Age Is Just a Number: Houzzers’ Homes Old and New- Via Houzz.com
Hear the stories behind homes ages 1 to 171, then share yours.
But beauty is in the eye of the homeowner. And we’ve got the proof. We asked Houzzers to tell us how old their homes are and what they love about them. The stories behind these 18 homes — from 1 to 171 years old — are reminders of what makes us so crazy in love with the idea of finding the home of our dreams, imperfections and all.
Location: Northville, Michigan
Designer Kathryn Peltier’s Queen Anne Victorian is 123 years old, and she’s occupied it for 23 of those years.
The Yerkes brothers, some of the original settlers of Northville, Michigan, built it in 1890 in downtown Northville, says Peltier. In the 1970s another homeowner paid $1 for it because it was going to be turned into a parking lot. That owner moved the home to its current 2-acre wooded lot about 5 miles outside of downtown.
The 2,500-square-foot, four-bedroom house has heavy oak woodwork and stained glass windows. Peltier remodeled the kitchen when she bought the house in 1990. This year she plans to remodel the powder room and install new hardwood floors. “I love old houses because of the character they embody,” Peltier says. “Charm can be built into a new home, but there is nothing that compares to the patina of time.”
Location: Denver suburb
“I love the open floor plan, my beautiful hand-scraped walnut floors (installed a few years ago), my new leathered quartzite countertop and my home’s location, backing up to open space, allowing lots of room for gardening,” says Houzz user Ann. “Oh, and my gardens!”
This year she has plans for a new concrete paver patio to replace the tiny concrete stoop out back, reupholstered chairs for the living room and a new custom concrete-topped coffee table.
Location: Wildwood, Missouri
This home, owned by Houzz user bluenan, sits on 24 acres along the Lewis and Clark Trail and a few miles from the old Route 66. She loves the semirural setting with great views, privacy and close ties to nature.
“Our house is on a parcel of the original 200 acres that my father-in-law bought in 1960 when he moved his family out to the ‘sticks’ from suburbia and started remodeling an old farmhouse,” she says. “It was very much like Green Acres. We replaced the porch and built a pergola in 2012, and that is it for our current remodeling budget. Fences and a barn remodel are next on the agenda; not nearly as fun as a kitchen or master bath, but more necessary given my three horses.”
Location: Athens, Georgia
The things charlie0926 loves most about this home in a historic neighborhood are the 10-foot ceilings, plaster walls, deep front porch spanning the entire house and screened-in back porch. “The location, however, was the buying driver,” she says.
She also loves being in a college town, where diversity of life and age set the tone. She plans to refinish the porch this year, because “squirrels have nourished themselves on its edges,” she says, but otherwise no major renovations. “We just remodeled the kitchen and master bath,” she says. “My teaching savings is spent!”
Location: Brookville, New York
This home is actually two houses in one. The first was built in 1860. In 1920 a second home was added. The house is one of the oldest in the area and was originally the main house for a 100-acre farm on the north shore of Long Island. An original barn and ice house remain on the property.
“I love the large-scale rooms and the porch that the previous owners expanded,” says owner Christine Baudin, who moved into the home a year and a half ago. She is slowly seeking remodeling projects to make the home “my own, but in keeping with its historical significance,” she says.
Location: Oslo, Norway
Her house may have been built in 1857, but Houzzer kanart says her historic wooden home with Gothic details is “so relaxing and wonderful.”
While the living room is original, the rest of the interior was remodeled in the 1980s; kanart plans to restore its original feel someday.
Location: Oberlin, Ohio
Kaye Norenberg and her family are only the fourth family to own this Queen Anne home. Norenberg, a Realtor, was hired to help sell the house for its previous owner, but she fell in love with it more every time she visited it. So she sold her old house and moved into the 1884-built house within two weeks. “My poor husband,” she says.
The thing she loves most about it is the front porch. “In nice weather we enjoy sitting out there, enjoying the sounds of students practicing their music (the Oberlin College music conservatory is a block away) and waving at neighbors walking by,” she says.
Previous owners extensively renovated the home, but since moving in about six months ago the Norenbergs have added a carriage-house-style garage and a high-efficiency boiler. This year they plan to paint the exterior and interior.
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania
This home was built in 1882 and doubled in size in 1968. Kim Winnick has lived there for 12 years and hasn’t had to do much, since previous owners added new hardwood floors and remodeled the kitchen to include a vaulted ceiling, wood beams and custom cabinets.
“I love that my home has so much of its original architecture,” she says. “The windows, the fireplaces, the pine floors — it adds so much character and warmth.”
Because none of the upstairs bathrooms have been remodeled in 40 years, they’re on Winnick’s remodel list for 2014.
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
“In brief, I am obsessed with my home,” saysLaLennoxa of the first home he every purchased, in 2011. He says previous owners meticulously refinished the home with “fantastic taste, just as I would have done it.”
He did paint the exterior of the Victorian home. He gushes at a “secret garden” in the back. “Prior to finding this home, a garden and gardening were not part of my agenda,” he says. “I stepped into the home and in 15 seconds knew this home had to be mine or somebody would be dead. Then, ending up in the garden, I knew there and then that I would embrace gardening with a fervent passion.”
Built in 1978 and remodeled in 2008, Laura Dvir‘s house is all about the location. “It’s close to everything we need,” she says. “Our home is a good size for our lifestyle, and the backyard is very special, with a large vegetable garden and fruit trees. We just hosted a party with over 50 people here, and it went perfectly. I raised my kids in this home near good schools, and now that the kids are moved out, I recently got married, and this home is the perfect size for my husband and me … and the kids who come back from time to time.”
This year, she and her husband plan to replace the fixed windows with operable doors and windows that open to the backyard. They also plan to build a workshop.
Location: Warren, Rhode Island
Paula Silva lives in the smallest town in the smallest state. Her Greek revival home was built around 1842 and has great curb appeal. Cutout columns are original and probably masonic symbols — anvil, heart, star, cross. “It’s got charm and character,” she says.
Her next project will be updating two tiny bathrooms and adding a new heating system.
Location: Long Beach, California
This 1,400-square-foot Spanish revival was built in 1929 and still retains some of the original features, including the icebox in the kitchen, a milk door and built-in shelves.
Rebecca Schaffner, the owner, plans to remodel the bathroom this year, “keeping it as faithful to the period as possible,” she says. “We’ll keep the original art deco tub and install a white porcelain console sink, and probably use black and white hex tile on the floors.”
In 2012 she and her family took advantage of Long Beach’s rebate program for removing sod lawns and installing drought-tolerant landscaping.
Location: Cleveland suburb
Shaker Heights is an inner-ring suburb of Cleveland full of homes built in the 1910s to 1930s. This one, owned by shakerjaebs, was built in 1925. “I really love homes built in the ’20s with as much character and original details as possible,” she says.
She loves her home’s original art tiles from the Moravian Tile Company and Unitile that fill the vestibule and fireplace hearth. There’s also lots of unpainted original wood — bookcases, the staircase, trim, windows and doors. “The third floor has a built-in cedar armoire that everyone refers to as Narnia,” she says.
Since the family painted the exterior, replaced the cedar shake roof and painted the first floor, they don’t plan to do any projects this year.
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Shannon Lynch‘s 1925 mill house has plaster walls, 10-foot ceilings, two nonworking coal-burning fireplaces and a nonworking double-sided wood fireplace.
But what she loves most about her home is the deep porch — “wide enough to fit chaise lounges and perfect for a book and a nap on a warm spring day with a light breeze,” she says.
On the redo list: fix the plaster in the kitchen, paint the kitchen and dining rooms, install ceiling tile in the dining room and improve the organization and storage. “Older homes have little to no closet and storage spaces,” she says.
Location: Glendale, Ohio
Terryp has lived in his home for four years. “I love the high ceilings and the large windows, which give the simple, traditional layout an open feeling,” he says.
Location: Arlington, Ohio
“We moved in seven months ago and love our old house,” says uamomk. She loves the hardwood floors, which she refinished to their original stain and appearance.
Location: Orcas Island, Washington State
Here’s some love for the newbies. Defever’s house is just 1 year old (though it took three years to build). “After living on a 38-foot boat for over 10 years (which we absolutely loved), I enjoy having a little more elbow room,” she says.
The house is classified as an “auxiliary dwelling unit,” she says, and by code cannot be bigger than 1,000 square feet. “We are attached to my aging in-laws’ house to help care for them,” she adds.
Her husband loves to cook, so they designed the house with a comfortable kitchen in mind. She got a separate room for quilting.
Having lived on a boat for so long, all she dreamed of was having a big soaking tub. After using it for a year, though, she says she’d love to remove it and add a large walk-in showerwith a rain showerhead. “However, my husband gives me ‘the look’ whenever I suggest that and reminds me of all the work he did to tile the tub surround,” she says.
Apart from the foundation, insulation, Sheetrock and exterior paint, she and her husband framed, wired, plumbed, painted, tiled, installed hardwood flooring throughout, installed the cabinets and installed all the trim themselves. “It took us three years,” she says. “We worked full-time jobs and spent weekends building the house. Would I do it again? Not anytime soon, but we put so much thought into how we wanted the house to function that we truly have a house that is 100 percent us.”
Location: Elgin, Illinois
Houzzer Linda’s house is in an area “known for reasonably priced vintage homes,” she says.
She and her family are the fourth owners since the 2,000-square-foot home was built in 1931. No one has done anything more than minor updates since then, she says. “We have original tile work, original cabinets, unpainted woodwork, original plumbing, including vintage fixtures, and a walk-in shower with four showerheads. I even have extra kitchen tiles wrapped in a newspaper from 1934. My business partner and I updated the kitchen about a few years ago, and his favorite comment is, ‘I’ve never worked so hard to make it look like I haven’t done anything.’”