by Gary Kleier
The next time you are thinking about doing something to your "old" house, think about this true story.
In the late fifties Mr. & Mrs. Smith's last daughter married and there was no longer a need for their large house, so they moved to an apartment. The dining room table and chairs were too large for the apartment, and as was the custom in the family, they were passed on to the eldest son, Bill.
Bill, his wife and their children lived in a new, modern house in the suburbs. While they were in need of dining room furniture, this old, hand-me-down table and chairs just did not fit with their early American decor. In fact, the only thing they did like about this dark, heavy German furniture was the size and sturdiness of the table. Bill gave the dark and ornately carved chairs to a charity and replaced them with new ones of the correct style. Then he had a woodworker rout the edge of the table to remove the carvings and turn the heavy legs to give them an early American look. The dark finish was stripped and a maple finish applied.
Bill Smith and his family were now the proud owners of a table and chairs of early American appearance with a value of approximately $300. Gone was the table that had been in the Smith family for over seven generations, long before they arrived in America in 1858. Gone was an antique worth approximately $30,000.
Think about it before you do something similar to that "old" house.
©2000-2002 Gary Kleier, OldLouisville.com
Gary Kleier is our resident Old Louisville Architectural Conservator. He lives on Floral Terrace and is one of those folks who was instrumental in the landscaping and beautification of that little jewel of a walking court between Sixth and Seventh Streets. Gary specializes in restoration architecture and architectural forensic services and has a wide range of talents which are described on his own web site at www.KleierAssociates.com. You can reach Gary by email at email@example.com
Other articles in this series:
Brick Structures - Oh What Damage We Do Inflict "The most deadly enemy is man and what he does in the name of maintenance and rehabilitation."
The Vinyl Lie "Every day unsuspecting owners of historic homes, believing they are actually making an investment in their home, succumb to the vicious lies of an unscrupulous industry....."
A True Story "The next time you are thinking about doing something to your "old" house, think about this true story."
Brick Sidewalk Repair A quick primer on repairing your brick walkways.
Brick or Concrete? An illustrated discussion on the advantages of both brick and concrete sidewalks. You decide.
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