Saturday, August 21, 2010

Things I've Learned from my New-Old House

We moved into our house in March, so it's new to us. But it's OLD. Before you think, oh please, just because it's not brand new doesn't mean it's old, let me put this into perspective for you.

Our house was built in 1872. It celebrated its 138th birthday this year. In the scary-just-like-your-grandparents-old-cellar basement, you can see where the coal chute was.

So yeah, it's pretty old.

This is what we wanted - we wanted a house with character and history and uniqueness. We fell in love with the radiators in each room and found the shotgun style charming. You learn from people who are older and wiser than you, and we've learned some lessons from this house already.

1. Your old house probably isn't level. In fact, it may slope a full quarter inch to the right. This is what's called character. You don't fix this when you re-do the floors. Think of it as 138 years of people living here with love that have caused the strange floor ups and downs.

2. Flat paint is your best friend. Chances are, your walls are chock full of imperfections. Do not, I repeat DO NOT under any circumstances attempt to use a high gloss paint. Because it would be faster to just circle every crappy wall spot with a red sharpie.

3. Radiators need to be cleaned. Thoroughly. With lots of scrubbing bubbles and water. Because there's a good chance no one else has remembered to clean them in the past 137 years.

4. When it comes to level, there's a such thing as good-enough. When Zac's dad hung our curtains, I said "Hmm... is that level?" His response after a long day of work: "It's as level as anything else in this darn house!"

Fair enough.

What about you? Do you love the charm and "character" of old houses, or do you prefer new construction? Any lessons learned from living in an old house?


  1. Ohhh, my house is neither a charming old house or a sparkly new construction house. It's a nondescript ranch from 1985. So I get the worst of both worlds, haha. :P

  2. This post just cracked me up. Level? What does that even mean? When we put up wainscotting, the floors sloped almost 2 inches in some spots. And, that's after the work we did with the foundation to make it "more level." Crazy. Ryan flat-out denied the crown moulding ideas. It would only bring more attention to our horribly-unlevel door ways. And, curtains? Do you level them at the rod level or at the floor? Bane of my existence.

    Radiators need scrubbing bubbles, huh? I'll need to keep that in mind for the next house. We've never had them before.


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