20 August 2015

Let the House Blog Begin!

Hi everybody, welcome to my first blog post!

Houses are inherently personal to those that occupy them. The bay window with the perfect view... the height marks charting the progress of children's growth through the years... the backyard where those kids made their own memories. A home becomes all that and more-- "If These Walls Could Talk" indeed.

My name is Nick Brown. I'm a registered architect working in Philadelphia at a prominent architecture firm, and it was a recent happy hour event at work that got me truly thinking about sharing my house research with a wider audience. At these events, we all pin up, onto the wall, photos or sketches of recent work, in or out of the office, spanning both architecture-related and non-architecture.

The culmination of a few months of work, this is what I pinned up last Friday:

A quick summation of some of the research on my own house, a modest little 1920's bungalow in Montgomery County.  Over future posts, I'll start by delving further into detail on what I summarized for my coworkers, and will expand into greater detail on some of the specific research tasks and types of public records that may even help you get started on your own research. Over time, I'll share books I've read on the topic, visits to libraries, historical societies, or other repositories, and will attempt to discover and share more right along side the reader.

I'll close this post with an introduction to the main protagonist of this blog, at least for the time being-- my own home.

You'll get to know the history that I've unearthed, but as I mentioned, it's a quaint little 1-1/2 story bungalow built in the 1920s. My wife and I bought this as our first house last year, in 2014, for us and our two kids after (what seemed to us) an exhaustive search. The day before this house listing showed up, I had gone on my first interview for the job I now hold. Driving into the city for work at my existing job the following day, I was excited about the (somewhat unplanned) opportunity to take the next step with a great firm in my architecture career. More excited than I was for our house search, which had been going on 8-9 months and recently hit a low after having a verbal agreement on another house fall through.

My wife called me that morning during that drive-- she had found THE house. It was beautiful, it had everything we were hoping to find in our first house, and more. It was in our preferred location, and in our price range. It blew away any other house we had seen in this price range. After seeing it in person, our love was confirmed. With the fear of being outbid again, we said not with THIS house-- nothing would be left to chance. Submitting an above-asking-price offer, and including a genuine, heartfelt letter to the owners, we got the house.

Anyways, this little anecdote is just one small, and very recent slice of this home's 90+ year history.  It has been extremely fun for me to discover so far, and I hope you stick around and enjoy learning more.

Stay tuned!

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