Old Town Home

Old Town Home is a blog dedicated to chronicling the successes and failures of an Historic Old Town Alexandria couple as they live in the charming historic district while attempting to completely renovate and appropriately restore an 1880s Victorian row house...almost entirely on their own.

At the End of Our Floor Tiling Ropes

Authors: Alex

My mom loves to tell a story about how "detail oriented" I was as a small child. I think I was about six years old and was apparently creating some sort of improvised 3D construction paper house using a pen, scissors, and scotch tape. She fondly remembers that I wanted the house to be brick, so I grabbed some red construction paper...

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A Local Cast Iron Stair Disaster

Authors: Alex

Why would a beautiful set of cast iron stairs bring me sadness? Well, let me tell you.

If there's one thing I love about so many of the historic homes and shops around Old Town it's their antique cast iron front stairs.

I love these types stairs so much so that we, along with our neighbors, went to great lengths to replace the 1950s...

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Tile Laying Tips from Baboon Ear and Pookie the Thinset Slinger

Authors: Alex

There are several distinct phases when it comes to tiling a room.

You've got your tile selection process.

You've got your tile layout decisions.

You've got your tile laying.

And you've got your tile grouting.

I feel like Bubba talking shrimp with Forrest Gump. That's...that about it.

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Unscheduled Weekend Work is Nothing to be Ashamed of

Authors: Alex

Have you ever entered a weekend with the idea that you'd definitely be completing a certain project or goal, only to take on something completely different? At the conclusion of the weekend you look back with a certain sense of disappointment for not having your anticipated completed work to show for the time, but you have something...

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To Paint or Not To Paint (the Salvaged Floor Panelling in Our Bathroom Closet)

Authors: Alex

Wendy and I have been hard at work on our bathroom and we have a little bit of progress we'd like to share with you.

A significant project like our bathroom can be broken in many smaller projects. Actually, it almost must be broken into smaller parts, or we'd pretty much lose out mind while working on it.

From the overall shell of the...

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A Marble Hexagon Layout Decision and Tactics for Install

Authors: Alex

Thank you for the overwhelming response last week on our point versus flat marble flooring layout debate. 

We had an overwhelming response to our simple A or B question. And though the responses ranged from thought provoking, to those based on opinion and personal experience, to the layout most likely to make your butt look wider,...

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US vs Germany World Cup Fever with Brasil Jersey Patches

Authors: Alex

Today is the day for soccer/futbol/football or whatever you like to call it. Yes, today is the day the United States Men's National Team takes on Germany for a chance to advance to the knockout round in the World Cup, and the whole country is all a buzz!

I can't even think about renovation and home DIY today, or last night for that...

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What's Your Vote - On the Point or On the Flat?

Authors: Alex

It's minute detail difficult decision time in our bathroom.

Yes, it's true, in a project full of difficult decision after seemingly difficult decision, we've reached yet another biggie that involves one of our smallest (by size), but largest (by quantity) items.

We're at that fateful stage of the project where we'll be laying sheets...

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The NobleSeal Isolation Membrane to Satisfy My Need for Overkill

Authors: Alex

Overkill is a part of my soul.

There's little I like more than overkill. If I were a professional wrestler, my name would be "Overkiller!" And my finishing move would allow me to pin you to the count of six rather than only three. But my entrance music would surely be the excellent Man at Work song, Overkill...of course.

Whether I'm...

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What Truly Defines an Old Home?

Authors: Alex

What defines an old home?

Beyond the obvious stat of "so many years old," what combination of parts and pieces are characteristic of an old home?

What elements must exist in an old home's DNA that allows us to classify it as an "old home?" It's certainly more than the mortar between its bricks and nails within its walls.

And most...

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