I grew up in a densely-populated metropolis within the Northeast, about as removed from rural life as you will get. Working round as a child, I bear in mind seeing some older properties having these bizarre little posts out in entrance on the sidewalk, normally with a tiny horse head on high. For a very long time I used to be mystified, till somebody lastly defined that these have been previous horse hitching posts courting again to the times earlier than automobiles, when individuals would experience as much as your home and tie off their horse earlier than going inside. Now they have been purely ornamental.
Outdated properties are stuffed with options that have been as soon as essential and helpful however have been left behind by the march of progress. Ice doorways, coal chutes, razor slits within the partitions—most of those old-school options aren’t very helpful, and preserving them in an previous house is extra of an aesthetic alternative, or an effort to protect some tiny slice of historical past. However a few of these previous options are nonetheless helpful at the moment, both for his or her authentic function or in new, artistic methods. You may not know what to do with a horse hitching put up in entrance of your home, however you may positively put a few of these old school architectural and design decisions to good use.
You probably have a small room simply off the kitchen or eating room (typically situated between these two rooms), you could have your self a butler’s pantry. There are possible kitchen-style cupboards in there, in addition to some counter area. Within the trendy period, a butler’s pantry may even be form of a small kitchen, with home equipment and plumbing. Again within the day, butler’s pantries have been truly a spot the place the precious silverware and china can be saved, typically behind a locked door. Over time, it advanced right into a staging space for dinner events and different occasions; dishes might be introduced into the butler’s pantry after which transferred to the eating room as wanted or desired.
At this time, butler’s pantries can be utilized for absolutely anything, together with their authentic function for those who think about thieves casing your home to your beneficial assortment of ornamental spoons. Folks use them to arrange their entertaining, as additional kitchen storage, or as devoted espresso stations, moist bars, or wine racks.
Dutch-style doorways are these doorways which are cut up in two so you may open the highest half and backside half independently (typically the 2 halves might be bolted collectively to remodel them into a traditional door). These doorways have been initially designed so you can open the highest half to let in recent air and daylight whereas retaining the underside half closed to cease animals from wandering into your home. Whereas this isn’t as essential a consideration in trendy city areas, these types of doorways can nonetheless be helpful to anybody with young children or excitable pets who may escape the home, searching for journey. These types of doorways also can hold particles and dust from blowing into your home if you wish to air the place out a bit.
This one is one of the more obvious old-school features you can still use. The historical past of the laundry chute goes again to the 1800s, lengthy earlier than washing machines have been invented. However even after the introduction of washing machines and dryers, older properties typically had the laundry services put in within the basement as a result of they’d been initially in-built a time earlier than washing machines, and the basement was the one spot they might be put in with out a main renovation. The laundry chute was an ingenious option to leverage gravity and make your life barely simpler by letting you feed your soiled knickers right into a slot within the wall and overlook about them till you remembered to do some laundry.
In case your washer continues to be down within the basement, you’re in all probability nonetheless utilizing your laundry chute in case you have one. However even when your laundry has been moved to a sunny room on the primary ground, your laundry chute may nonetheless be helpful for transferring stuff to the basement with out having to lug it down these steep stairs. Some people even set up new laundry chutes of their properties with the intention to benefit from the comfort.
Again within the days earlier than trendy sewer programs and pavement, strolling round any city or metropolis was a messy affair. Arriving at a pleasant, clear home or enterprise with boots caked in mud (and different stuff) was a typical challenge, so cast-iron boot scrapers have been typically put in outdoors entrance doorways. These are used precisely as you may think: You scrape the soles and sides of your boots on them to take away all that dust.
Whereas the world round us is perhaps (marginally) cleaner at the moment, monitoring dust and dust into the home continues to be type of gross, so the boot scraper lives on (it’s particularly beloved by gardeners, who’re without end dragging their gardens into the home with them). Whereas trendy boot scrapers typically have brushes to make them simpler or storage rods for moist boots to be left outdoors fully, the old-school boot scraper that was there if you purchased the home continues to be completely usable for its meant function.
Does your charming previous home have what seems to be like skinny crown molding positioned a few foot or so down from the ceiling? What seems to be like a weird design alternative is definitely an image rail. Again within the days earlier than drywall, most properties had partitions made from plaster sitting on wood lathe. Plaster is brittle and poking holes in it to hold photos would virtually assure enormous cracks and eventual failure of sections of the wall, so image rails have been typically put in so you can grasp artwork on the partitions with out damaging them.
They usually nonetheless carry out that job. Whereas trendy drywall is a little bit simpler to drill into and restore than plaster, it’s nonetheless a ache within the butt to do it. An image rail means that you can grasp artwork with out bothering with any of that tedious work. Folks are nonetheless putting in it at the moment, in reality.
There was a time when the old school landline phone was a cutting-edge piece of expertise. When telephones turned widespread, properties weren’t wired up for them (clearly) and folks weren’t certain what to do with them, in order that they have been typically positioned in particular rooms—or in little niches in hallways or out-of-the-way spots. They normally included a small shelf to accommodate taking notes and messages, and infrequently had a second shelf the place the old-school telephone e book can be stored.
These can nonetheless be fairly helpful. Some people beautify them with potted crops or sculpture, including a touch of coloration and whimsy to an entryway or hallway. However in case you have an influence outlet put in close by (or, ideally, within the area of interest itself) they make for completely superb charging stations to your sensible telephones and tablets. If the phone nook is situated close to the entrance door, they are often excellent locations to drop your keys, pockets, and telephone if you stroll in.
Lastly, the venerable dumbwaiter is the legacy of the previous days when kitchens have been separated from the residing areas of a house. Meals can be ready down within the kitchen and despatched up through a tiny freight elevator, and soiled dishes can be despatched again down the identical means.
You probably have a dumbwaiter in your home, it may not result in a kitchen any extra, however that doesn’t imply it’s not nonetheless helpful. Something that means that you can switch heavy or awkward objects from one ground to a different with out having to make use of the steps continues to be a fairly superb system.