I think Ben Moore paint is best for an old house based on my experience & based on the recommendation of the most amazing painter I have ever known. We both swear by their quality. Just brushing it on is creamy & luxurious. Its velvety texture beautifully covers any surface & application marks just melt away.
Ben Moore offers great durability & while I might use another brand inside, outside, it’s my first choice. The colors are yummy & their support is unsurpassed. My favorite Customer Service rep, Earl, I have on speed dial. He’s a genius who is great at dumbing it down for science-challenged me.
Very important to me is their environmental responsibility. They offer a green interior paint with zero VOC’s & zero emissions. The R&D required to formulate such a product is ridiculous!
And as importantly, they contribute to the preservation community. Altogether, the company has a stellar, well-deserved reputation.
They have created an abundance of valuable videos. I have curated the ones most pertinent to old houses. Because of the quantity of them, I’m going to skip descriptions. The titles pretty much let you know what they’re about. I thought I knew everything about paint, but I learned plenty from these videos.
WATCH WHY BEN MOORE PAINT IS BEST FOR AN OLD HOUSE!
Giving Moore – National Trust for Historic Preservation | Benjamin Moore (:58)
How To Fix 5 Common Painting Mistakes | Benjamin Moore (3:18)
How to Choose the Best Paintbrush for Interior Projects | Benjamin Moore (2:55)
How to Touch Up Paint | Benjamin Moore (2:32)
Choosing the Right Paint for your Walls | Benjamin Moore (3:03)
How to Clean & Store Paint Rollers | Benjamin Moore (2:22)
I have never acquired an old house that had its original wood window screens. Makes sense. They are rather flimsy items that have maximum exposure to the elements & over the decades, windows fail & the harnessing of electricity has made it possible to use HVAC systems to cool our houses. Opening windows has fallen out of favor as people have come to believe that a house should be all buttoned up & air tight. And with the abandonment of fresh air has come the abandonment of wood window number tacks.
Being the daughter of a gardener, I like to bring the outdoors in so I like to restore my windows & build new wood screens. My little fur friends enjoy sniffing the great outdoors & I kinda live to make them happy.
The tricky part of making these screens is that old houses are seriously out of plumb & the windows vary in size, perhaps only gently, but enough to make it impossible to install a screen to a random window. Each screen must be custom made (measuring twice!) & then it belongs to that window.
I have a sensitive sniffer so I like to have clean screens & the best way to clean them is by removing them & then spraying them with a hose. Of course it’s easiest to pull them all off a side at one time, line them up & squirt them, but how do you keep them sorted? And right-side-up?
For you folks who live in regions that require you to use storm windows, necessitating a bi-yearly swap, this little trick will save you a great deal of time & aggravation.
USE WINDOW NUMBER TACKS
Invented in 1948, these cute & handy little items were used to mark windows with their matching storm windows in winter or their screens in summer. They are little, very sharp tacks made of a metal alloy with numbers stamped on their heads. The stamping is heavy enough that you can paint & disappear them, but remain legible. A tiny barb under the head ensures that they will stay in place.
They are produced in sets that are numbered from 1-25 & second sets if you have more windows (Most bungalows do!) that is numbered from 26- 50. You purchase a set for the windows & a corresponding set for the screens & another for your storm windows, should you have them.
Ever wonder about awnings for your bungalow? Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes a big electrical bill from the AC running around the clock.
This year, we upgraded one of our AC units to a newer, more efficient model and we’ve added another layer of curtains in the sun facing rooms. Each of these items should help our house stay cooler at a lower cost, but there’s another project I’d like to tackle before the extreme heat: installing awnings over our windows and valances along the east facing front porch. Here in Florida, even the morning sun can be brutal!
You may have wondered why you don’t often see awnings on bungalows. Well, back in the day they were definitely there but the same sun that is overheating and fading you, destroyed them and with the coming of HVAC systems, they fell out of favor. But, as you can see from these images, they are appropriate and attractive and making a comeback as energy costs rise.
WHY DON’T MORE BUNGALOWS HAVE AWNINGS?
This was John D. Rockefeller’s winter home in Ormond Beach, FL. If awnings were good for a Rockefeller, I figure I can’t go too wrong.
Awnings used to be a more common element on old homes before the advent of central heating and air conditioning. However, as old awnings wore out, people became less reliant on passive heating and cooling and didn’t bother to replace them. It’s a shame. I love an old house with striped fabric awnings. It makes for a lively facade, both practical and decorative.
Bungalow St. Petersburg, FL streetscape made even more interesting by awnings.
National Park Service Preservation Briefs provide information on preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring historic buildings. These publications help historic building owners recognize and resolve common problems prior to work, recommending methods and approaches for rehabilitating historic buildings that are consistent with their historic character.
According to the Department of Energy, awnings can reduce heat gain up to 65% in south facing windows and up to 77% on windows facing east. Awnings reduce stress on existing air conditioning systems, and make it possible to install new HVAC systems with smaller capacity, thus saving purchasing and operating costs. Air conditioners need to work less hard, less often. When used with air conditioners, awnings can lower the cost of cooling a building by up to 25%. – NPS Preservation Brief 44
Mission style bungalow with awnings.
SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF AWNINGS
Mission style house with both fabric awnings and permanent overhangs. The spear style awnings are most commonly found on Mission & Mediterranean Revival style homes.
Cost effective way to reduce heat gain
Fixed or operable options so you can retract them in a big storm
Reduces fading of furnishings, rugs, wood floors and window treatments
Protects windows from the elements
Adds to a lively, colorful streetscape
Historically made of canvas duck, but now there are fabrics with more longevity
In the 1950s metal awnings became popular and can still be found on many older homes
This article was written by Jo-Anne Peck of Preservation Resource, Inc. & Historic Shed. Jo-Anne is a historic preservation professional with a degree in Building Science, a Master’s of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation & a licensed Florida Building Contractor with over 25 years experience in preservation. She has kindly provided these photos & this information based on her vast knowledge of bungalows.
These videos show & tell the story of bungalow character defining features, the architectural bits & pieces that separate a bungalow from other houses. They are the features that you expect to see on a bungalow that has been well-cared for, or authentically restored. They are a good guide in planning & performing your own restoration.
The term bungalow refers to the general shape of a building, not its style. In fact, one of the best things about them is that they were built in a variety of styles. This is why you can drive down the street of a bungalow neighborhood & each house is charmingly unique, inspired by a different style from Swiss Chalet to Victorian to Japanesque to Tudor.
I chose this format of conveying this information because it allows you to walk around & through a bungalow, rather than seeing bits of us out of context. I have chosen these particular ones because they contain great information that will help you know a bungalow when you see one, & will hopefully answer the question, “Is my house a bungalow?”
Enjoy the videos!
THE VIDEOS- Bungalow Character Defining Features
“Building with History” – Arts and Crafts Era Bungalow House (6:02)
Brent trots us through a brief look at the history of the Arts & Crafts Movement, but spends most of his time discussing bungalow defining features. He shows us some bee-you-ti-ful examples of bungalows.
Building & Brews: Arts and Crafts Era (1:08)
A fascinating, in depth look at the Arts & Crafts Movement.
How this house took over the US (8:20)
The marketing of the bungalow. An amusing story of how the style made a lotta $$$ for a lotta folks.
Chicago Bungalows: The History and Top Facts (7:35)
The Bloom Group-Keller Williams
The history & details of the adorable style.
If you want to read more about these dear houses, visit my article here.
My first submersion in Charles Rennie Mackintosh of Glasgow, was at a special exhibit at the Museum of the Arts & Crafts Movement in St. Pete Florida. It was astonishing to see many of the actual items that I had seen in books, only inches from my nose. The life & beauty of each one was overwhelming.
I had known little about the Glasgow School before attending the exhibit. It is an integral part of Mackintosh’s story both in his formative years & later, as his work, when he was commissioned to design the new building for the school.
Like many masters of the movement, Mackintosh had full control over every aspect of the buildings he designed- the structure itself, the furnishings, the art & even the tableware of the tearooms. In this exhibit I was able to view examples of all of them.
The exhibit also introduced me to his wife, Margaret Macdonald both muse & gifted artist. Their marriage was one of equality & romance & together they produced beautiful, innovative works of art. Of her, Mackintosh stated, “Remember, you are half if not three-quarters of all my architectural talents. Margaret has genius. I have only talent.”
Curator’s Perspective: Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Cutting-Edge Tearoom Designs (1:08:33)
Frist Art Museum
Should you find yourself one day, feeling a little dumpish, & in need of inspiration, watch this video. It is a curated tour of the Charles Rennie Macintosh exhibit I was so fortunate to have seen at the museum. I had zoomed home, eager to know more about Macintosh & up popped this video. It rounded out the experience beautifully! It has a long intro. You might want to start watching at 00:10:00.
1/3 Charles Rennie Mackintosh – A Modern Man (:15:00)
A comprehensive look at the influences, the career & the art of Mackintosh, of Glasgow. The following 2 sections of the videos flow into one another.
TIP: For the complete Arts & Crafts experience, watch the videos about the Greene Brothers HERE!
“Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground.”
Frank Lloyd Wright, architect
Rather than trying to compose an educational post, I have curated this group of videos on Wright for 3 reasons, the main one being that no one explains Wright’s philosophy & work with more clarity than the man himself.
#2, nothing expresses his genius better than the buildings themselves. (How could you use words to describe Fallingwater? I stammer in my head just considering it!)
#3.These students & scholars of Wright possess 1,000 times more information & insight that I do & they have produced fascinating footage, including tours of his most iconic buildings, that will both inform & intrigue you. I spent a couple afternoons watching these videos & feel that I now understand this complex genius. My appreciation of his work has soared!
HEARING THE WORDS OF WRIGHT & SEEING HIS GENIUS BROUGHT TO LIFE
Frank Lloyd Wright: America’s Greatest Architect? | The Man Who Built America (59:33)
Timeline – World History Documentaries
This video is narrated by a Welsh architect who explores the influence of Wright’s Welsh background as he travels across the United States, visiting homes FLW designed & built. His commentary allows us to deeply understand the influences & philosophy that guided Wright’s eye & hand.
A Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright (30:59)
An interview in 1953 with Hugh Downs about Wright’s thoughts on American life & architecture. As always, Wright’s words are powerful & illuminating.
Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School (53:15)
This charming video features a soliloquy critiquing the architecture of the time, seguing into his design philosophy. Delivered in Wright’s own words, it is a charming peek into his brilliance & arrogance.
TIP: I have many beautifully done videos on my playlist from how to repair windows to the history of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Watch themHERE!