The dream: A rambling Victorian house, authentic down to its last curtain, snug in a renovated Washington neighborhood.

The reality: A drafty structure, decorated in a hodge-podge of styles and topped by a leaky roof.

Remedy No. 1: A tax-free inheritance of a million dollars to throw around at your heart's content. Perfect little nest assured.

Remedy No. 2: As much knowledge about Victorian homes as you can find, so that you can either do the restoration work yourself or choose a contractor wisely.

The Victorian Society of Philadelphia can't help with the inheritance, but a program it's holding on September 8 will probably prove invaluable to renovators and potential renovators. Called "Upstairs and Downstairs in the Victorian House," the day is packed with workshops on everything from choosing paint colors to undertaking the painstaking research often involved in accurate restoration.

The session will be held at the Arch Street Friends Meeting House, Fourth and Arch Streets, Philadelphia.It costs $20 for students and $25 for everyone else, and registration closes Tuesday. The workshops are broken up by breaks and a box lunch, so you can compare problems with other home-owners over coffee. For details call the Victorian Society, 215/627-4252.