Monday, December 13, 2010

10 challenges of my new home

I always entertain great hopes.
-Robert Frost, American Poet
Now that we have made it through is starting to settle in...buying a 300 year old house does have its challenges. Not that I am one to run from a good challenge, but truth be told, there have been moments when I have questioned whether or not I over-did it this time. While I am absolutely in love and knew this place was the perfect home, there is a slight chance my rosy-colored glasses kept me from seeing the reality of all the work in store. Here are my ten challenges of my new home:
  1. If the picture above didn't scare you away and you are still reading, you can guess my number one challenge...they don't pay the rent or clean up after themselves. Completely cute to their mother I am sure, but there's a reason we scream. Not sure how to evict them because they have been here longer. I have already been forbidden to get a cat since everyone in the house is sure they are allergic...stay tuned.
  2. Chilly...never before have I used my sweaters more...should have been tipped off by all the fireplaces. Unfortunately someone along the line-up decided all the fireplace chimneys should be closed...most likely to keep out drafts, but how toasty would that be to have a fire in every one? Everyone is getting comforters and slippers for Christmas...need I say more?
  3. Two-pronged outlets and having only one outlet in a room...if you are lucky. We have found outlets that must have been put there for status symbols because there is no wiring to make them live...all show and no volts. My very patient father-in-law came to the rescue with a bunch of grounded zen!
  4. Plaster do you hang anything on them and how do you fill in a hole that was a "whoops!"? You do have the benefit of quiet space because the walls are about 18 inches thick.
  5. Period paint colors and windows being painted shut. Although I have done my share of painting, this one is going to be saved for a professional. We are just going to go room by room. Let me know if you have a favorite painter who knows older homes as I would love references.
  6. Fitting my furniture in the assorted rooms sizes. Pottery Barn is a relatively new creation that doesn't necessarily work in the 18th century home, and this is a challenge when your pre-teen wants her room to look like the magazine.
  7. Smaller closets...brings to mind the saying, "Live simply so that others may simply live." There is not enough room to change your mind in these closets...choose fewer and choose the best especially when it comes to shoes. Someone told me that they built them smaller so they would not be taxed for another "room"...I would have paid the tax.
  8. Appliances that passed inspection, but mysteriously are not functioning the moment your pen touches the HUD1. Who was Murphy, and what's the deal with his law?
  9. Cleaning up where someone left off...I am investing in a good vacuum and a good rake. Sometimes when people are moving out, they run out of time to leave it ship-shape for you. Be prepared to get busy right away.
  10. My basement and attic that are the perfect sight for National Treasure 3. Someday they will be beautiful.

My brother said it best when he visited this weekend, "You have a project for every weekend for a 1,000 weeks." We are lucky to be in this home and over time like anything else, we will learn and grow from it. Whatever love we give this house will come right back to us as we transform this timeless space into our home. I'm still a believer!


Trina Ernst said...

I grew up in an old converted school house. My Mom always said "don't nail into the walls!". But she loved art so she risked it anyway. Putting an X of tape down reduces the risks of cracks. Good luck.