October 28, 2009

...rainy day wee house thoughts

I'm almost finished with the Wee house tour, but feel the need to say something and explain a few things before I go on.

When I think about someone living in the house, I get really really sad. Especially since the woman living in the house was elderly. It makes me cry to think about the walk through and about how bad the house smelled, yet she was there housebound in a room where the windows wouldn't open. With a little wizzing dog as her only house companion.

All the details of her life and family aren't available to me. I know her husband was a great gardener, but suffered from dementia before his death in the 80's. That automatically strikes a cord with me because I lost my grandfather this year to Alzheimer's complications. The duplex was added some time in the 90's for her grandson to live there with his family. Maybe the addition of the duplex and helping out her grandson delayed her in letting go of her house? I can't help but to think she may have left earlier if it wasn't for them moving in.

The house was clearly well taken care of up to a point, and then you can imagine that it started its slow decline as all the upkeep became too much. I know you can't force a person out of their home but I would hope to think that her family tried for years to get her to leave. The thought of a family not caring about their mother/grandmother living in the house in that condition is too much for me.

To clarify all my talking about the house as being gross, we planned to live in the house as-is at first. We would have cleaned the upstairs as best as possible and then make the duplex our home while doing a complete renovation downstairs. I've lived in a transitional house before and know that we can do it again. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Yucky bathrooms and carpets too. Those plans didn't work out, like so many others we had for the house, but I wouldn't have minded much. Nothing makes you work harder or appreciate the after rooms more than living through the before.


  1. I'm so glad you posted this, so many people talk about how 'disgusting' their reno is without giving thought to how the house got that way, and what effect it had on the owners. Lack of money, help, physical ability and/or any number of conditions probably contribute to a homes demise more than lack of caring, and I would guess that the homeowners are more heartbroken about it than we like to think about.
    Thanks for reminding us.

  2. what a nice post, and i agree with the above comment. it is very easy to start to get upset over things done by the previous owner, but you never know what their situation was. i also agree that sometimes it is best to try to live in spaces before doing major renos - i think that you learn a lot more about the existing function and desired function of a space by living in them.