Lately I've become addicted to renovation blogs. Specifically blogs about renovating old homes (looking at you Victoria Elizabeth Barnes and Old Town Home). I'm a colossal history nerd and have always loved the way that old homes could exude elegance without even really trying. BUT I have lived in brand-new, custom-built homes almost my entire life and thanks to my parents' good taste and appreciation for things done right, there are a number of things about old houses that drive me insane.
This is one of the houses my parents built. We lived here from 2006 - 2010.
- shoddy wiring
- not having overhead lighting in every room
- plumbing that can't handle modern usage
- squeaky floors (this one is probably my biggest pet peeve)
- drafty windows
- lack of storage
- tiny bathrooms
- dungeon-esque basements that serve no purpose beyond housing spiders and mice
I always feel like I need to wear a hazmat suit when entering one of these basements.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg really.
Instead, I have always said that I'd love to build a brand new home that simply LOOKED like it had been there for over a hundred years. And of course I still do, it's just that I'm realistic and know that I can't afford to. I likely won't be able to afford a project like that for a very long time, if ever.
So with a heavy heart I set aside those dreams for the reality that is house-hunting with my husband, Jake, in Hespeler. We've been looking on and off for a few months now and hope to find something this Summer or Fall. Occasionally something will catch my eye and I'll email our realtor to set up a showing.
Most of the things we've looked at have been from around the 1970's and beyond. But one listing came up a few weeks ago that had me almost screaming in delight. It was a hundred year old home that had been made into a semi some time ago (which is why it was within our budget). It had a huge yard and was within walking distance of downtown, our church, and our best friends. Plus since it was a semi there was the added bonus of potentially buying the other unit down the road to either rent out or convert the space back to a single family home.
Loads of potential.
All of the potential was running through my head, but in truth I hadn't got beyond the side bay window, high ceilings, and gorgeous trim that was in the front room.
We went through the house and while I SAW many of the issues that plagued it (floors were past their prime, deck that wasn't legal, strange door on the third floor that led to your death.. no.. really! There was a door that opened to the outside but there wasn't any kind of balcony at all and no railing to keep people in) all I kept thinking was "the Christmas tree would be so gorgeous in that window!"
I'm pretty sure I started to drool at the thought of a Christmas tree in that set of windows.
We kept walking around the place and finally I asked Jake what he thought. He hesitantly delved into a long list of problems that he could instantly see and a longer list of things that he knew were patch jobs. It was the patch jobs that scared him. We walked through the house one more time and I started to notice them too. There was some water damage in the bathroom, an opened box of new ceiling tiles that could indicate water damage elsewhere, a crazy mixture of electrical all over the place, a lot of things that we (who are not experts by any means) could tell were not up to code, etc.
We both agreed it was too much money for all of the various unknowns and left.
Huge, albeit slightly unsafe backyard.
A few days later I found myself constantly thinking back to that house. I wasn't sad about our decision (the house sold only a day or two later), but I kept thinking about the ceilings and trim work and that traditional layout of parlour, dining room, kitchen. Finally it clicked. Yes, I could make a home out of a cookie-cutter newer build... but I would be WAY happier if I could have the details and curb-appeal that older houses possess.
And so began my new-found love of old home renovation blogs. I'm still not sure if we'll buy an old home... the market in Hespeler is a bit insane so I honestly think we'll take what we can get. But I am determined to make it ours.
This blog is going to be about literally anything that has to do with our home. Wherever that may be (right now it's a one-bedroom apartment in the back of a house).
Not going to lie, I didn't have a picture of our house... I stole this from Google Maps.
It's my way of documenting our journey as well as potentially helping, inspiring and/or simply entertaining others just as the blogs I read have done for me.
Wish me luck!