There are many schools of thought on restoring old houses. While I believe we are purists at heart, our situation doesn't exactly allow us the opportunity to follow through with that. Here is our justification, listed primarily to remind ourselves and ease our guilt when making the hard decisions.
1. While lovely, this house is not historically or architecturally significant. We feel confidant that no one of great importance has ever slept here (other than you, Mom). It is a vernacular farmhouse, designed by the original owner. Mr. Kurtz could have used a few lessons in space planning. Or perhaps he just got a really great deal on doors and decided to build as many interior walls as possible to use them. We have 18 doors, all needing to be refinished.
2. We are not living in a historic neighborhood. We're not even IN a neighborhood, we're in the middle of nowhere.
3. Many "updates" have already been made to the structure. Doors have been removed, windows resized and replaced, vinyl siding added on top of asbestos shingles on top of clapboard, indoor plumbing (thank God).
So while we long for true divided light windows, cedar shake shingles and beaded clapboard we're also realistic. I'll fix up and preserve the three hole privy, but if you think I'm actually going to USE it you're sadly mistaken. Sure, we dream of one day replacing all the siding with clapboard. But after spending this entire summer just painting the trim, it's doubtful that's going to happen.
So we've settled for doing everything possible to preserving and restoring the charm and character of this old place...to an extent. It's now the 21st century and we have to live here. So yes Mother, you were right, that wall between the kitchen and dining room has to be opened up. But with charm and character of course.