Embracing the Imperfections of an Older Home

Ever since having children, I have found myself (on occasion) longing for a newly built home. 
If you knew me pre-kids, that would sound shocking to you. I have always loved older homes (like really old...early 1900's and older would have been my preference).

But with little ones, there is this idea in my mind that somehow life would be easier in a house of new construction. One with an open floor plan where everyone can be together, without actually having to "be together." Where everything is freshly painted (no fear of lead). All the windows and doors are nice and sealed tight. They probably even all close without an issue! Without cracks and crevices of old dirt that no matter how many times you clean, it doesn't go away. 

Yes, sometimes I do think that would be nice.

I don't live in that reality though. My home was built around 1929 and has its fair share of imperfections. The first being it is way too small for me and all of my stuff my family. 
But for now, with Josh being the main breadwinner so that I can stay home with our children, we have to make this house work.

There are so many things I find odd and quirky about my house. But I am trying to look at it differently these days. 
I am trying to embrace those imperfections if you will.

This post is a bit self-serving. Perhaps, I am hoping that seeing these elements of my home through the beauty of photography (and photo actions!), I will see beauty where I don't in the day to day.

My home does have some character, most of which can be found upstairs.

I will start with our upstairs bathroom. The one room in our house that needs the most rehab work. 
This room needs a complete overhaul. But that will be a project for awhile from now. 
There is something still very charming about it though..."as is"...

It has this funky floral wallpaper...that for some reason...I actually like.
As well as the very old medicine cabinet...
I am not in love with the light fixture above it, but it works (literally). So it will do for now.
There are layers of chippy paint. 
This room must have gone through many make-overs through the years.
And who doesn't love an old claw foot tub?
The other element of character that can be found upstairs is all of the old doors. None of them have ever been updated (and the only one that actually closes all the way is the bathroom. Thankfully :)
I love the old knobs and hardware on each one.
If you can believe it, I didn't even notice these fancy hinges until I took the pictures for this post. 
Just goes to show the beauty that can be found right under your nose.
The craftsmanship that was put into the details of older homes never ceases to amaze me. 
This is something I know I would long for in a newer home, and always be trying to recreate.
Both main entrance doors to our home are original as well (or at least very old). 
Our back door is painted a lovely shade of gray that often gets overlooked by most (including me).
Our front entrance door is painted a dark brown/espresso on the interior, which I really love.
Another character element of our older home that I truly love, is the old pine floors that we painted gray when we moved in (they were already painted a yucky brown color so I didn't feel bad painting them).
Downstairs, the previous owners put in newer laminate flooring, but the upstairs hall, bedrooms and stairway have the original pine.
These floors are nowhere near perfect. Previous owners, cut them up in spots, especially in Hazel and Owen's room (but rugs work well at hiding those imperfections).
A couple of other quirks often found in older homes, mine being no exception, are plaster walls and low ceilings. 

Here is a glimpse into my bedroom. 

I am currently working on finishing this room in what, I guess, you could call a "granny chic" look :) 
My goal for this year is to try to use what I have, instead of running out to buy lots of new stuff (I have too much as it is!). 
Sometimes it can be very difficult working around the plaster, uneven walls while decorating. 
But I am getting better at getting those nails in and lining things up.

I did this wall grouping last week...
The other half of this room is my art studio, which I am hoping to finally get completely organized in the next few weeks or so. 
It has been a long time coming. 
Since our home is only a two bedroom, we always have to make do, so my closet is on the side with my art studio. Closets in older homes often leave something to be desired, but I will try to just be thankful my home has closets. I know that many older homes don't.

I think I might put a curtain up to hide all of the clothes...still a work in progress.
A cute "closet" full of character, that can be found in the mudroom, is our broom closet.
It's very charming with it's dark bead board and old latches.
The mudroom leads to the basement, where another interesting quirk can be found.
For some reason, the stairs to the basement were covered in this interesting pattern flooring. 
And, just like the wallpaper in the bathroom, I kind of like it.
While, my home still needs lots of TLC to get it where I will truly love it, I am embracing its character and quirks more and more every day. 

The most important thing that our home has is a lot of love.

And I know that is all that matters.

Linking up with:

Till next time...
~Alice W.

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(For the photography curious: I edited the majority of these photos with Paint the Moon's Picture Perfect "Sweet Prairie" and Florabella's Luxe "Light Haze.")

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  1. Your home is so lovely, and what it lacks in new, it makes up for in character and charm. Thanks for sharing!

  2. your old home
    is charming and lovely
    and your door hardware matches mine
    almost exactly

    you could've been writing about
    my 1880s home in this post

    i always dreamed of living in an old house
    until i actually moved in
    and started dreaming of living in a new house!

    but i am thankful for the graceful bones
    that have settled in happy ways

    the tall ceilings (cracked plaster and all)
    old fixtures
    wood trimmings

    in any home
    you take the good with the bad
    and learn to be thankful for the shelter provided.


  3. Thank you for sharing your amazing eyes and point of view. Tis is the first post of your blog that I've read and will definitely become a regular.Your home is so beautiful! You not only have an amazing talent for photography, but are very gifted in the decorating dept as well!

  4. I so understand. We live in a home built in 1891. It was updated before we moved in, so unfortunately we don't have the original doors and knobs. But we do have the 'keeping it clean' problem! That just seems to be the case with older homes. I love your knobs and hinges and beautiful old doors. I like that bathroom wallpaper, too. Lovely photos, Alice.


  5. I rather like that wall paper in the bathroom myself. Somewhat quirky; somewhat a floral form of retro. I rent a house built in 1934 right now, and I find the old door knobs, with the skinny little keys left inside the lock, lovely. I don't like newer homes. Unless it was one built to look vintage. And then I would "know" it was merely a replication. Older homes have secrets and lives lived inside of them. I think the spirit of what came before stays in some way in the walls of the house. Embrace the imperfections. Life is never perfect, and if it were, we would always be doubting its authenticity.

    1. Completely agree Brenda! I don't think I could ever actually live in a new home :) and if I did...I would probably complain of its lack of character! Thanks for visiting.

  6. Oh Alice, I love your beautiful old home... our home we are in now is only 7 years old, and I would sooo much rather have an old one, with all of the wonderful quirks you speak of... I have so many fond memories of staying with my grandmother in the summers and all of the little nooks and crannies in her home... love love love your clawfoot tub!... I couldn't wait to take a bath in my grandma's tub like that!... and your old medicine cabinet is also beautiful to me... I treasure everything about the past, days~gone~by... yesteryear... just think of the memories your home holds... and the stories it can tell... whispers from the past I call them... and I always, always listen for them... your bedroom looks so pretty... if you never changed a thing in it, I would be happy!... I love the creaks and sounds an old home makes as well... to me, they are comforting... thank you for the tour... much love, xoxo Julie Marie

    1. Thank you Julie! I always love your kind words when you visit :)

  7. so many beautiful character pieces you have! lucky you!

  8. Hello Alice!
    I have truly enjoyed following your blog and want to thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures (you are an amazing photographer!) and stories of your growing family, you are blessed indeed! This post made me think about how lucky I am....I am living in the house I grew up in, the house is about 40 years old but oh the memories that it holds for me. It is hard to explain the sort of calming peace that I feel in my old house, even though we are now experiencing some major plumbing issues that we deal with as they come. I feel lucky to be raising my own family in this house. What a lovely home that you live in! Just as some of the other readers have said,I wonder what story your house would have to tell?.... and now you are adding to that story with your own family! I have to remember that new is not always better, our house is our shelter from the elements, it is our family and friends and memories that make it a home.
    Blessings and Cheers, Jill

  9. I love your old house! I always wanted an old cottage or an older home like yours. My home was built in 1974, and not old enough for me. I love all the wood, and the hardware your home has. Just remember....Love makes a home....not what's in it!

  10. Your home reminds me a lot of my circa 1875 house. The painted floors, the claw foot tub, a variety of old door knobs, and the slanted ceilings in the bedrooms. The wallpaper reminds me of the wallpaper that was in my sister's bedroom when we were growing up. I like it, too. LOVE your broom closet door!

  11. Love your old house and all it's quirks! They just don't make houses with all the beautiful details like they did back then. Thanks for sharing your home with us!

  12. my parents used to buy older homes when we were growing up in Scotland and I loved all the creeks and squeaks from the floors and doors . . an i loved all the details like hinges and keyholes! Beautiful post thank you

  13. Love, love, love! I wouldn't update a thing...so much charm and character! Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY, you're being featured so hop back over tomorrow evening!

  14. I love it all, the doors, hinges and that medicine cabinet. We live in an old home as well, and the dirt just appears overnight, especially when we started to remove layers of flooring, five to be exact. I thought the coal fireplaces may have been to blame but who knows. Embrace it all, this is our third home with one of those being a new build. I was never able to get the new build to have the character I wanted, no matter how much molding and other things we added. Have a wonderful week.

  15. Your Old Imperfect Home is Perfectly Charming and filled with a Character and Unique Craftsmanship that simply cannot be replicated in new construction and cookie cutter sameness of modern subdivisions. I too live in a turn of the Century Home and the shortcomings are that it is and will always be a Labor of Love and the capacity to live in somewhat of a 'mess'... it has had after all, a hundred years of Living and Loving within it's walls... I wouldn't trade that Atmosphere and distinction for the world. I'm glad you are embracing the Imperfections and focusing upon the Beauty and Special elements that make this Old House your Home. I Believe your Children will have fond Memories of that Old House... whereas a Modern one with few Interesting distinctions might be Forgetable? BTW: Your Photography captured the Essence of an Old Home Beautifully!!!!! Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  16. omg, I LOVE your home....now you will think I am just saying this to make you feel good about it, NO....I am 57 years old, and here is my story.....when my husband and I married, we inherited 10 acres where the old farmhouse of 145 years was standing (It would now be close to 200 years old!!), no way did we want that old house, and I loved old things, antiques etc...but that old house, too much work, and I wanted a house now, and I thought I could make a new house look old....NO, I have never been really happy with my new home, I love my home and appreciate it, but it will never have that charm, never.......your old home....well, you could never replicate what has taken YEARS to create.....love that flooring to the basement, the old quirky floor, the knobs and hinges...love it....I was to young to appreciate all the beauty in age......so my words of wisdom to you....embrace it, don't change, your home is awesome!!!!

  17. Alice, your beautiful post about embracing your surroundings is inspiring. You have captured some of its gloriously handmade charms with your artist's eye, and made me think once again, with gratitude, about the old home I started in and the one I am currently blessed with. Old is imbued with stories, and layers of life--that is its particular beauty--one that new and mass-produced cannot ever achieve. Young as you are, you already have the wisdom to seek beauty. Inevitably, you have found it. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  18. Alice, your beautiful photos are always so inspiring. I can feel the emotion behind each of your pictures and they have such a way of drawing me in, just amazing. Your home is absolutely beautiful and so full of charm and history. I love that you shared all of the little details that are the most beautiful, but sometimes go unnoticed. You can see that there is so much love in your home. I understand why you would want a newer home for your children, but this is the kind of home that they will truly love and cherish. The warmth and history is enriching in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Blessings to you.

  19. seeing that old linoleum that is nailed to your basement stairs, makes me remember the floral carpet in the 1800's farmhouse where I grew up. I imagine that it was from a remodel from the 40's. I was only 11 years old, but I'll see that wonderful rug forever. Your home will be in the memories of your little ones, and you can be sure they will think of it lovingly.

  20. Alice, I LOVE everything about your home. I love old, historic homes. x

  21. I love your homes imperfections Alice, but I get where you are coming from. Busy mums need everything to just flow and for cleaning up to be super quick and easy. While that is easier in a newly constructed home, they do lack the character of these gorgeous old homes. I'm glad you are able to embrace the 'character' and your photos are stunning... as always. xx

  22. Your photography is stunning and your home is beautiful. I love seeing the details and character of your home--it has such a story to tell.

  23. I feel like your house is a copy of mine. I have my bedroom set up just like yours. My closet is just like yours and I did get the curtain up but It's too short. I have lived here 35 years and have never finished remodeling. Wish I had a claw foot tub. I'd take a bath and relax looking at the wallpaper. My daughters are both married now and have the best memories in our old house. Think of it as a home and not just a house. I did and had some of the best holidays here.

  24. Embracing the imperfections of an old home can stretch our arms to their limits can't they? Your home has amazing charm to it that you have brought out so well. It's new discoveries like your hinges and their beauty or the old heart pine floors that I have found to be so thrilling. Our old home has a long hall and I have often said it would make a great bowling alley for the kids but one child found it to be a perfect race track for my garden scooter that I use to weed with. It wears the dog out too as she chases her ball on days we can't get outside because of weather. It's all what we make of it isn't it? Filled up with love even a tent can be a palace. Hugs Becky

  25. Your home is so lovely. Has a quiet beauty, subtle elegance. In your heart you probably would not enjoy a new home, just it's conveniences. So many of the new homes are cookie cutter, no real charm at all. I am glad you are embracing the imperfection of your older home.

  26. I love old farm houses and yours is lovely. Those hinges are fantastic.

  27. I loved this post! Your house has so many satisfyingly beautiful old details!

  28. Such a lovely home, thankyou for sharing. I just wanted to draw your attention to the possibility of asbestos in the house, if you ever do decide to do renovations. Particularly I was wondering what kind of linoleum or vinyl you have on the stairs? Might be worth finding that out - and if it is asbestos, you would want to seal it somehow.

    Certainly not wanting to put a dampener of your lovely post, but did feel that I should mention this.

    1. Yes, we are aware of the possibility of asbestos. In fact we have asbestos siding :(. My husband knows how to handle that if we do renovations where asbestos is involved. I have never looked into what kind of flooring is on the basement stairs and whether or not it could contain asbestos but I will look into it. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

  29. Hi Alice,
    I just found your blog tonight and I know this is an old post now, but I want to put my 2 cents in about the linoleum. I do not think there is anything to worry about concerning linoleum and I'll tell you why. Because my grandmother's generation grew up on it, my father's generation grew up on it and my generation grew up on it...all the same linoleum. None of them ever had any lung problems or any problems related to asbestos. I would also like to mention that the same house was was covered with asbestos siding and it still is going strong. The problem can only occur when it is removed. Leave it on, it wears like iron and can be painted. I have painted it with BARN paint because the paint lasts for over a decade and is actually like a stain, it doesn't peel off, it wears away. White barn painted can be tinted any color. The other thing I wanted to tell you is how to removed paint from hinges (if that is the reason the doors won't stay closed). All you have to do is remove the paint encrusted hinges and door pins (put the same ones back in the same place) and put them in an old sauce pan which is sitting in another pan of water. Fill the smaller sauce pan with white vinegar and boil the hinges in it for 20 minutes or until the paint pops off. Then dry and rehang door. It's like magic!
    Love your house and your attitude!
    New follower,
    Ginene from Fox and Finch Antiques

    1. Thanks so much for the tips! Thankfully that linoleum is only in the basement. We will likely just leave it alone. I will definitely pass along the tips about removing paint from the hinges to my husband. He will probably want to try that! He said he noticed those old hinges right away when we first looked at the place. I didn't until the day I took these pics haha :) Thanks again for your advice and kind words!

  30. Just checking your blog out visit Craftberry Bush this morning adn found this post on an old house. I wrote about learnign t love our old farmhouse (over 200 years old) so I especially was drawn to this post. I'm followingn now and look forward ot seeing more about not only your home but also other things you post. Blessings, Linda

  31. I just found your blog via G+ and Heart Rocks in my Pocket...
    I've bounced around here looking at photos of your old home. I've always loved old houses- and have lived in old houses most of married life. I have only lived in 2 modern / contemporary homes. They had their pros...but old houses hands down are my love!
    I am currently living in a house built in 1954 and moved to this location in 1956-- at some point it was added onto and made to have a whopping 1360 sq ft. Some of the doors are contrary..all of the windows leak cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer, the floors creak, and no matter how hard I try... it still smells like an old Grandma house when I go away and come back.
    But ...no matter what- I love it here.
    If I could just keep it clean. ;)
    Nice to meet you and your lovely home.

    1. Thanks for visiting Patricia! Nice to meet you too! Glad you found your way over :)

  32. Wonderful old house. We live in a brownstone we are fixing up and it was built in the 1880's. We have those ornate hinges and doorknobs as well. If you sandblast them and lightly paint black, you can see even more detail and they will stand out beautifully. We did this and it's gorgeous. The windows are old, drafty and cobwebs creep up all the time, but it's a strong well built house with priceless character and even with the unending projects, I wouldn't buy a new one if I could.


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Thank you for your comments! I love to hear from you! ~Alice W.

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