Old house features making a comeback

By: Shannon Lee , Contributing Writer
In: Home Improvement Tips

In so many ways, old houses had it right from the start. There were things that your great-grandparents enjoyed that would make a great deal of sense today, and fortunately, some building companies are realizing that. Many modern homeowners are gradually moving back to the old way of doing things -- here's how.

Summer kitchens

There was a time when the kitchen was separated entirely from the house, connected only by a breezeway. This was especially helpful during the dog days of summer, as a separate kitchen kept the heat out of the house. Today, outdoor kitchens are all the rage, and though it seems like a quite modern twist, it's really not; it's just the summer kitchen, coming back around in a new way!

Doors between rooms

At the very least, doors that separate the kitchen from the rest of the house should be an option. With today's open floor plans, that's almost impossible to pull off. But for those who want something a little more personal, there are sliding pocket doors. These ingenious doors slide into the walls when not in use, opening up the space. When they are in use, they block off various areas of the house, allowing for privacy.

Enormous porches

Porches of yesteryear were wide and deep, often wrapping around the entire house, or at least covering the entire front. These were used for much more than visiting with friends; often called 'sleeping porches,' these wide spaces were perfect for sleeping when the weather got too hot to stay inside. Sometimes they were adorned with screens that kept the bugs out, and sometimes they had ceiling fans, too. Porches were so deep that the windows could be kept open day and night, even when it rained, allowing for fresh air to flow through. Today's trend toward outdoor living spaces is just that -- wide, beautiful decks and porches.

Walk-in pantries

Keeping kitchen goods in a variety of cabinets can be a hassle -- it means stooping to get that can from the bottom shelf, or rising up on tiptoe to reach that serving platter. Old houses had it right with the walk-in pantry. These rooms were designed with shelves that rose to the ceiling, so that cooks could see everything they had to work with at a glance and could grab it quickly and easily. Today's cooks are realizing that the pantry is the way to go, and leave those kitchen cabinets to hold appliances, such as that ungainly blender or the toaster.

Fold-down laundry boards

It might seem like a simple thing, but ask the mother who has just finished the last load of laundry for a family of five if she might like to have it, and she will jump at the chance. Even though today's modern homes tend to be larger than ever, space still seems to be at a premium. Necessities that fold into the wall -- like the ironing board -- are great space-savers that are popping up in new homes all over the country.

Though there are some things that might not make a comeback (tiny closets and postage-stamp bathrooms come to mind), the tried-and-true features of old houses are making their way into newer homes and reminding us that all good things really do come back into style.


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