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I also recently bought an old house, built around 1918. I too have been trying to find information on decorating for that era. I spend HOURS surfing the net, looking at pictures, etc., as well as magazines (go to a bookstore like Barnes & Noble where they have many magazines). They likely have Victorian style magazines for you to consider. Also, browse through the book sections on homes, remodeling, archtitecture, etc. I've seen several good books that may help you. Good luck.
I just purchase a farmhouse built around 1820 to 1840 and am in the same boat as you and dmtravis. Here is what I found.
The time period your home what built in contained many competing styles. In addition, American designers had no problems mixing elements of other styles if it suited their design goals. It is very important to identify the main style used in the design of your house.
Start with the year built and look at the styles in use in your area. Talk with the historical society, they may have pictures and or a history of your home. This could help a great deal in ferreting out the details. You said it was a colonial style home, why? What design clues pointed you in this direction?
Now with that all said, you will not find a book that contains every bit of knowledge known about your style. But you can find info about the your house style, then find bits and pieces in various books to help you fill in the blanks. Magazines are also good sources of period details.
Here is something else to consider. Most of us moderns don't really want an old home. There are very few purists who would be willing to put up with the lack of heat or no kitchen as we know it, not to mention the lack of security or very poor insulation. You get the idea.
What we really want is a period style home, with a kitchen that reflects ideas of the period but is completely up to date, a 21st century hvac unit and efficient windows.
Hope this helps.
There are many home design styles to choose from. Some sketches of the more popular ones are shown here noting their main distinguishing features of the house designs. This should help you to narrow your search for the perfect house designs considerably. You can also combine features for something more unique or contemporary in your house designs. You should take into account the neighborhood you are building in, and the styles already prevalent. Remember to think about re-sale.
Whether remodeling, adding on, or just giving your home some extra curb appeal, knowing the style of your house can help you develop a successful plan. You'll also gain a greater appreciation of the way your house was designed and built.
The following slides offer ideas for 10 house styles. There are many variations within different styles--more than can adequately be discussed here. You can find architecture guides in the library or in larger bookstores that will help you identify a particular style or design. Using the original style of your house as a starting point for an exterior makeover is usually the best technique, but--in some cases--mixing styles can energize a design.
How bout an architectural salvage business or yard in your town or nearby town. Even if they don't have anything that fits, the owners/operators are usually super informative and have been through so many houses in their regions, its worth a look. Ive had some successes this way.
There are a few great books out there and some are actual interior picture books.
I have a selection of recommended books on my website that are just what you need.
My website is
The book page is
One book I haven't yet added is Edith Wharton's "The Decoration of Houses"
Best of luck - have fun!
Ken the old house guy
Sometimes creations from this time period are called folk art. When colonial style decorating I think it's easiest to find a print from the early colonial time period and use it as a base for your color pallette. Then when you're done using it for inspiration, frame it in a dark,wood planked frame. Folk art like the picture of the barn you see below was common in early America.
I'd love to see some pictures of the home, sounds really cool. The House Designers (dot) com has tons of images of colonial and other styles of home plans.