An Old House Is A Way Of Life

OLD HOUSES aren't for everyone. Plumbing may leak; space isn't laid out efficiently; wiring isn't adequate... .the list of sensible reasons why one shouldn't buy an old house goes on and on. Yet there are many who would never live anywhere else....they are truly Old House People.

WHY DO people endure the extra headaches of owning an old house-all for the privilege of living in a structure that takes on aspects of a cantankerous spouse?

FIRST, there is a romance to old houses. An old house is part of the collective memory of man; long ago joys and sadnesses linger in old halls and on dark staircases. An old house continually reminds us that people have lived before us in different times and circumstances. Through the house we share an experience in common with these other people in other times. Keeping up an old house is keeping faith with the past.

AND AN OLD HOUSE has character.... in many ways resembling a living person. After being fussed with for 75 years, a house bears the imprint of its previous occupants... .acquiring a personality that is unique to it.

ANOTHER CHARM of an old house is that it was unmistakably made by the hand of man. In this increasingly mass-produced world, there is something reassuring about floors that are not quite level and walls that are a little out of square.

BUT DESPITE imperfections, an old house frequently exhibits an excellence of craftsmanship and detail that cannot be duplicated today. And while the creation of such extraordinarily constructed detail is beyond the ability of most contem porary workmen, it is within the ability of most homeowners to restore and preserve this detail.

PARTLY out of necessity and partly out of a desire to develop their own craftsmanship, growing numbers of homeowners are taking the do-it-yourself approach to caring for their elderly homes. Starting with an old house, they keep the best of the past intact and remodel the rest to fit the needs of modern living. And in the process they discover the joy of living in a home finely made by the human hand.

WITH THE TOOLS and materials available to today's homeowner, it's possible to become one's own old-world craftsman- by investing the time to learn the tricks of the various trades. In a world that puts a premium on sheer volume of production, there's a secret satisfaction to be found in taking all of the time necessary to do a job in the very best possible way. While renovation vation can be a painful process, those that have gone through it successfully have found it to be one of the most creative and rewarding experiences of their lives.

Editorial, The Old House Journal, Vol. 1, No.1, 1973.