Lessons from people who’ve lived in—and loved—old houses.
Late last year, my husband and I bought an 1826 colonial in the Hudson Valley. As a first-time homeowner, the learning curve was steep—there was plenty to be grasped about things like mortgage rates and down payments, real estate trends, and property investments. Ever the students, my partner and I threw ourselves into mastering anything we thought could come our way after owning the home, too—how to spot water damage, the best method for heating an old house, how to reinforce a rickety stairwell—the list truly went on and on.
I thought my degree in homeownership would be tangible and actionable, a suitcase packed with knowledge about how to renovate and then care for something that we gleefully sunk our savings into. Little did I realize though, that buying an old home came with a slew of less tangible—and perhaps, more important—life lessons, too.
There is no such thing as just “living” in an old home. The property constantly asks of you—more time, more money, more energy. It’s a relationship where there’s never not work to be done. Your weekends are sacrificed at the altar of home improvement, with endless to-do lists and a symbiotic relationship of give and take that is, while not always equal, ever-alluring.