Old House Links

What we are reading this week about decorating and renovating old houses:



We were thrilled to see The Wooden House Project start up again in March after a hiatus of about a year and a half. The blog focuses on the history and restoration of frame house facades in Brooklyn. Founder Elizabeth Finkelstein lives in South Slope, land of wood frame houses, and is a preservation consultant. Two contributors both work at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Above, two gorgeous, partially restored wood frame houses at 69 and 71 Dean Street in Boerum Hill. We guess the side of No. 69 still needs a little work. The door frames look about 1840s-ish to us. Does anyone know if the unpainted wood fronts and six-over-six windows are historically accurate?
69-71 Dean Street, 1960 [The Wooden House Project]
Photo by The Wooden House Project


Lovers of English house decoration and traditional interiors will find a treasure trove in the online portfolio of Nicky Haslam, the famous British interior designer. Above is a sitting room in a Dublin townhouse with a black fireplace mantel, riotous 19th century floral stripe wallpaper, and matching cushions. The woodwork is painted cream — a notable choice given the black fireplace — and the solid green couch picks up a color in the paper.
Portfolio: Ireland [Nicky Haslam]
Photo by James Fennell


The blog Spitalfields Life, about an historic area of London, has a series of posts titled “…of Old London,” which chronicle via old photos such subjects as stairs, doors and stores. Above, a butcher shop in a photo taken about 1910. Most of the photos are circa-1900 but their subjects, such as Tudor buildings, are often older.
The Shops of Old London [Spitalfields Life]
Photo via Spitalfields Life

3 Comment

  • An unpainted facade is very rare after the 1700s. Paint was a sign of wealth and it became less expensive during the Federal Period. There are certainy none of the “better homes” left unpainted in Williamsburg or Deerfield. Same with inerior casework. Dark, unpainted interiors came back into vogue in Victorian times

  • Quite a comeback for those two from the 1960 photo (see the WHP page). Nothing uglier than the yellow asphalt shingle siding seen on #71.

  • I agree with DIBS that these almost certainly would’ve been painted originally. While modest, these aren’t some dock-side shacks. (Look at the door surrounds.) Good painting also maintains the wood.

    No. 71 shows up on the 1855 fire insurance map; No. 69 was an empty lot then. (But must have been built shortly thereafter.)