old houses can be weird...

kindred_nyNovember 6, 2010

Does anyone have any odd/strange things they've had to do because of their old house?? My laundry is in the basement. I have to hook the washer up to the utility basin water and drain it into the basin as well. Not so unusual, until you see that the basin drains right onto the floor, and the water runs over to the drain in the floor about 3 feet away. That just didn't appeal to my sensibilities one bit, so I put a large (20 or 30 gallon?) plastic party tub under the utility basin. I used a paring knife to cut a hole in the side of the tub, then rigged a plastic tubing to it, which runs the 3 feet to the drain. No more water on the floor. Someday I'll reno the back porch to house the washer/dryer. Until then, this works just fine!

I'd LOVE to hear your funny/odd story to know I'm not alone in "making -do" with my old house!

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Totally! Our 1920's kitchen only had room for a 4 foot tall fridge. To put in a "real" fridge, we had to bust out the medicine cabinet that had been built in above it. The medicine cabinet turned out to have a electrical line running through it... and it also turned out there was no ceiling above it. So now we have a hole leading into the attic, covered by a trash bag. Awesome. All because we wanted a fridge.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 8:27PM
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My kitchen came with six doors and no corners. Every corner had a door in it. Hard to plan a kitchen layout. Moved two of them. :-)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 7:53AM
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How did people live like that for so many years? When I moved in, my kitchen had almost NO cabinetry (a 36" sink base,a 36" cabinet and an 18" base, with some uppers.)I can't wait for my Cherry cabinets, Uba tuba granite and STORAGE!!!!!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 8:39AM
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I live in an old schoolhouse. Love it, but, the washer was in the kitchen and the dryer was in the ATTIC. That was my first (of many) projects, that are ongoing.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 7:00PM
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Wow! Now that's one way to get exercise!!! How cool, though, to live in such an historic building!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 7:24PM
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Our house had no laundry facilities when we moved in. The old people who lived here before us handwashed their clothes (with water hand pumped from one of the cisterns) and then in the winter months, they carried them up to the attic and hung them up to dry. Our attic is still strung completely with clothesline! When we moved in, I told hubby that I had to have a laundry room. My hubby removed the sink from the 1st floor bathroom and used the plumbing to hook up my washer (I still have a toilet in there, but now we have a bottle of hand sanitizer on the back of the toilet..lol!) That bathroom has now become a "laundry/utility/dog cage/cat litter box/coat closet/storage/bathroom for family use only" room! We had to run the drain hose from the washer out the window (because it drained too fast to drain into the sink drain and was overloading it)..it currently drains into the side yard!

It's funny the things we do to make our old houses livable/usable while we wait for the time or funds to turn them into our dream homes!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 10:08PM
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Guess I should be thankful for my basement laundry! And I feel better knowing I'm not the only one "making-do" while I wait to win the lottery! And I was thinking, it's good in a wayt he PO 's didn't update the laundry (or anything really)because they also left the beautiful floors and trim that I love so much!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 7:57AM
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I'm Baaaack. Still in my schoolhouse. Another one(of many). The electrician asked where the hot water heater was.We knew there was one, because, we had hot water.Spent a day looking and gave up. Next day, he was excited to find it behind a wall in the bathroom, which has to be taken out if the heater goes out, and I am sure it will. I love making do, don't you?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 10:08PM
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I had one of the old mill houses, in N.C. and the same thing happened, we looked every where for the hot water heater. and finally found it under the house in the crawl space.I never saw it my self, I assumed it was small but I had ample hot water. Gailee

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 12:13PM
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I still own a house in town (but I live in the country) with a floor drain, and just sold another one with a floor drain. Both were basement laundries. The one I still own has a big utility sink where the washer could drain, but it drains into a pipe and that pipe ends at the floor drain in the basement. There was a reason for floor drains because until the sixties, many people still used wringer washers and they drained by gravity. So it was best and easiest to put the hose at the lowest point you could get to drain the tub and that was, of course, the floor! Ditto the footed rinse tubs. The drains were often recessed a bit, had a good grate over the top of them and were large. It worked and it wasn't a make-do situation. It was the best situation for the times.

You should have lived in post war Europe or especially Asia, like I did. Our hot-water heater in Japan was fired by a charcoal fire in a little outbuilding. You want hot water for the day? Go fire it up. We felt blessed to have such a nice arrangement. For a small fee, a gentleman would come around early each morning and fire it up for us before we awoke. If we wanted to use the tub (deep, square and made of tile) it took an amazing amount of water and meant we fired the little heater up ourselves at dusk and filled the tub. One washed in a basin first so they'd be clean when they got in, as it had to be used by others in succession.

No cabinets? Well, many old homes had no cabinets (and we didn't in France) because one had cupboards for the dishes, and another for the foods.

Ditto clothing. None of our houses overseas had closets. Our old house now (200 years old soon) didn't have any but one, and it was a foot deep and clothes were hung on pegs. One uses armoires and chests. My husband has built them in most of the bedrooms now from the space once occupied by inglenooks on either side of the fireplaces in each room.

Make do? No.........I don't think of it as making do. In fact, even though we have running water (compliments of a spring uphill from our house) when we renovated our kitchen, I put back in a pitcher pump and second sink to accomodate it from the smallest spring cachement and use it daily. I also got rid of my automatic washer and went back to a wringer washer and got rid of my laundry room and turned it into a downstairs bedroom.

I'm just thrilled we have an inside loo instead of an outhouse. The second parlour was turned into a bathroom and the ex-laundry-turned bedroom.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 1:40PM
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What?! New houses don't have cellar floor drains any more? Say it isn't so!

Every real house (not rentals) I've ever owned has had one. Most were sewer drains but my current home (built ca 1929) has a septic system, and its floor drain is plumbed right to the ditch out by the roadway.

When I moved in, it had no grate over it and the cats soon discovered that all kinds of entertaining toys appeared at that hole in the floor. So it now has a grate. :)

I'd really miss having a cellar floor drain. How else can you do a really good job of scrubbing down the floor? Where else do you put the water when the water heater leaks, the clothes washer hoses burst, or the sump pump fails?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 3:40PM
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I live in an old schoolhouse too. When I moved in, there was a room that had been converted from my uncles garage into a bedroom, then at some point became a junk room. The garage door was still at one end of the room, it was an old heavy one that rolled on a track. In other words, my uncle used to just drive his car right up into the house! Right onto the former school's hardwood floor. Ugh.

It's now my library, the door replaced with a large window.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 5:42PM
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Calliope, you're better than I! I love my old house, but I also like modern conveniences. I think the two can co-exist, and hope one day to have a home that proves it! :-)
Davidr, I couldn't agree more about the floor drain in the basement.Great for that babbling brook I had after the last heavy rain! lol.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 7:43PM
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Hey Schoolhouse, I love books and would like a library but, the idea of driving my car into the bedroom appeals to me. My house had an auditorium and stage. The stage was taken out and a wall there to form a living room, garage on the other side.Now thw weird part- there is a door from the front porch, to the garage.It has a 4 foot drop to the garage. Ouch! I always hoped if there was a burgler they would choose that door.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 3:04PM
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Keep on talking about the floor drains. It is very interesting. And calliope, your past home adventures are worthy topics for essays. I'd love to see etchings of the rooms.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 5:51PM
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I have a floor drain in my dirt basement, only the drain is actually in the middle of a cement slab because the cellar was a garage (presumably after the garage upstairs was made into a bedroom).

I've lived here 32yrs.and still have no idea where the water flows after it goes down the drain. No one has ever found an outlet tile, and anyone who would know has long since passed on. It has never clogged and all manner of rain run off, mud and debris gets sucked right down it.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 9:01AM
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I've lived here 32yrs.and still have no idea where the water flows after it goes down the drain.

Maybe it's a dry well - often just a pit dug in the earth and filled with gravel or rock.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 10:06PM
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We have a floor drain in our cellar--which is quite damp so that's a good thing. LOL

Although we wouldn't be able to tell EXACTLY where it goes, we do know that at some point it attaches to the sewer line. My husband has an old kitchen sink set up in the cellar and it has a line that drains right to the floor drain. About the only good thing I can say is that it's great for washing up after working in the yard...LOL My husband LOVES his cellar, and it is kinda where you can really see the story of our house--the big limestone foundation stones, steam saw-marked rafters, knob-and-tube wiring... :)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 9:07AM
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dans le jarden, lucky you to have had the stage not to mention the auditorium! As far as I know mine did not have a stage proper, just a raised platform at one end. But which end? Hard to say, no one can remember for sure; but there are still people in the area who attended school here and I don't know why I don't organize a reunion of sorts to talk about the building and their schooldays. Soon no one will be left. The building as far as anyone can tell is circa 1870, closed in 1939ish.

Your building sounds like it may be a bit larger than mine too. A 4' drop? Yikes. Funny how people just didn't think that type of thing would be dangerous. ha.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 3:20PM
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