A house to love

There is a certain irresistible charm about a century-old home and, in many cases, ends up as love at first sight.

There is certain timeliness about heritage homes, as if they have always been there and always will be. The interiors of heritage homes offer an aura of history that translates into a sense of belonging and calm.

Old homes offer unique styles and classic designs using building techniques from an era gone by.

I’ve heard their owners say they love living in an older house over a new one, because they have the satisfaction of saving a piece of history.

Their stone foundations are made from materials as old as nature. Their walls are made from old-growth lumber and fastened together with brute strength workmanship and sweat.

Sometimes, it seems as though they are a portal to the past and they tend to offer a sense of trust having stood in place for decades and decades.

When this home was built, horses and buggies were the easiest way to get into and out of town. Soon, over the next few years, Ford Model Ts would start rolling off the assembly line in Highland Park, Mich., some 2,300 miles away.

They just don't build them like they used to, but that’s because people lived differently 100 years ago than we do today.

  • The floor plans had purpose.
  • Everyone went upstairs to rest.
  • The kitchen was a place to prepare meals.
  • The dining room was where people sat down to enjoy them.
  • The living room was the social area where guests gathered to converse.

Earlier generations understood it best: Less is more.

The construction techniques and tools were basic. I don’t think “perfectly level” was really a big thing back then, but “good enough” was.

In most heritage builds, the foundation began as a hand-dug hole in the ground. Next, rocks, stones and boulders were hand placed to form a foundation wall.

Of course, over time, almost every home settles to some extent. In a heritage home, sloping and rolling floors are the norm. The roof ridge and roof deck are expected to sag over the years. You just have to go with it.

All homes need maintenance and upkeep. Keeping an older home in top condition requires commitment, but here’s the thing: heritage homeowners that I have spoken with have an unequivocal love for their homes that translates into a long-lasting sense of pride of ownership.

They know that with character and age comes expected and some unexpected updates and repairs, it’s a labour of love as they say. Some say we should learn from other countries the value of keeping older homes and fixing them up.

You may not get crushes on older houses, but some people do, and they completely fall in love with them.

They adore the character that comes from a charming house built at the turn of the last century, before cars, telephones and the Internet.

What’s not to love about that?

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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