I have decided to begin a new series on this blog. I am going to lay out a maintenance & renovation guide for homeowners living inside the Newburyport Historic District. The aim will be to boil it down to a straight forward booklet that can be purchased for a reasonable price.
If I can get it all together, it will never be a best seller since it will be directed only to the needy homeowners of the Newburyport Historic District. This is no money maker – there are only 2,750 odd homes in the historic district – even if every property owner bought a booklet, it will probably barely cover the printing cost. Nor will it be a literary masterpiece as it lays out the nuts and bolts of basic maintenance and the necessary steps and tools for an historic renovation. Regardless, this booklet will be gold not just for homeowners but to the workmen who must bravely enter a domain that is increasingly rare in the United States: a neighborhood of 100-year old buildings. I haven’t decided what to call it so I am going to start off with the moniker, NEWBURYPORT HOME COMPANION. But it could just as well be THE NEWBURYPORT HISTORIC HOUSE HANDBOOK. And since I plan on getting a lot of input from our local longsuffering tradesmen and don’t even want to hint that the booklet could possibly replace their professional skills, I could call it The Beginner’s Guide on Taking Care of an Historical Home.
Let’s just say, as I proceed, this is where a blog setup works the best. I will write Revision One and then get input from those in town who wish to throw in their irreplaceable experience from dealing with our antique houses. I haven’t figured out how to incorporate proper recognition for all the coming advice so any suggestions in that direction will be appreciated. By the time I can publish it, it should be thoroughly vetted by the average Newburyporter.
But we all desperately need it.
Recently the anti-LHD crowd dared for proponents to site examples of improper renovations. Turns out, if you look around, even dedicated historic preservationists have made mistakes as they try to figure out how to take care of these structures. Then of course, there are the totally oblivious, proudly citing what they have done to their homes as architects, contractors and historic preservationists look on with horror.
Rather looking back and having deep regret from all our mistakes, it is so much more beneficial to take all the collective experience learned and project this wealth of advice to every Newburyporter who has bravely obtained a building inside the Newburyport Historic District.
PS. I will still be continuing my ongoing ‘House Stories’ series – I only have 2,700 homes to go!