tipsy [tip-see]: tipping, unsteady, or tilted, as if from intoxication.
I thought long and hard about what to name this blog, and even had a couple of false starts before I settled on “Tipsy Old House.” After going around and around in circles, the name was staring me in the face.
Readers, meet my tipsy old house.
And while my house doesn’t get tispy from intoxication, I certainly do. Sometimes via rosé from a can.
Our home was built sometime between 1848 (when the city says it was built) and 1872 (the oldest known resident I can confirm). At that age, whether it be 1848 or 1872, our home is somewhat of a grumpy old man.
In just a year we’ve tackled plumbing problems (who doesn’t love a little water pouring out of the ceiling?), fought off the mice that were easily entering the many “holes” in our old home, and creatively worked around the issues that come with a house being “tipsy.” You know, uneven floors. Resigning ourselves to interior doors cut at all kinds of crazy angles to account for slanted floors. Never having a single wall/doorframe/corner be square.
What we don’t know at the moment is if the tipsiness that personifies our home is a problem or if it’s just part of the charm. When we purchased the home we opted only to do a basic home inspection, which revealed a lot of unknowns. What we should have done is hired a civil engineer to do some additional inspecting around the home to give us a better sense of what we were up against.
But we didn’t. We were in (house) love.
What we do know is that the previous owners had the home for roughly 12 years, and they did not notice any additional “shifting.” The bedroom doors that are all cut at weird angles were apparently like that the entire time they lived there, which tells me that the floors have likely not done any additional sloping in recent years.
Over the past year I’ve watched each and every little crack in the drywall. All of them with the exception of two have stayed the same and seem to just be a part of the home. There are two that are questionable and I keep a close eye on them. Bit by bit they get a little bit longer, but not necessarily any wider.
The working theory is that it is what it is – a 150+ year home that has had a handful of additions over the years (which is how we ended up with 3 full bathrooms and an attached 2-car garage in such an old home), while only having a minimal amount of maintenance.
However, the plan is to face reality and get a civil engineer out next spring and really figure out what the full story is with our home from a structural standpoint, so I know exactly what I need to be worrying about and what I can ignore. Because I tend to worry. A lot.
But despite all of the worry, I’ve slowly come to love the my tipsy old house for what it is. It’s settled and comfortable, and it’s been standing for almost as long (or potentially even longer) as the city around it has been in existence. I remind myself that if it hasn’t fallen down yet, it likely won’t, and each and every project that I invest myself in is a wonderful investment in the health and happiness of the home.
So here’s to the tipsy old house, which I will lovingly clean, paint, and probably caulk throughout the weekend, as I seem to do every weekend without fail.