The most amazing thing happened a while back. The family who used to live here gave us a few old photos of our house from the 1980s and 1990s.
The previous owners were the caretakers of this home for almost 50 years before passing the responsibility onto us. We’re so grateful that they loved this home as much as we did and did the best they could with the resources they had to keep this old gal standing strong and solid.
I thought it might be awkward meeting one of the kids (now an adult) who used to live in our house. What if they hate what we’ve done?
But it was quite the opposite.
I loved hearing their stories and it felt wonderful to make a personal connection to this home that we love so much.
Prior to this meeting, the only old photo I had seen of our house was from the 1971 MLS Listing. (I have blurred some identifying information about our location to keep the creepers at bay.)
I’m still processing the fact that people used to shop for homes without color pictures, virtual tours, or Google maps images. How did they do it?!?
The black and white listing photo, a morsel I greedily gobbled up like a toddler who finds a piece of candy lying on the floor, did leave a little something to be desired. I craved more detail!
Color me surprised when the previous owners gave us color photos of our house and we discovered it was brown in the 1980s and 1990s!
Funny enough, I don’t hate it painted brown.
However, I love the house painted its current color of white. It feels like it was meant to be painted a classic white color.
As we’ve poured over these old pictures, it’s been fun to see what has stayed the same about the house and what has changed in the last 40 or 50 years.
In the below picture, I can see a pet door that was removed. We found evidence of that pet door when we built our drink storage shelves on the back porch.
I see a window where our sliding glass door currently sits.
It looks like the chimney might have had some repairs since the 1990s and I know the roof has been replaced since then.
We can see the deck was added in 1990 if the dates on these pictures are correct. There’s also a different window above the kitchen sink now.
The garage siding is also different now than it was in the below photo.
When we bought this house in 2019, the back of it looked like this.
You can see the silver chimney where a wood stove was added to the kitchen addition. A chainlink fence had also been added for a dog run.
Three years after purchasing this house, this is what it looked like in the spring before the trees leafed out.
The house itself is mainly the same. We’ve just cleaned up the landscaping some by removing rotten trees, removing overgrown bushes, and adding flowerbeds that still need flowers.
I read an online story about a family who owns a home that was built in the 1800s. A book with the home’s history has been passed down from owner to owner for over 200 years. Can you imagine? I’d be overwhelmed with gratitude and a sense of connection to have something as special as that for our house.
I can’t go back 200 years, but I have started a file on this house of items that I think the next owner will appreciate having.
Some of the items in this file are things that were given to me by the previous owners such as the permitting paperwork for the septic system and the 1971 MLS Listing.
Other things include wallpaper scraps that I saved each time I removed wallpaper from a room in this house.
I’m happy I can now include old pictures of our house from the 1980s and 1990s in that file. It was such a generous gift and I’m so thankful for the previous owners’ kindness.
Do you have old photos of your house? Have you met the previous owners of your house? Was it awkward or amazing? I’d love to hear about it. You can always comment on this blog post (I have to approve it first before it appears), email me here, or reach out via Instagram or Facebook.
Thanks for being here today. I’m delighted that you’re following along with our home renovation journey. Here are some other blog posts you might enjoy.