This Old House Magazine Disappoints

This Old House

This Old House

I have been a long time buyer followed by subscriber of This Old House Magazine. When I first started buying this magazine it was at a time that there was very little information on anything to do with older homes. This Old House had pages full of relevant information for the problems and issues that owners of heritage homes face. Recently I have noticed a change. Although the magazine is clearly geared to DIY (do it yourself) types of which I am one, the examples they are using in the magazine are moving further and further away from old houses and into DIY territory. Perhaps they just need to rename the magazine… Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoy the articles and information that the experts share but there are other magazines out there that do the same thing. The best issue is the one where readers share their tips. But I want more about old houses. In the issue that you see at left the featured an 1887 Queen Anne house which was a good read. However many more pages were devoted to: a kitchen from the 60’s, a 1950’s house, a 1980’s “Colonial Revival”, a 1952 ranch house, a 1948 Cape Cod House, and a 1944 bungalow. Perhaps the definition of what constitutes an old house has changed. Those of us who have a century old house have even fewer choices now. But I think what bothers me the most is that, although some houses do admittedly look better once they are renovated, there seems to be an implied acceptance that if you have a 1950’s or a 1960’s house you should change it. That there is something wrong with houses of thiese eras because they are “dated”. Look at it another way. These houses are not dated, they are original. Another problem I see is that most of the houses seem to be “remodelled” to look like Arts and Crafts houses. Taking a room with eight foot ceilings and building faux wooden beams and Colonial style windows in a C1950’s house is crazy. The proportions are all wrong. In 100 years the owners of all these homes that have been irreparably “updated” will bemoan the fact that there is nothing original in the house. It will be their task to restore it to what it is right now – kind of silly don’t you think? If you were attracted by the house in the first place consider why before you pull out the circular saw. Don’t try to make it look “old” by adding artificial details. I won’t be renewing my subscription.