Secrets of a Timber Frame Craftsman

Experience of a master framer, a farewell visit to our Nantucket Victorian, and the WOW factor of a renovated barn in Texas


Nantucket Finale

Turning a dowdy Nantucket Victorian into a vibrant debutante was a remarkable feat. Reflections on a hard-won victory at 3 Milk Street. By Brad Lemley

Rock from a Hard Place

The beauty of slate belies its violent birth, exploded from the ground and sheared into slabs by hardy quarrymen. Although it is shunned today for its weight and cost, those who build for forever still crave slate's durability. By Roger Yepsen

Back to the Future Fireplace

Pity poor Count Rumford. He perfected the fireplace just as it became demode, taking a back seat to newfangled central heating systems. But in our eco-conscious era, the count is having a posthumous last laugh: His 200-year-old design aces emissions tests where modern fireplaces fizzle. By Peter Jensen

Texas Cow Palace

A vaulted castle of a barn, its majestic old spaces ruled over by some indifferent cattle and a few stray snakes, meets two space-starved city dwellers with a vision. The result is a handsome home where the buffalo roamed. By Jeannie Ralston

An American Craftsman

After 20 years of awe-inspiring work as a peerless timber framer, Tedd Benson knew his job was not complete. He found his next challenge creating an environment where his crew could experience the same wonder and pride that drew him to his craft. By Walt Harrington

Worrisome Windows

Seduced by siren-like promises of cheap and headache-free replacement windows, old-home owners too often jettison bad sash for worse. Case in point: the 1991 Wayland project. Follow us back to the Haggars' house for a postmortem. Plus, ideas for picking windows that last. By Paul Engstrom and Jeanne Huber

Desert Casa

Farewell, Nantucket; hola, Tucson. This Old House gets ready to cross two time zones for the next project, leaving the Victorian's dolled-up charm for the sun-drenched simplicity of a Pueblo Revival. Here's an early look at the house that inspired out westward migration. By Jack McClintock

The Hole Story

Built to bore, they're anything but dull: Drill bits today are stronger and more versatile than ever. Combining high-tech alloys and computerized calibration, they spin through every surface imaginable. Our pullout post breaks it down bit by bit. By John Kelsey

In the Garden

Like an obliging glacier, stonemason Roger Hopkins artfully deposits a three-ton boulder in a neighbor's yard, while the This Old House crew brews up the Dom Perignon of dirt in a great compost bin. And get the lowdown from the green scene in "Pay Dirt," a new section of garden clippings.

Around the house

Off The Wall

Moving Disasters

The end of the renovation was just the eye of the storm. On moving day, Hurricane Louie showed up.By Jeanne Marie Laskas

Power Tool

Blow it Off!

When the odds are long in the fight against flakes, the right snowblower delivers a knockout punch.By Mark Feirer

Hand Tool


A chisel is a Stone Age idea, but a finely honed blade in the right hands is anything but primitive.By John Kelsey and Ian Kirby


Steeling the Ceiling

For Bruce Killen and crew, installing razor-sharp tin quickly becomes a mettle detector.By Thomas Baker


Second Skin

To hands-on workers who value a solid grip-and all 10 fingers-a glove is a many- splendored thing.By Jack McClintock


The Better Half

A triumph in restraint in a tiny space, the new powder room is the unassuming jewel in the Nantucket project's crown. By Jack McClintock


For Sale by Owner

It takes savvy and sangfroid to sell your own house, but there are sweet rewards for the bold who go brokerless. By Patricia E. Berry

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