History lessons from an old house

The Bitter Truths (and joys) of Owning an Old Home

You learn to acquiesce to some things, even embrace the bitter truths with contentment, when you know the joys of owning an old home.

owning an old farmhouse

The Joys of Owning an Old Farmhouse

Walls, ceilings, and floors will never line up correctly. Anywhere. But the exposed beams make up for a plethora of crooked corners. 

Sagging floor boards will never be muted. But wide planks, boasting marks of hand planing, justify the loud crankiness of the wood.

Original windows, if we’re lucky enough to have a few that have survived, will never open easily. But sunlight bending romantically through handblown panes makes up for the window’s aged stubbornness.

Every job will be harder than you think. But treasures abound.

I am blessed to live in a 215-year-old cape with exposed beams; old, wide pine floors; and a few original windows in the hall that connects the house to the barn. It used to be the carriage house. I’ll confess I had no idea what that was when I was informed our home used to have one. But it’s exactly what the name implies. It’s the area that housed the carriages. The owner would drive in his horse-drawn carriage, unharness the horses, and walk them into the adjacent barn.

This is where our hand-blown panes have survived, because they were long ago enclosed from the weather by a front porch that stretches across the front of the used-to-be carriage house. In this picture, dated 1900, it looks like there is just a simple roof across the front of the carriage house, but that alone provided some protection for the windows, which were old even then.

owning an old home

But our current project of clearing fields, preparing for my daughter’s dream of a homestead with a mission, has been much harder than we anticipated. It has also unearthed treasures that would seem like landfill material to some but mean the world to us, knowing they are integral to the story of the last two centuries of life on our little corner of New England.

I love to repurpose my relics… help old things become new again. Antique bottles become perfect waterers.

And beautiful light catchers.

Old barrels and cast iron pans? Wonderful herb gardens.

But some relics will remain where we found them for a little while longer, at least until we are ready to cut down some trees…

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

owning an old home

following God's lead

Although I feel very blessed, I’m also feeling just a little, well, older. Today happens to be the first day of my 47th trip around the sun. Maybe that’s why I love making old things new again. As my curls get a little grayer and my body gets a little crankier, I’m looking forward to the day that God makes all things new. Until then, I’ll just keep digging around our homestead and repurposing the old treasures I uncover.

Although I enjoy altering trash, I’m so thankful for one valuable treasure I know will never change: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-24) As I open my eyes tomorrow morning and look forward to another year… my 47th year… and a day of celebrating my beloved country, I will rejoice in His steadfast love.

Happy Independence Day!

owning an old home


And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5

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owning an old home

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1 Comment

  1. Our actual house is not quite so old, portions at just around 150 or so years old, other parts closer to 100, but I understand your feelings none the less. The treasures we have been finding here and there are so much fun to discover, and we too, enjoy finding another purpose for those long forgotten items.

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