I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Old houses; let's preserve our history!

Owning an old house is a constant labor of love.  There's always something to be done; updated or repaired. 

While the internet is a wonderful source of ideas, it's nice to be able to speak with like minded people in person.  People who don't live in old houses don't get it.  You can't buy character.  You can try to install it in a newer home, but the attempt always lacks something.  The timeless quality that old walls exude.  Thoughts of past residents evoked by a simple scratch in the floor or a notch on the door.  The image conjured up by the pegs hammered by hand into the beam holding your second floor up!  All specific to the individual living in an old house.  Several years ago, I sat on a local panel that tried to keep historic properties from being demolished.  It amazed me to find out that some people just don't care about these homes.  In many cases, we lost the battle.  But in some very exciting instances, lovely homes were once again brought back to life.

The Old House & Barn Exposition is put on annually by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.  We made the short trip to Manchester recently in order to attend.  Put it on your calendar for next year as you may find something you need (or want) for your old home.  Or if you simply love old houses, it's a great place to speak to people who get it.

So many choices!

Lighting for the true colonial lover.

This stove is beautiful.  Thirty years ago my husband and I took our stove out of our first house and moved it out of state to our second house.  We always had the great intention of renovating it.  From our second house it moved back up the coast to the garage of our third house, then the garage of our fourth.  Now it sits in the workshop of our fifth home.  I suppose that in theory, it's closer to the tools leading to a makeover someday.  At this point, it's a member of the family.

There were companies attending who will (for a price) come to your property in order to assess the potential project or help you date your home.

I love the way certain stenciling looks.  I just wish it wasn't so time-consuming!

So many older homes have lived in a black and white postcard for much of their lives.  Color is a necessity in some form or another!
Plaques such as these give the home a sense of historic importance.

This was (in our opinion) the most important booth at the show.  To replace old windows on an historic home somehow changes the "look" of history.  These are indoor storms.  So smart!

A chair caning demonstration.

A canvas mural may be just the thing your older home needs to stand out.

A very informative display.
Our home was supposedly built around 1845.  However, our shutter hardware looks exactly like the late 18th century hardware shown here.  Perhaps the builder had it left over from a previous job?  That's only one of the difficulties in dating an older home.

Hardware of all shapes and sizes is available to match or replace what was originally used in your old house.

It's important to know the names of each part when restoring a home.

Although we didn't see any of the presenting authors, we did sit for a discussion on wet cellars; a pressing issue for us.  I have had the pleasure of meeting Tovah Martin, who's passion for gardening is admirable.  Restoring an historic property includes everything, inside and out!
The craftsmanship of homes that are one-hundred, two hundred or even three hundred years old is impressive.

Rotten wood is a culprit one needs to address almost immediately after purchasing an antique home.

Using a lathe is trade calling for patience and precision.

Parts, parts and more parts.

On our porch alone we've replaced over twenty panes of glass.  Since it's a porch, we didn't use insulated glass.  It's nice to know, however, that it's available.

Keeping an older kitchen in character with the age of the house is a good idea.  There is no reason, however, that you can't have an updated and functioning kitchen at the same time.
When renovating, you can't have enough tools!  These folks are building a post and beam shed. 

I happen to love stone walls; especially old ones.  I'm not really fond of a wall that's too precise.

Ah yes....plaster.  It's everywhere (that plaster dust does like to linger, doesn't it?) and decorative pieces can be replicated.

If you don't live in New Hampshire chances are good that your state has a similar agency.  In Connecticut it's the Trust for Historic Preservation.  In Vermont contact the Preservation Trust of Vermont.  In Rhode Island contact Preserve Rhode Island.  If you live in Maine, you should contact Maine Preservation for more information.  Outside of New England, check your individual state.  Your local historical society should be able to help as well.

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