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Sunday, 10 February 2019

Old Houses

Our house is old. Probably not old by England standards, or France standards, or anything other than North American standards, but old here. We don't know exactly when it was built, but researching it is on my "what to do when I retire" list. It is definitely more than 118 years old.

Yes, old homes can be charming. However, I just got done trying to treat mold around the windows and crawling up the outside walls on the upstairs landing. My basement is unfinished and a spider's dream. Some spots in the house have been renovated (by husband) but there are other parts where more insulation is needed, and we really need new eavestroughs, and it's hard to heat because the hot air doesn't flow well into individual rooms, and I'm pretty sure there are wasp nests in the wall behind the upstairs bathroom where they come in between the bricks and the soffits. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes I dream of moving into a newly built, small house with enough closet space in each bedroom and doors that shut properly and a finished basement. Then I remind myself of how much work would need to be done in order to sell this place. Then I have a small cry.

43 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, the joys of days with nothing to store and no need for closets to put it in.

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    1. We have too much! God help us when we have to downsize one day.

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  2. A few years ago I went to London open house and went round a 3 storey Victorian house owned by a lady who was expert in conserving energy. It was amazing what she had accomplished in turning the draughty house into a cozy home with minimum outlay. Old houses are more interesting. Some of the new builds around here suffer mould and lots of other problems.

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    1. That's true, a new build doesn't guarantee a proper build.

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  3. I can understand how you feel. Our ancient house in France was beautiful but it was a labour of love maintaining it.

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    1. You're never done. I always joke that our house will be done the day we sell it.

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  4. When I was younger, my dream was to find an older home and fix it up, simply because of the charm of old homes,plus they were built better and with better materials than what we have today. One drawback was most didn't have proper insulation. Ahh! if only walls could talk, what interesting stories they could tell! Thank you for sharing these thoughts.
    Blessings,
    Sue

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    1. Ours is double brick. At one time, the trapped air between the bricks was the only insulation.

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  5. I'm betting your old house has a lot more character than all the new ones put together. So there. ;o)

    Our house started out as a 16 x 40' bunk house on a lake 25 miles from here. We've added on out one side and one end, up above and down below. I love all the little things we've added that please us. When new people come through, I have to warn them to "watch the step up here" and so forth. I know our house wouldn't suit everyone, that's for sure.

    Don't you think you'd miss yours if you did sell and move?

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    1. Our house isn't one of those "filled with character" types with the beautiful wood work and huge crown molding... in that it's not high Victorian or anything. More charm and detail has actually been added by hubby.
      Would I miss it? Some days I'm not so sure. Our little village has no store, no gas station... I wouldn't mind at all being in a slightly larger community with more amenities, especially as we continue to "age". I would maybe miss the space and husband would really miss his garage / shop. We have no plans to sell right now, anyway. You just get thinking, that's all.

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  6. Only a small cry is needed. Sounds good to me.

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    1. I just read your most recent post, so yes, by comparison it does sound good!

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  7. Enjoy it while you can but be prepared to up sticks when the time is right.

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    1. Yes, we do like it most times. We won't be moving until we are both fully retired, and even then we may decide to stay put and actually do things to the house (finish up projects etc.) when we actually have the time!

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  8. I grew up in an old house, built in mid-1800s. Oh boy, I understand what you are saying. Cold air blew in wherever there was an opening, even through electric sockets.

    You have to ask yourself whether you want to spend the coming years trying to fix the house up (and still accumulate stuff) or move now, and tackle the purge.

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    1. Well, husband has done an incredible amount already. The landing upstairs that I was describing is kind of the last frontier. Purging will be more difficult for husband with all of his garage / car project items.

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  9. I'm the one that would love to occupy an older home with a few remodles, but the hubby goes on and on about electrical, plumbing, window and door issues.....so here we are. Our house is likely 30 years old and beginning to need a new roof and some stucco patching, a remodel of the shower in the master, etc, etc. Sometimes I wonder if home ownership is such a great thing. :-)

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    1. When we bought the house (20 years ago), it had new windows and exterior doors, so that was definitely a selling point. We built an extension and had a new roof put on.

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  10. Moving to another house can be stressful. But it's a great way to de-clutter :)

    I'm actually starting to look forward to living in a small apartment that needs little to no maintenance. Just an occasional dusting and vacuum.

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    1. Wow, you are very good at downsizing! I remember reading about all of your trials and tribulations of moving into your present house.

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  11. My house is "only" 30 years old, but the problems are starting to show here too. It is a post and beam house, as many REAL old houses are. I want to sell and move in the worst way. We had the house appraised by a professional and were astounded at the valuation. I still don't think we have a hope in H**** of getting that price though. I want a tiny little two bedroom bungalow with no basement and an attached garage. In the country.

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    1. Husband and I have differing opinions on how much this place is worth, too.

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  12. Our new cabin had more issues than the 111 year old house we moved from. ImI afraid there will always be projects old or new. Good luck.

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    1. How true, especially if you are married to a guy who isn't afraid to take on all sorts of projects.

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  13. I hear you. Our house is only bout 45 years old, but we built it ourselves and knew nothing about building, so you know what that means. And we're soooo far out inthe country, which is what I wanted most of my life. But now, facing 70, I'm thinking a small place in a little village would be nice. But selling this place will not be that easy. The plus side is the free gas, mature fruit trees, and privacy galore. It's a cheap place to live for sure.

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    1. You lost me on free gas. Are you referring to burning your own wood, or do you have a gas source on your property?

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  14. Oh I do so understand about old houses and mold and wasps nests and all the rest. Two of our rooms (half the house) were made by the original owner himself, have no insulation, are made of breeze blocks and are freezing in the winter and if we don't have the dehumidifier on most of the winter mold grows up the walls and behind furniture and I hate having to clean it.
    Wasps nest in the curtain folds, in any hole they can find in the summer.
    At least your house is genuinely old and a place of interest. It has character which ours does not

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    1. We use a dehumidifier in the basement in the warmer months. Not sure what breeze blocks are. I will look that up.

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    2. Oh, they're just another name for concrete blocks, or sometimes people call them cinder blocks.

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  15. Oh dear Jenn. I often think people sell & move because the mere thought of repairs overwhelms them. It also could be a case of those February, big storm looming dull days. I'm hopeful that soon you'll be remembering all the wonderful reasons you picked this charmer of a home :)
    ... Mary-Lou =^..^=

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    1. This weather can certainly make anyone think of running away and not looking back, can't it?

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  16. Just get the right real estate agent who can tout the wonders of a time gone past and make some young couple drool over living in 'a little piece of history' and how wonderful it will be to 'make it their own'. It will sell.

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  17. The thing is we are not handy, so we never repair much ourselves. Old houses have so much character though.

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  18. When the time comes to move, I hope I have the income to do what this house needs. I'd do it now but I can't bear the thought of moving all that furniture to paint. The painting itself isn't a biggie but moving stuff is. And replacing windows... so much. But I love older houses. They have far more charm and character, even with their issues.

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  19. Our house was a year old when we bought it and it's starting to show it's age. I wish it were single story, but the chairlift will help. We don't use the upstairs at all. But when I, notice I said I, my husband says no, he loves this place and he's the one who takes care of it, so here we'll stay.

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  20. I think you can make anywhere feel like home. On our last move, for a few weeks, our adult children said it didn't smell like home. What on earth did that mean? Possibly it had yet to build up the odour of wet dog?

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  21. Jenn, Our house is old ...built in the late fifties. It is basically and old farm house. I like some things about it and hate others. Some things you do not know until you move in and go thru things like two flash floods and two earthquakes...yikes. I feel like I fight dampness in our basement more since the quakes. But I spray and scrub and run fans....that the secret, keeping things dry. Since my Teddy's been in this cancer battle, I tell him we need to move back to town...we will need to work less, not more. I have been saying this for about 5 years now. A home should be a joy, not drudgery , cleaning and fixing. Blessings honey, xoxo, Susie

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  22. Old houses have so much charm, though!! Let's face it, when you own a home there's always a million things to be done....I come back to work on Mondays exhausted from all the work I do all weekend!!

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  23. Old houses can be really interesting, but they often come with baggage. I have a spare shoulder to cry on if everyone else's is soaked.

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  24. We lived in an old farmhouse built in 1832. We traced the owners through deeds at the town office and then went through census records kept on microfiche at the University. My wife did a history paper on the house. We were able to trace who built it and every one that had ever lived in it. The house had been abandon as a farm and had been used as a hunting camp for forty years when we bought it. We restored it, as well as we could, back to the earlier times.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  25. My house is a 500 year old farmhouse. I am perfectly happy here. I grew up in a similar house so it feels like I belong here. Nobody wants them anymore though. Young people like modern houses.

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  26. Awwww...the trials and tribulations of an older home...
    Our cottage was built in 1935...and I thought she was old! She’s a baby compared to your house!
    Plenty of charm I’m sure...
    Stay safe from that storm brewing...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  27. Yes, I fully understand your frustrations, Jen. We lived in an older home, circa 1904, in VA and it was a labor of love on a daily basis. We now live in an old mill which has been converted into apts, but we don’t have to do any repairs.

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