My parents owned a house in Belleville, Ontario, where my Father grew up. It passed on to my Father when my Grandmother passed away. I loved that old house. It was a heritage home, Victorian with gables on the roof peaks, wooden shutters, and bay windows that defined the beauty of its glory days post turn of the 20th century.
As my parents aged, and after my uncle who had lived there went into a retirement home, the home was sold. It was a sad point in time to see the house leave our hands and then torn down to make way for 3 townhomes.
But time moves on and the house had needed too many repairs to make it practical to keep. And the new owner could make more money on 3 townhomes rather than 1 large old fashioned house.The beauty of many old homes is inspiring. The intricate woodwork, latticing often seen inside to separate areas of rooms, large kitchens, and the separate back kitchen where the cooking preparation was done. There was a lot not to admire too when you look at today’s standards. No dishwashers, and only minimalist counter and cabinet space. Drawers did not come customized for spices, cutlery and household necessities such as foil wrap and lining for baking pans. Cooking and baking were almost all day events- day after day.sh
Yet I loved it all and can still picture myself outside, and inside, running from room to room, exploring, discovering, and forming memories. I don’t even need to close my eyes. I still see the crab-apple tree outside the side door, and the rows of raspberries my Grandmother picked every year to make jam. The locals came every summer to buy her raspberry jam-it was delicious. We often ‘helped’ with the raspberry picking–at least we helped to eat the juicy berries and then ran off to play.
And on the inside of the house one of my favourite spots to sit was a rocking chair that sat in one of the two mini rooms that had bay windows. I loved the lattice woodwork that hung from the ceiling separating the smaller bay window rooms from the dining and living rooms. I have one of the lattice pieces in my home now. I asked for it along with a coat rack that I placed on the wall just inside my own front door. I do need to remove the old paint (lead) and it is on my to-do list – one of these days.
Renovating an old home is a challenge that some people do take on. It can be a huge and daunting task, but if you are prepared to invest the time and money, the results are well worth it.
One of the things I love about a re-design of an old homes is the way someone who has the skill set, creative imagination, and an understanding and appreciation of different design periods and a love of history, can recreate the look feel of a given period of time. While not imposing any one period on a house, a talented craftsperson can bring the past to the present, with all the nifty modern amenities blended into unlikely places.
While design is not my thing and my skill with a hammer and saw is minimalist to say the least, I love to read about renovations and hear other peoples’ stories about their own home remodelling and restorations.
Do you have any stories to share about a renovation you undertook or had done? I would love to hear about it.
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