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Antique HOME

October 18, 2020


Homes should be our most trusted possession. Where we live should protect us. We would not drive a car with bad brakes. We would not wear split pants, even on a Zoom call. But many of us truly love, and love living in, very old homes.

Time compromises everything. Everyone has a parent, a friend, a pet – even themselves – who has seen age degrade a once fully functional body. Homes are no different. Like our bodies, every building is a collection of systems. Use and time wears on every system that is used to create a home.

Just like old cars, there are two types of old homeowners: Those who, themselves, can fix the building’s failures on a moment’s notice, with confidence and determination, and those who have enough money to pay others to do the dirty work, leveraged by the homeowner’s dedication. But some truly like the liabilities of antiquity, and the triumph over them, however temporary.

As an architect I am often asked if a place is worth owning, and my response is always that you cannot build the site. How land lays out, its features, its orientation, its soil, the available infrastructure is not created, it just is. Similarly the community, neighborhood, environs are what they are, they are not made by anyone.

You could say that the same holds true for old homes. They are their own site, and their history is an isolated community made of its own provenance – of all those who lived there before you did. No one creates time, time creates itself – we call it history.

Bill Hosley, created the website “Creating Sense Of Place For CT” describes the appeal of antique homes: “It’s almost like asking why would anyone want to have children. Some don’t. But the value and necessity is beyond much debate. Stewardship is the heart of Historic Preservation and the basis of authenticity that is so fundamental to places worth caring about.”

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