Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Greetings from the SOHO Founder

Although I have always lived in Somerville, it wasn't until my late 20s that I gained an appreciation for its old homes. I can't say what specifically influenced me, but like any passion, once it got under my skin there was no letting go. The concept for SOHO came about after I undertook "sensitive rehabilitation" to an 1850s farmhouse. I wanted to do what was right for the style of my home.

After a year of discussions with Eric Breitkreutz, former Executive Director of the Somerville Historic Commission, an informal meeting to float the concept was held in my dining room with other old-house enthusiasts. The idea stuck, and in April 2000, SOHO was born. The first SOHO meeting was held in June 2000 and to spread the word each person from the informal meeting invited three neighbors. Today we are a growing group of old-house enthusiasts, and we welcome you to our organization. If you have experience, won't you share it with us? If you are looking to learn, we are happy to share our knowledge.

Thanks for visiting the SOHO website. I hope you'll tell your neighbors and friends and join the growing ranks honoring the craftsmanship of our city of homes.
Tony Membrino

P.S. In the spirit of SOHO, I thought I would share with you the Top 10 things I learned from restoring my old house:

    Top 10 Things I Learned From Restoring My Old House:
  1. Don't be so quick to make changes or renovations (see article on hasty repairs)
  2. Don't start a project until you know what you want, fully understand your options, and can be flexible enough to deal with changes.
  3. Address the important things first (foundation, roofing, electrical and heating systems) even if they are not the most exciting
  4. Ask experts for opinions and hire a contractor you trust. Now you can talk to other SOHO members!
  5. Research, research, and research - but give yourself a deadline to move forward
  6. Be clear what you want your contractor/worker to do. Rely on their expertise for opinions but most of all to carry out your wishes and to be flexible to deal with issues as they arise
  7. Budget for maintenance and big projects (more on that later)
  8. Be sensitive to the architecture of the home while realizing this is a livable space
  9. Think twice before removing old materials and duplicate items if you must replace them
  10. Enjoy the journey, don't be afraid of sweat equity, and admire what you are doing

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