This Old House

“They’re just not making old houses anymore.”

This was once something a customer said to me. She intended it as deep and slightly witty observation. I smiled and said, “I agree.” At the prices my company charged, I always agreed, even if they said, “Mt. Everest was named after my father.”

We lived in an older house for three years in the beginning of our marriage. It was a blessing at the time and a major step up from our one bedroom apartment. As for the people that say old houses have so much more to offer than new houses, I would agree. The house was built in the 1940’s we think. It had more dirt, more creaks, more cracks, more spiders, and more trouble then any house I have lived in since. Additionally due to the lack of insulation we also paid a lot more for heating and cooling. Of course it wasn’t all positive mind you, the house also had some drawbacks. For instance this house had no sheetrock. Ever tried to hang thirty-five pounds of curtains on a plaster wall?

I know that there are lots of people who would rather live in an old house than a new house. I could understand the idea, if I had a houseful of servants, or at least a live in contractor. I’m not sure if I’m being naïve but I believe most people would be a bit desperate to maintain an old house without Bob Vila to help out. I’m not a handy person, as far as carpentry, plumbing or electrical. As I once overheard from a co-worker, “There was a hole in the wall and I was like, ‘Honey get the toothpaste!’” This was a bit of handy work I could identify with.

I like the idea of a new house, the idea that no one else has lived there, died there, or buried evidence there. The walls all scream, "I'm yours to do with as you please!" Instead of, "If you don't like avocado green then grab a brush buddy." It’s too bad that the majority of new houses in my area are built right on top of each other. Backyards and side yards are as scarce as hens in a fox hole.

Now you have your fancy central vacuums, home network enabled wiring, ceramic tile, trash compactors, lawn sprinklers, laundry shoots, and a kitchen island, but can’t go outside without standing on your neighbor’s lawn.

I'm not sure what the perfect abode is for everyone, but for me and mine, it’s a newer house over an older house. With double pane windows to block out the sounds, and thick blinds to keep your zero lot lined neighbors at bay.

13 comments:

J Crew said...

I prefer trailers with wood paneling. I mean I can take my home anywhere if need be. It is a mobile home.

kludge said...

J Crew-
Convenience and class. Not many people can say that!

J Crew said...

1 out of 2 ain't bad anyway. Though I do think that a can crusher screwed to the side of your house is pretty classy.

Ando said...

Is "scarce as a fox in a hen house" an actual phrase or did you make it up?

kludge said...

actually I said "scarce as hens in a fox hole." It was an odd phrase so I can see the confusion, but I believe it's original...if not a bit trite. I don't suppose Oxford book of quotes will be knocking on my doors anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

As you know, I can relate because we both lived in Hendley for about the same amount of time. I think old houses are very charming at first. However, after two years of not being able to run your blow dryer and toaster at the same time, after getting frost bite in January and heat stroke in August and being greeted at 3:00 in the morning by your now "pet" possum, inevitably the charm fades and leaves you with the sole remaining thought: I have to get out of this hell hole and get myself a nice condo with blue carpet and central heat. -Guess Who?

kludge said...

I forgot about the fuses! Since we've been out much longer than you have, some things slipped my mind.

The path to the outside panel was a famliar trek! I could flip that breaker in my sleep and, more times than not, probably did.

SJ said...

I prefer the newer home unless you have some to give you all the money to "fix" up an older home. Older homes do often have a certain character that newer homes do not have. I have to admit I lived in an older apartment complex that had been "restored" and it was awesome.

kludge said...

Sj-

Agreed, if money was no option, everything changes. I'd live in a pristine Victorian with maid quarters and a yard boy.

RC said...

i'm a new house guy too...

that opening quote is hillarious.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

Call Me June... said...

Well the Graves have tried it all... started in the panelled trailer, moved on to the older fixer-upper and are now in the new home (although we had to move to Indiana to do it!) I must say, I like the "new home" experience. Most of you know how handy my husband is and let's face it, I'm just a lot more comfortable in my own dirt!

kludge said...

RC - glad you stopped by again. The quote was good, but the deliver was a raving psycho, which dimmished it's overall impact of it! :)

June - again, it seems, your husband and I have a lot in common!

jenylu said...

We've done old and new as well. I enjoy both but found out we should never buy a fixer. Though my sweetie is very handy, we are the worst for finishing projects! We just get used to the unfinished look instead...