I grew up in an old farmhouse (built in 1819) that had doors to access the second floor. What they did was keep the heat in the lower level of the house that was nice and warm.
I really miss the register in the floor of my old bedroom. You know the iron grates you could take out of the hole in the floor and look into the room below you. THe one where as a child, you were small enough to slip through the hole and fall into the room :)
Ours looked into the living room - perfect for Christmas morning!
(only a little sad when Grandpa and Dad put in a furnace and put the ductwork right in front of the floor register. But my room was VERY warm then!)
Attics and basements to store stuff "that we'll use later." The sense of space and grace in the house and the surrounding land.:)
I miss standing over the old floor furnace on a cold morning at my grandparents' lake house, the hot air filling my nightgown like a hot-air balloon! That and the wonderful kitchen, with the enamel cabinets and sink with the all-in-one porcelain drain board on the side....and the tall ceilings!
My maternal Gradparents lived in a old San Francisco Victorian that was built by my Great Grandfather in 1888. It had the most wonderful "quirks" -- but the one thing I miss the the door puller. There were 8 steps, leading from the street level to the front door landing, then an additional 20 steps up to the interior landing. You could answer the door from the interior landing by pulling back on this wall-mounted handle that would open and shut the door - a real convienance for my Grandmother after she got older and going up and down those steps became an issue.
The other thing I miss is the bell my Grandfather rigged in the attic. He fashioned it out of a bell on a spring that he hammered into one of the studs, attaching twine to the spring and used a wooden dowel for the handle. :eek: It dangled near the attic door, in a dark and spooky place without light. You just had to know where it was... It was a treat for one of us to use it to call him down for dinner, or to ask permission to go up to see him in his "work area" -- The attic was Grandpa's private domain and no one was allowed up there without his expressed permission - and that especially included Grandma!
My grandparents old farm house has a breezeway that you enter from the garage and leads into their master bedroom which is the only bedroom on the first floor. There are 3 bedrooms upstairs. I spent every summer on the farm growing up. Located in Illinois, the summers can be as hot as the winters are cold. The breezeway had an AC window unit and it was the only air conditioned room in the entire house. That rush of cold air on your face when you opened that door was HEAVEN ON EARTH. The only time I remember my grandmother ever getting mad at us was if someone left a door to the breezeway open. She would let us camp, campfires and all, in our wooded "fort" far from the house next to the pond. The only thing she worried about was if we had enough marsh mellows and koolaid for the excursion.We could have mud slinging fights while swimming in pond. In one of the 2 basements there was a ping pong table covered with unshelled pecans my grandfather grew. The ping pong paddle pecan wars could get really intense but she never intervened. We would saddle up Sonny, the very old very large and very very mean quarter horse. All she said was to be sure and not ride in my grandfathers massive garden. As if we really had any say in the direction or speed Sonny chose without notice. It's a miracle all my siblings and cousins emerged intact from those summers on the farm. Fear of falling into that deep dark well while pulling up the pail of ice cold water was about the only real threat of danger in our minds. It was "well" worth the risk though when the mercury rose to triple digits. We always knew we would survive mean horses, campfires, snake bites, driving the car down the lane, drowning, doing doughnuts in a muddy field on an old Ford tractor with 4 or more aboard. We were invincible........as long as none of us left a door to the BREEZEWAY OPEN!!!!!
I'd like to second several of the other items already posted. My own memory is not actually about the house itself. When I was very young, probably 2 or maybe 3 (I'm 50 now) My grandmother lived in Calumet Michigan. That's way up in the northern upper peninsula. At that time their street lights had not been automated and someone had to walk out to the road and manually throw the switch on the pole to turn on the street light every evening. And of course, it had to be turned off again in the morning. Whenever we were visiting My dad would walk me out there & lift me up and let me turn on the street light. I loved that!
My mother's parents farm house had a pass thru/storage area from the kitchen to the large wood shed for kitchen stove wood. This pass thru had (still does) 2 X 2 ft doors on both sides. Just kid size. Passing from the rough shed area to the finished kitchen area through these doors was like transversing universes for the 4 to 7 year old. Especially if you didn't get caught or knock a lot of wood out. I also miss sliding down the banister.
I miss the architechre (sp?) of older homes. The house I grew up in had lath & (textured) plaster walls with arched doorways, not this modern "Square cornered" doorways. This house also had built in dressers in the upstairs bedrooms and a big attic off the walk in closet at the end of the hall between the bedrooms. I miss that attic. It was fun climbing in there in the "spooky" darkness. The roof of the garage was nearly flat and low enough to safely jump off of. That and the apple and pear trees.
My grandpa grew up in a house with a decorative cast-iron vent hole in the dining room ceiling, to let heat into the second-floor bedroom, through the floor. I never realized what a weird thing that is, a hole in the floor! My brother has the house now, and is restoring it, so I can't say I miss it, exactly - but I do miss tossing things down that vent hole onto the unsuspecting adults! My brother once put his whole leg down it and scared the bejeebers out of our little cousin. That makes four generations playing with that thing (so far):p