When it comes to types of houses, at one time or another, I've lived in most sorts. Big, small, old and new, city, country, suburb, fancy, plain, apartment and single family. I have never lived in a Yurt or a mobile home, but otherwise, I've pretty well got the gamete pretty well covered.
In all that time I've only lived in two brand new homes. The first was in a suburb of Chicago when I was probably 3 years old. Up 'til then we lived in downtown Chicago in a succession of very old and very tiny apartments. The only room I remember in that first house was the kitchen but I'm told that it was a small, humble tract home in a brand new development called Rolling Meadows. My dad was justifiably very proud to have done well enough to get us out of the city and into a house in the 'burbs. My parents spent a lot of time and energy keeping it looking nice for the brief amount of time that we lived there before moving to California.
The only other brand new house that I lived in was when Tim and I moved to Colorado. When we first arrived, we had lived in a rental while deciding first, what town we wanted to live in, then what house. We knew exactly nothing about Colorado when we arrived. Well, I knew that it was one of those "squarey" states out west and that it had mountains, but that was my sum total knowledge. So we spent every weekend for awhile visiting towns that were a reasonable driving distance to Tim's job. And then once we found towns we liked, we spent our two days off a week looking at previously owned homes and we didn't get excited about any of them. So we started looking at model homes and to our surprise, found one we liked better than anything else. We signed a contract and for a year we spent most every weekend watching with excitement, fascination and impatience as our house slowly took shape.
It was a beautiful house and we loved it. And, since I had spent my entire life living previously owned homes and therefore I knew that amount of work involved with maintaining and fixing up an older home, I assumed that a brand new home would require much less work. I was wrong. I was so very wrong.
While we didn't have to do any of the big stuff like repair the roof or update plumbing or electricity, there was always something that needed to be done. Painting the inside (the builder only did the primer white coat), putting handles on the cabinet doors (builder also didn't do that) pendant lights over the island, window treatements for all those damned windows (so many windows!) and of course landscaping the exterior.
After the first year of some serious Colorado weather - hail, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, unrelenting sun a mile closer than most other places and torrential rain we had to have work done on the roof. When we heard about some house robberies a few miles away, Tim had a security system put in place. We had to have covers made for the window wells around our basement windows. Had patio poured for the back of the house and re-landscaped. (Colorado weather is not very conducive to gardening). Fencing went in, exterior paint was touched up and landscaping was re-done again. It was a never ending circle. Different gotta-do's but still a list. There is always a list.
Consequently, when we moved to Florida and started looking for a place to live the scope was wide open. We considered everything, new houses, old houses, not yet built houses. Gated communities, non-gated communities, and no formal community at all. And the idea of an older home did not scare us away.
The oldest house I ever lived in was in Connecticut. In my first marriage I lived in an old farm house that was built somewhere in the late 1700's. Nobody was ever certain of the exact date. It had no central heat, sketchy plumbing, even sketchier electricity and used old newspapers for insulation. Let's just say that house required a lot of work.
The first house that Tim and I bought together was practically brand new by comparison. It was colonial style house that was built in 1940. See? Practically a baby! Still it needed a new septic system, new roof, new pump in the well as well as new doors and windows. Eventually we managed to scrape all of the old wall paper off of it's plaster walls and painted every single room, and even further down the line refinished the floors and redid the kitchen. And just when it was looking pretty good, we moved to Colorado!
Now we have this house which was built in 1962. We've been here 3 years now. In those three short years, we have reno-ed the kitchen, had a whole new HVAC system put into place and moved the washer/dryer out of the kitchen and into the utility room. We had the house re-plumbed, the electricity updated, painted almost every room, cleaned and cleaned (and CLEANED!) and will forever be hacking away at the jungle that that serves as our yard. And the list of things that still need to be done is still a long one.
Sometimes we tackle the big jobs, sometimes the smaller ones.
Recently Tim decided to scratch a smaller one off the list. Replacing door knobs. First of all, knobs is a ridiculous word. It looks funny and it sounds funnier. Just had to get that out of the way. The doorknobs that came with the house were the round brassy gold ones, circa 1960. Most of them were paint spattered (not by me, I swear! They were like that when we got here), chipped, and a couple of them were cranky about turning at all. I'm pretty sure you've seen this sort:
Tim is replacing them with an entirely different sort. For several reasons. First of all, we do not care for that brassy gold colour at all. No thank you. If you like it, great. We do not. Secondly, turning a knob when your hands are full of...groceries, laundry baskets, small children, dogs, whatever...is needlessly difficult. As is turning a knob when you've just put lotion on your hands. (next to impossible actually!) And then, there are my stupid arthritic hands. Some days, it's no big deal at all. Other days, just grasping the knob can be painful. Without making a big deal out of it, I know it's going to just get harder as time goes by. Gotta be realistic, right?
So we have moved on to what I suppose, is more accurately called a door lever and not a door knob.
The doors open so much more easily now! And we chose a brushed nickel colour which is what we like. And yes, I do watch HGTV shows and we go to professionally decorated model homes so I know that the newest big thing is a return to gold fixtures. But we don't especially care for gold coloured handles so, no. We will not be installing those in our house. If you like them, great! Put them in your house.
Meanwhile, as always, I am surprised and pleased with how much difference a small thing like new door handles make! It's subtle, but it definitely perks the place up! We love it!
So hurrah! One more thing off the list! Still the list is along one. We will continue to chip away at it and eventually it will be a much smaller, far more manageable list.
I figure that by the time we are both dead and gone, the house oughta look pretty good!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.