Creativity expresses itself in many ways and one of the ways that David and I have expressed ourselves over the years is in rehabilitating houses; old ones in particular. We are drawn to their stories, love reinforcing the layers of history they contain, are excited with the creative how-to problem solving – AND it’s something fun we can do together. 🙂
We have a new project to end our summer with. The oral history of this sweet New Englander begins in the late 1800’s when it was built alongside 3 other similar houses on Beacon Street in Concord, NH. I always wondered why there were so many of this style of house dotting the city areas of this and other states. A little research told me that this style of house, with the front gable design, was made possible with pre-cut timbers suddenly available by the advent of lumber yards. Due to the new railroads, transport of these timbers to cities was made easy and thus the lumber yard was born. The “pre-fab” Starter house of the day, this style was a design from around 1850 through the first of the 1900’s. The “ranch” style house took over as the next Starter style.
Oral history says, around 1900 the city of Concord decided that it wanted to build another fire house right where these houses stood. So in 1900, each of these 4 homes were pulled by oxen up the street and around the corner to be deposited into this quiet little cul de sac. Brick foundations were built then clad with long granite slabs and the houses were just set upon them. Crazy what those guys could engineer back then!!
Our house still has some of its original features but also gives a nod to its updates through the years; some 1930’s touches, some 1960’s touches…garrish 1970’s paint colors and the 1980’s drop-in-fixtures look. In the vein of re-habilitation (not restoration) we have a motto of letting the house be what it is and not forcing it to be something else. We will focus on the 1900 – 1940 era letting those touches remain and reenforcing that style with replacements for later era worn out stuff that we will strip out.
Here is my artist’s rendering before and after of how we will change the front of the house, phase one. Watch for the continuing posts of how the house is coming along. The house will be for rent sometime in October.