Editors' Picks: Adding on to Old Houses

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Our editors highlight new and classic articles, along with favorite products and current bookstore sales. This week, learn how to engineer a period-perfect addition.

Blending new and old is always a daunting proposition—and the challenge looms especially large when you're talking about putting a new addition on a historic house. Annexing additional living space is a time-honored building tradition; the trick to doing it well lies in studying and matching original details as closely as possible.

"The only thing you really see from the street is the jut out of the den," Decker says. "We tried to not take away from the prominence of the old house."

These three home tours feature seamlessly blended additions that address a variety of needs, from adding wheelchair accessibility to accommodating a growing family.

Enhancing the Past: Architect Anne Y. Decker links new and old with the restoration and tasteful addition to this historical Queen Anne.

Updating for Accessibility: An Italianate gets a sympathetic addition, and some thoughtful improvements, to make it more wheelchair-friendly.

Happy Marriage: Gregory and Carolynn Schipa join an 1810 Greek Revival and a 1790 Cape-style cottage harmoniously on the island of Nantucket.

New This Week

Historic Retreats: Maison Pierre du Calvet: A small inn in one of Montreal’s oldest homes stands as a testament to the city’s Old World charm—and its dedicated preservation efforts.

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A Ravishing Victorian Home: Never has the interior of this Queen Anne looked so good, from its wallpapers to textiles.

How to Decorate with Vintage Textiles: Become a fan of Old-House Online on Facebook to view homeowner Audry Bond's tips on using vintage textiles in your home!

Expert Advice: Low VOC Paint: The environmental impact and performance of low VOC paint.

Products & Services Directory

Sandra Vitzthum Architect, LLC

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Featured in many New Old House articles, Sandra Vitzthum's homes are designed to look "as if they have always been there." Whether you're planning a new addition or starting from scratch, her creations have the details and character that make old houses so appealing.

View all Architects in the Products & Services Directory.

Bookstore Sales

On sale until May 31!
Check out these sales and other great deals in our Old-House bookstore!

Everything you need to know about adding the right finishing touches to your home-improvement or new construction project can be found in this book.

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This book is full of more than 400 top notch ideas for a range of styles and sizes of kitchens. Learn how to make smart choices about what you really want in your kitchen. By Beth Veillette. Paperback. 234 pages.

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This book serves as a useful introduction to kitchen design, and an inspirational visual reference for homeowners considering their own custom projects.

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Products of the Week

A pendant light over the door adds a stately touch to the ubiquitous Victorian porch; Brass Light Gallery’s London Lantern mimics the design of 19th-century streetlights.

Brass Light Gallery

Interior and exterior architectural lighting for your home and garden, in styles from Victorian to '30s Modern. Select from 15 finish options. Made in USA since 1974. They also have a vintage/antique lighting department, and offer expert restoration services.

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Unico System

A central heating and cooling system using "aspiration" technology to warm and cool homes evenly and quietly with flexible small ducts that weave through ceilings, walls, and even floors.