Do your guests ever question why you are so concerned with restoring your house back to the past?
Do they ever laugh at what you think of as your labor of love?
Why don’t you like the latest trends of home improvement?
John Ruskin , a Victorian era critic, wrote on many subjects including architecture. In 1849 he wrote “The Seven Lamps of Architecture”.
In his writings there is an excerpt that explains the importance of preserving old buildings. This is a very powerful statement.
I’ve been told some homeowner’s frame this excerpt for display by their front door to help their guests understand their motivation for preserving their home.
“. . . Old buildings are not ours. They belong, partly to those who built them, and partly to the generations of mankind who are to follow us. The dead still have their right in them:
That which they labored for . . . we have no right to obliterate .” “What we ourselves have built, we are at liberty to throw down. But what other men gave their strength, and wealth, and life to accomplish, their right over it does not pass away with their death . . .”
by John Ruskin 1849, “The Seven Lamps of Architecture” chapter 6
The above is a famous quote that is part of a larger piece.
Click for a suitable for framing printer friendly copy of the above quote from The Seven Lamps of Architecture .
Jerry Johnson says
Love it! This was my belief before I read John Ruskin’s quote. I’ve been restoring a 1905 Home in Hermantown MN. For a couple years now, and none of my family or friends (even my girlfriend) understand why. I love the house, and the time I get to work on it. I met a potential buyer in the driveway 3 years ago who was telling me his plans to “gut” the place, when I told him I just put my money down on the house a half hour ago. I feel like I saved the house, and the house needs me ?. I’m hoping to live there full time by October. Thank you for your important work, Jerry
Marie Beausoleil says
I’ve been trying to find out how old the Four Square we’re buying is. I get looks from a lot of the people I know and they say “Who cares? It’s YOUR house. Do whatever you want with it.” But I want to be true to the house. At least I have a few friends who are understanding and supportive.
The seller says it was built in 1935, but historical records say there was NO new house construction in that community from 1929 until 1947. The bedroom door hinges are embossed with gorgeous spindles top and bottom, and I can’t wait to clean off all that paint! Herringbone-patterned hardwood throughout, covered up with 1970s carpet. The newel post is a massive 6×6′ beam of solid wood.
Sadly, it’s covered up with nasty aluminum siding. I want that gone There must have been a front porch, but it’s been removed. Somewhere along the way they removed the radiators and added ugly baseboard heaters. And the kitchen is a 1970s horror now.
It might take the rest of my life, but I will pass on a gorgeous historical home to one of my children!
Ken Roginski says
Go for it Marie! As for the age of your house this info should help you. Check out the Sanborn Maps. http://www.oldhouseguy.com/researching-your-house/
Sharon Hunter Nikolaus says
My husband and I recently purchased a Georgian built in 1923. We’ve been working on it for the last two months some nights and weekends. It’s a beautiful brick home that needs love.
Prof Prem raj Pushpakaran says
Prof Prem raj Pushpakaran writes — 2019 marks the 200th birth year of John Ruskin!!!