I had an epiphany while painting the wall of our main stairs about the reason why I like old houses.
I’m qualified to speak on this issue because
it’s is my blog and these are my feelings, duh I have lived in new construction, 100+ year old homes, homes built between the 1960s and 1990s, an apartment, a condo, and even a duplex in Europe.
I know how lovely it is to live in new construction with that fresh-everything smell and a fabulous home warranty where the builder comes out to fix every single nail pop.
I know how satisfying it is to take a home that is
a money pit rundown and be able to breathe new life into it through your own time and hard work.
I also know that I can create a home that feels like us regardless of size, condition, or location.
But it is the old houses that make my heart sigh contentedly.
Do I like old houses because of the gorgeous architectural details? Yes, of course.
Do I like old houses because of their sense of history? Yes, that too.
Do I like old houses because their constant need for care and upkeep is a legitimate excuse to avoid attending any and all Tupperware parties? Yes. Emphatically yes.
But is there more to it than that? I think so.
Let’s get back to the epiphany part because sometimes I do have these lightbulb moments of self awareness.
I prepped our stairway wall for paint
with a few choice words by sanding the edges off the vertical blue stripes with silver fleurs-de-lis that had been painted on the wall decades ago. I vacuumed and scrubbed the wall down. I applied caulk to gaps in the trim and filled in screw holes and cracks.
Then I put the first layer of primer on the wall.
Even after all of that prep work, which I detest doing, I could see ALL THE IMPERFECTIONS that still existed on this wall. They were everywhere and my white paint was doing nothing to hide them.
We are pretty sure this wall is made of solid stone that has been skimmed over with plaster. It’s lumpy in places. The wall bows in another area. There are a few cracks that my prep work didn’t hide.
I assessed that wall with my critical eye and saw those imperfections. I also knew that I would give the wall at least one more of coat of paint. Maybe two in order to really cover over the blue stripes.
Still, with all of those imperfections, I thought to myself, “I can live with this.”
That’s when the epiphany hit me.
If I was a perfectionist this wall would kill me.
But for once in my life, not being a perfectionist was kind of working out for me!
Old homes aren’t perfect.
They are scarred and dinged.
There is rarely a level floor or square corner.
I swear most old houses are held together with countless layers of paint and caulk.
Yet, these old houses are still standing! Go figure.
It’s my responsibility to care for this home, but I don’t have to beat myself up over all the quirks that come with a home that is over 200 years old. In fact, some people say those quirks are part of the charm of an old house.
I can go along with that.
I really related to this old house in that moment.
Not the old part because I’m not there quite yet and I’ll be in denial about that when I am, but the imperfect part.
I’m scarred and dinged. I have areas in my life that could definitely use a little work. I’ve seen and experienced some heavy stuff in my life. I’ve also experienced quite a few “amazing, I could die happy right now” moments.
I’m not perfect. None of us are.
But it’s those personality quirks, those differences of opinions, all the slight imperfections that make life interesting.
The best stories in life are not about a perfect life perfectly lived.
The best, most relatable stories in life showcase the journey of imperfect characters. I especially like it when those stories have a happy ending and for goodness’ sake do not give me a cliffhanger!
My epiphany made me realize that the reason why I like old houses is because they aren’t trying to be something they aren’t.
Even with the best care they’ve earned a few sags, creaks, and dings through the passing of time. I think of it as a badge of honor. A sign of a house well-lived and well-loved.
I want a life well-lived and well-loved too.
P.S. I wrote most of this post months and months ago and never finished it. That happens sometimes. I circled back to it and decided to finish it because when something I’m feeling remains true over time, it’s probably a story I should publish.
Wall Paint: Behr Arcade White
Trim Paint: Behr Bit of Sugar
Stair Painting: Left in house by the seller
Wood Chandelier: Thrifted (glass chimney shades can be bought here)
Plant Stand with Leather Handles: DIY here
Marble Side Table: Old from Hobby Lobby
Brass Lamp: Thrifted
Clock: Old from a shop in Minnesota
*affiliate links in this blog post*
Thank you for being here! Do you relate to old houses like I do? If so, is the reason why I like old houses similar to yours? Do tell and read on for more stories!