‘Feels Like Home’

My house, as it looked 10 years ago. Yawn.

My house, as it looked eight years ago. Yawn.

Today, I got the best feedback I’ve had from a showing: “It feels like home.” (And the showee is currently looking for financing – my fingers will remain tightly crossed.)

I’ve been discouraged as of late because house sales, after a summer doldrums, have been hot in my ‘hood for the last few weeks – but almost everything that’s sold in the same general price range as mine (that is, $150-$225k) has been newly redone, with a snazzy new kitchen and flashy new bathrooms.  (And that’s why mine is closer to that $150k threshold.)

I’ve toured every one for which there’s been an open house, and while I certainly concur with their buyers that the places are nice, they’ve all seemed sterile to me. I can’t imagine flipping a house. In the midst of re-doing mine, I’ve lived in it, and made choices that may not appeal to a wide swath of people – but they appeal to me.

Instead of knocking out walls to create an open floor plan (which is still very hot in Northside, it seems), I patched in period mouldings on the original door frames where they were missing or simply wrong. I restored as much of the original heart-pine floor as possible – and yes, there are a few small gaps. That beats Pergo by a mile, as far as I’m concerned. (I’ll concede that I should have put in a heated floor in the bath; I missed a trick on that one.) Not all the walls in my house are neutral (though none are crazy colors…are they?!). And my kitchen fits the style of the house (though I did buy stainless appliances) rather than what a certain Swedish outfit sells. And the slate, buttercup and mossy green outside? Well, strictly speaking, it’s not period-correct…but I was going for a subdued version of a “painted lady” – and those have been around long enough to count as historically valid (that’s my argument and I’m sticking to it).

I vowed as a child that some day I’d live in a brand-new house with excellent heating and cooling, windows that didn’t require one to switch out the storms for screens and vice versa twice a year, an actual furnace rather than a boiler that required daily attention, no period wallpaper and furniture that I was actually allowed to sit on. (We lived in an old brick farmhouse, Magnolia Stock Farm, with a lot of antiques that were for show rather than for use.)

But I guess listening to my mother’s lectures on architectural integrity and antiques stuck with me – at least in part; during my formative years she worked for various preservation leagues in Louisville, and later for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C.

Now, I turn up my nose somewhat at “contemporary” and “new” (at least as far as houses in my price range go); I like old stuff and houses on which the exterior and interior match in style, and I find storm windows rather charming (easy for me to say – my house came to me with cheap replacement windows already installed, so I replaced them with double-glazed). I do not care for open floor plans (too hard to keep such an open space clean!) and not every bedroom requires an attached bath. But I have no wallpaper in my house, and one can use every piece of furniture I own (except my darn baby bed that I can’t seem to get rid of).

So I’m glad at least one person seems to agree with me – I’m hopeful she’ll find the means to make what “feels like home” indeed be so.

Then I can buy the Arts & Crafts house I want…complete with the original storm windows.

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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7 Responses to ‘Feels Like Home’

  1. Sending u good vibes over from Milford.

  2. Patti says:

    I have lived in Louisville my entire life, and the home you currently own reminds me loads of Old Louisville and the Highlands, where I grew up. Keeping fingers crossed for this sale to go thru, so you can get the home you have your heart set on! Good luck

  3. Jim Kelley says:

    I so enjoy reading your blog – almost as much as I enjoyed reading your recent article on the chest.

  4. billlattpa says:

    I’ve worked on a few flip houses before, mainly as an electrician. While the work done was certainly capable, there wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into it, more like churning out than fixing up. You know your house and neighborhood better than anybody, but I think the big advantage you have is that your house was not flipped, but taken care of by an actual homeowner. When my wife and I were first purchasing a house, I made it a point to tell the realtor that I didn’t want a house that had been flipped, and I did the same thing later when we were thinking of moving. I think there are a good amount of people who feel the same way. So, good luck, and hopefully your good homeownership works out to your advantage.

  5. jonathanszczepanski says:

    Sending out good vibes… (vvvvrorooooaaaaaaawwwwwahaaeeevvvvvrvrvrvrv… That’s the vibes. 🙂

  6. Bruce L says:

    We love our old Tudor style house built in 1906 with all the old trim, double hung windows, and red slate roof. It’s expensive to heat in the winter, but it has character unlike many new houses or redone houses. Good luck!

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