Save That Old House and Make It a Home

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

One of my favorite pastimes is to read magazine articles or stories on the Internet about families who have taken an old house and gradually brought it back to its former glory while making it their home. Many people have the ability to look at an old house that is in need of extensive work and see what it once was and what it can become again. All it takes is a little time, patience, dedication, money spent over time, and a whole lot of sweat equity. A young family can end up with a home that would have been far beyond their means when they were starting out if they have the patience to live in the home while they remodel it perhaps only a room a year as they have time and money.

I recently read a story about a couple that did just that over the last several decades. The house they did it with is well beyond the means of most of us, but it still shows what is possible over the years. I have reread the article a few times as I love the style of the home, and the location isn’t bad, either. Of course, the house doesn’t have to be of this magnitude, it can be done with a six-room farmhouse, and if you are involved in the renovation every step of the way, you will be just as proud of the finished home as the people who renovated the Pacific Mansion.

I read two more articles today that are more along the scale that most of us can achieve. The first is a beautiful old farmhouse in southern Virginia, a work-in-progress that is becoming a dream home, and the second is a 19th-century log home in Wisconsin that a young couple brought back to its former splendor with some modern conveniences.

But I don’t have to read about it, I see it every day. I live in the center of the wonderful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and as I take my daily bicycle ride along the country roads, I pass homes that are 100 or 200 years old that young families are now creating their own memories in. Some of the homes are awaiting renovations as time and money become available, some are works in progress, and some are almost complete.

One more thing to keep in mind. If you are considering purchasing an old house and renovating it over time, the various tax credits available now could come in handy.


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  1. 3 Responses  to “Save That Old House and Make It a Home”

  2. Aug 29, 2011
    It’s always nice to see that there are still people out there who want to invest quality time into the place they are going to call home. So many homeowners have gotten used to buying cookie-cutter homes because they’re there typically more affordable and in turn-key condition. And I can’t say that I blame them for buying homes that are move-in ready. But it’s still refreshing to see older homes remodeled and given back their full glory. Thanks for sharing Conrad.
  3. Randall
    Aug 29, 2011
    There are some vintage houses around where I live...vintage meaning 1950's. I want to see some houses made up of straight up logs, but then when you enter it it is completely modern - you'd get the best of both worlds. A TV in every room, even the pantry. I'm sure if you sold the house with the additions in electronics you could get a few more grand out of it.
  4. Lisa Scofield
    Aug 29, 2011
    I can't say enough about salvaging homes that have history. Not only are you pouring your heart and soul (and money!) into a sentimental structure, but the value of the structure continues to grow long after the project has been completed.