Every old house should come with an owner’s manual. Maintaining and updating a dwelling built to serve a different era are that complex. Authors Mark Alan Hewitt, FAIA, and Gordon Bock answer the call with The Vintage House: A Guide to Successful Renovations and Additions (Norton, $49.95). Hewitt, an architectural historian and practicing preservation architect, and Bock, the former editor of Old-House Journal, command a wealth of knowledge on the history, appreciation, and care of older homes. They share it here in a volume that is thoroughly researched, well organized, and a pleasure to read.

In a densely packed 300 pages, Hewitt and Bock discuss historic styles, the principles of historic preservation, and the stylistic and technical considerations of gracefully updating a vintage house. Case histories–including both Hewitt’s own projects and other exemplary work–provide context and inspiration. Sidebars interspersed throughout the text cover wide-ranging subjects such as the joy of cast-iron radiators, matching period masonry, and the real history of wavy glass. The result is an entertaining and authoritative resource that belongs in the hands of every devoted owner of a vintage house, and perhaps more important, anyone who feels a case of old-house fever coming on. It would make a great primer for your next renovation client.