Magical stories of living in an older home.
Anyone who lives in an old home will tell you there is nothing like it. Is it our longing for a connection to the past? Upkeep can be costly but there is something about a raising a family in an old home that makes it all worthwhile. Just like a small town 4th of July parade or an afternoon in a porch swing we still have a fascination with old homes.
You may be thinking what fascination?
Unless you have been out of the media loop, Fixer Upper took over where This Old House left off. HGTV is loaded with shows featuring old neglected buildings in an IGTV worthy takeover to re imagine them. The viewing public can’t seem to get enough of old home rebirth. What sparks that initial idea “I want to restore this old home?” I like to believe it is old fashioned enchantment.
More than just the restoration of the building, it continues right inside to the interior finishes too. Scouring antique shops, thrift shops and places like Golden Oldies at High Point Market has made treasure hunting a sport. This rebirth has given rise to new businesses and a renewed interest in “re-purposing” old furniture, “Annie Sloane” anyone?
What fuels the interest in preserving a bit of history?
Living and working in Northern NJ, I see these old homes lovingly restored to their former glory. A recent house tour featured a friends home where I was fortunate to be part of her remodel. The tour raised thousands of dollars for local charities. I was delighted to see the number of people visiting these “Grand Ole Dames” which were all built between 1885 and 1930. Three things were very evident: their owners loved these homes, each had its own interior personality, and the public could not get enough.
My friend explained her adventure with old homes began during a visit to her Aunts home. ” It was a grand old farm house with high ceilings, moldings everywhere and a treasure trove of antiques. When you take on the project of rebuilding an old home, you become part of their history. Newer homes just don’t seem to have the same feeling”.
Something happens when you step inside.
The owners were so excited to present their homes. You could feel the love they have for these buildings. Their excitement was palpable and it was contagious. Where does that feeling come from? Is it an unseen connection to the past we are longing to reestablish? What are we missing in our current day existence which we strive to recapture? What is the connection I feel when I walk into one of these homes? I believe it is the heart of that home reaching out to my heart. The soul of the home making a connection with my past.
Can you teach an old home new tricks?
There is no argument that upkeep on this beauties is demanding. Redesigning one can be akin to entering into battle so be prepared. Advances in technology have removed many of the challenges associated with working in old homes. On demand water heaters have simplified piping issues. New heating systems using radiant heat can supplement existing radiators. Wireless and blue tooth capabilities have changed to game for lighting, electric, sound and security systems in older homes.
Ready for the challenge to keep the history of old homes alive?
If the answer is yes, there are many companies who can help with reproducing molding, hardware, tin ceilings and more. Van Dykes Restorers and Old House Restoration Suppliers are resources you can look into. Make sure any contractors you want to work with are also up to the challenge. Do your research. The love of old homes and satisfaction your get from protecting their history and character far outweigh the cost of the project. You are preserving a piece of history. There is something honorable about defending the grace and grandeur of our history through these homes.
Sharon L Sherman ASID CID CKD is a designer and Reiki Master located in New Jersey. Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, Family Circle, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Record, The Star Ledger, Bergen Magazine and Aspire as well as several books. Her Blog “Tips for the Trade” has appeared in digital form on Sivanaspirit.com. She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.