|Our house dates back to 1880 or 1890|
Our house was renovated as recently as 1980. New plumbing, windows, electrical and insulation had all been installed. There was a cement foundation and a proper heating system. We were ecstatic. There were some issues with maintenance that needed to be addressed but we felt we would be able to move in and live here with relative ease while any work took place.
But it's hard when you are looking at multiple houses to purchase and only have a couple of hours to remember the details just right. You can't poke and pry too much during that limited viewing time to find out if that light fixture is glass or plastic. It's not until after you have move in that you really start getting to know your home. What we began to realize was that the century old details we thought we were getting weren't necessarily authentic.
|This molding is quite attractive but likely isn't original|
Houses that stand for a hundred years have some stories to tell. One of those stories is renovations. Each time a family moves in their needs change and they tend to change the house to fit those needs. Over a period of 100 years that can mean a lot of changes. Not to mention passing styles and the introduction of indoor plumbing and electricity.
And so we discovered one of the secrets about a historical house. It's rare that they come to you intact from the day they were built. Our property at one time was a working farm that had several barns and a massive apple orchard. Some old stones in the hedgerow and approximately 20 apple trees are all that is left of those times. The house itself, we learned, had been abandoned at one period of time. During this period it was looted, vandalized, had structural and water damage. In order to make it livable again extensive renovations were completed. We realized that those renovations that made the house so livable to us had also been the demise of many original elements.
|This molding does appear to be antique|
It was a bit of a let down when we realized that many of the details we admired weren't authentic. But it was also liberating. True historic houses have a lot of rules that go along with them. Communities generally regulate what can and cannot be done to these home in order to preserve their original state. Our house was entirely up to us. We could try to replicate the antique age of the house or make it completely modern. Instead of questioning every detail we started to loosen up and think about the house in terms of what suited us and our style. And that has led to some interesting choices.