1 hour ago
When you love your neighborhood you love to share it. I'm happy to see how many travelers we host appreciate discovering the community we call home. So when I showed a travel writer around a while back only to see them make a reference to the 'sagging mansions of Old Louisville' in an article – after they came into our house, and saw the glorious Saint James Court with me, I gotta say it didn't sit well.
Old Louisville is a fascinating place home to a diverse population, and often billed as the largest collection of Victorian architecture in the country. The thing is, as fantastical as some of these homes are, they're not dollhouses. This isn't one of those new developments with fake old houses. They're just … old. And for every few that are drop dead gorgeous, there'll be one or more with deferred maintenance. Let me tell you a bit about that.
Guess what it costs to replace a roof on such a behemoth: Ours was $20,000 … which we borrowed and will be repaying for 30 years. We only have that ability thanks to Airbnb income: not everyone has that privilege. And to replace a window to historically correct specifications (required when you live in a preservation district)? The quote for our two tiniest windows was a thousand bucks. Each. We can't swing that, let alone what the ones eight feet tall and painted shut would be.
There are at least a dozen improvement projects we should do - outside of the house alone. Tuckpointing the carriage house is needed, but first we have to launch that Airbnb and start recouping the money we invested there. And that's the tip of the iceberg.
But to think of ours or any other of these grand, storied old houses as “sagging”? Three years after moving here I'm enthralled with these homes, their craftsmanship, the histories and stories they hold, the comebacks many of them have made. To lump the ones that need some love (and let's be honest, more money than most people can conjure up) with the many that are beautifully restored and cared for under a term like that is to miss what makes this place so special. We're not for everybody. If we're for you, you don't see sagging. You see real world beauty.
#saggingmansions ❤️ at Old Louisville