blue flower pattern on a concrete wall

Benefits of Living in an Old House

Today I want to talk about the benefits of living in an old house.

For the last couple of months my mind has been occupied with the purchase and renovation of our new home. And although you probably wouldn’t instantly make the connection to my usual natural dyeing content, I think that it fits really well with my websites overall theme of “simple living, natural dyeing and a handmade wardrobe”. If you know my small yarn company Rosemary & Pines Fiber Arts, you know that sustainability is its core value. In my personal life, sustainability and eco-consciousness are of great importance to me, as well. And living in an old home compared to building new is undeniably more sustainable in numerous ways. Let me explain.

original wood flooring we discovered under layers of carpet and linoleum

Sustainability: One of the benefits of living in an old house

The most obvious aspect is that you need far less building materials if you are using an already existing structure. Even if you have to undergo intensive renovations, you will build on top of something that is already there or only replace certain parts.

roof with traditional German beaver tail tile
traditional German beaver tail tile – you can see the old and new shingles intermingled

Throughout the years, houses have become larger and larger. In Germany, the living space per person has doubled in the last fifty years – and I expect the trends in the other developed countries are very similar. Therefore, if you live in an old house, you will most likely have less living space. While this might not sound advantageous to you at first glance, it definitely is in my opinion. Not only is it more sustainable to occupy less space. It also demands far less of your most precious resource, your time.

Less Maintenance: Another benefit of living in an old house

Since old homes usually equal smaller living spaces, household chores will require significantly less time. We are currently living in a house that has about 210 m2 / 2200 square feet. If our new old home is ready to move in, we will cut our living space roughly in half. While this might sound extreme, I think it is totally doable.

closet on the staircase old house charm
built- in closet on the stairway

Back in 1914, when our house was build, families with an average of four kids lived there. We only have two kids, therefore I am convinced that living in a small house like this will be completely fine. On the contrary, I am really looking forward to reducing our space. We will have the same number of rooms as we do now – except in the cellar – , but some of them will be much smaller. From my point of view, we are ridding ourselves only of the excess that we don’t need and haven’t really used of anyway. Since the rooms will be smaller and the ways shorter, I expect the cleaning to be done a lot quicker. Of course, the smaller rooms will also contain less things that need to be picked up and maintained. Which leads me to the next benefit:

Less Clutter: One more benefit of living in an old house

Several years ago I came across the concept of minimalism. And while you probably wouldn’t identify me as a “typical” minimalist by looking at my belongings now, the concept has been very close to my heart ever since I first learned about it. When it comes to clothing, though, I am definitely rather minimalistic. I am planning on writing a blog post about my minimalist, mostly handmade wardrobe in the near future.

Obviously, small houses don’t provide as much opportunity to amass things. Preparing for the move also forces us to go through everything and evaluate whether it is worth keeping or not. We are only going to keep the things that are valuable to us and get rid of the rest. In the bigger house, it was so easy to “store” anything we didn’t use anymore in the cellar or attic. We won’t have this opportunity in the future and I am glad about it.

wooden stair rail covered in green and white paint
original wooden handrail covered in different colors of paint

Old House Charm: The loveliest benefit of living in an old house

During the house hunting process, we looked at numerous houses from different time periods and also considered building. It became clear to me rather quickly that I am very drawn to old houses. And we both discovered that we wanted to purchase a home that needed some kind of renovation and wasn’t move-in ready. The old house charm and character that you get when buying an old house simply can’t be beat, in my opinion. There are so many wonderful quirky details in our house. Although I wouldn’t probably have opted to build a new house like this or wouldn’t have even thought about it, I just find them so charming.

For example, I love the lattice windows with the shutters. Although a roller shutter would be much more convenient to open and close, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Finances: One last benefit of living in an old house

Financial advantages are also a huge benefit of living in an old house. This will probably not apply to every old house, though.

While old houses aren’t usually insulated as well as newer houses, heating could be less efficient in an old home. Since we are going to insulate our home as part of the renovation process, we are anticipating the heating bills in this smaller house to be less than in the current house.
The purchasing price of older houses in need of renovations is usually also lower.
Here in Germany, you also get some tax reductions if you purchase and preserve a house that is an officially protected building of the country’s historical heritage.

Pin It For Later

benefits of living in an old house pinterest graphic

If you would like to follow along on the renovation of our 110 year old home, let me know in the comments below. I would be happy to share the progress with you. In the meantime, you can have a look at my Pinterest boards. I have several boards on the topics of country cottages as well as country cottage gardens.

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