Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Looking at Old Houses

Oh you poor neglected readers! I'm so sorry I have not updated in so long. Many life changes happening here that have left me exhausted most of the time. Stephen and I are a month and a half away from having a baby! Inviting Alysa into our life was a great experience, so now that we've had a teenager we're going back and staring from the beginning. We can't wait to bring another little reenactor into the world.

As if adding to the family was not crazy enough, we're also moving, Right now my commute to work is an hour and twenty minutes, one-way. So I spend almost 3 hours in the car every day driving to and from work. That is not going to be okay once I'm a new mom, so we're selling our current house and looking to buy closer to the museum. Right now I'm fairly convinced that selling a house is more stressful than being pregnant, though it could be just that the house deadlines are approaching much more rapidly, and my pregnancy has been very uncomplicated so far.

I do intend to write up a blog post about the latest reenactment I attended, which will basically be my last until after the baby is born (none of my reenacting clothes fit me, and as I mentioned, I'm constantly exhausted.) Today I thought I'd write about house hunting. Since Stephen and I love history, and there are a ton of historical houses available in New Hampshire, many folks have asked if we're looking to purchase a historical house. The answer is a tentative maybe.

I grew up in a house built in 1795 so I know the pitfalls very well: they are drafty and hard to heat, they are always dusty and for those with allergies or asthma (Like Stephen and myself) they can be a health problem. They require constant maintenance since some part of the structure is always getting old and in need of replacement. As a historian I also know the value of old houses: they tell the stories of their community, you can trace the different ages they have witnessed on the walls and floors. Also, they are probably going to last for at least another 200 years if not more, as long as someone who loves them treats them well.

When doing our initial online house searches we are much more likely to bypass a house built in the 1980s (I don't like split-levels and we both hate wall-to-wall carpeting) and look more seriously at a house built in 1890. Go back much further (there was one house in our price range listed as built in 1760) and I get worried, unless it has been well cared for, and the insulation has been updated, that house could be a nightmare to look after. Our focus is much taken up with work, reenacting, and soon to be parenthood, we are looking for a home, not another project.

But I find old houses so hard to resist! This past weekend a central chimney cape with a lovely barn caught my fancy, and I am totally in love. The kitchen is horrible, the whole thing needs work, and the stairs are an accident waiting to happen, but the house is nestled right into the land, it looked so welcoming, and had a lot of great stories to tell. I can imagine all our books feeling right at home in those rooms, and listening to the sounds of the house at night. I can picture the gardens and the rope swings, the living room and the sewing room, Stephen's workshop.

Well we've only just started looking, I'm hoping there will be other houses out there, ones that will require less work, but maybe still have a hint of history about them.

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