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.