The ruination of us
For the past few days I've been hooked
on "Restoration Home" a BBC series
that has aired four seasons. Each episode
chronicles the restoration of an English
historical dwelling. Many classified as
national treasures. Hence the new owners
must follow historical guidelines, gain
governmental panel approval, and dig as
necessary for archeological research. The
sagas presented are both daunting and
inspiring. And like every old house each
dwelling is a Pandora's box waiting to
explode. Thus it's well worth the watch!
We've now owned our 1917 home almost
four years. The majority of which were
spent in some stage of restoration. Yet
we were lucky. The prior owner saved
our house from frozen pipes, rot, and
neglect. While we later ripped out ninety
percent of what he had done, we would
have had an even harder time of it had it
not been for him. Step by step, inch by
inch we've brought it back to it's former
glory. However the most exciting thing
has been researching it's history and all
of those who have lived here before us.
House restoration is obviously a passion.
Every single person who embarks upon
such a transformation has to be a zealot.
It's rarely about resale value. Rather it's
all about the love one feels for your old
house. Somehow one connects with it's
core, the fiber of a structure. And soon
what was once theoretically a renovation
becomes a reconciliation between past
and present. During such a process one
must rely on the skills, knowledge, and
patience of others. One thing is certain,
restoring a historic home takes a village.
Misery loves company. Hence most old
home lovers connect with another. "R"
is our neighbor down the street and is
most definitely of like mind. Room by
room she has brought her over a century
old home back to life. Another neighbor
has personally repaired, stripped, and/or
replaced every window in their house -
one by one. It's hard to explain how or
why one decides to take such a journey.
All most of us will admit is that much
like many a romance it was love at first
sight. And... it's all about commitment.
Back to basics
Some structures simply need little more
than elbow grease. It's amazing what's
hidden behind worn carpets, dropped
ceilings, or ugly paneling. Yet sadly
many buildings are victims of abuse.
Thus one must nurture, love, and nurse
them back to health. Finally some are
pure and simple disasters. However as
with many a phoenix, they can rise out
of the ashes. Little is as thrilling than
bringing something back from the dead.
Recreating beauty out of neglect. And
trust me, the Lazarus effect is addictive!
Now and then
All of that hard work is the crack that
fuels many old house addicts. Some
never stop. Restoring house to house
as they breath life into beleaguered
neighborhoods. The good news is it's
often infectious and after one pioneer
forges a path, others follow. Growing
up out east, the older one's house, the
better. Whereas out here in the wild
west people are just now starting to
appreciate what they've got. Meaning
that slowly but surely Lewistown's
past is being revived and respected.
Lost in the translation
In rural France an Australian family is
rescuing an 18th century chateau from
extinction. Chateau de Gudanes had
been left in ruins. Then said theoretical
fools fell in love. Beyond quite a bit of
cash, the new owners have needed lots
of resolve, patience, and fortitude. Yet
the fact is an old home restorer doesn't
have to be a millionaire. In every town
there are some gobsmacked fools who
have been able to see the light while
living for years within a dust chocked
tunnel of renovation. Now that's love!
Back to the future
One can't replicate provenance or patina.
Many believe historical structures protect
a part of those who've lived there before.
Their legacy lends a rich and lasting aura
to any space. Even if said past precedence
adds little to a property's resale value, it
makes the experience of living in an old
house all the better. Therefore I heartily
recommend you consider an investment
in the past. Why not click here to see the
listing for the house shown above and on
the right?! Isn't it time you made history
right here in Lewistown, Montana?!