In 1978, the City of Oakland published Rehab Right: How to Rehabilitate Your Oakland House Without Sacrificing Architectural Assets. This 150-page book recently became available for download as a PDF on the city’s website. Urban Ore’s owners have treasured this resource for decades, and we’re excited to learn that it’s now freely and easily accessible online.

Rehab Right Front Cover

The book’s introductory chapter gives an overview of architectural rehabilitation and how it relates to preservation and restoration. Here you will find simple guidelines to bring a home’s original style back to life, and advice on balancing your personal style and aesthetic as a homeowner with the character of your home.

The second chapter details nearly a century of styles, from 1860s Italianate through War Tract housing of the 1940s. Full descriptions and beautiful drawings accompany each of 13 architectural styles, providing rich information to anyone wanting to identify the style of a particular home or neighborhood, or with an interest in local architectural history. Although the book focuses on Oakland’s historical architecture, many of these styles and variations are found throughout the architecture of the Bay Area.

Chapter 3 guides the homeowner through important project planning: budgeting, setting project goals, determining relevant building codes, deciding whether to hire a pro or DIY.

Illustration from Rehab Right/City of Oakland. Architectural styles covered include Italianate (mid-1860s to 1880s); San Francisco Stick (late 1870s to 1890s); Queen Anne (1883 to 1890s); Colonial Revivals (1890s to 1910); Craftsman (1890s to 1925); Prairie School (1910 to 1925); California Bungalow (1910 to 1925); Period Revivals (1915 to 1935); and the Wartime Tract (1942 to 1945).

The nuts and bolts reside in chapters 4 and 5, which overflow with detailed information on how to rehab exterior and interior elements, from repointing masonry to electrical upgrades, from fixing a squeaky floor to replacing glass panes in a door. Published with a homeowner in mind, Rehab Right presents language and illustrations that are clear and simple.

Architectural Moldings and Trim

Illustration from Rehab Right/ City of Oakland

Architectural preservation brings reuse to the level of our built environment. More than simply conserving the materials and effort embodied in a house, or its market value, it fortifies the character of our places – our neighborhoods, cities, and regions. We hope you’ll take a look at Rehab Right, and that in its pages, you’ll find a valuable technical resource provided in the spirit of maintaining our local histories.