Saturday, January 14, 2012

On Restoring An Old Home

Anyone who ever thought about restoring an old home, should have that experience ONCE!
Some years back, the company I was with, decided to move us to the Charlotte, N.C. area from Tennessee. Not wanting to live in Charlotte, we started looking for an older home to work on, in some of the small mill towns in the outlying  area's. After several weeks of looking we finally settled on one.
It was a huge single story place, typical of the South, with a porch that wrapped around two sides of it,  the place hadn't seen a coat of paint in at least twenty years! It had been in the sellers family for at least five generations, being built in 1865. The price was dirt cheap, which I guess really drew our attention to it, despite the obvious needed repairs.
It  took most of the summer, and right at 35 gallons of paint just for the outside. People would stop by and tell us how glad they were that we were restoring the "old girl" to her former self, as the house had once been the home of a lumber baron, who built it as the Civil War was ending. We got a lot of history, but no volunteers!
Cosmetically the place ended up looking good, both inside and out, but mechanically it was a wreck!
The wife had to make sure almost everything was off to use the hair dryer, so the fuses wouldn't blow.
The plumbing, which had been installed in the '30's had rotten pipes, and a leak would appear almost weekly! The furnace, installed in the late 50's, to replace the fireplace's in every room, would rattle and grown, but about the only thing that still did it's job in the house. Air conditioning? Forget about it!
We threw money at that house for two years, until the company called me back to Nashville.
We were lucky in that the couple that bought it, had just finished restoring an old home in upstate
N.Y., and were coming to Charlotte and looking for another to work on.
The best part of the whole experience was the profit we made on the old barn.
Every once in a while, the wife and I will watch "This Old House" on TV, and share one of those,
"Do you remember when" moments. The kids don't want to talk about it!
Would we do it again? Naw, once was enough!

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