The 2011 Decatur Old House Fair


Maintaining Old Houses

Laura Drummond, preservation consultant
Atlanta Preservation Associates

Owning any house means maintenance. Owning a historic house means maintenance plus. Learn some of the most common upkeep issues (and their solutions) facing any homeowner, and the special maintenance considerations–and rewards–for owners of older homes. View the presentation.

Storm Windows for Old Houses

Bill Clark, architect
Stevens & Wilkinson

If you think all storm windows are alike, you should come to this seminar. Storm window technology has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. The options are many and the quality and looks are amazing. Learn from a formerly frustrated homeowner who created his own storm window system and cut his heating and air conditioning bills in half. These aren’t your grandmother’s storm windows. This is one of the most well-attended seminars offered so come early to get a good seat! View the presentation.

Ranch Houses in Georgia and DeKalb County:
Ordinary or Iconic?

Guest Lecturer: Dr. Richard Cloues, deputy state historic preservation officer
Melissa Forgey, executive director, DeKalb History Center
Swanton Amphitheatre

Dr. Cloues brings his years of experience at the Georgia state historic preservation office and his vestigial New England sense of humor to this informative presentation on the origin of the Ranch House nationally and its period of development in Georgia. Ranch enthusiasts will be delighted and Ranch skeptics will be converted, as Dr. Cloues discusses the importance of the Ranch House to American architecture, cultural history, and historic preservation. Ms. Forgey brings the Ranch House discussion “home” with an overview of mid-20th-century suburban development in DeKalb County and how the county became the epicenter of Ranch Houses in Georgia. She also will explain how to use the resources of the DeKalb History Center to research individual Ranch Houses and Ranch House developments in the county.

Hands-on Workshops
Historic Wood Window Restoration

Sandy Crowe, master craftsman
Crowe Development Corporation

Did you know that a properly restored historic wood window has higher e-value than most new windows on the market? Save your windows and the huge unnecessary expense of buying replacement windows by attending this hands-on demonstration of wood window restoration techniques. You’ll learn the anatomy of historic windows and the best tools and products for restoring your windows. Wear old clothes and bring a “can-do” attitude. The number of hands-on participants may be limited but anyone can watch.


Researching Your Old House and What Style is My House?

Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., professional historian/genealogist
Melissa Forgey, executive director, DeKalb History Center

Ever wanted to know when your house was built and by whom? Who lived in your house and how it has changed over the years? Learn from the foremost expert on historic house research where to look for building records, census data, city directories, old photographs, historic Sanborn maps, and so much more. The information is out there if you just know where to look. When we say that Ken wrote the book on research in Georgia, we aren’t kidding!

What is the difference between a Craftsman home and a Foursquare? Are all Victorians the same style? What is the origin of the bungalow? This fascinating seminar led by the director of the DeKalb History Center will educate you on identifying the styles and types of homes and their historic significance. Also, bring in a photo of your house and we’ll tell you the style and approximate date of construction!

“Greening” Your Old House

Robert Soens, CEO
Pinnacle Custom Builders

The greenest house is the one already built. But did you know there is even more you can do to reduce your old home’s carbon footprint? Learn from a certified Earthcraft builder how to “green” your house with maximum return for your dollar. Topics include improving energy efficiency, water efficiency, rain/gray water harvest systems, heating/cooling innovations, and much more. It’s easy to be green!

Working with an Architect and Design Solutions for Additions and New Construction in Historic Neighborhoods

Andrew Rutledge, architect, Alcock-Rutledge Architects
Richard Stevens, Richard Stevens Architecture

Architects are an integral part of creating the perfect project. Learn the value of hiring an architect and what questions to ask when interviewing architects. Then learn how to add space in a sensitive way that complements your historic home. Don’t know whether to go up or out? Andrew and Richard discuss the concerns and opportunities of renovating or adding onto a historic home. Whether your home is from the 1890s, 1920s, or mid-century, proper planning is key.

Kitchen and Bath Solutions in Older Homes

Peter Michelson and Aimee Leonard, Renewal Design-Build
Does your kitchen or bath desperately need a makeover? Creating new space or remodeling existing space in old houses can be a challenge. Choosing fixtures and cabinets is just one part of the puzzle. Learn from one of the top-ranked design-build firms in Atlanta how to transform your kitchen or bathroom into one that accommodates your lifestyle and fulfills your every need.

20th Century Interiors: From Arts & Crafts to Arts and Machines

David Ramsey, interior designer, Historic Preservation Studio, Lord, Aeck & Sargent
Beth Shorthouse, Business Development, Historic Preservation Studio, Lord, Aeck & Sargent

Are you looking for ideas and resources on how to furnish your period home? Join us as we explore the world of interior design for older and not-so-old house styles. This session will have a special focus on the Arts & Crafts movement through to the Modern Ranch House explosion. The presentation will offer observations, resources and suggestions on working to complement your historic interiors. There will be a Q & A period, so feel free to bring photos and questions about what you can do to make your house feel like home!

Ask Bill!

Bill Hover, program manager and architectural reviewer, Historic Preservation Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
You have so many questions about your old house. Why is it moldy? How can I add ventilation to my attic? Why is my plaster cracking? Why did they put that huge metal grate in the middle of the hall? Where do I start? Now is your chance to address these questions and more to the state expert on historic buildings and a former general contractor. There isn’t much that Bill hasn’t seen or dealt with. This Q & A forum will allow you to learn about a variety of topics and give you answers to many questions you may have about your old home.

Plaster and Paint

Albert McDonald
Overeducated Painters

Every old house has plaster and needs interior and exterior painting. How do you know when that crack in the plaster is from normal settling and when it indicates a structural problem? Painting an older house is fraught with issues such as mold, crackling/peeling paint and lead. Learn from a professional painter about plaster repair, best practices for painting exterior and interior surfaces and how to hire a painter that is reliable and understands older home surfaces.

Creating 20th Century Landscapes; Six Examples; A Lesson in Garden Design

Ed Daugherty, landscape architect
Edward L. Daugherty Landscape Architect, Inc.

The world was created in a Garden, we are told, but we inherit second-hand landscapes with every old house. In this lecture, we will explore changes made to old gardens to serve new owners’ needs. Which is more important – the site or the needs or the budget? How do we decide?

Energy Efficiency in Older Homes

Joe Thomas, Renewal System Solutions
You may be surprised to learn how many of those “charming” deficiencies in your old house have simple, cost-effective remedies to increase energy efficiency and comfort. Taking a holistic approach can ensure that the house is less dependent on equipment for comfort and utility and that the right equipment is in place and operating safely. This seminar will focus on home performance improvements you can do yourself or have done by professionals to make that old house of yours feel as good as it looks without breaking the bank.

Understanding Wood Floors and Wood Details in Older Homes

Michael Purser, The Rosebud Company
Jennifer O’Shields, The Woods Conservation Company

While hardwood flooring, trim and furniture are beautiful, they need to be treated with care to avoid costly mistakes. Michael Purser will focus on the wood floors under your feet and Jennifer O’Shields will help you with all your other woodwork, including furniture and trim. You will learn the best methods to clean, preserve, and maintain these vital surfaces. With common sense and a lot of advice to help you make informed decisions, these two will teach you how to showcase your woodwork and enjoy it for years to come.