Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Old-House Features We Need To Keep

We have a love/hate relationship with old houses.  We love the charm and personality of old homes while we hate the small closets and poor energy efficiency.  So while we may lean toward newer houses because of the way we live today, there are still some great features of old houses that we should definitely keep around.

Dutch Doors

Popular with the 18th-century Dutch settlers of New York and New Jersey, so-called Dutch doors are split horizontally in the middle; open just the top to keep out animals while letting in light and air. 

The Sleeping Porch

Sleeping porches became popular in the 20th century, when they were advocated by health professionals who believed that the fresh air they provided bolstered immune systems. Whether that's true or not, there is a lot of appeal to a sleeping porch.  Falling asleep to the croak of frogs and chirps of crickets, cool breezes floating over you, waking with the birds and the sunshine...what's not to love!  All you need is a bed and a screened in porch and you're golden.

Transom Windows

Transom windows are those panels of glass you see above doors in old homes, especially those built in the Mission or Arts and Crafts styles. They admitted natural light to front hallways and interior rooms before the advent of electricity, and circulated air even when doors were closed for privacy. Transoms serve both purposes just as well today, and of course, the beauty of glass is timeless.

Laundry Chutes

If your laundry room is on the main floor or basement of a two story house, you may want to revive this extremely efficient mode of dirty laundry transport.  The added bonus is that kids love to use them so they are always willing to pick up their dirty clothes!

Under Eaves Hideaways

I will never forget the day when I was 8 and we first walked through our then 65-year old house and I spotted the little door just off the upstairs landing.  It was the perfect spot for a little kid to have a playroom. Builders today try to maximize storage space which is good, but save a little spot for the kids to have their own private getaway.  Childhood only lasts a few seconds.  You can always add that storage later...or save the spot for your grandkids.

Source:, and Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors.  

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