Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Antique Home

I've mentioned how our home was built in the mid to late 1800's.  Unfortunately, we don't have any photos of our home, but our neighbor has one if his, that was built around the same time, and you can see the peaks of our house in the image.


It is probably hard to see on your monitor, but it is behind those trees on the left.  Also hard to see, are the people that are standing on the hillside, facing the camera! 

And today, that hill is completely covered with trees.  You can't see the house, nor the steps that are buried under years of leaf litter.  This photo was taken in 1895.

When the house was built, it didn't have an indoor bathroom, and the only plumbing was a hand pump at the kitchen sink. Gas lights were used instead of electricity, all of which was added later. The pipes and electrical lines that remain in the basement, are a technician's nightmare, with everything criss crossing any number of times.  

Sometime during WWII, due to the increase of young single women coming from the surrounding farms to live in town and work in the factories, the house, like a lot of others, was converted to a single family dwelling, into apartments.

Then sometime in the 80's it was "modernized" as cheaply as possible, with fake wood paneling, cheap carpets and lighting.  Some of the woodwork is in tact, but under layers of paint.  But most of it has been whacked off, drilled, cut off into walls that were put up to make more rooms.  Just a sad remuddling of a once beautiful home.  

The gorgeous wrap around porch was remodeled, cut off and enclosed. A turret roof was removed.  And the exterior was covered in shingles that are made of asbestos, so it will cost us a small fortune to have them removed. I'll share the story of replacing the furnace and duct work at a later time.

Although our restoration work was ground to a sudden halt when my hubby's health got worse, combined with the economy tanking, we have managed to get some of the walls torn down, and opened it back up into a single family dwelling again.  I've got lots of "before" photos, a good number of "in process" images, but sadly, no "completed" ones.

So why am I sharing all of this now?  Because I'm going to be sharing some of my Halloween decorations, and you're also going to be seeing bare lathe, and cracked and crumbling plaster, remaining pieces of paneling that are holding back huge areas of plaster that is ready to fall, walls a ghastly color, and so forth.  Halloween is the one time of the year, that the condition of the house fits in perfectly! lol

And why do we continue to live here? It is simple.  This house has SUCH a good feel to it! We owned it for a number of years, renting it out, but as those types of things often happen, when my hubby retired, and we were going to be moving back into this area, our long time tenant let us know that he was having to move back to take care of his Mother. .the minute I walked in, I could see past the gloom, and felt the stirrings of something wonderful underneath. 

This poor house had sat, hunkered down upon itself for so many years, having just given up.  But as I walked through, vocally expressing what and how it could be restored, I felt the energy stirring.  The minute the outside was painted, with the features that were still left, detailed, the house smiled, and stood up straighter and taller! So much happiness was radiating, that not only neighbors, but strangers drove up to tell us that they had never noticed the house before, but now, it was looking great!

There is still more work to do outside, and a LOT of work to do inside. We have barely scratched the surface. Restoration is not an overnight project, and realistically, we should have started this when we were in our 20's or 30's, and had more energy, and stamina, but we didn't.  But there is still a pride in removing the old negative coatings and coverings, and exposing the worn, but still beautiful original floors and woodwork.  This house is solid. It was built with pride in fine craftmanship.  It was only ruined in the interim by people who were looking for a cheap way of turning a fast buck.  They attached a lot of negativity, that we are now discarding.  And with each cleansing, the house and all of its occupants breath a little happier.  There is a depth and patina here, that is more than just years.  It is life.  A history that just isn't there yet in a new home.  Our journey here is a long one, but a labor of love, and each step has such a great sense of satisfaction, I can't describe it.  All I can say is that we love it, our resident Spirits love it, and the house loves it! What more can one ask for in their home?

So as the signs say in stores when they are remodeling, "Excuse our dust!". Please look past or around the background settings.  I'm so used to how they look, I don't see it anymore, until I see it in a photo, then I'm thinking "Yikes!" lol   But, I continue to think positive, and one day, someday down the road, I'm going to be able to post some fantastic "after" images!! 

Wishing everyone a peaceful evening!


8 comments:

  1. I bet that old house is beautiful! And I would bet that the house has some wonderful energy as well.

    (((HUGS)))

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  2. I'm going to have to have my husband read your post. He doesn't understand why I could possibly want to buy an old house to restore and you said it better than I ever could =).

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  3. Great post! My old home was built in early 1800 on the lift lock of a working canal in a small village..not too much has changed in the area since then, still only like 6 houses! The house had major problems, but sooo sooo much character...we moved from the country back to the suburbs 10 years ago, but not a day goes by that i dont think about my old home..i have the old deeds from the 1800's id like to frame with pics but havent gotten around to it. There is something so special about an old home...and the history that goes with it!

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  4. What an amzing home! I'd love to send you a restoration fairy! There is incredible beauty and history there. It's wonderful what your doing. Our home is 5 years old and it's ok but lacks real charm. :)

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  5. Oh what a lovely old Home in the picture and to think that is your home, how wonderful. Extremely charming.

    Blessings,
    Heidi

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  6. I love old houses. I grew up in a house that had been a hotel in the mid-1800's. Unfortunately it eventually was torn down; if it had 20 years later, we could have probably saved it with historical value, but c'est la vie. I have wonderful memories of it always - enjoy yours!

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  7. Ah yes, your house knows it's loved again! I always did believe houses have feelings.
    From someone who had to rebuild a house after a hurricane a little plaster and whatnot doesn't bother me a bit.
    I am looking forward to those photos!

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  8. Can't wait to see the photos - and the cracked plaster will just add to the Halloween ambiance.

    I'm sure your home thanks you for giving it some TLC!

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