The editorial focus of this magazine is on restoring, maintaining and decorating homes built before 1950. The magazine provides practical, step-by-step articles on rehabilitation, preservation and restoration for both professionals and knowledgeable homeowners. Its editorial content includes technical and how-to articles, reviews of architectural and period decorating styles, old house restoration case histories, product reviews and evaluations, readers’ hints and tips and sources for hard-to-find products and materials.
Who Reads Old-House Journal?
Old-House Journal is written for people who are passionate about restoring, renovating, decorating and maintaining America’s wealth of old homes in a manner faithful to their architectural heritage. Its readers look to the magazine for authoritative background on homes of all architectural styles—from the earliest, Colonial-era houses, to Queen Annes and Craftsmans, to houses built in the mid- to late-1950s (anything 50 years or older is covered). OHJ is published 6 times a year, and gives readers the education, resources, tips, and inspiration to tackle and enjoy every step of the restoration process. OHJ’s readers look forward to a mix of topics in each issue, from historical overviews, expert how-to’s, and first-person restorer experiences, to technical articles offering a wealth of background and advice, to product reviews. Whether restoring an old house is a dream or a reality, many OHJ readers hold on to each issue to refer to again and again.
OHJ began 35 years ago as a grassroots, reader-generated publication, and is still open to contributions from its readers. These can include Old-House Living pieces as well as problem-solving articles. One recent example profiled a reader’s decision to install a farmhouse-style sink in her turn-of-the-century Long Island kitchen, and the challenges she faced in making it happen.
What You Can Expect in Each Issue:
- About the House: Up-to-date information on the latest events that old house enthusiasts won’t want to miss (conferences, home tours, exhibits) as well as a look at old-house related topics in the news, helpful resources for homeowners, book reviews, and a timely maintenance tip.
- Ask OHJ: Editors and expert contributors answer old-house related questions submitted by readers.
- Historic Properties (formerly Swaps & Sales): A marketplace for old houses around the country, filled with color photos and descriptions.
- Historic Retreats: A visit to a historic building that highlights the architectural significance of the destination.
- Old-House Insider: A photographic tour of a professionally restored house with text that outlines the techniques and products used to make it happen (includes a breakout section of products and resources).
- Old-House Living: The longest-running section; a profile of an old-house restorer, and the personal story of their house project.
- Old-House Toolbox: One of the magazine’s experts reviews a tool essential for a specific old-house repair, and offers tips for buying the right one.
- Period Products: The latest in contemporary products that are either exact reproductions or interpretations faithful to a specific architectural style or theory.
- Remuddling: A tongue-in-cheek look at a house that’s been remodeled with no attention paid to matching the ‘updates’ to the original architecture (aka the old-house equivalent of Glamour’s Fashion Don’ts).
- Features: Each issue contains a mix of articles, including how to’s (in-depth lessons on restoring old-house details); historical overviews (a look at how and why certain old-house features came into being); technical stories (a broad look at a subject—like energy efficiency, or bat-proofing a house—that offers readers a starting point for doing it themselves); style articles (an in-depth look at a particular architectural style) and restorer stories (a personal look at one family’s restoration project). For example, the April issue featured an informative, photogenic article on decorative Victorian-era shingle patterns; stucco repair at a historic mansion; an in-depth lesson on using epoxy glues; a historical and visually rich overview of clay tile roofs, including a list of maintenance tips; an architectural perspective on Ranch houses; a how-to on repairing soffits; and a profile of a Chicago couple that saved a mid-century house from the wrecking ball.
The stable of regular contributors consists of top experts in the field of restoration and old-home maintenance. Many of them make a living teaching homeowners how to repair and sustain their old houses, and all of them are passionate about saving older buildings.
Each issue features gorgeous photography of old houses both inside and out. Text accounts for about half of articles. The magazine is very visual, and often uses sketches and old advertisements to illustrate points as well, offering information that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Comparisons to Other Magazines:
The magazine is written for people restoring an old house as well as people with a general interest in American architectural styles dating from the Colonial times to the mid-20th century. People who are interested in fine craftsmanship and details, antiques and original home features, people who are preservation-minded, and old-house owners who want to ‘do right’ by their home (make repairs with an eye towards maintaining their house’s architectural integrity) will get the most out of this magazine. In terms of the competition, OHJ offers quality editorial from an impressive roster of experts, all of which is focused on maintaining the authenticity of older buildings (they don’t rip out and discard radiators in this magazine). OHJ is the only magazine that offers a package of ideas, inspiration, support, and nuts-and-bolts how-to information to help readers outfit their older homes in period-perfect style, both inside and out. The New York Times has referred to OHJ time and again as “the bible of old-house restoration.”
Advertisements are almost exclusively for building and restoration materials such as doors, paints, tiles, appliances, reproduction lighting, wallpapers, and furniture. A directory is included so readers can request additional materials from advertisers.