Damaged wall being repaired
I have been on your blog and I think it’s quite well done. It’s well organized with sound advice. Just this morning in fact, I was walking with my wife and shared some things you had said about ‘authentic’ craftsman homes. I’d often had a notion that folks in the past were not so different than ourselves and likely decorated with a mixture of hand-me-downs, family heirlooms and even things of questionable taste.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to salvage a great deal of material for my own restoration from immanent tear downs around here. One of the things my family have found interesting is how you can trace the history of a house as you take it apart. You can see some good ideas that were torn out or covered over but you see some poor elements as well. Of course they may have been well planned originally but don’t make sense in a modern context. Patrick
Dear Patrick: Yes, pulling apart a house whether for repair or (horrors) demolition is an educational experience. Our houses are a direct reflection of the time in which they were built. They talk to us by using specific materials in their building. They talk to us by showing the attitude towards quality and construction. And they tell us volumes about the economic times in which the house was built. As any homeowner will know a house built during a building boom is often not well made because speed was more important than quality of construction. Anf finally they talk to us by showing us what was in style. The image at left is a fragment of one of the layers of wallpaper that we found as we were repairing the crack in the wall above.
Wallpaper fragments under layers of paint
Sometimes houses talk in fun ways too. This week I taught a course for old house owners on Floors & Mill work. One of the participants mentioned that they found the receipts and plan for the renovation that had taken place on their home in the late 1930’s. The previous owners had stuffed the file in the walls behind the wall board.
I think we’ll be doing that this spring as we get ready to build our addition. I will add pictures of the original room and a blueprint of the reno. Doing this may mean a lot to the future owners of our houses, don’t you think? How would you feel if you found this info in the walls of your old house?