This area of the site contains essays on many aspects of restoring old houses. Rather than try to fit the entire database of around 125,000 words into the site, I've provided a list of the essays and a brief summary of each.
To research a topic, scroll through the group of subject headings at left and then click on your choice. Each heading is followed by a number of summaries which are the lead paragraphs of the texts. Some of the essays deal with conservation philosophy: others focus on particular problems.
To obtain your free essay email us at with your name, email address and your city.The current free essay is No. 48, Old Photographs Guide the House Restorer. The essay will be sent to your originating email address, not an address specified in the body of your message. See Ordering Essays in the box at left for details of prices for other essays.
The essay is copyright and cannot be published or reproduced in any other form without permission in writing.
1. BLINDS HELP TO CONTROL THE SUMMER HEAT
There was much that could be done to control the effects of summer heat on the occupants of an old house. A great deal was achieved by means of design, by garden planting and by the placement and orientation of the building. Long experience and practical common sense provided answers to many climatic problems. The best approach was to deflect the sun before it could pour heat into the building. 950 words.
BUYING AND SELLING
2. THOUGHTS ON BUYING A HOUSE
Buying a house is probably the biggest and potentially the most nervewracking investment that most people are likely to make. But if it's approached in the right way, by following certain guidelines, and by taking the whole process as calmly and coolly as possible, it is possible to take a lot of the trauma out of the process. 1025 words
3. MOVING HOUSE
Buying a 'take-away' building is an inexpensive method of acquiring an old house. It can be a lot cheaper to buy an old timber house and move it onto your land than to buy a house and land together. The reason for this is that removal houses are sometimes sold at demolition prices. A nicely-detailed old building can be bought in this way for a fraction of the normal cost. 1585 words.
4. ON SAYING GOODBYE TO AN OLD FRIEND
It's something that we all have to face sooner or later. But knowing the harsh facts of life still doesn't quite prepare you for the time when you have to say goodbye. Leaving an old house which you have known and loved for many years is an experience which gives the heartstrings a sharp wrench. 965 words.
5. RISING DAMP THREATENS OLD HOUSES
Rising damp is perhaps the most common and persistent cause of 'old house blues'. Many people find it depressing because curing it can be compared to tipping buckets of cash down the drain: it's expensive and you don't see much for your money. 1800 words.
6. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DAMPCOURSE
The dampcourse is perhaps the least glamorous and single most significant component part of any masonry building, old or new. As far as importance goes, it's on a par with the roof or the walls: leave it out or fail to maintain it and your building will eventually crumble. 850 words.
7. DECORATION ADDS THE FINISHING TOUCH Decoration is the all-important finishing touch to any restoration project. Paint and paper, used in the fashion of the period in which a house was built, will breathe life into an old building. The right colours and patterns, used in the right way, produce effects that cannot otherwise be obtained. 1480 words.
8. TRADITIONAL COLOUR SCHEMES ADD VALUE
There are few things that can make as much difference to the value of an old house as a coat of paint. A film of acrylic or oil-based enamel, no more than a fraction of a millimetre thick, can increase the price of a house by many thousands of dollars. The results achieved depend almost entirely on the colours chosen and the manner in which they are used. 1285 words.
9. COLLECTING OLD COLOUR SCHEMES
An old house that has always been carefully maintained may not need restoration. You don't have to restore something that has never been altered. However, almost every old house has undergone subtle changes through the years as a succession of owners has come and gone. The most common changes are to be found in the area of decoration. 925 words.
10. MASTERS OF THE ART OF DECEPTION
Many old crafts have been revived with the boom in building restoration which has occurred in recent years. One of the most spectacular revivals has been in the area of painting and decorating where some dramatic decorative effects have been rediscovered after almost a century of neglect. 1045 words.
11. DETAILS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Using traditional colour schemes can make an enormous difference to the appearance of old houses. The way these schemes are implemented is as important as the colours themselves. The impact of traditional colour schemes is considerably increased by attention to the many details which add subtle touches to the finished picture. 885 words.
12. GRAINING MAKES A COMEBACK
One of the old house crafts that came close to the brink of extinction but has now fortunately been revived is graining. Strictly speaking, it's a branch of painting and decorating - a trade which lost a great deal during the past 60 years or so. 1040 words.
13. TRADITIONAL WALLPAPER ADDS IMPACT
There was for many years a skilful and very effective publicity campaign conducted against the interiors of Victorian and Edwardian houses. They were 'dark', 'gloomy', 'filled with old junk' and, of course, thoroughly unpleasant places. 895 words.
14. THE DADO REVIVAL Forgotten or ignored for fifty years or more, the dado is now back in fashion. Many people have never even heard of it, but for generations of people the dado was an important feature of the interior decoration of their houses. 800 words.
15. THE COLOURFUL WORLD OF STENCILLING
Stencilling is probably the cheapest and most effective method of providing appropriate interior decoration for an old house. It's a traditional technique with a long history and was widely used in houses and public buildings during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many old houses were decorated with the aid of this method and some still retain their original stencilling. 1100 words.
16. RESCUING A STENCIL FROM THE WRECKER
While driving through an inner suburb the other day I happened upon a small tragedy. A frail old timber cottage was being demolished. Nothing tragic about that, you may feel, but to me it was almost like the death of a friend. 1050 words.
17. SPARE PARTS FOR OLD HOUSES
Although there is now a flourishing industry providing reproduction materials and items for the restoration of old houses, some of the necessary items are best obtained from unwanted old buildings. Second-hand materials are not only cheaper but also have the quality of looking and feeling old. In the antique trade it's called 'patina' and it's a very important but elusive and subtle thing. 765 words.
18. TRASH OR TREASURE? THE DEMOLITION STORY
Visiting an old house which is being demolished is often an occasion for mixed emotions. That rapidly-crumbling ruin, shuddering under the impact of the demolisher's hammer or flinching as a large and powerful machine rumbles towards it, was once someone's pride and joy. 1570 words.
FENCES AND GATES
19. FENCE CONSTRUCTION
Fences of cast iron or timber pickets were important features of our houses during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They protected households, gardens and grounds, discouraged intruders, kept out straying stock and barred entry to wandering domestic animals or inquisitive children. 1930 words.
20. LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP INTO FLOOR-SANDING
Instant decisions can turn out to be costly mistakes when you're restoring an old house. One of the most common is to call in the floor sander as soon as the ink on the purchase contract is dry. In the space of a few hours, the patina of decades is swept away. 1580 words.
21. FLOOR FINISHES
Well-seasoned Victorian flooring timber is a scarce and diminishing resource. Old floors may consist of timber species that are either unavailable or very costly today. Some of them were laid with timber that was cheap at the time, the equivalent of today's knotty radiata pine, but have acquired great beauty after being aged for 80 or 100 years. They deserve to be appreciated and conserved rather than sanded when there may be no need. 775 words.
22. TAKE CARE WITH SANDBLASTING
Many of the techniques that are employed to restore old houses are two-edged swords, offering the opportunity to slice through unpleasant problems on the one hand while at the same time running the risk of causing damage which may be almost as bad as the initial problem. 920 words.
23. SHELLAC GIVES JOINERY A TRADITIONAL FINISH
The choice of the right finishes for timber is a question that perplexes many people in their efforts to restore an old house. All too often, they make the mistake of doing what their neighbours did or relying on the advice of their local hardware merchant. 920 words.
24. ADDING THE FINISHING TOUCH TO TIMBER
Timber has been one of the most important and widely used building materials since humans came out of the cave. Despite its long history, there are still many misconceptions about its use, particularly in regard to the finishes that should be used during the restoration of old houses. 1170 words.
25. KEEPING THE HOME FIRES BURNING
Anyone who has lived in an old house with open fireplaces has fond memories of happy evenings spent before the hearth, as the chilly winds of winter howled outside. The glowing coals, cheerful conversation and lightly roasted toes all contributed to the nostalgic charm of an open fire. A fire was 'company', even if you were the only person at home. 1510 words.
26. THE FIRE ON THE HEARTH
The old Australian house which does not boast at least one fireplace is rare indeed. In the years before widespread distribution of electric power people relied on their fireplaces for warmth, comfort and the preparation of food. On any winter's night during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, families gathered around the fire to read, sew or discuss the day's events as the flames gradually turned to embers. 985 words.
27. KEEPING THE MANTELPIECE THIEVES AT BAY
The auctioneer's hammer falls and suddenly you're the new owner of an old house. It's a thrilling instant and frequently one in which you experience a surge of mixed emotions. The elation of the moment may give way to feelings of doubt in which you wonder whether the task ahead will be too onerous. 820 words.
FLOORS AND FLOORCOVERINGS
28. FOR THE LOVE OF LINO
Poor old linoleum! No other floorcovering has given so much service for so little thanks. No-one gives a thought to the possibility of saving the lino when an old house, occupied by some elderly person for many years, is being restored. It usually finds its way onto a pile of rubbish in the garden and is swiftly despatched to the tip. 1025 words.
29. 'THEY DON'T BUILD THEM LIKE THEY USED TO'
You often hear people talking about old houses say that 'they don't build them like they used to'. It's a remark with which I would have to agree. But it's also true to say that in some respects houses are better built today than they were a century or two ago. 900 words.
30. RUGS AND RUNNERS
If you were to step back in time and enter a typical late Victorian terrace house, you would find the entrance hall and staircase provided with a carpet runner -- a strip of carpet with a patterned border on each side. 850 words.
31. THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO GARDEN RESTORATION
Restoring the garden of an old house is a task that should combine the traditional skills of the gardener with the sensitivity and understanding of a good conservator. 885 words.
32. CREATING ATMOSPHERE IN A GARDEN
There is much more to creating a garden for an old house than cultivating old-fashioned plants, important though that certainly is. The atmosphere of a garden depends almost as much on its design and accoutrements as on the flowers, shrubs and trees which form its living heart. 960 words.
33. GARDENS AND GARDEN STRUCTURES
It is easy to overlook the importance of gardens and garden structures in a restoration programme in which considerable attention is paid to the house itself. But the setting has a strong influence on the way we feel about a house and should be carefully considered before major decisions on individual matters are made. 1385 words.
34. THE RETURN OF THE GRAVEL DRIVE
Driveways and paths provide some serious pitfalls for the restorer of old houses. Even those people who do a wonderful job on the building itself can make disastrous mistakes by using unsuitable materials on the driveways and paths. 970 words.
35. THE GRANDEUR OF GLASS
The soft glow of sunshine through leadlight and the gentle sheen of etched glass add interest and appeal to many old houses. Decorative glass is one of the most attractive features of Victorian and Edwardian houses and helps to create the character and atmosphere that so many people appreciate. 1410 words.
36. GLASS ETCHING: RETURN OF A LOST CRAFT
Although technological change is often blamed for the loss of traditional crafts and trades, changing fashion often has the same effect. Several traditional building crafts were nearly lost this century because their products were considered old-fashioned. The craft of the glass etcher is perhaps the one that came closest to the brink. 1195 words.
37. A SOLUTION TO THE 'STAINED GLASS' RIDDLE
Of the many and varied forms of decorative glass used on old houses, leadlight or 'stained' glass is the most widely known and most commonly misunderstood. There is a surprising amount of confusion about this well-known craft which has been in and out of fashion since the mediaeval period. 1110 words.
38. GLASS TRANSFERS: INEXPENSIVE DECORATION
Anyone who has taken the trouble to look carefully around an old house or two will probably have noticed a method of decorating glass that has long since faded from fashion. Coloured patterns and a great variety of shapes are the hallmark of this inexpensive and effective method of decoration. It's something that looks like leadlight or stained glass but isn't. 1020 words.
39. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HUMBLE FANLIGHT
The process of restoring an old house offers a wide variety of experiences and rewards. Among them are the spectacular and unforgettable moments, such as the day when the cast iron decoration is replaced, or the new front steps can be used for the first time. 1005 words.
40. A HERITAGE IN HARDWARE
Bolts and brackets, fingerplates and fanlight openers, hooks and hinges, knobs and knockers, and locks and latches are all part of the heritage of hardware in our old houses. Hardware is one of the great glories of old houses, although until quite recently it was often overlooked. People restored the structure of their houses but forgot about the details. 1840 words.
41. RESTORING OLD HARDWARE
Restoring the hardware in an old house need be neither difficult nor expensive. In many cases, most or all of it will still be in the building although repair or restoration may be necessary. Locks often lack keys and several coats of paint, obscuring the beauty and hampering the function, may cover other items. Removing the crust of paint and applying some brass polish, black varnish or other traditional finish will produce the most amazing transformation on many old hardware items. 1020 words.
42. VINTAGE LOCKS COMBINE FORM WITH FUNCTION
Old houses need old locks. They're one of the details that make a small but important contribution to the character of an old house and the quality of its restoration. 1560 words.
43. PUTTING A POLISH ON OLD HARDWARE
One of the most challenging but least-mentioned tasks in restoring an old house is the job of cleaning and polishing the hardware. A house which has been neglected for a long time will contain a surprising quantity of tarnished brass or copper. 960 words.
44. HOW TO HANDLE OLD FINGERPLATES
Fingerplates protected the finish to internal doors of Victorian and Edwardian houses from the dirty marks that inevitably accompany the repeated contact of human hands. 900 words.
45. THOUGHTS ON HERITAGE
When people talk about protecting our architectural heritage they often seem to be referring to the grand houses of the rich and famous. 'Heritage' buildings, or so it seems, have to be large and imposing and, at one time in their life, provided shelter for a famous writer, explorer or politician. 925 words.
46. HISTORY IN A HOUSE NAME
Many people are surprised to learn that their old house once had a name. In fact, nearly every old house built before about 1930 was 'christened' by its architect, builder or first owner. 1652 words.
47. DISCOVERING THE AGE OF YOUR HOUSE
Many people would like to know when their house was built but don't know how to find out. Few houses have the date written in cast cement on their facade, or carved into a keystone over the front door. 1010 words.
48. OLD PHOTOGRAPHS GUIDE THE HOUSE RESTORER
Among the best sources of information to help you in restoring an old house are the family photograph albums of some of the people who have lived in the house during its early history. It's quite amazing what you can discover about a house from old photographs. 970 words.
49. FRAGILE DOCUMENTS HOLD HISTORY
Tucked away in a drawer somewhere in your house may be something that is worth very little in terms of dollars and cents but which is actually very precious. .... Less well known but also very important are specifications which describe all of the materials and the methods to be employed in building the house. 855 words.
50. JOINERY ADDS THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Joinery is an all-embracing term which simply means all of the lighter, finer and more ornamental timberwork of a house. While doors, windows, staircases, architraves and skirting boards are considered part of the work of a joiner, heavier timberwork such as bearers, joists and floors is regarded as carpenter's work. 880 words.
51. THE DOOR TO SUCCESS IN RESTORATION
Doors are one of those parts of an old house which are most affected by unsympathetic alterations over the years. Often, it seems, every owner has made a contribution - changing doorknobs and locks, adding new coats of paint, moving the old doors around, adding unsuitable new doors and generally diluting the original character of the building. 825 words.
52. FLYSCREEN DOORS WIN THE WAR AGAINST FLIES
Keeping the flies out of the kitchen has always been a problem in many areas of the world. While some people have simply given up the struggle others have gone to great lengths to win the war against flies. 645 words.
53. CURING WINDOW AILMENTS
The windows of an old house usually suffer more from neglect than mistreatment. Cracked or broken panes, lost putty, loose sash joints, broken sash cords, weathered sills and missing hardware are common problems. 915 words.
54. SHAPE UP WITH SHUTTERS
Shutters are one of those deceptively simple features about old houses that sometimes trick people into believing they're not important. In fact, there's much more to shutters than meets the eye. 995 words.
55. STEPS TO SUCCESS IN STAIRCASE RESTORATION
Whenever people are restoring an old house 'unpainting' the staircase is one of those unpleasant jobs that are often left until the last. Sometimes it never gets done! 1595 words.
56. REFLECTIONS ON THE COST OF RESTORATION
I am often asked whether it costs more to restore an old house in an authentic manner than it does to renovate it without paying particular heed to traditional techniques and materials. 925 words.
LIGHTING AND POWER
57. THE LIGHT FANTASTIC
Choosing the right light fittings is one of the more important decisions to be made when an old house is being restored. The use of the correct fittings will give your house a real lift, and add a good deal to both its heritage and real estate values. 1300 words.
58. 'NO MATCHES REQUIRED'
Of all the scientific wonders of the Victorian age, electricity was the most astonishing. It captured the imagination of the period and was rightly considered a marvel of technology that would have an important role to play in the future. 860 words.
59. WALLS OF EARTH
The walls of old houses are quite simple structures - or so we may like to think. But there is much more to them than meets the eye. Walls were constructed of an enormous variety of materials. 895 words.
60. ORIGINS OF THE TIMBER TRADITION
In a previous essay I discussed some of the ways in which nineteenth century builders used earth to provide shelter for themselves and their families. But the story of vernacular buildings of timber is of equal interest. 985 words.
61. STORY OF THE WEATHERBOARD COTTAGE
During the second half of the nineteenth century the cities, towns and countryside were dotted with inexpensive timber cottages - the direct descendants of the crude shelters built by the first European settlers. 990 words.
62. HISTORY IN THE HUMBLE HOUSE BRICK
There is more history in the humble house brick than most people could possibly imagine. Throughout history there have been enormous changes in the methods by which bricks are manufactured. 990 words.
63. STONE SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE
Stone is perhaps more commonly mistreated and misunderstood than any other building material. No matter whether it is sandstone, basalt, granite or limestone, the stone in any old house should be treated with respect and care. Mistreatment will cause accelerated decay and result in some very costly problems. 880 words.
64. DANGER IN THE HUMBLE BAG OF CEMENT
There are a number of common and widely used building materials which, if wrongly applied, can cause serious harm to old buildings. Of these, the most frequently misused and potentially the most harmful is the humble bag of cement. 980 words.
65. CARING FOR MARBLE
Marble has imparted prestige to houses and public buildings for thousands of years. Its hard, glossy finish, attractive colours and infinitely varied patterns have always made it a material that gave a distinct air of quality to any building in which it was used. 1100 words.
66. THE DELIGHTS OF TIMBER LATTICE
There are few things that are more simple and yet more effective in ornamenting the exterior of an old house than timber lattice. 1045 words.
67. RESTORING OUR CAST-IRON HERITAGE
Decorative cast iron contributes a great deal to the appeal of our heritage of old houses. Many of the houses erected before about 1920 were provided with cast iron in the form of verandah railings, fences and the decorative friezes that hang from beneath verandah roof beams. 1260 words.
68. STRIPPING PAINT FROM MASONRY
There is a fortune waiting for the person who develops a simple, inexpensive and effective method of removing paint from brick or stone. 680 words.
69. TIPS ON 'UNPAINTING' MASONRY
The number of old house owners who have been puzzled and infuriated by the presence of unwanted coats of paint on exterior wall surfaces of brick or stone houses is vast indeed. 920 words.
70. THE GENTLE ART OF STRIPPING
Removing unwanted paint, cheerfully applied by previous owners, can be one of the great bugbears of old house restoration. When faced with a problem area of an old house, many people turn to the paintpot and the result is usually an unpleasant legacy for later owners. 1040 words.
71. ARRANGING A HAPPY HANGING
There's more to hanging pictures in an old house than meets the eye. As with any other aspect of old house restoration, there's a right way to go about it. 765 words.
72. PLASTER REPAIR AND RESTORATION
The craft of the plasterer reached its peak in the nineteenth century. Although there are still many individual plasterers who are skilled in this traditional craft, we do not have the depth and range of experienced tradesmen or the many workshops that flourished in Victorian and Edwardian times. 1560 words.
73. PRESSED METAL
Many people spend years of their lives beneath pressed metal ceilings without being aware of the story behind this humble but essential part of some of our most interesting old houses. 1050 words.
74. CONSERVATION IN THE SUBURBS
Large numbers of old houses are now being carefully and sympathetically restored by people who have no other association with building conservation. This movement is a spontaneous private effort that is benefiting both property owners and our national heritage. 1110 words.
75. OLD HOUSE RESTORATION BENEFITS ALL
As property values soar, more and more people are restoring old houses. The trend is one that benefits not only the homeowner whose property increases in value but also the community. 1360 words.
76. PATIENCE A VIRTUE IN OLD HOUSE RESTORATION
You have just bought an old house and you can't wait to start work on it. The days tick by while you wait to gain possession and on every one of them you make a stream of plans about what you will do. 855 words.
77. TIPS ON EASIER HOUSE RESTORATION
Restoring an old house can be made a lot easier if you go about it the right way. Your approach to the job can make a lot of difference to the speed and ease with which the task is completed. 1065 words.
78. DEALING WITH TRADESPEOPLE
Finding the right tradesmen or women can make all the difference to the result of a restoration project. Your old house will shine if it's treated right. 1165 words.
79. HOW NOT TO RESTORE AN OLD HOUSE
Rather than discuss methods of restoring old houses today, I thought that it might make a change to talk about NOT restoring them. This is an aspect of dealing with old buildings which has so far not received much attention. 1010 words.
80. LETTER TO NIGEL AND PENELOPE, YUPPIES
Dear Nigel and Penelope: Although I have taken the liberty of addressing you by your first names, I have to admit that I don't actually know you. In fact, your names might be Tony and Sarah, or Christopher and Sofie. In this context, your names don't matter - other than to convey, perhaps, a sense of your style. 1075 words.
81. BARS, SPAS AND EN-SUITES
Although there are a great many people who understand and appreciate the special qualities of old houses there is an unfortunate trend at present to embellish them in a manner that pays no regard to their original characteristics. 875 words.
82. GOLDEN RULE OF OLD HOUSE RESTORATION
I am often asked about some of the most common mistakes that people make in working on old houses. The ironic fact is that a great deal of harm can be done to an old house by someone who loves it and is acting in the belief that he or she is working in its best interests. 865 words.
83. ON CLASSIFYING OLD HOUSES
About twenty years ago, the National Trust abandoned its system of classifying old buildings according to their degree of importance. 840 words.
84. INFILL DEVELOPMENT
Architects and town planners call it infill development but to you it may simply be the new building that is under construction next door to the old house in which you live. 920 words.
85. FINDING EVERYTHING YOU NEED
Locating the right materials and services is half the battle in caring for or restoring an old house. Restoration shops aim to provide everything everything from chimney pots to the kitchen sink. 685 words.
86. BOOKS PROVIDE SOLUTIONS
Many of us who restore old houses pride ourselves on our ability to do it ourselves. 875 words.
87. TECHNOLOGY THREATENS ROOFING TRADITION
New materials and technology may cause the extinction of a roofing material which has been one of the distinctive features of our architecture since 1850. 1215 words.
88. GETTING THE GUTTERING RIGHT
Renewing the guttering is not one of the 'glamour' jobs associated with the restoration of an old house. It's because they seem to be insignificant that so many people barely give the gutters a thought when they begin a restoration project. 1000 words.
89. THE CRAFT OF THE SHINGLE-SPLITTER
One of the tales often told about our old houses is that their steep roofs were provided because their builders thought they would have to cope with heavy snow. It's a shame to let the facts spoil a good yarn. 965 words.
90. REVIVAL OF THE CHIMNEYPOT
Although comparatively few people ever notice them, chimney pots are among the interesting and decorative features that give old houses their distinctly different character. 785 words.
91. TERRACOTTA TROUBLES TERMINATED
One by one, most of the problems that bother the restorers of old houses are being solved. .... houses built between about 1890 and 1920 ... were often roofed with slate or terracotta tiles and provided with chimney pots, ridge capping and finials of terracotta. 625 words.
92. THE ROOMS OF OLD HOUSES
Knowledge of the way rooms were furnished, decorated and used is essential information for anyone who sets out to restore an old house. 1430 words.
93. HISTORY OF THE VERANDAH
Whenever people discuss the qualities that make old houses so appealing, the verandah is one feature that they never fail to mention. 1330 words.
94. HANDLE THE VERANDAH WITH CARE
Some of the biggest mistakes that people make when working on an old house occur on the verandah. 895 words.
95. RESTORING THE BATHROOM
The right bathroom will do wonders for your old house, enhancing its character and adding substantially to its value. 1115 words.
96. SAVE WITH AN OLD-FASHIONED KITCHEN
Kitchens seem to cause more than their share of worry and expense to people who are restoring old houses. 1170 words.
97. CARING FOR CELLARS
If your old house is fortunate enough to have a cellar, there are a few things that you need to know in order to give it the necessary care and attention. 1165 words.
98. EXPLORING THE SECRET PLACES OF YOUR OLD HOUSE
There is much more to a house than the rooms in which we live. Most people spend years in a house without seeing every part of it. 1105 words.
99. SECURITY FOR THE OLD HOUSE
Securing the house against unwelcome visitors is a bigger problem today than at almost any other period of our history. 1185 words.
100. FABRICS IN OLD HOUSE RESTORATION
Fabrics are one of the all-important finishing touches in a house restoration programme. 965 words.
101. CURTAINS, BLINDS AND CASECOVERS
Anyone who has ever seriously tried to carry out an authentic restoration programme on an old house knows that the hardest items to get right are the soft furnishings. 985 words.
102. SASH CURTAINS : ELEGANCE AND PRACTICALITY
The humble sash curtain has given faithful service in our homes for more than a century. .... inexpensive cotton lace or muslin, sash curtains were fitted to the lower sashes of windows, or to the glazed areas of French doors. 875 words.
103. ADD IMPACT TO THE HALLWAY WITH A PORTIERE
The task of furnishing a Victorian or Edwardian house with fabrics does not begin and end with the windows or the covers on the furniture. 950 words.
104. NETS HELP TO DEFEAT THE MOSQUITO
The humble mosquito net is back in the front line of the war against this determined insect enemy. 890 words.
105. THE FEDERATION TOUCH
The surprising thing about Federation houses is that so many people have so many different reasons for liking them. Let's be perfectly honest about it. They are, at first sight, unlikely objects of adoration. 1975 words.
106. CARING FOR THE FEDERATION HOUSE
Federation houses deserve particular care and attention as a unique part of our heritage. 1010 words.
107. IN PRAISE OF THE HUMBLE COTTAGE
There's a lot to be said for the humble suburban cottage. A cottage makes the ideal first home, particularly for people who are attracted to old houses but daunted by the scale of the problems that may confront them with a larger building. 1120 words.
108. A HISTORY OF THE TERRACE HOUSE
Compact, decorative and cheap, terraced houses were the answer to a pressing housing problem during the boom years that followed the goldrushes of the 1850s. 1225 words.
109. HOW THE 'CALBUNG' CHANGED SUBURBIA
Of all the styles of architecture which have appeared in the past century it is probable that the Californian bungalow has done most to change the face of suburbia. 850 words.
110. THE BUILDING ARTS AND CRAFTS
While some arts and crafts have always quietly flourished several of those associated with traditional building techniques have just recovered from fifty years on the brink of extinction. 1530 words.
111. THE ART OF RESTORATION
The great movements in style which have affected art, fashion and design from time to time have been reflected on, and in, our houses. These should be considered very carefully when anyone is restoring and furnishing a house in the manner of its period. 845 words.
112. SAVE WITH RECYCLED FLOOR TILES
One of the tricks of restoration that few people have discovered is the use of old floor and wall tiles when original tiled surfaces are being restored or repaired. 1225 words.
113. THE DECORATED TILE
The second golden age of the decorated tile has arrived. Today, after half a century of near-oblivion, the art of the decorated tile has staged an amazing recovery. 1120 words.
114. REVIVING A HERITAGE IN TILES
Decorative Victorian and Edwardian tiles that are suffering from the effects of old age can be successfully revived with a technique developed by a glass craftsman. 1040 words.
115. MYSTERY OF THE CAVITY WALL
A number of important technical innovations during the late nineteenth century produced a chain reaction that changed the face of architecture and produced houses that, for the first time in our history, were almost completely dry. 880 words.
116. BEWARE OF THE 'TINMEN'
More damage has been done to our rich heritage of old houses in the name of 'home improvement' than has ever been caused by the passage of time and the effects of wind, sun and rain. 985 words.
You can email, post or fax your order. Credit card payments (Visa, Mastercard or Bankcard) can be made by telephone or fax.
The address for orders is PO Box 591, Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia 2482. Phone/fax: 02 6684 7677. (Overseas callers: international access code then 612 6684 7677)
Please identify the essays you require from their number and title & specify how you want to receive them: email, post or fax. An extra $1.00 is charged for essays printed, mailed or faxed but there is no charge for emailing.
The essays are strictly copyright & there is no entitlement to republish or redistribute them in any way. Arrangements for publication can be made by contacting Ian Evans.