Author Archive

One Community's Creative Solution to Restoring Historic Windows

Posted on: December 20th, 2013 by Scott Austin Sidler 4 Comments

 

Scott Sidler teaches a volunteer how to finish glaze windows. Credit: Steve Quillian
Scott Sidler teaches a volunteer how to finish glaze windows.

Last month a unique event took place in the piney woods of central Florida: A group of Florida’s leading preservationists came together to try a new way to save one of the state’s historic landmarks.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Scott Austin Sidler

Scott Austin Sidler

Scott Austin Sidler is the owner of Austin Home Restorations in Central Florida, and spends his time blogging about all things preservation, salvage, and historic on his blog, The Craftsman.

Dismantling History: A Reflection on Salvage

Posted on: April 26th, 2013 by Scott Austin Sidler 5 Comments

 

Historic Lake Eola home. Orlando, FL. Credit: Scott Sidler
Historic Lake Eola home

This post originally appeared on The Craftsman Blog.

I recently helped my friends at Florida Victorian Architectural Antiques with the salvage of four early 20th-century homes on the banks of Lake Eola here in Orlando, Fla. We were busy removing any parts of the home that may be of some value to someone in the future. Old wood windows were removed and sold off to a house in Daytona Beach. Heart-pine flooring was pulled and cleaned before being delivered to a home somewhere in south Florida. And I busied myself removing old shiplap siding and rough sawn cypress subflooring.

It was a sad sight to watch these once-magnificent homes being dismantled day after day. By the end of the week they hardly seemed like the houses we started with on Monday. Windows and doors were removed and boarded over. Siding peeled off its sides. Shadows remained where shutters once hung.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Scott Austin Sidler

Scott Austin Sidler

Scott Austin Sidler is the owner of Austin Home Restorations in Central Florida, and spends his time blogging about all things preservation, salvage, and historic on his blog, The Craftsman.

Why I Love Old Houses

Posted on: May 11th, 2012 by Scott Austin Sidler 11 Comments

 

When I was a kid, my parents lived in an old Colonial house built in 1759 in the Catskill Mountains of New York state. The house was incredible for a kid! There were secret hiding spots everywhere -- from the stone cistern in the basement, to the hidden attic door in my closet.

I loved learning about the home's past from my father as he slowly unearthed its secrets. The small town we lived in was apparently incorporated at a meeting in our house that George Washington himself attended. The property line was marked by a centuries-old, sturdy, dry-stacked stone wall. All fun stories and bits of history. But the stories that I discovered myself were the most intriguing.

One time while I was mowing the lawn I noticed a flagstone peeking out from the grass. Curious about what it was doing there, I cleared away the grass to find it was rather large. I proceeded to poke around the area and see what else I could find. I soon came across another flagstone laid in line with this one just a couple feet away.

I continued my excavations and after awhile had uncovered a flagstone path that started from the back of the house and led out about 75 feet before my mom made me stop. I never did find out where that path led, and sometimes I still wonder about it today. Where did it go? Who put it there? When? How long had it been buried? I was like an explorer uncovering uncharted territory and it was exciting. I wanted to know! I still do.

Old houses tell a story. They have a history. There is something about running your hand down a banister that generations of people have held in their hands for centuries. It gives you a sense of place and time, and a perspective on where you fit in this huge, sometimes impersonal world. You are a part -- a small but important part -- of a much greater story. ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Scott Austin Sidler

Scott Austin Sidler

Scott Austin Sidler is the owner of Austin Home Restorations in Central Florida, and spends his time blogging about all things preservation, salvage, and historic on his blog, The Craftsman.