Like, really old.
If you’ve ever watched anything on HGTV, you’ve probably heard the phrase “old house problems.” It comes up over and over: On renovations shows, when homeowners encounter shoddy updates and outdated pipes and wiring. During house hunts, when starry-eyed first-time buyers see anything built before 1990 and worry about how much work it might need (LOL…).
“You buy an old house, you get old house problems.”
I’ve heard it myself, from my dad, when Graham and I first started searching for a house with a story.
My dad used to build houses, and I trust him, and I know that he knows what he’s talking about. But as children do, I considered his advice carefully, ignored it entirely, and did what I wanted.
I think it’s important to point out that any house will have problems. Our first home was built in 2007, and we poured thousands of dollars into fixing stuff that broke, big stuff and small stuff. We replaced a faulty sump pump that flooded our utility room and an HVAC that died not once but twice. We installed a radon mitigation system, we sanded down doors that stuck as the house settled, fixed nail pops, bought a new refrigerator…
My point is, any house, regardless of its age, is going to require some serious maintenance and upkeep. But I’m willing to admit that it takes a special sort of crazy person to commit to the maintenance and upkeep of a home of…advanced age.
I am that crazy person.
So is Graham. I didn’t pull him into the insanity with me. We met there. And here we are today, in our very old house, happy as can be despite our ever-growing list of “old house problems.”
Why am I sharing this now?
Well, a few reasons. The first is that I wrote a post earlier this week that just got me thinking about it. The second is that Graham replaced our kitchen faucet over the weekend, and it took about two hours longer than it should have because everything was crusty with lime buildup and rusted together. The third is that, as we think about fixing small issues like that faucet, we’re also starting to discuss what larger projects we might want to tackle over the course of the spring and summer.
And believe me, it’s super easy to “find” projects in an old home.
We’ve been sort of laisse faire about things so far. We’ve done some interior and exterior painting, but we have a lot more to do.
We’ve fixed issues as they’ve come up, but we haven’t really sat down and developed a strategy for making improvements, adjustments, and repairs. To be fair, we’ve only lived here since 2016, and it’s taken almost that long to really decide and settle on how we want to use spaces, how we want them to look and feel, and what “home” looks like for us here.
But now, it’s time.
Truly, it’s past time.
We bought this house to make it a home, and to be good stewards of a piece of history. I think it’s about time we made good on that commitment.
So, cheers to old house problems! (I’m holding up my coffee cup.) And may we learn to be patient and enjoy the process…