old-house additions.

install kitchen cabinets

How To Install Kitchen Cabinets

Thinking about trying to install kitchen cabinets yourself? Here are step-by-step instructions for installing kitchen cabinets in an old house kitchen.

A finished section of the porch shows the warm, welcoming impact of the elegant original design, created from a simple pattern of curvaceous X's and O's.

How To Rebuild a Victorian Porch

Have you always wanted a Victorian porch with an elaborate balustrade? Here’s how one engineer did it.

nohcostsaver1

Expert Advice: Save on Building Costs

Cost-saving ideas for a traditional bedroom’s wallcovering.

Products of the Week

Indow Windows

Indow Window Inserts

Enjoy modern comfort while preserving the charm of your original windows. Indow window inserts press inside your window frames without a mounting bracket to give you all the comfort and efficiency of high-end replacement windows.

Indow’s compression-fit acoustic panel, interior storm windows

Window Inserts

Save energy. Reduce noise.