Great old houses don’t get to be old and great — at the same time — by themselves.
It requires some thought and effort to maintain an old house in such a way that it ages gracefully, while remaining as livable as possible. With an older house, everything from window restoration and additions to mold removal and energy efficiency often require research, expert advice and careful planning.
Basically, there are differences between taking care of an older home and a new one.
One place to learn about those differences and find some folks who can help you navigate them is the Old House Trade Show put on by Greater Portland Landmarks Inc. Last held in 2007, the show is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.
“It’s a chance to try to get your questions answered, all in one place. And it’s a chance to meet the owner of the company and actually talk to the owners and tradespeople in person,” said Hilary Bassett, executive director of Greater Portland Landmarks. “People can bring pictures or drawings of their projects too.”
All of the workshops and presentations are included in the price of admission: $12 for both days. So to get the most bang for your buck, go on Saturday and go back on Sunday with the same ticket.
There will be more than 50 exhibitors to talk to, ranging from chimney sweeps, insulation companies and historic preservation experts to window restorers, flooring companies and antique stove sellers.
There will also be almost two dozen workshops and presentations, each lasting 20 to 45 minutes, where experts on various preservation and home maintenance topics offer advice and answer questions.
Bassett said people should feel to bring photos, floor plans, measurements, inspections, energy audits, site plans and any other information that can make it easier for presenters and exhibitors to discuss their projects with them.
One of the presentations, to be held 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, is called “10 Minute Architect,” and is being put on by the Portland Society for Architecture. People can sign up for a 10-minute block of time, during which they can pick the brain of an architect about any plans or dreams they might have.
Sort of like speed dating, but with architects. Speed designing, perhaps?
Some of the presentations will be case studies that look at specific projects and how they were done.
One will be on an energy “retrofit” renovation project at an 1890s home in Westbrook; another will be on the renovation of a former residence hall at Bangor Theological Seminary into affordable senior housing. (See the schedule on Page 1 of Home & Garden for more information on specific workshops and presentations.)
The areas covered by exhibitors this year include window restoration, real estate investment, kitchens, painting, historic preservation, construction, lighting, tile, energy efficiency, woodworking, antique stoves, coppersmithing, iron working, wood turning, masonry, weather vanes, plaster, stenciling, green building and clapboards.
The show fits nicely the mission of Greater Portland Landmarks, a nearly 50-year-old nonprofit group that works to preserve and revitalize the “architectural fabric” of Greater Portland while working with property owners to help them do that.
Greater Portland Landmarks last did an Old House Trade Show in 2007, after doing 10 or 12 shows prior to that.
Around 2007, Landmarks was finding a new headquarters building and beginning a capital fund drive, so the show was put on hold for a while.
“We kept getting requests from property owners for connections with trades and services to help with their old houses and buildings. We’d also see former exhibitors, and they would ask, ‘When is the show coming back?’,” said Bassett.
“We made it a priority to bring back the show and this time add a strong component around making older buildings more sustainable and energy efficient.”
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:
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