These Old Homes

It’s pretty common for buildings to be older than the people that inhabit them.

The existing housing stock in Boston is pretty old. Most of the homes bought and sold each year in Boston were built between 1900 and 1950; way before

Some even older than that. Chances are, if a young couple is looking to buy their first home in the Boston metropolitan area, its going to be about the same age as their great grandmother. It’s this existing housing stock that cities rely on, heavily, for the quality and quantity of their homes.

Renovating old homes isn’t as flashy a discussion as sustainable ground-up construction, but the issue itself affects many more people and many more structures. As designers working with old homes it’s our job to work with what we’ve got; to renovate and retrofit. Things typically aren’t perfect. People building differently over time as materials change and techniques evolve. Lots of different sets of hands have worked on these homes, and once you start peeling back the layers of tile and wallpaper their history becomes clearer.

With enough money and time, all imperfections can be wiped clean, but few have that luxury. Once you accept the bumpy trim or creaky floor you can appreciate the nature of how buildings evolve over time. Little flaws can be seen as character and our alterations add to the evolution of the buildings around us.