Older homes often baffle homeowners who get intimidated by the house’s bones and intricate set of small rooms and long corridors. I write to the “they” person when I should write to the “I”… as I once was that homeowner living in an 1895 home with a TON of tiny rooms and no light. So what was I to do, and by the same token what are you?
Send the “don’t destroy the home” squad if you want but I will say it anyway… tear it all down! Salvage all the crown mouldings and base boards in the meantime and try to salvage the original floorboards where possible, but open up these rooms! The light it will create and the expansive floor plan you will result with will be worth the disfigurement. In centuries past, homes were built to accommodate large families and also to prevent the loss of heat in the winter, hence the many small rooms and few windows. As clever as it might have been, our way of living has changed and so should our spaces.
This home is a perfect example of that. The character of the home was maintained in the ground floor’s living area as well as the staircase and upstairs landing, but the rest was modernized to our current comfort standards. I happen to find that the mix of eras is what gives this home its charm. In the kitchen particularly where receded pod lights and stark white lacquered doors echo a vintage sideboard painted in white and outfitted with a marble top and serving as the kitchen’s room divider and practical island.
The same scenario is visible on the second floor where the original staircase was restored and the original floors salvaged: period. The rest underwent a 21st century makeover with sharp plaster angles, custom build bookcases, and ample natural light from heightened windows.
I am a firm believer in the fact that we should get inspired by our past, influenced certainly, but not bossed around by it. As much as I am verbal about my love for anything vintage, I was the first one to bring our then home into the present with an open floor concept and modern amenities. We sold that home since and bought another one, a little younger at only 85 years of age and guess what… we tore some more walls down! Now, we live in what is a very contemporary home, luminous and warm … with its ever so charming squeaking floors.
sources: Micasa Revista