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Conserving & Restoring Your Historical House

Heritage House Pic

Finding Historical Photographs of Your House

The New Westminster Public Library has a large Historical Photograph collection in the Reference Department, including many photos of New Westminster houses. Check the index by street address or by name of owner (e.g. Houses - English, Marshall), and you may find your home or others in your neighbourhood. In addition to shots of the exteriors of houses, the Library also has some photos of interiors, showing the period furnishings and décor. You can also check our online Historic Photo Database by going to: http://www.nwheritage.org/heritagesite/photos/index.htm

More photos of New Westminster houses can be found in by looking at:

Canadian Inventory of Historic Buildings - New Westminster - 1974

  • Done in 1974, the microfiche shows in negative, historic buildings of New Westminster, including details.

New Westminster Heritage Resource Inventory

  • Providing both photos and information, the heritage resource inventory was created through the 1980's and early 1990's (includes newer photos only).

These two sources are both located in the Reference Department. Another possible source is:

720.9711 Sc84o / Also Ref & Special Collections
Scott, Jack David
Once in the Royal City: the heritage of New Westminster
Whitecap Books, 1985

  • A great source of information for buildings, architects and craftsmen of the mid-19th through to the 20th century. It contains photographs and historical information on many houses in New Westminster.


Resources in the Library

Getting Started…
There are plenty of general books available to get you started. These include everything from whether or not to purchase an older house, things to look for, care and renovation, resources and more. Those listed below are just a few that are comprehensive in their scope, generally providing information on most aspects of renovation and restoration. All of the books listed below are available to be checked out. In some cases, Reference or Special Collections copies are also available to be used in the Library.

General Books:

643.7 B644m
Book of Home Restoration: traditional skills and techniques to restore and improve your home

Ebury Press, 1985

  • A practical do-it-yourself book, showing you step-by-step how to restore and repair your house using traditional techniques and materials to ensure high quality and long-lasting results. It includes everything from roofing to flooring and wallcovering to glasswork.

643.7 Y88t
Your Old House: give new life to your older home

Time-Life, 1996

  • A basic guide showing the most common problems and concerns in maintaining and improving old houses. While much of what is covered will apply to any home, it also includes subjects of particular interest to many historic home owners, such as restoring wood floors, repairing a balustrade, replacing sash cords, fixing porcelain doorknobs, repairing plaster moulding and more.

690 D973r
Dworin, Lawrence
Renovating and Restyling Vintage Homes: the professional's guide to maximum value remodeling
Craftsman Book Company, 1996

  • Covering interiors, exteriors, garages, gardens etc., this book discusses maximum value remodeling - knowing what to restore and what to replace, which features to show off and which are forgettable. Whether your house is Victorian or Craftsman style, learn how to do the best job for the best price.

690 H351r / Also in Reference
Hearn, John
Restoring Canadian Homes: a sourcebook of supplies and services
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1986

  • While there is unfortunately no updated edition of this sourcebook, it remains a helpful resource, as much of the information is still current. In addition to providing company listings for both supplies and services, it also has useful information on a variety of subjects, from buying a house through to renovation, decoration and landscaping.

690 K647c
Kitchen, Judith L.
Caring for Your Old House: a guide for owners and residents
Preservation Press, 1991

  • A handbook that offers comprehensive advice on repairing and maintaining an old residence and how to avoid the pitfalls of too many changes too soon. While it is an American publication, the majority of the advice and information is still applicable and useful in Canada.

690 OL1
The Old House
Time-Life, 1995

  • Another Time-Life book, which has a wonderful chapter entitled "Preserving Old Glories", and includes everything from resetting iron rail posts, cleaning stained marble and patching it, replacing cracked glass, recreating plaster moulding by first creating a cast, to fixing pocket doors.

690 OL1y / Also in Reference
The Old-House Journal Yearbooks
Old-House Journal Corporation, 1988

  • Containing more great information, these yearbooks, spanning 1980 - 1988, are one-volume compilations of the editorial pages printed in the Old-House Journal each year. They contain such topics as practical techniques, do-it-yourself renovation methods, decorating ideas and practices, and questions and answers. In addition to the vast amount of useful information they provide, the yearbooks are also an entertaining read. The index for this journal can be found at the Inquiry Desk.

690 R897r
Rusk, Katherine Knight
Renovating the Victorian House
101 Productions, 1982

  • Another excellent overall guide, with lots of practical information for those who are thinking of buying an historic house. While it does have a section on the decorative aspects, the majority of the book is taken up with the restoration of the exterior structure (brick, roofs, stairs), the mechanicals (plumbing, electricity, heating), and the interior structure (walls, plastering, windows, floors).

720.288 G919s
Grow, Lawrence
Seventh Old House Catalogue
Sterling, 1991

  • An A-Z sourcebook for restoration and remodelling - both a how-to-do-it and where-to-get-it guide. Covers everything from bathtubs, chimney pots, doorbells, fabrics, mirrors, screen doors and more.

720.288 OL1L
Labine, Clem, ed., and Caroline Flaherty
The Original Old-House Journal Compendium
Overlook Press, 1980

  • A compendium of material reprinted from the Old House Journal (1973-77), organised by subject into chapters such as: "Buying your old house", "Architectural and Decorative Styles", "Kitchens and Bathrooms", "Wiring, Plumbing and Plastering".

720.288 R312
Respectful Rehabilitation: answers to your questions about old buildings

Preservation Press, 1982

  • Questions and answers on a variety of subjects of interest to those restoring homes. It includes interior and exterior questions, structural problems and also decorative information.

747 R251c
Reed, J. Ronald, and Stephanie Culp
Craftsmanship Revival in Interior Design: how today's artisans preserve yesterday's skills
Stoddart, 1989

  • Organized by medium (metal, paint, stone & marble, tile, brick, wood, plaster, glass), this book gives a brief history of the craft and then describes the processes and techniques. While more of a reference than a "how-to" book, each chapter also has a section of restoration guidelines for that particular craft.


House Styles:

720.971 M287g / Also in Reference
Maitland, Leslie, Jacqueline Hucker, and Shannon Ricketts
Guide to Canadian Architectural Styles
Broadview, 1992

  • Architectural styles in Canada, including civic and public buildings as well as domestic architecture.

720.973 Si62v
Sinclair, Peg B.
Victorious Victorians: a guide to the major architectural styles
Henry Holt, 1985

  • A guidebook listing information and features of all the major styles of Victorian architecture: Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Octagon, Exotic Revival, Stick, Queen Anne and Shingle.

724.6 H659e
Hockman, Hilary
Edwardian House Style: an architectural and interior design source book
David & Charles, 1994

  • The features, fixtures and fittings of an Edwardian home are all examined - from doors and windows to soft furnishings and decorations. An invaluable source for anyone wanting to restore original Edwardian features and recreate the style and atmosphere of the period.

728 C353b BC / Also in Reference
Chalmers, Graeme
British Columbia Houses: guide to the styles of domestic architecture in British Columbia
UBC, 1981

  • A basic guide to heritage house styles in BC, with a dating formula using architectural features.

728.3 Os1v
Osband, Linda
Victorian House Style: an architectural and interior design source book
David & Charles, 1991

  • A comprehensive overview of Victorian design, focussing both on major architectural features and on the smaller details of interior decoration. It includes reproductions of nineteenth century architectural designs and catalogue excerpts, providing a pictorial social history as well as a useful guide for those restoring and enjoying a Victorian home.

R728.37 M823a
Morgan, William
The Abrams Guide to American House Styles
Abrams, 2004

  • This compact, easily accessible guide, the only book of its kind with all color photography, makes the identification of house styles a breeze. Each style is described by a Pulitzer Prize-nominated architectural historian, in a short historical summary, alongside a list of its distinguishing features.

728.373 W734a
Winter, Robert
American Bungalow Style
Simon & Schuster, 1996

  • Highlighting the beauty and charm of the bungalow - the first houses in which good architecture was found outside the world of the wealthy - this book examines the history, architects, designs and styles of the bungalow.

747 H637a
Hitchmough, Wendy
Arts and Crafts Home
Pavilion, 2000

  • Beautiful photographs of contemporary and historic Arts and Crafts homes, illustrate the style and the changes in attitude which inspired it.

747 T844a
Turgeon, Kitty and Robert Rust
Arts and Crafts Home
Friedman/Fairfax, 1998

  • For those with an Arts & Crafts home, this book provides not only design and decorative ideas (interiors, furniture, lighting, pottery, tiles, glass and artwork) but also a chronology of the arts and crafts movement and a chapter on its history and philosophy.


Architectural Details:

690 J631o
Johnson, Ed
Old House Woodwork Restoration: how to restore doors, windows, walls, stairs, and decorative trim to their original beauty
Prentice Hall, 1983

  • A practical do-it-yourself guidebook, providing clear, step-by-step instructions on every aspect of woodwork restoration, from stripping old finish to repair work, through maintenance of wood and trim once it has been restored.

693.1 L846m
London, Mark
Masonry: how to care for old and historic brick and stone
Preservation Press, 1988

  • For anyone dealing with brick or stone restoration, this book is a must. A how-to-guide dealing with everything from preserving a building's character, identifying kinds of brick and stone, to cleaning, repointing and repairing deteriorating surfaces etc.

698 M615p
Miller, Judith and Martin Miller
Period Finishes and Effects: a step-by-step guide to decorating techniques
Rizzoli, 1992

  • A fully illustrated practical guide to achieve the surface finishes and effects that complement period homes and furniture - everything from limewashing, stencilling, to woodgraining, marbling and stone effects, and trompe l'oeil.

728.3 H753 L
Homes and Interiors of the 1920's: a restoration design guide
Lee Valley, 1987

  • A reprint of Building with Assurance, the 1923 catalogue of Morgan Woodwork Organization, this book encompasses house plans, architectural elements and social advice, providing invaluable information on both the houses of the 1920's and the era itself.

729.38 V666
Victorian Design Book: a complete guide to Victorian house trim
Lee Valley, 1984

  • A combined reprint of two books (Universal Design Book, 1904 and Illustrated Official Moulding Book, 1897), this book is the complete guide to the styles and shapes of both exterior and interior Victorian trim - everything from gingerbread trim, gable ornaments, and brackets to wainscoting, mouldings, staircases, windows and more.

749.62 Se62f
Seppings, Katherine
Fireplaces for a Beautiful Home
Barron's, 1989

  • This book examines the multitude of fireplace styles and designs through the ages, and gives practical advice on technological and safety issues, restoration and maintenance, plus considerations of style, dimensions, colour and materials when determining the most suitable fireplace for your home.


Painting Your House:

698.12 M855v / Also in Reference
Moss, Roger W.
Victorian Exterior Decoration: how to paint your nineteenth century American house historically
Henry Holt, 1987

  • Beautifully illustrated, this book takes the guesswork out of creating an appropriate colour scheme for your old house.

720.973 P77a
Pomada, Elizabeth and Michael Larsen
America's Painted Ladies: the ultimate celebration of our Victorians
Dutton, 1992

  • A dazzling collection of Victorian houses across the USA, painted and restored to their former glory. Showing both exteriors and interiors, this is the last in a series by the authors, showcasing the elaborate painting and exterior decoration of many magnificent Victorian homes.

720.973 P77h
Pomada, Elizabeth and Michael Larsen
How to Create Your Own Painted Lady: a comprehensive guide to beautifying your Victorian home
Dutton, 1989

  • Find out how to paint your Victorian house - techniques, colour schemes and more.


Furnishings & Interior Decoration:

729 M615p
Miller, Judith
Period Details
Crown, 1987

  • A look at specific period details: doors, floors, ceilings, fireplaces, windows, walls, lighting, stairs as well as kitchens and bathrooms.

747 G414pd
Gilliatt, Mary and Elizabeth Wilhide
Period Decorating: a practical guide to architectural details, fabrics, wallpapers and furnishings
Conran Octopus, 1990

  • Providing a succinct introduction to the great stylistic movements (from the 18th century through to art deco), each chapter contains an historical outline followed by guidance on how to choose the correct architectural details, paint colours, decorative finishes, fabrics and furniture.

747 G919a
Grow, Lawrence
American Victorian: a style and source book
Harper & Row, 1984

  • This book provides a great deal of historical information on everything from elements of style, through to specifics like bathroom hardware, types of lighting, borders and friezes, wallcoverings and fabrics.

747 L555v
Leopold, Allison Kyle
Victorian Splendor: recreating America's 19th Century interiors
Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1986

  • The nostalgia and domesticity of Victorian rooms is described, analysed and illustrated, with inspiring modern examples.

747 L762v
Livingston, Kathryn E.
Victorian Interiors: room by room
Rockport, 1999 v

  • Room by room, this book provides inspiration for those wanting to decorate in the Victorian style, while retaining the comforts of the modern home.

747 M616ps
Miller, Judith and Martin Miller
Period Style
Mitchell Beazley, 1989

  • A comprehensive visual sourcebook, looking at every aspect of visual design, starting with the medieval period and working through to Art Deco. While providing historical information, the focus of the book is to show how period styles can be adapted to different settings and the past and present blended.

747 W729v / Also in Reference
Winkler, Gail Caskey
Victorian Interior Decoration: American interiors 1830-1900
Henry Holt, 1986

  • Photos and sketches of period rooms are combined with discussion of details and colour schemes.

747.2 G943v
Guild, Robin
Victorian House Book
Rizzoli, 1989

  • A beautiful book that combines historical information with design ideas and advice on how to decorate, renovate and maintain a Victorian home. In addition to the interiors, exterior features are considered, as are the gardens.

747.5 M615j
Miller, Judith
Judith Miller's Guide to Period-style Curtains & Soft Furnishings
Overlook Press, 1996

  • A do-it-yourself sewing guide for creating blinds, pelmets, swags & tails, plus how to create a half-tester, dress a four-poster bed and more. It also includes historical information on all types of fabrics, linens and soft furnishings.

747.797 M615p
Miller, Judith
Period Kitchens: a practical guide to period-style decorating
Mitchell Beazley, 1995

  • For anyone wanting a period-style kitchen this book is a great place to start. It includes both country and urban style kitchens and addresses everything from storage, work surfaces, tiles, floors, to stoves and appliances. It also deals with planning and lighting, plus safety and ventilation.

747.797 P871b
Powell, Jane
Bungalow Kitchens
Gibbs Smith, 2000

  • See how to turn back the clock; include modern conveniences such as lighting, and enjoy the results which suit the rest of the house.

749.63 M855L
Moss, Roger W. Lighting for Historic Buildings: a guide to selecting reproductions
Preservation Press, 1988

  • Providing both a history of lighting (everything from candles to whale-oil to electricity) and a catalogue of suitable reproductions available today, this book demonstrates how to create a realistic period look when selecting light sources for historic homes.


Finding other books in the New Westminster Public Library Online Catalogue

The books listed above are only a small selection of those available in the Library. While most are available to be borrowed, some resources are available only in the Reference Department. To find other books, try looking in the online catalogue under some of these subjects:

  • Architecture - Canada
  • Architecture - Conservation and restoration
  • Architecture - Details
  • Architecture, domestic
  • Architecture - Victorian
  • Decoration and ornament, architectural
  • Decoration and ornament - Victorian style
  • Interior decoration
  • Historic buildings - British Columbia v
  • Historic buildings - Conservation and restoration
  • Historic buildings - Maintenance and repair

If you can't find what you're looking for or need more assistance, ask a Librarian.



The Library has two magazines that are also useful sources for information on restoring both exteriors and interiors of historic homes.

Old house interiors

  • For those looking for information on interiors, design, furnishings and more, this magazine, which may be borrowed, is a great read.

Old house journal

  • For reference use only, this journal has articles on a variety of subjects of interest to owners and restorers of old houses. Also available on the Internet at: www.oldhousejournal.com


Web sites of Interest:

The Internet can also provide a great deal of useful information - helpful hints provided by other home-owners, sources of supplies, decorative ideas, heritage associations and more. Here are a few which seemed most helpful:

Heritage Society of British Columbia: a great site! It has information on just about everything: funding, legislation, policy, common heritage questions, terms and definitions, resources for heritage homeowners (old home inspections, hiring a contractor or architect, historic house colours) and much more.

Historic Architecture: guide to Historic Houses with emphasis on Late-Victorian and Craftsman Style Bungalows

City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program: part of the City of Vancouver Website. Includes case studies, fact sheets, walking tours of four different neighbourhoods, and the Heritage Register.

World of Old Houses: restoring, renovating, remodelling or maintaining an old house, heritage building or traditional piece of architecture? Look here for information, advice & assistance as well as all the bits'n'pieces you need: castings, decorative glass, fireplaces, fabrics, hardware, joinery, lighting, plumbing, plaster, tiles as well as colour schemes, decoration, bathrooms & kitchens - absolutely everything for old houses! Includes specific sites of interest to Canadians.

Page last updated 2012-01-25

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