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Sources for Restoration, Renovation, and Victorian Houses

[ General Book Sources | Magazines | On-line Magazines | Books ]

General Book Sources
Barnes and Noble Online
Triangle Bookshop
HB Net Bookstore
Alibris Books

Old House Bookshop
2 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

A large collection of books selected by OHJ, aimed directly at the renovation and restoration readers. Many of the books that I have listed below came from here. Prices are comparable to many other booksellers (although not the online stores), and their customer service is exceptional. They have a lot of books that are not available anywhere else.

Preservation Press
Contact: National Trust For Historic Preservation

Preservation Press publishes (far too few) fabulous books that are aimed at the historical preservationist or restoration expert. They offer books on walls, plasterwork, maintaining your old house, regulations and documents prepared by the National Trust, etc. These can be a bit more technical than others - and are not "picture books" for design ideas, but strong, detailed information for people interested in restoring in an historically sensitive way

Dover Publications
31 East 2nd Street
Mineola, NY 11501

Dover publishes reprints of old books, many concerning housebuilding, decorations, life, etc. In some cases, they are the only source for books on curtains, floor coverings, and plan houses. They offer a complete book listing which is not reproduced here

Architect's and Designer's Bookservice
3000 Cindel Drive
Delran, NJ 08370-0001 for membership

One of the standard "book-of-the-month" clubs. They do, however, offer an interesting variety of books on general housebuilding and design, and Victorian/old-house specialities. Many of the books are of the coffee-table variety, without much hands on substance, but good references nonetheless. Like most clubs, they require a certain number of purchases and they send you cards you must return every few weeks.


Old House Chronicle
A bimonthly, free, online magazine about the nuts and bolts of old house restoration. Well-illustrated technical articles by old house homeowners, accounts of old house living, and step-by-step projects for the do-it-yourselfer.

Historic Preservation
The member's publication of the National Trust. The events listing is very useful, but a large portion of the magazine is advertising that seems more "vacation"-like than renovation specific. A good way to keep up on the issues in historic preservation, but of little practical value to renovators.

Old House Journal
The best known source for old house information, tips, and articles. Lots of how-to tips, examples, suppliers, etc. Recently, the magazine has been more of a showcase than a do-it-yourself guidebooks, but articles are still interesting and the resources contained in the magazine are invaluable. Bound versions of early issues are released periodically, and are always sought after.

This Old House
P.O. Box 830783
Birmingham, AL 35282-8772
The companion magazine to the television show. I like this magazine, although not quite as much as I did OHJ, because it focuses on real-life situations and examples. Many of the magazine articles are linked to the current projects, which is interesting. Also does some very good comparison pieces about tools and materials. The recent straying of the television show from real old house restoration to "new house yuppie builders" has been a disappointment, but the information is still useful and timely.

Old House Interiors
PO Box 56008
Boulder, CO 80323-6008
Also published by the Old House Journal people, this is much more of an "picture" magazine with some beautiful layouts and design examples. It's a good source for interior decorating ideas and suppliers. Not so much a how-to magazine as it's sister publication.

Victorian Homes
P.O. Box 61
Millers Falls, MA 01349
413-659-3783 $24/yr
Another design idea/decorating idea magazine, although they publish some interesting articles about life and behavior during the Victorian period. Victorian Homes publishes a sourcebook of suppliers each year, and it is a good reference for interior design.

Fine Homebuilding
A good techniques and tools reference, with tips and projects that are not necessarily "old-house", but are detailed and very useful.

Fine Woodworking
63 South Main St,
POB 5507
Newton, CT 06470-9871
Another great reference. This focuses more on small projects and tool evaluations, but has general tips and idea related to housebuilding and cabinetmaking, as well as molding and finish work.

Country Living: Restoration
The premier issue was interesting - more of a photographic showplace than a how-to manual, and I admit to being a bit put off by the pretentious tone, but it's grown into an interesting magazine. As it's title implies, it is more 'country' oriented than Victorian. It focuses on large scale, expensive, and contractor-done remodels, not do it yourself information. It's a good "idea book", though, and I enjoy each issue.

Traditional Homes: Renovation Style
Like Traditional Home, this magazine is a glossy, beautiful picture table book. Not a lot of technical tips, but some good supplier sources. This is less 'country', but most of the projects create a 'faux old house' look, or create new spaces in old houses, which is usually abhorrent to a true old house afficianado.

Bob Vila's American Home
Not quite a restoration and renovation magazine, but interesting all the same. Some "old house" projects and information. Very glossy, nicely laid out magazine. Definitely has Bob Vila's hand in it (whether you think that is good or bad). Lots of advertisements, not a tremendous amount of detail. Sounds a lot like his TV show, really.

Other Online Magazines

Traditional Builder Magazine
House Beautiful
Country Living Gardener
Country Living
Home Domain Magazine
Home and Workshop Online
Home and Design Online
Electronic House Online
Canadian House and Home
Builder Online
Home Furniture
Home Restoration and Remodeling
Old House Interactive Network

My Restoration Bookshelf and Suggestions

I'd love to say that I actually owned all these books (yes, I'm a true bibliophile), but unfortunately, I've only been able to collect about half and have used them constantly. Some of these books are indespensible, others are just gorgeous coffee table books, or fabulous references for decorating or design ideas. Others you might be better off borrowing from the library for a few weeks.

If you buy only ONE book, buy this one:

Litchfield, Michael W, Renovation: A Complete Guide

The books that I've actually worn into rags, highlighted, and scribbled in the margins are listed in red.. Unfortunately, these are NOT links.
Old House Dictionary
Old House Journal Restoration Directory
Textile Designs: 200 Years of European and American Patterns for Printed Fabric
The Victorian Design Book
Abram, Norm, Measure Once, Cut Twice
Abram, Norm, Norm Abram's New House
Ames, Kenneth L., Death in the Dining Room and Other Tales of Victorian Culture
Anscombe, Isabelle, Arts and Crafts Style
Baker, John, American House Styles
Branden, Dan & Hartsell, Thomas, Plastering Skills
Buczacki, Stefan, Creating a Victorian Flower Garden
Calloway, Stephen & Jones, Stephen, Style Traditions
Carley, Rachel, Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture
Cull, James Steven, Victorian Architecture
Delehanty & Sexton, In the Victorian Style
Drucker, Mindy & Rosen, Nancy, Recipes for Surfaces I
Drucker, Mindy & Rosen, Nancy, Recipes for Surfaces II
Eastlake, Charles Locke, Hints on Household Taste: The Classic Handbook of Victorian Interior Decoration
Guild, Robin, The Victorian House Book
Hale, Jonathon, The Old Way of Seeing
Home Planners, Victorian Dream Homes
Howe, Barbara, Houses and Homes: Exploring their History
Kahn, Renee, Preserving Porches
Kemp, James, Victorian Revival in Interior Design
Leopold, Allison Kyle, Cherished Objects
Leopold, Allison Kyle, Victorian Garden
Leopold, Allison Kyle, Victorian Splendor
Light, Sally, House Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home
Maguire, Byron, Interior Renovation and Restoration of Private Dwellings
Massey, James House Styles in America
Miller, Martin and Judith, Period Details
Milnes, John, American House Styles: A Concise Guide
Moss, Roger and Winkler, Gail, Victorian Exterior Decoration
Moss, Roger and Winkler, Gail, Victorian Interior Decoration
Naverson, Kenneth, East Coast Victorians
Naverson, Kenneth, West Coast Victorians
Orme, Alan Dan, Reviving Old Houses
Osband, Linda, Victorian House Style
Parks, Carol, Window Treatments and Curtains
Plante, Ellen M, The Victorian Home
Pomada, Elizabeth & Larsen, Michael, America's Painted Ladies
Pomada, Elizabeth & Larsen, Michael, Daughters of Painted Ladies
Pool, Daniel, What Jane Austin Ate and Charles Dickens Knew
Poore, Patricia, The Old House Journal Guide to Restoration
Preservation Press, What Style is it? A Guide to American Architecture
Prittie, Joan, Victorian Homes
Rusk, Katherine Knight, Renovating the Victorian Home
Shivers, Natalie, Walls and Moldings: How to Care for Old Plaster
Sinclair & Lewis, Victorious Victorians - a Guide to Major Styles
Sinclair, Lawrence, Decorating Old House Interiors
Spilman, Patrick, Victorian Gingerbread
Stephen, George, New Life for Old Houses
Stewart, Martha, Martha Stewart's New Old House
Swift, Penny, Complete Book of Paint Techniques
Whitesides, Katherine, Classic Bulbs - Hidden Treasures for the Modern Garden
Wilhide, Elizabeth, William Morris Decor and Design
Wissinger, Joanna, Victorian Details
Zingman-Leith, Elan and Susan, Creating Authentic Victorian Rooms
Zingman-Leith, Elan and Susan, The Secret Life of Victorian Houses


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All content ©1998-2009 R. Fingerson
Last updated 03/05/2009