Why Everyone Should Raise a Family in an Old House
by Candice Whitlow
This past year has been a whirlwind of changes in my life. Eight months ago my husband and I brought another little, old house lover into the world, with the birth of our first child. Of course anyone who has ever had a baby knows that it entails a flood of visitors, and with those visitors come questions. We heard all of the usual questions that any new parent would hear from curious friends and family. However, a question from a friend really caught me off guard when they asked “Do you guys think that you’ll eventually move out of your old house into something more low maintenance, now that you’re starting a family?” At first I did what any new parent does on the regular—I questioned my judgement. Should we stay in our old house? Will we have time to work on it now that we have a baby?
But then I got to thinking about it. Why WOULD we move out of our old house? It’s not like it has suddenly become an uninhabitable death trap now that there is a baby living in it. Actually there are a lot of benefits to raising your family in an old house.
The History Lesson
I am a firm believer that those who grow up immersed in a setting rich in history will develop a great appreciation and respect for it. This in turn creates a new generation of old house lovers. Just think of how many historic buildings and homes that could be saved with this concept!
The Tools of the Trade
Remember when I talked about the fear of not having time to work on projects? Get your kids involved in your projects! Sure, a baby won’t be able to help, but babies grow into inquisitive children. I know as a child I was always wanting to help out with construction projects around the house, and by doing so I learned a valuable skill, and I also made some great memories. If you’re like me and have a baby don’t fret, there is always that golden hour known as nap time.
The construction of an old house offers so many neat quirks that are not typically found in modern construction. A turret can become your little princess’s castle, or a small closet under the staircase could make a great fort. In an age where technology runs rampant, it’s always a huge plus when children put down the electronics and engage in the world around them.
A Lesson in Going Green
In this day and age we live in a throwaway society, and unfortunately, old houses are among some of the things that are getting torn down and thrown away. When you purchase an old house to restore, you are doing your part for the planet. You are saving tons of perfectly useful material from filling up our Earth’s landfills. You are showing the world that just because something is old does not mean it’s no longer useful. Isn’t that a great ideal to pass on to the next generation?! I certainly think so!
I could go on for days listing the benefits of owning and restoring an old house as a family, but the four you just read are, in my opinion, the most important. Though I am still in the early stages of parenthood, I absolutely cannot wait to raise my child in a home that promotes so many wonderful things. But one thing I’ve definitely learned in the past eight months is those 3 A.M. feedings are a lot more enjoyable when you’re watching the quiet solitude out of an old, wavy-glassed, window as you rock your sweet child to sleep.
AUTHOR CANDICE WHITLOW
As CIRCA’s resident old house restoration expert, Candi has lived her whole life in fixer-uppers. Her love for old houses stems from growing up in Doniphan MO, where there is an old house on every corner and the roots of her family tree run deep. She currently manages her father’s company, BARCO Construction and Design. Candi is on the board of the Doniphan Neighborhood Assistance Program and has worked closely with the City of Doniphan Historic Preservation Commission, documenting the city’s historic downtown buildings. She devotes most of her spare time to restoring her 1920s cottage-style bungalow that she shares with her husband Jake and their two dogs Rowdy and Mac.