The Art of Inspecting Old Homes

As home inspectors, we are often called up to inspect very old homes. Now my friends who live in England laugh when I refer to an old home here in the United States – the oldest homes we have are 400 years old. In England, there are homes that had stood for centuries!

Anyway, I delight in inspecting old homes. It surprises me that there are home inspectors in the state of New Hampshire that won’t inspect old homes. I get it! They are a lot of work to inspect! But as I said, I love inspecting old homes.

I can’t help but consider the rich history in the home. How many families have lived within the walls of the home during the life of the structure?

A few years ago, we had the opportunity to inspect a home that was moved from Epsom, New Hampshire all the way over to Hopkinton, New Hampshire in 1948. So before the house was even moved, it had stood where it was for over a hundred and fifty years.

Today, the thought of moving a home is an aberration. Why would anyone go through all the trouble of moving a home??? That’s a 25 mile journey – I checked it on Google Maps!

Well no doubt someone found the house charming or interesting enough that they wanted to move it, and to continue to live within it’s walls.

This unique home had some amazing architectural features that I wanted to share with our readers.

The home came equipped with a set of stairs leading up to the 2nd floor that are referred to as “Good Morning Stairs.” Basically the stairs lead up from the front entry door foyer to a small landing, and then two sets of stairs lead up from the landing to the right and to the left with two bedrooms located at the top of each flight of stairs.

In the morning, when the occupants of the two bedrooms would meet at the landing on the way down to get breakfast, they would have the opportunity to say, “Good Morning.”

Also present in the home was a “Parson’s Nip,” or “Parson’s Cupboard.” This little hidden compartment was used to conceal spirits (liquor) for when the local clergy would visit the home. Apparently this was a way to curry favor with the parson and by extension with God as well!

There was a large, beautiful brick fireplace with an enormous hearth. The hearth was large enough for a cauldron, which would hang from the cauldron arm that swings back and forth in the fireplace.

The home also featured many of the original windows – with 9 over 6 sashes (referring to the glass panes in the sashed)! This particular type of window is not very common. All of the previous owners of the home had opted to leave them in place, giving the home a more distinct character.

Many of the glass panes were original with blown glass – exemplified by the bubbles in the glass, and the waviness in the glass panes. They are definitely not the most efficient windows!

There are so many interesting architectural features that are found in old homes here in New England. Inspecting homes in this region of the country requires a discerning eye, and a definite expertise in old construction.

The inspectors at First Choice Home Inspection are ready to inspect your home!

Michael McCarty
NH Licensed Home Inspector # 316
Vermont Property Inspector License # 143.0134099
HUD 203k Consultant # P-1939

Check out the following website to look at an older home in my home state of Massachusetts:

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