The really fun part of bringing back our old house is dressing it up by paying extra attention to the details. Above, our ornatre, late Victorian hot water radiators. We scraped off layers of paint (you can’t burn this paint off), primed them, then painted them with a latex Modern Masters metalic paint. You can learn more about painting radiators in our Q & A section.

Below, our doorbell. Keep in mind that electricity was a novelty until about 1900. Our house, like most higher-end late Victorians, had both gas and electricty. There would have been an electric bell but the bell escutchen was long gone when we bought the house. Our best guess is that it looked something like this.

Below, door pulls from the front doors. The ones on the left are original. It’s amazing that they weren’t stolen. We figure they were overlooked because they were tarnished and painted over.

One of the oddest things we found were medicine bottles inside the walls of the house. Obviously the builders were self-medicating. Patent medicines of the Victorian era were loaded with alcohol or dope. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, since serious medical care was out of reach for most people. Over-the-couotner medicine kept the pain down and allowed hurting workers to do their jobs.

Below, we found lots of miscellaneous Victoriana — hat pins, coins, keys, and other artifacts.

Our door knobs are black glass. Door plates are cast iron coated with a copper wash. These are medium quality hardware, not nearly as fancy as you would find in luxury homes. This door, by the way, is faux painted to look like finished wood. Many of our doors were so damaged, this was the only way we could salvage them.

Below, we spent a lot of time tracking down just the right lights for our house. You can see the entire collection here: light show!

Above, this vintage wrought iron bracket (a flea market find) fills out a corner of our expanded hearth in the kitchen.

Below, we’ve started using stained glass to replace curtains for privacy in street-facing windows. They brighten the room and add a special, period-appropriate touch.

Below, we’ve started collecting paintings to decorate our walls because paintings suit an old house like this. We collect only the stuff we like and can afford. This is not for investment. We buy most of our art at auctions, where we can examine the painting. The most affordable paintings are unframed. So Ron has learned how to cut and adapt vintage frames to the wide array of art that we bring into the house.

Below, we placed a Victorian garden bench in the hallway just outside the master bath. We bought the bench at an auction, it was in many pieces. We’ve retained the original paint.

Below, oak paneling in the vestible. The fraternity had painted this blue.