The month of May is National Preservation Month.  This year’s theme is “Celebrating America’s Treasures”.   I hope that by next May we are able to celebrate the preservation of a bit of my history.

The following is an article that portrays the spirit of preservation, restoration and renovation of an old home.

The Renovations and Restorations of an old house are a Pandora’s Box

One project is guaranteed to lead to a dozen more. I’m not talking about easy, cosmetic makeovers, but mandatory repairs — a roof, insulation, updated cooling, heating and electrical systems.  The process can prove frustrating when you are dealing with the handy work of someone before you that was forced to make due with using what they had, or perhaps the amateur construction of someone attempting to modernize. 

But, somewhere between: “What have I gotten myself into?” and “It’s going to cost how much?”, you look at Pandora’s Box and realize it’s also a treasure chest. Digging a garden unearths antique bottles and broken tea cups. You discover lost and hidden items and learn house’s secrets. It is during time that you must balance the practical with the necessary while honoring the integrity of the home. I have witnessed many old homes gutted and made into new ones.  One can’t help but ask; Why not just buy a modern home? No one can rebuild an old house that took one hundred years to create. I have gone without some present day comforts that others take for granted and something as simple as changing a light bulb can be an adventure, but when people come to visit I take pleasure in their appreciation of the home’s many details. Their energy renews my commitment and fuels my passion when I feel defeated. 

The joy of renovating an old house can be likened to the discovering a classic book on a library shelf.  The story is new to you alone but has been told many times and has affected many lives. Tomorrow it will be returned and become new to another. I am now a chapter in that book and will live on as long as the story is retold. Some day a little girl in the back seat of a car will be passing my home and whispering a promise to her soul: One day…

Deborah McCarthy
fairfieldhousenj.com
(as printed in The Lettered Cottage Webzine)

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