old house

Summer Maintenance Tips

Paint in sections if you get overwhelmed easily.

Paint in sections if you get overwhelmed easily.

Moss growth on roofs will shorten its lifespan and potentially cause moisture problems. 

Moss growth on roofs will shorten its lifespan and potentially cause moisture problems. 

Sometimes regular inspection reveals bigger problems. 

Sometimes regular inspection reveals bigger problems. 

Summer isn't over yet so there's still time to work on your old house to-do list.

There are lots of competing interests in the summer months, and usually scraping and painting the gable end of your old house fails to win over opportunities to relax. Then autumn comes and we start to wish we had spent just a little more time doing maintenance in the summer...

Prioritize.

Every old house has a laundry list of work items, from painting to window repair to finally re-installing that trim in the upstairs bedroom. It can be overwhelming. 

Or maybe your insurance company is calling the shots. We talked to Dale Barney, of Barney Insurance in Canaan, about what insurance companies want to see with older houses. "If homeowners want preferred policies, make sure your house is well-cared for and well-maintained." That means no peeling paint, no curling roof shingles, and no rickety stair railings. 

Insurance companies inspect properties every five years on average. Making your house look good can save you hundreds of dollars on homeowners insurance.

Clean up.

Spend time clearing vegetation away from the perimeter of the house and barn. Foliage and roots trap moisture against siding and their roots can cause foundation issues. Trim back tree branches that reach over roofs, which can foster environments for moss growth (you can later kill moss with baking soda). 

Inspect and clean your gutters while you're up on the roof. Keeping your gutters free of leaves and dirt prevents moisture issues down on the ground.

Gently washing dirt and mold growth off wood siding and trim also helps extend the life of your house's paint job and clapboards. Gentle is the key word here. Instead of power washing your siding, use mild soap and TSP substitute.  

Work in small batches.

You could easily spend your weekend hours working on your old house. (Many of us here at the Alliance can attest to this.) Dividing your house into manageable sections can give you a sense of satisfaction without draining your spare time and wallet.

Tackle one elevation of your house or barn at a time.  Spend a few hours here and there cleaning siding or painting trim. Cut up just one load of brush a weekend. Over time, these smaller efforts pay off.

Celebrate.

"I use benchmarks in my house's restoration as an excuse to invite people over," admits our field service representative, Andrew Cushing. "When the porch was done, I had a porch party. When the yard was mostly cleared, I had a bonfire. The affirmation helps, but so does the clear timeline to finish projects."

Do you have tips for staying sane with summer maintenance? Share them with us.

 

 

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.

Researching Your Old House

Lord Tavern in Effingham.

Lord Tavern in Effingham.

Perhaps you just purchased an old house (congratulations!) or maybe you've lived in one for some time and have grown curious about its history. Where do you start? 

It's always a good idea to first read up on your town's history. It's useful information to know if your town changed names or counties over the years, annexed land, or had certain development patterns. This comes in handy when you do keyword searches later on.

Physical Evidence

Before you hit the books or ask Google, study your house and its setting. You can learn a lot about your house's history based on its architecture, materials, and the landscape. Houses evolve over time - so sometimes this practice takes a careful eye. It's fairly common to see Greek Revival houses get Italianate porches, for example. It's also fairly common to see ells, barns, or dormers added decades after a house was first built. (And sometimes your ell or barn may be older than the house.)

Does the landscape include mature trees or flower beds where a house no longer stands? Maybe there are granite steps leading to nowhere, or a cow run connecting a barn long since gone to a pasture since grown up.

Inside, look for details like doors, exposed nails, or framing. These things can help pinpoint a construction date. If your house is more recent (say after WWII), look for catalogs online that advertise materials like linoleum, metal cabinets, or louvered windows.

This house in Enfield Center has a Victorian-era porch added to an otherwise Greek Revival cape.

This house in Enfield Center has a Victorian-era porch added to an otherwise Greek Revival cape.

Photographic Evidence

Not all houses were photographed back in the day, but chances are your local historical society or library may have a good collection of images. Having historic photographs is very helpful in determining when things were added or removed from your house. You may be able to find photographs from lifelong residents, neighbors, or former inhabitants, too.

If you're looking for images from the 1970s onward, you may have luck looking through old tax card photos at your town office. 

If you live in a grander house, or one with a prominent owner, try using Google Books or archive.org using keywords like your town, address, names of previous owners, and occupations. You never know if an agricultural journal profiled Farmer John Kimball or if an architectural trade magazine highlighted your house.

Historic images show that this Greek Revival house in East Grafton once had an earlier cape (background), ell, and barn.

Historic images show that this Greek Revival house in East Grafton once had an earlier cape (background), ell, and barn.

Maps

Maps are great resources, too. In New Hampshire, there are a few go-to map resources:

c.1860 Walling Maps were cadastral maps made at the county level, and many are available online at the Library of Congress. If you don't see your county listed, you may have better luck finding one in person (they're on display at the NH State Library, in many county offices, and at some historical society museums). 

c.1890 Hurd Maps are also wonderful cadastral maps worth exploring, and are available through the David Rumsey Map Collection.

Sanborn Fire Insurance maps were made for insurance companies to assess risk between the 1880s and 1920s. They're most common in densely settled areas, or where industry was located, but they reveal interesting context. Dartmouth has digitized an extensive collection, and those are available for here. They're also available at the Library of Congress website.

Birds Eye Maps are drawings of towns, often made in the decades after the Civil War. Many are available at the Library of Congress website, or by doing online searches. 

If your house is very old, or if you want to research land owners before your house was built, the NH Historical Society has many towns' early proprietor maps, which show how towns were divvied up into ranges and lots. 

Deed Research

Deed research is a good step once you fully understand your property and have some names associated with it. While some counties offer online searches, not all counties are the same. It's sometimes worth it to travel to your county seat and spend an afternoon poring through paper records; this way if you get stuck (and you very well might if your property history has subdivisions and hard-to-read print), you can ask the registrar experts for help.

Census Records

If you don't have an account to Ancestry, consider spending a day at a nearby library, university, or historical society that does have an account. Census data is the best way to understand who lived in your house. While the sorts of data collected changes between decades, you'll be able to determine things like the ages and professions of your house's previous owners.

Three things to note about the census: some census data is missing due to archival fires at the federal level (1890 especially, but also 1820 for some towns in Grafton, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties); census search engines sometimes cannot translate the handwritten names, so it's worth it to look at your town's entire sheet or enter in old neighbors' surnames that are easy to translate and look from there; and the public can only search up to the year 1940.

If you know that your earlier homeowners were farmers of millers, there's a good chance you can find additional information about them through the Industrial and Agricultural Schedules. These were done in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 and provide details about the amount of corn, cheese, and carded wool your person of interest produced. This data isn't available online, so head to the NH State Library's genealogical room where it's on microfiche.

Other Great Sources

City directories (many available online or at the local library) are great resources if you live in a more urban area, or if you've discovered that your house once doubled as a lawyer's or doctor's office. 

If you suspect your house was built from a kit (likely if it dates from the early 1900s), try searching online for catalogs that may include its design. There will be clues in your house, too: look for labels or stamps on lumber or on the back of trim. Sears and Roebuck was just one of many mail-order companies, so keep your searches broad at first. 

Oral history can be a great way to connect to your house's more recent history. Ask old timers in town (or maybe you are the old timer - in that case, write it down!) or former inhabitants about quirks you've noticed. Even the mundane can prove interesting.

With your collection of keywords, enter in names of owners into Google Books or other online databases. You never know what will come up. Maybe someone was a master of a local grange, a suffragette, or a state representative. 

Next Steps

When you feel like you've researched all you can research, consider listing your house to the National or State Register of Historic Places. Both are honorary programs, which means that they don't come with regulation. By joining the historic register, though, you're providing greater context to our state's architectural history - which is very helpful for professionals and other homeowners.

You should also type all of your findings and create a report to pass on to the local historical society or next stewards. And remember, what you do to your house will add to its history. Leave behind photographs for your local historical society and record changes that you make. The future will thank you.

You can find a list of these compiled resources - and more - here and another one here

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 and Barn Expo: Wonderful Sponsors Who Can Help

The N.H. Preservation Alliance's generous sponsors help make the Old House & Barn Expo, and preservation work across the state, possible. Meet them at the event!

Ahlgren & Son Builders Building Green the Old Fashioned Way

Old school craftsmen using high tech solutions, building green the old fashioned way. “We can help with building preservation and structural repair as well as select new construction," said Josiah Ahlgren. "I like the expo because of the community of people with shared interests in history and architecture,” he added. Visit their booth at the Expo.  ahlgrenandsonbuilders.com

Fifield Building Restoration & Relocation LLC Restoring New Hampshire from Foundation to Steeple

Historic preservation company with 40 years of experience restoring 18th and 19th century structures. Have restored houses, barns, churches and churches, steeples. Also schoolhouses, springhouses, blacksmith shops, water-powered saw mills and buggy sheds. Visit their booth at the Expo and meet their conscientious, reliable craftsmen. Web link here.

Help for Three Centuries of Old Homes, Barns and More: First Period Colonial Preservation/Restoration

Restoring 17th, 18th, and 19th century period homes, barns, public structures and outbuildings.  Structural timber frame repairs to fine hand planed interior and exterior decorative elements, consulting, and period woodworking.   Visit their booth at the Expo, and their web-site: firstperiodcolonial.com

Bob Pothier of First Period Colonial worked with the Danville heritage commission, pictured here, to revive this stage coach stop and was honored with a preservation achievement award.

Bob Pothier of First Period Colonial worked with the Danville heritage commission, pictured here, to revive this stage coach stop and was honored with a preservation achievement award.

Preventing Lead Poisoning: Old House Rx with the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

The 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. Web link here.

Save Energy While Retaining Windows's Beauty with Innerglass Window Systems: Solutions!

A glass interior storm window that outperforms almost any replacement, yet maintains the integrity and beauty of your historic windows.  Visit the session on old wood windows on Sunday, March 25 at 10 a.m. and visit their booth at the Expo. stormwindows.com  

 

An Innerglass Window Systems success!

An Innerglass Window Systems success!

Concord, NH Based Company Offers Strategic Communications: Louis Karno & Co. 

A strategic communications firm, helping organizations and entrepreneurs with public relations planning, social media and digital marketing. Business, municipal, agency and non-profit clients.  Recently, Louis Karno managed communication and community relations by the City of Concord, NH, for the 18-month Concord Main Street Project. The award winning project has transformed downtown Concord - and the city ended it with more businesses on Main Street than it had before the project began.  The $11 million renovation of the historic downtown district aimed to improve the accessibility of the City core and improve visitor experience and safety, leading to a more vibrant economic community center.  lkarno.com

 

New Hampshire PBS Inspires with Rough Cut and Other Engaging Programming

Inspires Granite Staters with engaging and trusted local and national programs on-air, online, via mobile, in classrooms and in communities. Maybe you enjoy their Rough Cut with Fine Woodworking, This Old House, travel, food, children’s or current events programming? Visit their booth at the Expo, and meet Tom McLaughlin from NHPBS’ Rough Cut with Fine Woodworking on Saturday, March 24 between 1-5 p.m.  nhpbs.org

The NH State Council on the Arts  Supports and Promotes Traditional Arts

Enhances the quality of life in New Hampshire by stimulating economic growth through the arts, investing in the creativity of students, making the arts accessible to underserved populations, and preserving heritage arts.  “New Hampshire citizens recognize and appreciate this important sector of New Hampshire’s  creative economy,” Kayla Schweitzer, Heritage and Traditional Arts Coordinator, N.H. State Council on the Arts said. “Through the perpetuation of traditional art forms, skills and knowledge, these craftsmen offer an irreplaceable link to our heritage and are important to the character of our communities and our economic vitality.  Enjoy the demonstrations sponsored by the Arts Council throughout the Expo.  nh.gov/nharts/

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

 

 

 

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 .

With Words and By Hand: Information and Inspiration at Old House and Barn Expo

Visit with specialists at the Old House & Barn Expo who can swing a hammer, repair plaster, build stone walls, move historic buildings and design historic gardens. You can also engage with New England authors who, with their words, share practical information and inspiration. Here is information about a few and when you can enjoy their presentations at the Expo.

Ideas about Place and Preservation

Farmer, social historian and former Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets & Food Steve Taylor will facilitate a conversation about place and preservation with three New Hampshire authors on Sunday, March 25 at 11 a.m.: Joe Monninger, author of A Barn in New England and Home Waters: Fishing with an Old Friend, author and newspaper columnist John Clayton; and Howard Mansfield, author of The Same Axe, Twice, Dwelling in Possibility and In the Memory House, with his newest book Summer Over Autumn.   What people might not know, according to Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the Preservation Alliance, is that Monninger features real, special places in his adult and young adult fiction, Mansfield has helped preserve irreplaceable community features in the Monadnock Region and Clayton brings his history as a  Manchester native to his work as the director of the Manchester Historic Association.  “These writers have so much to share with both active and armchair preservationists,” she said.

Helping Old Houses and Barns “Speak”

Jim Garvin, retired State Architectural Historian and author of A Building History of Northern New England, will present The Old House Speaks: Learning to Read the Physical Evidence on Saturday, March 24 at 1 p.m.. This talk will describe the architectural clues found in every old house, from its overall style to the details of doors, windows, paneling, moldings and hardware.  These elements changed over time.  Together, they can help estimate when a house was built and when later changes were made to it, allowing the old house to speak to us and tell us its story.  Garvin’s encyclopedic knowledge of New Hampshire, thoughtful analysis of individual projects and passion for preservation has led to “saves” across the state – from homes and bridges to mill building and hotels.

Jim DeStefano, author of Antique New England Homes and Barns, will talk about the historical development and evolution of early New England timber frames on Sunday, March 25 at noon. He will also discuss common issues and challenges associated with restoring them. DeStefano brings the perspective of a practicing architect and structural engineer to this topic.

Advice Beyond the Old House

Henry Homeyer, garden columnist, commentator and author of four gardening books will present Tips and Tricks for Growing Flowers Your Grandparents Grew – and Maybe Their Grandparents, Too, on Saturday, March 24 at noon. It will be an illustrated presentation of favorite old flowers that were popular in the past, but are still good choices. In some cases, Homeyer will show modern cultivars of old favorites that are even better, and more disease resistant.

Kevin Gardner, teacher, stone mason and author of The Granite Kiss and Stone Building will present his topic on Saturday, March 24 at 3 p.m. His talk will touch on the history, technique, stylistic development, and aesthetics of stone walls.  He will explain how and why New England came to acquire its thousands of miles of stone walls, restoration tips and techniques, and information about design, acquisition of materials, preservation, and analysis. During his presentation, Gardner will build a miniature wall or walls on a tabletop, using tiny stones from a five-gallon bucket. 

Books will be on sale, and all of these authors will be available for conversation and booksigning following their talks.

Expo attendees can learn even more about these topics and others by visiting with exhibitors and attending other hourly education sessions. More here.

Pictured, from left, Kevin Gardner, Howard Mansfield, Joe Monninger and John Clayton. And some of their many books: which does with whom?

 

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.