old barn

Ways to Make a Difference: Big and Small Preservation Activity Ideas

Boscawen.

Boscawen.

May is Preservation Month, and here are some big and little ideas of ways to engage in preservation activity.

Take care of your old home. Spring is a great time to evaluate repair needs and plan for the year ahead.  An energy audit can also help you prioritize investments. Get ready for the next cold season with properly-installed insulation in your attic and around your foundation. “Re-tuning” old windows keeps cold air out and preserves original features of an old house. Check our Directory of Preservation Products and Services for key contacts.

The Weeks Estate in Lancaster includes this fire lookout tower. Prepare for tremendous views!

The Weeks Estate in Lancaster includes this fire lookout tower. Prepare for tremendous views!

Take a second look around you.  Are there places you can’t imagine your community without? Start a conversation with other interested citizens, and consider planning tools like easements and tax incentives to turn a challenge into an opportunity.  Support your local farm, and thank a neighbor who has fixed up his or her barn.  Visit a local historic site that you haven’t been to in a long time or check out the cool NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources's initiative this May, which will showcase our state's fire towers.

Be an advocate for preserving our heritage. Volunteer to serve on your local planning board, library board, heritage commission, cemetery commission, or downtown organization. Attend a local heritage event. Help with a preservation project, or enjoy dinner in an old inn or theater in a historic venue. Talk to your legislator about the benefits of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, New Hampshire's popular and effective matching grants program for historic preservation and land conservation projects. E-mail the Preservation Alliance to receive preservation news updates.

Support the Preservation Alliance by becoming a member or renewing your support. Give to local preservation efforts. Buy a “Moose Plate” conservation license plate for yourself or as a gift. 

Preservation activity creates local jobs and keeps more money circulating in local economies than new construction, and is part of the landscape that attracts visitors and businesses to New Hampshire. For you, it also can be an activity that makes you feel good and connects you to special places, old friends and new ones.

More at www.nhpreservation.org or by calling 603-224-2281.

Comfort and Old Houses: More At the Old House and Barn Expo

The experts at the Old House and Barn Expo can offer you suggestions for finding comfort and convenience in old homes.

Old Design Features Help Meet Today’s Needs

Old house owners and enthusiasts are using old fashioned strategies as well as technology to find comfort and convenience in their old homes. Southern exposure make certain rooms extra cozy. Your floor plan may offer separation of space for privacy. Pantries and build-in cabinetry provide storage space. Perhaps you can close doors to heat less of the house, and use the “stack effect” to cool your house in warmer seasons With the boomerang generation to accommodate, old houses also provide lots of space and flexibility. Old buildings also can be divided up, offering “micro” home possibilities that are popular in cities like Portsmouth and Concord as well as in rural areas.

Blend Old with Technology Aids

You can record measurements or test colors using your own photos and free or low-cost apps. Programmable thermostats and home management systems with remote features can lower energy costs and stress. Steve Bedard of Bedard Restoration and Preservation noted that he is encouraging people, especially second home owners, to consider systems that monitor water breaks and low temperature. Bedard’s two talks at the Expo will cover how to assess a building before you start a project, and many issues related to comfort and convenience in older structures.

Psychological Health Effects for Old House and Barn Owners

Many old home owners feel attached to the social and architectural history of their place, and welcome the chance to be a steward of it for the future. Others are proud of the craftsmanship embodied in the structure, and are pleased to “go local” with materials and help for repairs. Research also reinforces what most of you know innately: beautiful places – along with social offerings and community openness – attaches people to communities and boosts their psychological health.

Beyond the Humans

Horses, sheep and chickens enjoy the comfort of old barns, right? And Pope Memorial SPCA Concord-Merrimack County will be at the Expo to inform attendees about barn cat adoption and care.  Their Cat Placement Program is for cats who are not adoptable into a home, but could live in a barn or other secure outdoor place. They recommend a pair if you have no other cats living in those spaces. The Preservation Alliance’s members who are barn and barn cat owners report that their daily routine of barn cat care helps them keep track of barn maintenance issues. The cats also help control rodent population, and are fun to have around.

Report from barn cat owner: It took a while but the cats at our farm are now friends. Thought you would like to see them warming themselves in the window of the barn together. Taz, the female, is still a little wary of us but Corey, the male, likes to sit in the rafters of the barn and watch us. He also comes when we call and open the cat food. But he doesn't get too close…Thanks again for helping us adopt them. They are working out fine and they are happy.

Report from barn cat owner: It took a while but the cats at our farm are now friends. Thought you would like to see them warming themselves in the window of the barn together. Taz, the female, is still a little wary of us but Corey, the male, likes to sit in the rafters of the barn and watch us. He also comes when we call and open the cat food. But he doesn't get too close…Thanks again for helping us adopt them. They are working out fine and they are happy.

It took a while but the cats at our farm are now friends. Thought you would like to see them warming themselves in the window of the barn together.. Taz, the female, is still a little wary of us but Corey, the male, likes to sit in the rafters of the barn and watch us. He also comes when we call and open the cat food. But he doesn't get too close…Thanks again for helping us adopt them. They are working out fine and they are happy.

Share ideas about how you find comfort or convenience with old homes and other buildings at the Expo or with a note to projects@nhpreservation.org.

Behind the Scenes at the Old House & Barn Expo: More Sponsor Profiles

The N.H. Preservation Alliance's generous sponsors help make the Old House & Barn Expo, and preservation work across the state, possible. Here are four:

Ian Blackman LLC Restoration and Preservation Restores Barns to Make a Difference

Ian Blackman, far left, explains his work at the NH Farm Museum.

Ian Blackman, far left, explains his work at the NH Farm Museum.

This company specializes in the restoration and preservation of historic barns and houses from the foundation to the roof.  Blackman takes great pride in paying close attention to the details that make the difference in a lasting and accurate restoration. "The Expo is important because it provides information and support for people who love old houses and barns," Blackman said. "Buildings that have a story to tell. Doors and windows to another time. New Hampshire without these buildings would be like fall with no color. It is always fun to be with a group of people who share this passion and avocation." Enjoy his barn preservation strategies on Saturday, March 24 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, March 25 at 3 p.m.  

 

ReVision Energy Accelerating Clean Energy Use with Help From Barns

Your barn roof could help you save on electricity costs.

Your barn roof could help you save on electricity costs.

ReVision Energy designs, installs, and services commercial and residential solar systems. They are responsible for helping accelerate New England’s clean energy transition from fossil fuels to solar energy. And your barn roof may be the perfect place for an array. “Throughout their long histories, New England barns have served a host of purposes—from hay loft to livestock shelter, from barn dances to the backdrop of pretty postcards,” ReVision's Jeff Cantara said. “Now, the growing trend of supporting a robust solar array breathes new life into these iconic structures, providing a revenue stream that offsets upkeep and maintenance while propelling the Yankee tradition of frugality and independence into a new era.”

Visit their booth and attend the session by Cantara on solar energy strategies on Saturday, March 24 at 3 p.m.  Think your barn would be a good fit? Free site evaluations are available.

Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Info For Old House Owners and Repairers

Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program will be at the show to educate people about lead safe work practices for home renovators and when hiring a contractor.  New state legislation mandating lead screening in young children offers reminders that older structures can contain lead, and safe practices are essential for home residents as well as renovators, noted Gail Gettens, manager of the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program for the State of New Hampshire.

"As we work to preserve and maintain New Hampshire’s old and historic homes and barns, it is important for DIY’ers and contractors to understand the risk of lead exposure during renovations and repairs. Learning lead-safe work practices and following EPA and State ‘Renovate, Repair, and Paint’ (RRP) laws are critical to protect yourself and your children from lead poisoning," she said.  Visit their booth at the Expo and attend the session on safe lead practices on Saturday, March 24 at 2 p.m. 

News and Critical Information

WMUR-TV Broadcast Center provides New Hampshire with unmatched local news, weather, and critical information from its innovative broadcast facility in Manchester and satellite bureaus in the Seacoast and Lakes Regions.  Many Old House & Barn Expo goers are Chronicle fans. “WMUR gladly supports the work of the NH Preservation Alliance and their goal of preserving the historic buildings and places across New Hampshire,” said Ahni Malachi.

Here are additional profiles. More on our sponsors to be posted soon, and more on the Expo .

Winning and the Old House and Barn Expo

Everyone who attends the Old House and Barn Expo is a winner, right? Because you gain information, contacts and inspiration.  The gathering is also a special chance to meet New Hampshire authors and advisors on preservation and place, passionate craftspeople, and like-minded folks.

Check out these other Expo-only opportunities to win big for old house and barn owners and enthusiasts

Bid on custom kitchen cabinetry (photo below) valued at approximately $17,000, generously donated by long-time Preservation Alliance sponsor and supporter Vintage Kitchens. On display at the Expo. All bidders will need to exceed a $1,500 minimum.  More information here

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Also, take a chance to win a small timber frame constructed by members of the Timber Framers Guild during the show. We’ve heard from past Expo timber frame winners that they are enjoying them as a sugar shack (photo below), a back yard get-away that features a hot tub, and (more routinely) as utility sheds. Tickets will be sold at the Expo for $5/each or 5 for $20. 

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You can also bid on a set of old handhewn beams, mostly hemlock, from an old post and beam house that was torn down after a fire.  Some of the timbers have some notching, also some holes with pegs.  Email projects@nhpreservation.org if you want specs or other questions answered before the Expo. Donated by a member of the Preservation Alliance.

timbers.jpg

The announcement of these winners will be Sunday, March 25 afternoon at the Expo. You need not be present to win.

All Expo attendees will also be entered to win door prizes of memberships, books and other preservation-related items.  Scavenger hunt participants will also be eligible for small prizes.

All proceeds support the work of the NH Preservation Alliance.

Behind the Scenes at the Expo: Some of our Sponsors

The N.H. Preservation Alliance's generous sponsors help make the Old House & Barn Expo, and preservation work across the state, possible. Here are four:

Antique Homes Magazine: Connections and Advice for Old House and Barn Buyers, Sellers and Stewards

This magazine and web-site help you find historic properties for sale, and offer a product and service directory, articles related to historic preservation, and an on-line guide to historic architectural styles. Serving New England since 1995. “The Old House & Barn Expo provides a terrific forum to meet up with other old house owners, admire their old house “baby” pictures, and to learn from skilled craftsmen and building professionals sympathetic to the uniqueness of these buildings,” said Ginger Petraglia.  “The upbeat, “can-do” attitude of the NH Preservation Alliance serves a cross generational population who value what came before and strive to make possible an enduring legacy.” You can follow their posts on Facebook, and visit their booth at the Expo.  Antiques Home Magazine

Bedard Preservation & Restoration: Old House, Barn and Historic Building Repair, Rehab and Restoration   

This Gilmanton, NH-based company offers over 40 years of experience with buildings dating from 1685 through 1930.  Services include initial project evaluation, structural work, interior/exterior detail work as well as coordination with subcontractor. “Our common sense approach translates into a project that runs smoothly and is cost effective,” said Steve Bedard.  Visit their booth at the Expo and attend Bedard’s two-part sessions Saturday, March 24 at noon (assessing buildings) and 2 p.m. (adding 21st century comfort and convenience). Bedard Preservation & Restoration

Preservation Timber Framing: Analysis and Repair of Timber Framed Structures

 This team of highly talented craftsmen is dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings, specializing in the structural repair of timber framed structures. Their resume includes work on old houses and barns as well as small- and large-scale, award-winning church and meetinghouse projects. “The Expo is the icing on the cake that is the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance,” Arron Sturgis said.   “It is a celebration of preservation and an affirmation of the important and critical work the Alliance does in this state.” Preservation Timber Framing

 

New Hampshire Home: Sharing Stories, Advice and Inspiration

Showcases the work of talented architects, interior and garden designers, artists, craftsmen and others whose work makes New Hampshire homes unique places in which to live.  “As someone who lives in an old home and writes about old homes, I always look forward to the Old House and Barn Expo," said Andi Axman, editor of the magazine New Hampshire Home. “It’s a great place to learn more about what we can do to preserve these treasures and meet others who love them, too.” New Hampshire Home

Additional profiles will be posted before the Expo. More on our sponsors and the Expo here

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Expo Preview for Hip People

Old houses and history equal old-fashioned? No way! Here are five “hip-storical” reasons to attend the Old House and Barn Expo

New Old Buildings at the Old House and Barn Expo

At a session on mid-20th century architecture on March 25th and at exhibits on the show floor, folks will be talking about the newest old buildings. According to exhibitor Sally Zimmerman of Historic New England, “mid-century homes can offer an affordable alternative to first-time homebuyers in established suburbs: younger buyers appreciate the open floor plans, retro look, and smaller footprints of 1960s ranch houses and often they’re the least pricy options in desirable neighborhoods.” She noted that mid-century homes often have naturalistic settings with mature trees and plantings that add interest and privacy. “Adding on takes some skill,” Zimmerman cautioned, “but the modular nature of their original design can allow for enlargements in a vocabulary that is once again popular.”

Mid-century modern homes of all sorts will be a topic of conversation at the Expo. This David Campbell designed house in Durham was built in the early 1950s for Mary and Edwin Scheier, famous potters who taught at UNH.  Courtesy: Peter Michaud.

Mid-century modern homes of all sorts will be a topic of conversation at the Expo. This David Campbell designed house in Durham was built in the early 1950s for Mary and Edwin Scheier, famous potters who taught at UNH.  Courtesy: Peter Michaud.

Made in the Shade Spaces for Old Homes

Life can be relaxing and enjoyable on the porch or in the garden, right? Presenters Gillian Lang and Henry Homeyer – and exhibitors – will offer historical perspectives and advice on these important, hip parts of homes we love.

Talk to folks from Pope Memorial SPCA Concord - Merrimack about their Barn Cat Program.


Talk to folks from Pope Memorial SPCA Concord - Merrimack about their Barn Cat Program.

Cool Cats for Barn Owners

Pope Memorial SPCA Concord-Merrimack County will be at the show to inform attendees about barn cat adoption and care.  The Preservation Alliance’s members who are barn and barn cat owners report that their daily routine of barn cat care helps them keep track of barn maintenance issues. The cats also help control rodent population, and are fun to have around.

 

New Craft, Place and Preservation Perspectives from Experts

You’ll have a chance to connect with many local and national stars of the preservation and heritage world at the Expo:

  • Meet Tom McLaughlin, the new host of NHPBS’s Rough Cut with Fine Woodworking, and watch his demonstration with hand tools;
  • Enjoy hearing ideas on the importance of place and preservation with Steve Taylor, farmer and former commissioner of N.H. Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, and New Hampshire authors Howard Mansfield, Joe Monninger and John Clayton;
  • Learn how to “read” old buildings with Dr. James Garvin, architectural historian and award-winning author of A Building History of Northern New England;
  • Gain understanding of stone wall building with Kevin Gardner, teacher, stone mason and author of Granite Kiss and his new Stone Building;
  • Take away advice about gardening with your grandparents favorites from Henry Homeyer, garden columnist and commentator; and
  •  Learn about the evolution of timber frames in New England from Jim DeStefano, structural engineer, architect and author of Antique New England Homes and Barns and buy a chance to win a timber frame shed assembled at the show by members of the Timber Framers Guild.

Uber Local

Expo exhibitors and presenters advise about “go local” and sustainability every day. New Hampshire contractors and designers report an uptick of client interest in local materials. Sue Booth of Vintage Kitchens notes that her customers like to use local lumber for floors and millwork, and that native plants are popular for gardens. She said that it is easy to source local talent in addition to local materials. “We are also lucky to have so many talented craftsmen who can make hardware, cabinets, weathervanes, murals and more,” she added. Booth described the Expo as a “big farmer’s market of old house products and services.”

Share your thoughts at the March 24-25 Expo and with a note to projects@nhpreservation.org.

 

 

Lower Old House Stress: Tips at the Old House and Barn Expo

Are you excited about spring but stressed about old house projects?

Whether you're a new owner of a historic house or long-time do-it-yourselfer, you can probably use some advice and encouragement from the N.H. Preservation Alliance's Old House and Barn Expo to help you see past the long to-do repair list and embrace the positive features of the old place.  

Take a deep breath and appreciate what you've got

Old houses were designed frequently with climate and good living in mind.  Does southern exposure make certain rooms extra cozy? Does the floor plan offer separation of space for privacy? Does a porch offer a wonderful extra room? Does an attic or ell offer storage space?  Can you close doors to heat less of the house? Remember old wood windows, moulding and doors are repairable.

Gather information and inspiration

Bring your questions to the Preservation Alliance's Old House and Barn Expo on March 24-25. Visit with experts and enjoy lectures and demonstrations. Gather information on how to get started, big projects or small.  Sign up for a session with an Old House Doctor. Ask a preservation contractors to perform a "walk-though" visit  to help you better understand the history and evolution of your building and determine priorities for your time and money.
 

Gain perspective on what you've done or need to do

Keep a journal of your progress. Documenting what you've done is good preservation practice. Record the building's condition, highlight features and keep track of treatments. Record paint colors and materials used. Reviewing the journal can offer a boost when you see all that you've accomplished. 

Recognize your interests and limits

Ask a neighbor for help or hire a handyman if storm window installation seems too onerous. Maybe you now have patience for a painting project that seemed impossible a decade ago? Phase work to align with time and budget considerations. 

Use new technology to help manage repair and restoration projects as well as everyday living

You can record measurements or test colors using your own photos and free or low-cost apps.  Programmable thermostats and home management systems with remote features can lower energy costs and stress.

Consider adopting a barn cat

The Pope Memorial SPCA of Concord-Merrimack County will be at the Old House and Barn Expo to inform attendees about barn cat adoption and care.  Preservation Alliance members who are barn cat owners report that their daily routine of barn cat care helps them keep track of barn maintenance issues. The cats also help control rodent population, and are just fun to have around too!

Laugh and keep perspective

Compare preservation and repair "war" stories at the Old House and Barn Expo and with friends over a beer.  Working on a barn project? Join the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks panel discussion at the Expo on March 25 to gain inspiration and gather helpful ideas. Watch a movie like The Money Pit or Mr. Blanding's Dream House, or visit a large historic site to make your challenges seem small.

Send your ideas to projects@nhpreservation.org

Get practical advice on painting, and any other project -- big or small -- at the Expo.

Get practical advice on painting, and any other project -- big or small -- at the Expo.