3 Things I’ve Learned Living in a 100+ Year Old Home

Jenna Kutcher 

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December 9, 2016


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It’s been a year since we moved into our 106 year old home on the river in Fort Atkinson! We left our new build and moved into our new adventure, a flipped craftsman on the Rock River in town. This move has changed so much for us: we are closer to friends, closer to town (we even have a grocery store) and the most I drive during the week is a whopping 2 miles each way to the gym.

For me, working from home, it’s been such a joy to live in a town where I can walk places, where there’s a famers market, yoga, a grocery store, a pub… you get the point, I’ve lived in a village for too long, it’s nice to live in a city (even if that city has only 12,000 occupants!) The house? Well, I finally have an office I actually work in, a yard that I love to gaze at, and water views that somehow calm my spirit every time I see the current moving past.

So what has this new/old home taught me? Well, a lot of things: 

1.) You can’t pay for character: I’ve always loved old things (Drew? Not so much.) There is something to me about the life lived before me, about the way things were experienced before my generation. The creeky wood floors, the built ins, the french doors… you can’t pay for that anymore, it doesn’t exist.) While some of the quirks I could live with out (like the original glass doorknobs that don’t want to work all the time) I love the charm and character of this home that’s been enjoyed for decades.

2.) The work is never done: coming from a newer build, we were so spoiled. We never did a single home project beyond some DIY landscaping and painting the bedrooms – seriously, we didn’t do a darn thing. This house is teaching us so much about fixing things, like renting sanders for our porch (that had about 10 layers of paint on it) or paint stripper to take off those layers! We might be a work in progress but each project we spend our time on makes this place feel more like home. We have a list of small and big projects we want to do – expensive? Sure, but it’s part of the process of making it ours!

3.) Neighbors make a difference: the ONLY reason we were sad to leave our old home was the neighbors we lived by. We had an amazing community of younger families that we dearly love and miss. When we moved here, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We are the young kids on the block (by a solid 20-30 years!) but we lucked out with incredible neighbors. They bring us cookies, fresh baked bread, take care of our landscaping when we are out of town, don’t complain about our barking dogs, and simply support us. I think they are so happy to see this home transform and come back to life after it sat empty for eight whole years. Neighbors make such a difference and we’ve hit the jackpot not just once but twice!

Owning an old home means quirks and work but to me, it’s worth every minute and penny. I feel more alive in this house, I have the community I longed for as a woman who works from home, and you just can’t beat the water views. The Kutcher Craftsman, yes, it’s our home and an adventure and one I am thankful to be on! Each room has a story, each floor shares more life, this house is our home and I’m embracing it quirks and broken door knobs and all.

Tell me about the place you call “home!” What has it taught you?



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  1. amanda peters says:

    When I first met my now husband, he had just purchased his first house – 30 minutes away from our “city” in a small Wisconsin town. I wanted Chicago – city life – and figured we would call it home for a little while, but would eventually move on. Almost 10 years later, I love our little town, I love our small house (for a family of 3 its all we need, we have a whole planet to travel and see) and while there are plenty of things I would like to remodel (thanks alot Chip and JoJo)… the plain truth is we are so happy and full of love, those four walls and roof are more than enough.

  2. Kristin says:

    I absolutely love old homes. My husband and I used to live in an 80 year old house and we loved it. I often have dreams of that house! I liked to think about who lived there back when it was built and how different of a time that was. I got curious and looked up the house on the 1940 census (I know, I’m weird, but these things interest me). Anyway, I found out the names and occupations of the people living there in 1940. How cool is that? Your house is adorable! You’ve done such a great job decorating!

  3. Liz says:

    Wow, this is the home I grew up in. Glad to see you are taking care of it. We loved it and the neighbors! Bill and Terry are like parents to me!

  4. Tracy says:

    What a great post! Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your home.

  5. Amy says:

    I have to ask! Where is your desk from?

  6. […] & Stitch Foto de The DIY Playbook Foto: Instagram @assimeugosto Arq. Mariana Lombardi Foto de Jenna Kutcher Foto: Pure Wow Foto: Architectual […]


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A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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