Which Vintage Home Feature Do People Love The Most? - House Digest Survey

Would you rather have a fresh new-build or a reliable older home? Scott Sidler, the founder of The Craftsman Blog, notes several key reasons why people are drawn to vintage and historic homes. Lower buying prices and higher return on investment are some of the non-aesthetic pulls, but more than anything, people can't get over the quality and craftsmanship that goes into older home designs. To put it simply: they just don't make homes like they used to. New-build homes may be nice and new, but you won't find old-growth support beams, immaculate hand-carved details, or real plaster walls in new homes these days.

From astounding curb appeal to rich local history, there's so much to love about older homes, but what is it about vintage designs that inspire people the most? House Digest conducted a survey to determine which vintage home features people adore, and 612 people were eager to give us their responses.

Bountiful praise for built-ins

Twenty-four percent of our survey respondents said built-in shelves and storage were their favorite vintage home features. Built-in bookshelves, drawers, colonnades, inglenooks, pantries, and closets are absolute treasures to have in a vintage home. One of the major reasons people love built-in units is because they're ingenious for saving space in historically small rooms. Instead of dealing with bulky, freestanding wardrobes, dressers, and shelving, vintage home builders took advantage of every nook and cranny within the walls.

Old House Online explains that built-ins first emerged as part of the Arts and Crafts movement of the mid-to-late 19th century. Built-in furniture units served several important purposes at the time; they were designed to simplify people's lives and create a cohesive look throughout the house. Most people in suburban homes were living without servants at this point in time, so built-ins enabled them to store more clothes, books, and hygienic items in their living quarters. Germ theory was also becoming more well-known, and built-ins were thought to help reduce the amount of dust, dirt, and microbes that would collect behind freestanding furniture.

Plenty of honorable mentions

With so many surprises around every corner, it can be hard to agree on which design feature of vintage homes is the best. In addition to built-in storage, House Digest's survey respondents happily chimed in on other vintage elements that they love. Crown molding was everyone's next favorite facet at 21.90%, closely followed by arched entryways at 20.92%. What about one of the most iconic vintage fixtures: the clawfoot tub? Clawfoot tubs raked in 88 votes for a total of 14.38%. Last but certainly not least, pocket doors and antique light fixtures earned 11.27% and 7.52%, respectively.

Owners and admirers of old houses know that the appeal of historic homes extends far beyond their interior designs. Cities like Buffalo, NY and St. Louis, Missouri, have some of the highest numbers of historic homes in the United States (via Chicago Tribune). When you purchase an older home, you gain more than just a beautiful place to live; you become a part of the house's story, intertwined with the city around it.