6 DIY Projects to Add Old-House Charm

What's New is Old Again: Original details. Some houses have 'em, some don't.

If yours is among the latter-meaning that it wasn't born with architectural elements like carved wood balustrades or embossed metal window latches, or if some of those enhancements were lost over the years to misguided remodeling-take heart. With a little sweat equity, you can add your own. See these 6 ways to add some classic character and find other advice to give old-home charm to your house at THISOLDHOUSE.COM.





1. Coffer a Ceiling

Ceiling coffers came into vogue during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when American architecture went retro with a revival of classical house styles. The hollow wood-panel grid was originally used during the Renaissance to dress up beams. Today, a handy homeowner can easily create coffers. The trick, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, is to build U-shaped beams on the floor to minimize overhead work.

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2. Glue Up a Medallion

Once made from heavy plaster, ceiling medallions now come in lightweight polyurethane and need only adhesive to hold them in place.

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3. Add Color to Cabinetry

Earthy greens, browns, yellows, or reds will evoke late-19th- and early-20th-century paint palettes.

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4. Make Doors Sparkle

Glass knobs replaced brass and bronze ones during World War I, when metal was in short supply.

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5. Install Runner Rods

Before pneumatic carpet nailers, handsome metal rods secured stair runners.

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6. Upgrade a Newel Post

The staircase is front and center in the entry of most homes, and the newel post positioned at its end is what greets your guests. Given such prominence, it's a shame newels typically have little more detail than a baseball bat. By swapping in one with intricate turnings, though, you can instantly upgrade first impressions of your home.

MORE: DO THESE EASY DIY UPGRADE PROJECTS IN JUST ONE WEEKEND


GET MORE ADVICE ON ADDING OLD-HOUSE CHARM TO YOUR HOME AT THISOLDHOUSE.COM