This Old House Books Resource page is dedicated to book resources pertaining, and of interest to Old House owners. So, think of this page as our site library, for all of your Old House needs! The selections will help you with topics such as historical research, repair, restoration, and basic general knowledge on many popular topics that are Old House related.
Also ,check back often, as we are always updating the page! Finally, do you have a recommendation? Contact us, and let us know what’s missing from the library!
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below and I may receive commissions (at no cost to you) for purchases made through links in this post, but these are all products I highly recommend.
Black and Decker. The Complete Guide to Wiring, 7th Edition. This book has excellent info, explanations, and full color wiring diagrams for all common wiring projects around the house. Its the best $20 education I ever received!
Calloway & Cromley (2012). The Elements of Style: A Practical Encyclopedia of Interior Architectural Details – 1485 to Present.
The Elements of Style is the most comprehensive visual survey, period by period, feature by feature, of the styles that have had the greatest impact on interiors of American and British domestic architecture. Unsurpassed in its range of illustrations, this magnificent volume covers more than 500 years of architectural styles from Tudor to Post-Modern and includes a wealth of American and British vernacular styles. Everyone from owners of period houses, restorers, and architects to interior designers, do it-yourself homeowners, and all those interested in our building heritage will find this reference indispensable.
More than 3,000 analytical drawings and historic engravings are included in this updated edition as well as 400 photographs in color and over 1,000 in black and white. These extraordinary images provide a systematic guide to the features appropriate for every part of a building, from the major components such as doors, windows, walls, floors, ceilings, and staircases to the small but important embellishments such as moldings and door hardware.
At the heart of the book is a chronological treatment of the primary styles and periods of architectural design during the past 500 years. Each chapter begins with an illustrated essay, then looks in turn at individual features, from doors and windows to ironwork and woodwork. The usefulness of this book is further enriched by the inclusion of permanent or semi-permanent fixtures such as lighting, kitchen stoves, and floor and wall coverings, as well as strictly architectural details.
A useful system of quick reference, employing color-coded tabs keyed to each feature, enables the reader to trace how particular features evolved over time. And at the back of the book, separate chapters dealing with vernacular architecture are followed by a glossary and a fully updated directory of suppliers of authentic materials as well as period and reproduction features. For this new edition, a biographical directory of architects and architectural practices has been added.
Compiled by a team of experts headed by Stephen Calloway and Elizabeth Cromley, The Elements of Style is the first book on architectural styles that is comprehensive, incredibly thorough, and accessible in its presentation of individual details. Equally invaluable for authentic period restoration or simply for saying to your contractor, “I want one like that” — this definitive resource presents literally thousands of details.
Dan Holohan. The Lost Art of Steam Heating Revisited.
Now in paperback: the fully expanded, updated, and freshly designed second edition of the most comprehensive and widely acclaimed guide to domestic architecture: in print since its original publication in 1984, and acknowledged everywhere as the unmatched, essential guide to American houses.
This revised edition includes a section on neighborhoods; expanded and completely new categories of house styles with photos and descriptions of each; an appendix on “Approaches to Construction in the 20th and 21st Centuries”; an expanded bibliography; and 600 new photographs and line drawings.
This book does not repeat basic information that is readily available in many standard DIY books about carpentry, wiring, and plumbing. Rather, it shows how to adapt those DIY skills to the specialized needs of a historic house.
Although there are other books about renovating old houses, this is the first that prioritizes the identification and preservation of the historic, character-defining features of a house as a starting point in the process. That is the purpose of this book: to describe and illustrate a best-practices approach for updating historic homes for modern life in ways that do not attempt to turn an old house into a new one. The book also suggests many ways to save money in the process, without settling for cheap or inappropriate solutions.