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The Quirks of Living In An Old Home


The Quirks of Living in an Old Home | Design*Sponge

Every once in a while, I’m reminded of how quirky our home really is — how impractical features of it can be. I get in the rhythm of things( i.e. kicking the door twice to get it to latch while pushing my body weight into it to lock it ), and forget that other homes don’t function like mine. My 1900 -era home, my full-of-potential fixer-upper, has quirks. And of course, the longer I lives there, the more I discover.

I don’t know why, but I had always presumed these oddities would be fairly standard in old homes — creaky stairs, squeaky doors, etc. but some of the most prominent quirks in my house, I’d never heard of before. Like our front entryway, for example. We have a nice size entry room with a large closet and a large window right off of the front door and it connects via door to the living room. It has the same hardwood floors, same original doors and same window as the rest of the home, but zero insulation in the wall and no heat register. It’s a complete icebox in the winter. I’d love to store our coats and shoes in the entry closet but if the temperature is 5 degrees outside, the temperature is 7 degrees in the entry. We have to keep the door to the living room securely closed with a weather strip all wintertime long. I’m not sure why it was designed this way, or why when forced heat was added to the home, it was excluded. Or why, when the house was insulated, it was excluded.

Another quirky element has been the electrical. And maybe it’s more finicky than quirky but when we moved in, all of the overhead illumination worked. We had electrical updated in the kitchen and bathrooms and they still worked. A few months later, we had a few outlets in the back of the house updated, and the back entry overhead sunlight and the living room overhead light in the front of the house both stopped running. The electrician said it was impossible for that to happen. But here we are, almost 120 years after the house was built, and switching out an outlet in the kitchen killed the illuminations in the front and back of the house.

I could write 5,000 terms on the weird bits about my house but with every strange and maybe-not-so-desirable aspect, it’s still my dream house. And I honestly don’t think too much on the “problem” areas. They’re inconvenient for a second and then I’m back to enjoying the home my husband and I are creating together. Some things might get fixed( I would actually love to stop kicking the door shut or putting on a frozen coat in the winter) but others probably won’t be changed — at the least while we live here. I like that my stairs creak. It attains me should be considered all the children that have ever lived in this house that probably used to fly down the stairs on the way to breakfast. I like that the only fireplace in the house is in the unfinished basement with the stack going through the center of the house because that’s how they maintain the entire place warm.

Older homes have quirks. I know older homes aren’t for everyone and aren’t without a few headaches for those who love them. While there is a list of issues I wishing we could fix, there’s an even bigger list of my favorite things about living here, like the tall ceilings, large windows, timber floors, dark doors, huge bedrooms and the overall sense that this home has a past and we’re simply part of its story. — Lauren

Photography by Austin Day

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