We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Old buildings like this are a tactile sensation, they compel you to each out and touch their aged materials and feel the worn lifelines. This oneís a beaut, having organically and graciously grown over so many years, which brings to mind the quandary of knowing the point in a buildingís existence when changes and additions detract from its original look and ongoing history. Thereís no easy answer to that one. At any rate, respectful maintenance and updating of a living building usually entails one approach, while historic preservation as time capsule uses another, but this structure is particularly interesting in that its inhabitants have managed to dovetail both so well.
When renovating and updating not exceptional old buildings, too many people still violate the sense of them and I wonder why they bother. They replace the old glazing or window units entirely and drywall over cracked plaster, they strip originally painted woodwork in order to stain it and sand away patina and smooth over old character in wood. They spray over unpainted brick and replace original doors with Home Depot suburban fake posh. They yank out heirloom landscaping for 2-gal azaleas and clumps of liriope. They gut the soul of an old place and erase much of its history. Itís not just about individual buildings, either, but about the feel and texture of a street or area that are affected by what we do with our properties.
The good news is that more and more commercial and residential building owners have become sensitive to working with buildings as they were at least aesthetically intended, not slavishly but intelligently attending to vintage character and detailing. But now we have energy considerations which are throwing a new wrench into the works. This is an area Iím v. interested in working- how to keep authenticity while meeting code and going green.
There was one of those old early 1700's farms houses down the street from where I used to live. The back roof was collapsing in spots and the farming family that had lived there for generations couldn't make enough money to keep it up and the needed bits could be hard to find. Those folks had a small grove of trees that were intended for beams when those in the barn needed replacement.
The children who grew up there moved on to other occupations and the town took over the house and barn and kept them up. The town these days is far too expensive for the farming families who used to live there; of the four farms that I recall none are still working farms, most have been divided into lots where wealthier folks have built their homes.
I had a friend who was in the process of moving from Switzerland to Lexington, KY. We inquired whether he wanted a new house or an old one. He asked what we meant by an old house and we said there were some from the 1930s and 1940s. He replied that in Switzerland an old house was one from the 18th century.