Recommended Reading for Historic Restoration Projects

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Home Remodeling Contractors in MarylandJim Irvine – Historical Renovation Contractor in Maryland

After making a decision to or contemplating the undertaking of a renovation or restoration of a historic home, homeowners often request information regarding architectural options and designs that are relevant to the era of their home.  The goal of historic restoration is to use modern materials and methods to recreate the beauty and history that was present in the original construction of the home or to use those materials and methods to expand a home that is historically preserved.

At Irvine Construction, we recommend a variety of books to our clients that provide an accurate and thorough exploration of historic home renovation and restoration.  Please explore the list of recommended reading materials below for your historical project:

The Perennial Apprentice: A 60-year Scrapbook of Architecture

by George Fletcher Bennett:

“This classic had been sitting in a Maryland remote storage facility for nearly 30 years when it was discovered by the staff of the heritage Commission. The author chronicles his 60-year career in architectural design and restoration. It is a summary of a wealth of architectural insight which he has gleaned from years of experience. This is a delightful book, full of illustrations and information which every architect and restorationist should have to carry out his or her task in a more craftsmanship-like manner. It is an invaluable tool to anyone restoring an old building.”

The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation

by Colonial Williamsburg:

“For more than thirty years, the architectural research department at Colonial Williamsburg has engaged in comprehensive study of early buildings, landscapes, and social history in the Chesapeake region. Its painstaking work has transformed our understanding of building practices in the colonial and early national periods and thereby greatly enriched the experience of visiting historic sites. In this beautifully illustrated volume, a team of historians, curators, and conservators draw on their far-reaching knowledge of historic structures in Virginia and Maryland to illuminate the formation, development, and spread of one of the hallmark building traditions in American architecture.”

A Field Guide to American Houses:

“The guide that enables you to identify, and place in their historic and architectural contexts, the houses you see in your neighborhood or in your travels across America. 17th century to the present.”

Housekeeping for Historic Homes and House Museums:

“Valuable advice for homeowners and house museum operators on cleaning and caring for historic homes and their contents.”

How to Read Buildings: A Crash Course in Architectural Styles:

“This practical primer is a handbook for decoding a building’s style, history, and evolution. Every building contains clues embedded in its design that identify not only its architectural style but also the story of who designed it, who it was built for, and why. Organized by architectural element (roofs, doors, windows, columns, domes, towers, arches, etc.), the book is roughly chronological within each section, examining the elements across history, through different architectural styles, and by geographical distribution.”

 A Layperson’s Guide to Preservation Law: Federal, State, and Local Laws Governing Historic Resources:

A Layperson’s Guide to Preservation Law offers a look at the various laws and regulations that protect historic resources, as well as laws governing nonprofit organizations and museum properties.”

Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings:

Sustainable Preservation takes a nuanced look at the hundreds of choices that adaptive reuse requires architects to make from ingenious ways to redeploy existing structural elements to time-honored techniques for natural ventilation to creation of wetlands that restore a site’s natural biological functions. In addition, Sustainable Preservation presents 50 case studies of projects schools, houses, offices, stores, museums, and government buildings that set new standards for holistic approaches to adaptive reuse and sustainability. The author covers design issues, from building location to lighting systems, renewable power options, stormwater handling, and building envelope protection and integrity. The book also reviews operational issues, including materials choices for low lifetime maintenance, green housekeeping, and indoor air quality.

Most of the above books may be found in your local library, and cover the topics of identification, restoration, care, preservation law, and sustainability and “green” preservation, along with an exploration of the history of Maryland and Virginia architecture. Please enjoy your reading and contact Irvine Construction today with any questions!

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