9 Old-House Trends YOU Want to Bring Back

Readers’ choice! Once-popular house features TOH fans would like to see become mainstays again

large, wrap around porch on a beautiful victorian-style house under a blue sky

What YOU Miss

composite image of four old-house trends our this old house readers want to bring back

composite image of four old-house trends our this old house readers want to bring back
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Our editors aren’t the only ones who long for classic home design features of yesteryear. Over on our Facebook page, we recently asked for your input on which old-house trends you would like to bring back. It is clear that many of you are nostalgic not only for historical details but also the practical purposes they serve. Read on for the top nine This Old House fan favorites.

See which 16 old-house features the TOH staff picked as their favorites to bring back.
Walk-In Pantry

built-in pantry shelves in stained wood, with a door open to the rest of the house

built-in pantry shelves in stained wood, with a door open to the rest of the house
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PHOTO BY ALAN SHORTALL/CORNERHOUSE STOCK
“Pantries that are big enough to be functional, but do not look like it from the outside.” –Dan S., from Facebook

“My wife would love a traditional walk-in pantry to be a basic requirement for any new house that gets built.” –Pat R., from Facebook

Make your own pantry shelves more functional and attractive with 12 genius storage products we love.

Double Pocket Doors

exposed double pocket doors in a house that looks like it's being remodeled

exposed double pocket doors in a house that looks like it’s being remodeled
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PHOTO BY RYAN KURTZ
“Openings with double pocket doors between rooms instead of open floor plans. Modern homes have no way to block off noise or the mess of the family room from formal areas.” –Beth, from Facebook
Picket Fences

closeup of a picket fence with climbing, flowering plants growing on it

closeup of a picket fence with climbing, flowering plants growing on it
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PHOTO BY MARK WINWOOD/GETTY IMAGES
“I liked the episode of New Yankee Workshop when Norm showed us the different styles of picket fences. We have the flame-style picket around the backyard of our 21st-century-style house.” -Curt H., from Facebook

Add this popular yard enclosure with help from our step-by-step instructions on how to install a picket fence.

Wraparound Porches

large, wrap around porch on a beautiful victorian-style house under a blue sky

large, wrap around porch on a beautiful victorian-style house under a blue sky
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PHOTO BY DAVID PAPAZIAN/GETTY IMAGES
“Wraparound porches, so windows can remain open when it rains.” –Frank G., from Facebook

“Porches that can sit more than two people at a time.” –Charles L., from Facebook

Many of you also wanted porch swings on front porches. See our instructions on how to hang one.
Summer Kitchens

old-style kitchen stove set next to an open window with a breeze coming in, rustling the blue and white curtains on the window

old-style kitchen stove set next to an open window with a breeze coming in, rustling the blue and white curtains on the window
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PHOTO BY KEN GILLESPIE/DESIGN PICS/GETTY IMAGES
“A summer kitchen to me and other ‘old folks’ is an entire kitchen separated from the house by a breezeway, so the cooking heat stays out of the main house. It was particularly useful when only wood cookstoves were used (I’m not quite that old!) but when I cook in the summer, the AC runs a lot more.” –Carol M., from Facebook

Want to cook outside of your kitchen in warmer weather? Read our pro planning tips before you put in an outdoor kitchen.

Fold-Down Ironing Board

fold-down ironing board in use with a checkered shirt hanging off it and an iron standing up

fold-down ironing board in use with a checkered shirt hanging off it and an iron standing up
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PHOTO BY MARK LOHMAN
“I would love a fold-into-the-wall ironing board! Yes, I still iron, not a lot, but it’s a pain to drag out the board and set it up.” –Nancy B. from Facebook

Get the look by making a shutter-door ironing cabinet for your laundry room.
Rosebushes

green rose bushes with white flowers growing against the exterior wall of a brick house, with pink flowers in the foreground

green rose bushes with white flowers growing against the exterior wall of a brick house, with pink flowers in the foreground
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“True Story: As a gardener, I had an old lady tell me it was once prudent to plant rosebushes under first-floor windows. ‘Why is that…so indoors we can see the pretty roses and smell their lovely fragrance?’ I asked. She winked, ‘Well yes, that too…but the thorns also keep the burglars and perverts away!’ I’ll never forget that old-fashioned wisdom.” –Brett B., from Facebook

Beautify your curb appeal by planting blooming rosebushes with help from This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook and rosarian Felicity Keen.

Root Cellars

door to a root cellar set into the side of a low hill, built into a fieldstone wall

door to a root cellar set into the side of a low hill, built into a fieldstone wall
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PHOTO BY GEOSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
“I miss my grandma’s root cellar. Free refrigeration, storage for canned goods, and a great way to keep cool-weather veggies from clogging up your fridge.” –Rachel M., from Facebook

Want to store food in a cellar? Avoid water damage and other flooding problems by properly waterproofing your basement.
Built-Ins

book shelves filled with books and objects built into the wall of a white and red bedroom with a wood footboard visible in the foreground

book shelves filled with books and objects built into the wall of a white and red bedroom with a wood footboard visible in the foreground
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PHOTO BY TRIA GIOVAN
“Built-in features that were often common in older houses.” –Leslie M., from Facebook

“Built-in cupboards of all kinds and not just in the living room or dining room—all over the house. They save space and it is easier to clean around them.” –Susan D., from Facebook

Watch how to build a custom built-in using stock shelving with This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.

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