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127 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2005
I got this on a recommendation from somebody who does work on interior walls of houses when I asked for an information source for stripping old wall paper and rerairing lathe and plaster walls. If you've ever looked at 'how to' books on home repairs or re-models, you doubtless have found them either overly technical, unrealistically involved, unreadably boring or way off-topic. If you own an old house and would like to do repairs on it but don't know where to begin or what to do, this is a great reference for pointing you in the right direction and getting you started on your project. The really cool thing about this book is that the author has a knack for explaining things succinctly yet simply and then illustrating what he means with excellent photographs in a way that causes one to realize right away whether the project one proposes to do is realistically undertaken or better left to experts. You can't imagine the disappointment one feels when one has begun a project that some flimsy how-to book (perhaps written to sell product) has promised to guide one through, only to discover too late that the problems covered are not at all the same ones being encountered. Usually this occurs because the authors presuppose that they are dealing with an audience trying to fix their mid-60's home, mid-1960's that is, and not something about twice as old. The the beauty of this book is that nearly every problem and project discussed is going to have you saying, "Wow, I've got that problem," or "Man, I wish somebody had shown me that before," or "What an excellent, elegant solution." Most of the other books I've consulted had me instead running off to a hardware store or a contractor to get the problem 'fixed' by simply getting rid of it and replacing it with something 'NEW.' Finally, this book makes things look so straightforward that I believe it will give most readers the courage and encouragement they need to begin to tackle stuff they've wanted to but have been putting off for years because of their heretofore intractibility.
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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2004
Nash is a classic author who joyfully shares his experience in restoring old houses. While there have been a lot books we've enjoyed, no book has been more useful regarding issues specific to old homes than THIS ONE. The book is published by Taunton Press, known for other high quality publications like Fine Homebuilding and The Not So Big House. It's been critical for helping us to figure out how to do everything from fixing a smelly basement to removing a load bearing wall. What it has done the most is helped us to think of our house as a system (not just as the sum of it's parts). While it's true that construction and engineering have come a long way in 97 years, you can't always slap on a new [insert any product here] and assume everything will be better. Nash emphasizes how old houses are different in many ways, including how they circulate air, keep in heat and even stay standing. We never knew a balloon from balloon framing until we read this book. Finally, Nash shares our own values for design integrity. We know that his heart is with us and other old house owners trying to "right the wrongs" brought upon a house which has been 'remuddled' one too many times. We never lend this one out!
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2004
I have 5 books that are "Old house" oriented. I have an old house as well, "1765". Well, that's the oldest part of my house with which I most cherish and protect.

This is by far my most looked at, referenced, used book period. I have the last edition. This edition has been improved. Mine is just starting to have that used/broken in feeling.
It's my favorite in terms of depth and breadth of coverage.
Whether doing the work yourself or highering specific contractors familiar with what it is that needs doing. This book may help familiarize you with a great many things you're likely to encounter owning an old house.

It also gives a nice explanation of the difference between Restoration, Renovation, and Preservation. As in religion and politics, those are very, very, different things.
I'm preserving the 1765 end while renovating the damaged/shabbily repaired sections.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2000
Don't touch your old house until you read this book. Its an eye opener about what to do and what not to do to renovate an old house and keep it from looking like you did. Didn't notice how many remodels in my neighborhood had been "remuddled" until reading what Nash has to say about keeping architechtural integrity. I live in a historical district, and this book has helped me maintain my 1860s house and given me insight as to how it was built, and how to fix it. Get this book FIRST!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 1998
From the moment you open the cover, you are reassured of your decision to buy this book. It offers an overview of many options of renovations. From Basement Casement walls, to roof-top peeks, this book supplies you with the information to base your projects on. Before YOU start a renovation project, or are just in need of ideas to creating additional living space in YOUR old house, get this book. You will not regret it.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 1998
Having renovated 3 houses, I am always looking out for good books on the topic. Sadly, many of them are very superficial. This book is the exception. The information and attitude that Mr. Nash puts forth in this book is deep and highly informative. A must read for old house nuts.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
I recommend this book to anyone who has purchased or is looking to purchase and older home. I purchased an older home (built in 1890) after the home inspectors told me it was in excellent condition. The first year I was in the house I had to replace the plumbing, electric, heating system and have the roof braced (I have to question the integrity of the home inspectors). I am a single woman and know nothing about construction, electric, plumbing, etc., I found this book to provide an excellent reference for repairs I can attempt to make myself or to contract out. When I decide to contract repairs out, I now know if the repairs are being accomplished correctly, thanks to this book. I just wish I had purchased this book before I purchased the house, I would have been able to see the problems and probably would not have purchased the house.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2004
This is a GREAT reference for home renovation. I recently purchased a Queen Anne home, built in 1885. Of all the books I have on restoration, this one is by far the best. Thanks George, for your effort.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2006
We purchased this book while living in Watkins Glen, NY. Most of the homes in the area were close to 100 yrs old. That being said, this book turned out to the be the definitive resource we turned to for *anything* house related. The author comes across as being the house expert equivalent of Tom and Ray on CarTalk. Although you can run to it when your ready for a project, I suggest actually reading it. If your serious about owning and maintaining an older house, I promise you will continue to go for this book long after your subscription of "This Old House" has expired...
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2002
If I had to recommend just one book on renovating old houses it would be this one. Like most similar Taunton Press books, the book is accurate, well written, and informative about techniques that a real person might want to use. It includes lots of information about how old houses are constructed, the kinds of things that tend to go wrong with them over time, and techniques for fixing them. It is realistic about budgets and time constraints. And, perhaps most important, it gives fair warning about the stresses and strains of living in a house one is fixing up.
One might want to supplement this book with more specific books about the kind of house you are working on, and books which provide more information about how to match materials and aesthetics to the existing fabric of the particular sort of house you have, but this book is not to be missed.
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