Blast from the past! Unearthing your home's history

Leigh Leigh
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You love everything about your home… the creak in the second stair, the way the windows allow the morning light to flow in, waking you up and how your family memories have gathered and grown in every room and every corner. 

But before you lived in your beautiful house, it had a whole story. There were other families, other memories… a whole history that preceded you. Don't you want to get to know your home and its roots? 

Today at homify, we invite you to fall in love with your home and its past… every crack, every lick of paint and every feature. From your living room to your attic, let's explore what your home has experienced, how it has been loved and who has looked after it to ensure that it's the home that you live in today.

Let's get to know your home's story today!

Visit the local courthouse or historical society

What better way to get to know your home than to hit the books? You can get a copy of the original building permit for your home and truly explore what it originally looked like, what the original builders and home owners envisioned and how it has transformed since.

Not only will this help you to truly get to know the history of your house, but it will also help you to understand what to do going forward. The building permit gives you insight into what restrictions there may have been when the house was built, which could very well have changed by now. You may be able to build that second level or extend your garage space out towards the road based on new regulations!

Studying your building permit can truly help you to understand the roots of your home and any changes that have taken place. For example, have a look at this Before and After, where newlyweds transformed their home

Dig up or get a new copy of your property’s abstract

Your property's abstract will show you everything that you need to know about every legal transaction or deed associated with your property. One document will show you everything that you need to know.

Why is this important?

It's important to know what your home is valued at, how property prices and values have changed over time and any other legalities that may have occurred surrounding your house. It will be interesting to trace how any changes to the home affected its value too!

Look through your local newspaper's archive

You never know if your home was once so famous that it was in the newspaper!

Explore the newspaper archives to see if it ever won any awards for the best verge on the block or the top piece of architecture for the year. Your home may have been showing off long before you fell in love with it. 

Old newspaper clippings may also reveal some interesting facts about your house… maybe there are even some ghost stories that you don't know about! The history of your home may lead to all sorts of stories for days to come. 

Visit your local planning office

Escape your home office to find out a little bit more about what your home looked like before it was the modern masterpiece that it is today.  

The local planning office issues building permits, assesses property taxes and records home sales. This will reveal a treasure chest of information about your home. You'll also gain knowledge for any interior designers or architects who want to work on your house and create a space like this one, designed by Adriana Fiali e Rose Corsini.

Remember that the more you know about your home, the more you have to work with!

Inspect your house closely

There are so many things that you can discover about your home if you just spend some time paying attention to it. 

The original materials used throughout your home are ready to be explored! Figure out what the original architecture looked like, when the stone facade was included and at what stage the kitchen was remodeled—all just by walking through your home and examining every nook and every cranny.

You never know when you'll find gorgeous wooden floors under the carpet or original lighting features ready to be revived and reused!

Now is the time to truly get to know your home and every year that it has existed!

Talk to your neighbours

Make the most of community spirit—and your dining room—by inviting your neighbours over for a glass of wine (or more) and a chin wag. There is nothing like some good old neighbourly gossip to find out who lived in your home before you, what they were like, how they looked after the home and what renovations or work they did. You may even find out who the first people were to plant those rose bushes you love in the garden!

This is also a great opportunity to get to know your neighbours as well. A few glasses of wine may turn into pizza and the next thing you know, you'll have friends for life!

Track down previous owners to find out what improvements were made

There is no way that your kitchen looked that modern and glamorous ten years ago, like in this design by Designer de Interiores e Paisagista Iara Kilaris

Find out who you can credit your fabulous home too! Track down the previous owners and invite them around for coffee. They will be curious to see what the home looks like with all of your furniture in it, as well as how you've decorated it. In return, you can ask the about what changes were made to the home, what it looked like when they moved in and if there were any quirky features that they altered. 

All that you need to do is look at your deed history and find out who the previous owners were. Then Facebook will become your favourite friend!

If you like this ideabook, you'll love this one on the Holiday House in the Suburbs!

Are you interested in the history of your home? Did this article help you? Let us know!
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