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Own a fixer-upper? Here's where to turn for help with specialized renovations, repairs

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D.E.W. Manufacturing in Council Bluffs worked on this door to make it fit in its new home.

So you’ve bought a historic home that needs many, many repairs, and you don’t know where to start. We’ve got you covered, from that special doorknob for the master suite to the perfect historic tile for your remodeled kitchen.

“When it comes to old house renovations and repairs, you want to get it right,” says Kristine Gerber, former executive director of Restoration Exchange.

Here’s a sampling of pros who fit the bill.

A&R Salvage and Recycling

2820 Vinton St.


Owner John Rapaich says it’s like going to any big-box store, but it’s all used. “I’ve got the same things: doors, windows, trim. Anything that can go in an old house, I’ve probably got.” That includes doorknobs, corbels and register covers. There’s a lot of history in his lot, he says, even the huge neon sign from the ’20s go-go bar.

The Window Doctor 4401 Woolworth Ave.


Douglas Morin is a physician, but he also repairs windows. He can fix broken glass and framing, and do mechanical repairs and glazing. “I’ll treat the windows of your home like they were my own,” he says.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore 1003 S. 24th St.

10910 Emmet St.


A good place for architectural antiques and other items no longer in production. It’s also affordable. “Your budget can go a lot further. We sell at 50% to 75% of retail value,” CEO Amanda Brewer says.

Myers Electric 7342 Farnam St.


Old light fixtures and vintage appliances are repaired here. “If you can fit it in the door, we can fix it. That’s our motto,” manager Charlie Maynard says.

Olk Masonry 21848 Harrison St., Gretna


This third-generation business does brick and stonework for both new and old construction, but historical restoration is the specialty. Owner Michael Olk’s dad immigrated from Germany and brought Old-World craftsmanship techniques with him. “It’s a lot of hand work. We still know how to do it the old way,” Olk says.

Eyman Plumbing,

Heating and Air 8506 S. 117th St., La Vista


Repairs old boilers and works on old-house HVAC and plumbing.

D.E.W. Manufacturing 1200 Avenue B, Council Bluffs


Need trim work or casing done? This business does it, by the room or house. The team also repairs and refinishes old furniture. “We do a lot of doors for people,” co-owner Andy Wilson says. “The past six months, we’ve done 100 doors or better.” They will strip, sand, stain and varnish them.

Gavin Historical Bricks 2050 Glendale Road, Iowa City

Deals in reclaimed brick and stone from historic buildings and streets.

Clay Squared to infinity 2505 Howard St. NE, Minneapolis

This business specializes in handcrafted tile by its artisans and others. Plus, it carries the largest selection of historic reproduction tile lines in the United States.


Manufactures custom inserts for old windows.


Restoration Exchange Omaha Resource Directory, for help in finding the company you need,

National Park Service Preservation Briefs, for how-to guides on restoring your home and building the right way,

Old House Journal, for inspiration and tips, plus a helpful online directory,


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