Old House Restoration: Let Your Personality Live On

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

I’m getting ready to start a long overdue project on my old house; paint the entire exterior. My home has the original wood clapboard siding with wood trim around the single pane windows and wood half-round shingles in the gables. I’ve picked the paint colors, painted a small section to verify the colors, and am getting ready to strip the old loose paint with a pressure washer and replace a few of the siding boards.

Starting with a Blank Canvas  photo from thoughts.com

Starting with a Blank Canvas photo from thoughts.com

I think one of the things I enjoy most about restoring an old home is that every phase of construction is begun with a blank canvas and gradually the interior room or exterior appearance takes on the look I’m striving for and a part of my personality joins the character of the old house. My old home isn’t historic by any means, but I still like the look of the vintage woodwork and period doors so all of that remains and is repaired or replaced with similar materials as needed. However, during my restoration an enclosed front porch will become a library, a dining room transforms into a music room, and a main level floor plan that consists of small cut up rooms will become open and airy. I imagine the exterior of my home was always white, yellow, or gray, but it will soon be light brown with “salsa dancing” trim because I like that color combination; it suits my personality.

Let Your Personality Become Part of an Old House’s History

Some people prefer to keep their old house restoration historically accurate and we will always need homes like those as they convey a sense of how our ancestors lived and our country developed. Houses located in a historic district must be restored to strict guidelines, but if you just have an old house or farmhouse, you have a little more freedom to inject portions of your personality into your restoration projects.

Let Your Personality Live On  photo from pages.drexel.com

Let Your Personality Live On photo from pages.drexel.com

Your old house probably had character and a history when you purchased it and that will continue on as long as the house is standing. But whether it’s an old farmhouse in Dugspur, VA or a bungalow in Portland or Los Angeles, some of your personality can become a part of the old house and continue on as well. I wrote about a restored old two story garage and the business that occupied it in Winchester, VA several months ago. I found out this afternoon that the friend and old house enthusiast who restored the building and owned the business had recently passed away unexpectedly at the age of 44. That old building will always display a part of his great personality and spirit.