Passion and Old Houses

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News, Old House History

Do you like to read about old houses that have been saved and restored, and seeing the before and after pictures that sometimes accompany the articles? Seeing what other people have accomplished gives me hope for my old house. But, I think that mostly I enjoy being around or reading about people who are passionate about something in their life. People who are passionate about an interest in their lives are often more enjoyable and exciting to be around, so everyone should try to develop at least one passion.

People who purchase and restore old houses have to be passionate about what they are doing, or they may soon give up and go purchase a tract home. It is hard work, even if they have contractors and friends helping them, and it can also be expensive. Old house lovers often have to make sacrifices in other areas of their lives, but they can already picture the end result of their labor and sacrifices, and know it will be worth it. They also know that when restoring an old house, the journey can be just as enjoyable as the destination.

Historic Old House in Connecticut

One of the most amazing restoration stories I have read about is a 1722 Saltbox house in Connecticut. A developer offered the local fire company $10,000 to burn it down, but the fire chief happened to like old houses, and a buyer was found. The before and after pictures in this article are absolutely amazing, and it’s obvious there was a very generous budget for the restoration. But even with a generous budget, the effort and passion of a small group of people who took the old house from how it was when it was about to be torched to how it is now is simply incredible.

Old House Restoration in Virginia

Another interesting story is the old house that was awarded Charlottesville, Virginia’s Private Preservation Project of the Year in 2007. The old house was built by a local master carpenter in the 1870s, and the interior was a showcase for his woodworking talents. The house sat vacant, and the neighbors purchased the house in 1994 with the intent of tearing it down and building a home for their daughter on the lot. However, after seeing the old house’s potential, and talking to a local historian, they ended up restoring the house, and they now live in it.

German Old House

The passion for restoring old houses isn’t limited to our country. A gentleman in Germany undertook the restoration of an old house he thought was 300 years old. After they were into the construction phase, they realized the house was actually 500 years old–there was evidence that the old house may have been built in the 1490s. Seven years after he began the restoration project, the house is ready for another 500 years.

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  1. 5 Responses  to “Passion and Old Houses”

  2. julie
    Aug 29, 2011
    I love the way old houses look... and the front door is something everyone will notice. Restoring an old house is a big project but it is definitely worth it in the end.
  3. Nilda Duffek
    Aug 29, 2011
    I am a new convert to the Sears mail order houses admiration society! Could anyone tell me if there are any of these houses in Northern California area? There is one in Colfax, CA which is very similar to the Crescent model (1923) but I cannot be certain. Thanks for any help.
  4. James
    Aug 29, 2011
    Agreed with Lisa, old houses are some of the only tangible things we have left from the past, I don't get why anyone would offer money to burn them down or destroy them. I guarantee you couldn't pay anyone in Egypt or Greece billions of dollars to knock down their 1000 year old historical buildings.
  5. Bill H.
    Aug 29, 2011
    I love old houses too, unfortunately I have seen projects where people got sucked into a money pit remodel for the sake of the "old house". I wonder if there is a evaluation scale of some kind that would let you know if you have a old house that is worth saving or one that is better left dead?
  6. Lisa Scofield
    Aug 29, 2011
    Old houses are a literal connection to the past. In the days of fabricated homes, it's these old houses that remind us how good construction used to be. The astronomical price tags are well-appointed--these houses are literally invaluable.