Your house has stories to tell

If you live in an old house, chances are that you are living with a number of what other would call “imperfections”: “What were they thinking?” upgrades by previous owners (especially interior) that you just have to live with. Creaky, uneven floors. Drafty windows. Maybe your electrical system needs upgrading. Noises at night as the house still settles, even decades after it was built.

One good thing that can come of have upgrades done to the infrastructure of your house is that you get a chance to see the “bones”– some evidence of the history of the structure. Especially if it was a kit house, there are likely to be some codes on the wood framing (check your attic, and then search online. You may very well find that the codes match to a specific name of a kit).

You will find evidence of how building practices have changed over the years. Wiring and plumbing have modernized, but the tradespeople, at least in my experience, tend to leave the old electrical wiring or plumbing in the walls, even when it is no longer functional. This allows you to see what it looked like and where it was installed. Previously, I had a chance to see what my attic and roof structure looked like before insulation was put in. Outside, after having 4 feet of ivy removed across the front of the property (50 + years worth), we found that we had a lovely, low rock wall that had been hidden away.

My recent household project has been plumbing, and I have learned a bunch about the old plumbing in my 90 year old house from the plumbers, even as they upgrade it.

You can do the “genealogy” of your house. Information about previous owners can be found through deeds, city directories, talking to previous owners, residents, and neighjbors., If you are lucky, you may have blueprints with your home. Have fun!


Dame Lisa



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