Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Old house living

One thing you don't usually see in those swanky magazines of Victorian homes or other older, more "seasoned" domiciles, are the hills and valleys in the floors, the waves in the walls, the doors that won't close all the way, and other evidence that the house has settled as it has aged.

Dy at Classic Adventures is working on her old house and keeps a running progress report that is fascinating and fun to read. I told her I'd post some pictures of our nowhere-near-plumb house so here they are...

The hallway downstairs:

The hall is part of the house that was built in 1875-76. It was originally a wide, dog-trot type of hall. You should be able to see how the molding along the floor curves - from our bedroom doorway at the back of the picture it curves up, because the floor goes up there, then as it nears the door of the half-bath in the front of the picture, it curves outward as the wall bulges outward. Nice, huh? Gives it "character."

The entryway and living room floors slope steeply down towards the center of the house. In the entryway you can see it by the pictures on the wall and the furniture on the floor. The pictures are hung straight, but the rocking bench beneath slants downward to the right because of the floors:

The bookcases in the living room are bolted to the wall and have shims shoring them up underneath, because the floor really dips down from the wall to the center of the room:

I admit that for the first month we lived here I had nightmares many nights - I'd dream that the house was collapsing on us, drawn down by the weight of books and people. Now I'm getting used to the occasional creaks and groans and the hills, valleys, and waves.



Blogger Dy said...

Oh, Laura! Zorak and I love your hallway! And your high ceilings! (And while I had him here, we went through your pictures for the Tour of Homes - you, and everyone who came to help, truly did a fantastic job! It's lovely.

Thank you for sharing your homes natural undulations. We have a few like that, but sadly, our home was only built in 1971 - so most of our problems are just poor construction detail. :-) Still, I like to think we're reaching out in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, no?


12:28 AM  
Blogger Dy said...

Can't. Let. Typos. Go.

(End parenthesis after lovely. Thanks.)

And home's. Undulations of the home. I do know how to type. Honest, I do.


12:29 AM  
Blogger Jennie C. said...

I love that about old houses, all the imperfections, the creaks, the oddities. New houses have no character. When we settle into our post-Army life, I hope very much that our house is an oldie!

8:31 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you, Dy and Jennie.

Dy, your "only built in 1971" house is already 35 years old - so it's outlasted a typical 30-year mortgage. I'd say it's well on its way to middle-age, so the face-lift and love you're giving it will make it even better.

Jennie, even new houses become old. Just think of the character you're giving your house as you live in it and improve it - or just live in it and love it. I've enjoyed finding penciled notes on woodwork in the attic or newspapers lining cabinets in houses we've lived in. All those details make the house have a history and an identity.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I have NO idea how I ended up at this blog, but I'm SO glad I did. Our house was built in 1910 and it creaks and dips and we have cracks in the plaster walls. I thought for sure something was wrong with our foundation, like you, had nightmares about the house caving in. I got some reassurance from a building guy that everything is fine. The house is old, the cracks look larger and the house gets squeakier in the winter.
It's nice to know I'm not the only one with and old creaky house!

12:51 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home