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What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Posted by zeebee (My Page) on
Mon, May 14, 07 at 15:04

I'm curious about the old house buyers on this forum - what was it about your particular house that made you say, "yes, this is the one"?

My husband and I fell in love with an old house this weekend that, on the surface, has a lot 'wrong' with it - it needs a complete cosmetic overhaul, all the major systems need to be replaced and there might even be a structural issue with one wall, hallelujah. BUT...that house speaks to my heart in a way no house has ever done. I love the old flocked wallpaper, the beams, the gracious proportions of the rooms, the salvageable kitchen cabs and bathroom fixtures. But beyond that stuff, it just feels like there are good ghosts in the place, you know?

What were your feelings when you first walked into your old house?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

1st let me say I didn't buy it, I inherited. My 1st time in, I could see how every room would look when cleaned out and redecorated. I could picture us living in it, hosting family dinners, having grandchildren spending time there (way in the future).
The home we're currently in: purchased in 1978 - built in 1898 was that way too. We were newlyweds. We walked in and fell in love. The 1st thing out of my mouth: "We're going to raise a family here." and we did.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Price - way cheaper than newer construction
Location - in the area I was looking
square footage - plenty of room for me(and wife if I ever find one)
property size - ~2 acres, almost all backyard
Low taxes - township is reasonable
150 years old - but very good shape


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

1. Location is great - 1/2 way between DH and my respective jobs. 2. Craftsman style bungalow with alot of original features still intact - built ins and stained glass windows in particular. 3. Unpainted wood work in living room, dining room and front entryway, particularly the unpainted paneled dining room with original built in. The dining room sold me on this house. 4. All original oak and maple flooring and it was in great shape. 5. We got a disaster of a 1980's kitchen that I knew we'd make into a room we would love - we did that in 2006 after living in our house nearly 1 yr. We still have some 1980's disasters to undo and that will come over time. We knew we got the bones of a great house.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

We visited our house out of curiosity; realtor said it was museum-like but out of our price range. We loved it, and STAYED AWAY in order not to buy it. But then two months later we went back and that was it. Its a 1731 dutch farmhouse whose previous owner was an elegant woodworker/restorer. Only drawback - one bathroom. Got to work on that once the loans have been reduced!


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I loved my little old house the moment I walked into it (in spite of the fact that it was filled with ornate Asian antiques, which did not complement the home at all!), but was compelled to make an offer when I went back the next morning and brought my family with me to see the house. While we were looking around outside, a car pulled up and a woman hopped out and began taking pictures of the house. My immediate thought was that she was interested in buying the house too ("oh no! A competitor!") -- but it turned out that she was an out-of-towner who had just stopped by on a whim, because she had been raised in the house in the 1940s and wanted to see the old place again! We spent a good deal of time just talking about her family who shared the home with her and her wonderful memories of having lived there for many years. I knew, without a doubt then, that this was a happy house, and I wanted it desperately for my very own.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I just found the house of my dreams last week. I have looked at so many -- some grander, some in far better shape, some lots less expensive. Almost all of them met most of my criteria, because they were lovely antebellum homes. I honestly didn't know exactly what I wanted -- only that I would recognize it when I saw it -- so I've looked at everything from cottages to mansions, in hopes of finding "the one".

The weird thing to me was that they all left me so cold. I mean, I admired the mansions and thought the cottages were adorable. But, basically, I remained oddly detached. This was strange since I'd always dreamed of an old house. And then, after a long day that involved looking at 6 or 7 houses, we arrived at the last one. Within 5 minutes, I was having an internal argument over whether the Christmas tree would look best in the drawing room or the entrance hall. That's when I knew I was lost.....

Who knows how or why it happens? Suddenly, you just walk into a room and know your grandmother's sideboard will fit perfectly. You start mentally 'measuring' spaces for your most treasured pieces. Once you visualize yourself actually living there, it's a very small step to writing a contract. :)


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I bought an old house for my first home as a single person. I wasn't looking for one, but it happened to be in my price range, so I went to look. It was a little 2/1 1929 red brick tudor bungalow complete with chimney caps. I walked in and saw the rough plaster walls and I was in love -- even with the shrine to Bear Bryant in the den. I was a sucker from then on for old houses. When DH and I married we got a larger 1926 home -- Storybook-meets-colonial. A VERY cute house, and stucco! I have always had a soft spot for Spanish Colonial revival. I'll go out of my way to drive through the posh neighborhood full of these gems -- but the're 600K minimum over there!

Then we had a financial setback and had to sell -- finding another '20s home in our price range that wasn't within spitting distance of a crack house or meth lab was a challenge. We must have looked at -- or just driven by -- dozens. We were actually on our way to look at a 1910 late Victorian-style home -- not at ALL my style, but cute and priced right. And it was in a town that wasn't high on our list. On the way there we saw a for sale sign in the yard of what is now our home. We made an appointment to see it that night.

It is awesome! Full brick (low maintenance) Spanish bungalow with its original concrete tile roof. 2,600 square feet on one floor (there's a basement, but I don't have to go down there if I don't want to). A sunken living room with 11' ceilings, four sets of french doors that open onto the terrace, original interior grilled windows between the DR and LR, original jade tile 6' wainscot in the bath -- had to have it!

So that's where we are now. Not the best neighborhood ever, but this house will suit us for years to come.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I've lived in two very old houses. My first house (also purchased in 1978 mrsd) was a San Francisco Victorian. In a city like San Francisco, there really isn't that much new single-family construction anyway. But, we also love the idea of living in an old home. We loved the neighborhood, the layout, the curb appeal, the San Francisco-ness, the solid construction. After that house, we moved to the suburbs, to a Craftsman-style home that was built about 1910. We are only the second owners. Again, the solid construction, classic layout, historical feel, Craftsman touches (even though we've painted the wainscotting and beams white and replaced the dining-room built-in: Don't shoot me! :), nice size rooms, neighborhood (walking distance to town), etc., all sold us, but mostly, again, we just loved the idea of owning a 100-year old house, and one that had only been lived in by one family previously (it had been built by the parents, and the daughter never married and lived here until she died at the age of 84).


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I think what caught my eye first was that the inside trim was all still original, and that there was a fireplace in the dining room. Also it sits on 2 acres, which also makes it the biggest lot in the neighborhood. It was pretty much just only updated if needed, but unfortunately with cheap materials. But she is still a great house. It was built in 1929 and bought in 1939 by the owner's parents as a wedding gift for her. It was right next door to the parents. She and different members of her family lived in it til 2004 when DH and I bought it.
Sheree


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I grew up in an old house. I knew the pitfalls and maintence issues. Five years ago, the city announced an expansion of the park behind our home. We knew it was time to move on. I got my wish list ready: New construction, one story, flat lot, newer neighborhood.

I think I looked in every single story on a flat lot in our town. None were right.

Oh, I knew that our house was there. I had seen it (and admired it) from a distance ever since I moved to town twenty years ago. I didn't want an old house, didn't want a two story, didn't want a big lot or a hill. Nope!

Finally, in desperation, my realtor bribed me to look at this house. We entered through the kitchen door and by time I hit the center hall, I even knew where I'd put the Christmas tree. I was home.

I still am, even though resurfacing the drive this week forces me to walk up that hill...it's okay!

Here is a link that might be useful: Our house on the hill.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

what a gorgeous house, I can just picture it done up for the holidays! I would post pics, but can't get in the house to take them - everything they ever owned is in there. I'm organizing a "GO" party right now: the village has a free trash pick-up day once a year, so I have 3 weeks to get everything in boxes marked "go"; the party will have friends and family carrying these boxes to the curb (all left open for the "dumpster divers") and then other boxes marked for salvation army pick-up, the dead fridge and unrepairable metal cabinets and bed frames to the junkyard. Sunday night filled 8 1' x 2' boxes with kitchen stuff. Monday night I filled 12 (yes 12) boxes (bus wheels were originally in them - that's BIG) just from the dining room and 1st floor bedroom. Still have formal living room, t.v. room, bathroom and 4 more bedrooms to go. Luckily, my son is a mechanic and gets 12 boxes a day from work (his garage does all the tire work for Orion Bus).


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I had a new one, we built one in 70s.Wasnt thrilled with plastic shutters ,no land.I always liked antiques.We also wanted land.My husband is a builder and he was talking to a real estate agent.He was telling him about this farm.We came to the house to see it and it had alot of things we liked .Its a precivil war era house and stone barn.We have a deed with a Col.George Himes grom battle of Gettysburg ,owned it in 1822.It has 40 acres some woods,mostly pastures.A large pond,stream running through property,Liked the house.We started restoring it .We hired a company that does just restorination.we worked 1 year,moved in,love it.......Wez now raiselonghorn cattle,horses,its all fenced in.I love it....We have done so much since.We brought in an old log cabin restored that,built a large barn.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I was looking for a 2 unit in a good part of town. I knew that this would mean I would be looking at mostly older and somewhat large town homes built near the turn of the centry that were later converted to apartments. I was planning to live in one and rent the other to lower my living costs. I looked at so many, some in great condition to some needing far to much work. For me the layout and floor plan was what I was looking for most and being single the smaller unit had to work for me. when I walked into the house I had now I just felt like the apartment was ment for me. I could see in my mind how I would fix it up and where my things would go. the Kitchen was big enough all I would need to add on the first floor was a dishwasher. I loved the house's wide and detailed moldings that were still in good shape. it needed some work but wasn't totally beat, mostly cosmetic and some updating so I wanted it nothing I saw for the next two days was as apealing to me. I made a full price offer at the end of the week conditional on the sale of my house which was accepted. the problem was the smaller unit was rented and the other which I didn't like as much was vacant and I couldn't get the tenant out before I had to move in. I moved in to the upper, larger one and am working to fix it upso that it looks good and is ready to rent for a good price to someone nice. in the mean time the tenant I inherted with the place has turned out to be a good one. he pays on time and keeps his place clean inside but is a bit lazy about outside things like putting his trash can out on collection day and bringing it back, but thats not so bad so I am going to keep him untill I am ready to move into his apartment and fix it up how I want it to be.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

We weren't even in the market to buy a house.

My DH (fiance' at the time) were out for a walk around the neighborhood six weeks before our wedding. As we were walking down the block north of our duplex, I noticed a "For Sale" sign stuck into a lawn. I looked up - and that was it!!! I still can't believe I had never even noticed the house before, having lived only one block away for over two years. And I still have no idea what it is I love so much about it but it's just perfect for us - even with all its imperfections...

We had our wedding reception in it the day after we signed the papers, and here we plan to stay.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Beloved Work-in-Progress


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

In my price range I had to choose the lesser of evils... could've never had the ideal perfect house in perfect neighborhood. So I took the one next to the train tracks & a lot of what they call "deferred maintenance" (what a crock that term is, it sounds so passive and innocuous when in reality its a slumlord who is making an active concious CHOICE to neglect the house and pocket the profits.)

Although it had been altered a lot it wasn't quite as bad as some of the others Id seen that had been hopelessly remuddled beyond recognition without anything original or beautiful left in it. This one still had original trim, windows, and plaster and a clawfoot. Also the type of house was one I always had liked, a simple 1906 foursquare w/ cement block exterior that gave it a vaguely prairie-craftsman castlelike appearance.

Only recently it hit me how similar it is.. in some ways... to the old family homestead (built 1912 by my grandfather) which I used to go to during summers as a kid. It was and still is a very solid midwestern prairie type house... which, like my current house, has the slanty ceilings upstairs, big front porch spanning the front... and get this, the trim is IDENTICAL (except mine is fir and my relatives' is oak). In decorating too I've had the thought that I'm recreating my grandmothers farm house.

Also I have this photo which I took in England a couple of decades ago of my "dream house" - made of stone, small 1 and 1/2 story farm cottage next to the OCEAN. My current house sort of resembles it with its cement block exterior (decorative block made to look like stone).

Those subconcious or semi-subconcious feelings & connections are powerful...


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

That's an easy question. For me it was the big mahogany staircase that goes right up the center of the house. The house is a rather simple farmhouse so the staircase really stands out. It did have some other nice features like the over 9' ceilings and opened up double parlor/living room, but the staircase won me over.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

It was the built in breakfront in the dining room, floor to ceiling, fir, stained glass doors, just gorgeous. I turned to DH and said "This is the house I want!" and he tried to shush me since the owner's agent was standing right there. That was 19 years ago. We're just finishing the 3rd and final stage of the restoration and the house will be the way we want it. (It's a 1910 Craftsman.)


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

It certainly wasn't the shared driveway and the houseful of college students next door. Nor was it the 10 years of "deferred maintenance" as Kashka put it so well, but those are the things that put the house in my price range. The bay windows, the wood floors, the moldings, and most of all the open staircase are what got me. I knew I'd regret it if I walked away. We're moving in a week from today.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

My husband and I were moving from my little post-war cape that I'd bought 15 years earlier, when my first marriage broke up. I loved that little house, but my youngest was graduating from high school so I didn't have to worry about school district anymore, and my husband wanted us to have our house. He'd always felt that he was living in my house.

So, we looked all over. New construction, old houses, city, suburbs. But when I saw the open house notice for this house in a wonderful neighborhood in the city, I said "We have to see this house!" We loved it right away. Big rooms, big windows, lots of light, immense charm, leaded glass, oak floors, pocket doors, hex tile... It was more than we'd expected to spend, but we wouldn't live anywhere else.

Here is a link that might be useful: More pictures than you ever wanted to see.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Initially I HATED our house. Wouldn't even get out of the car to look inside. Months later we were witnesses at a wedding in what is now our living room and I kept elbowing my wife during the ceremony and telling her we (I) should have went in. It came up for sale again in a few months and we bought it. The woodwork was all original and the house had "bones" to work with even if they were old and broken. That was 16 years ago and renovations were almost complete when it burned almost to the ground last month. We're sick and heartbroken over it but it's going back up and we've managed to salvage a lot of the wood work that we fell in love with so it'll all be redone a second time.
It willl probably take awhile to get used to "new" but It's still home to us and our now adult daughter who plans to inherit it when we die. (not "rushing" us ofcourse) :)


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Easy question - huge windows on every exterior wall in all room, including the bathroom. Seems to me newer houses (standard ones at affordable prices) have tiny windows. I cannot stand being in dark rooms. Every morning I open all blinds and curtains so the sunlight will beam into rooms. Also the small size made it easy for me to keep it clean and limit buying things when I don't need them.

example of the windows:


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I walked in and it felt right. The price was right, the atmosphere was right... it was just THE house. I bought it off an open house (they say those don't work, but...I cold called a realtor I had met at a different open house to make the offer.) This was my first house, and I actually think I will just continue to make it the right house for me with remodels and additions. The neighborhood is close in and keeps improving, and many people on the block are adding on and improving... the house is already worth more than double what I paid 8 yrs ago... and there are way better ones one the block.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Aside from the piles of garbage in the basement that we had to haul out into a semi-truck, the garage that was falling apart, the outdated kitchen with tile linoleum on the kitchen walls, the two-prong outlets in the entire house, the unkempt yard (and that's putting it kindly), the roof caving in, the carpenter ants in the old cedar shake roof...and much, much more....we fell in love with what the house DOES have to offer...spanish plaster, original china cabinets, leaded glass, hardwood floors (after pulling out the dog-peed carpeting throughout), and original tile in the bathrooms....after much TLC, new landscaping, roof, custom kitchen, and three years later, it's slowly becoming our own. A lot of hard work and dedication, but needless to say, our neighbors love us! :)


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

LOVE reading these replies! Since I started this thread, the original house I fell in love has fallen off the radar, due to bigger-than-we-thought structural problems and intransigent sellers.

Now I have a new love and we're about to sign the contract. So, to update What It Is About MY Old House That Made Me Buy: the restored woodwork and moldings, though the clincher is the unfitted kitchen anchored by a 1922 Magic Chef range.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

The beams in the living room. From Dining Room


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Seduced by art glass windows. Now they rule the roost - anything we want to bring into the home - rugs, kitchen materials, and especially light fixtures - Will it go with the art glass? But we love them just the same. The way the morning light casts bright red lines on the staircase and the evening light glows in the dining room - pretty amazing. Some of the windows had been plastered over on the inside, but were still there. And then we just loved the feel of the space.

Jakebedy, glad to read that your financial set-back move turned up a house you love. We may end up having such a move in our future and I am trying to love this house while we are here, but know that there is another one out there if need be.

Sunrochy - I am with you on the windows - the ones that are not art glass here are big.

jcin - Our dining room built-in had been removed, but we are having it re-built. This was a 100 year old development and we got pictures of the built-in in the house across the street. There are a few floorplans of houses in the mix and they all have stylistic variations on the outside so it does not look like the cookie-cutter developments that dot our highways now.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

The PRICE. Got a piece of New York City at an auction for "next to nothing"...wife finally admits that it was one of my best decisions.

Nice to have some things affirmed on occasion.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I have never been able to verbalize what it is that drew me to this house, but a friend hit the nail right on the head when she said "it has good energy".

We looked for a year for the right house in the right neighborhood in good condition, and it just didn't exist. So we chose to tackle this one, which was in horrid condition, because it had the right layout and location, which are the only 2 things we couldn't fix. It is excrutiatingly painful and expensive to bring it back to life, but if I close my eyes and imagine it completely restored, it's definitely THE ONE.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I didn't buy mine, I married it!!! DH lived there for years before I let him find me :^)


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Price per sq foot was in the $36 range- a huge value. The rooms were a good size, 4 of them are 14x18. 10' ceilings on the first floor. Spacious upper stair hall (attic stairs are not over the main stair, so it's open). Woodwork painted, but intact and sort of nice. Doors stain/varnish. 2 full baths, one up one down. Decent town lot yard. Off street parking. Walk-up attic, walk-out basement under all. Move-in condition (not disgusting, anyways).
It was the best old house on the market for the $$ in the area.
Casey


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

This view--------->>>>>>>

a vista view........NJ


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I'm an architect and was living in a generic '60's tract house. The longer we stayed there, the more inappropriate it seemed. When a turn of the other century American 4-square became available for a bargain in '88 we jumped at the chance to own it and a yard full of old oak trees. We love it. I love telling the vinyl siding people to "get lost", our siding is 100+ yrs, why trade it for something with a 25 yr "guarantee"?


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Our house has 11 stained glass and leaded glass windows & doors, original hardware & spandrel's but the thing that made us fall in love was the sound of stairs that creaked when you stepped on certain areas.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

It was going to be our very first house! We fell in love with the Craftsman style with original everything--windows, oak floors and woodwork, built-ins, stain glass window, hardware, etc. Whoever remodeled the kitchen and bathroom (the house has had at least 9 previous owners in the last 10 years, according to our neighbor!), did a great job--nothing too modern or over the top, but fits stylistically very well with the rest of the house. The cute back yard and great deck, the close-knit neighborhood and one of the top school systems in Ohio--for those future kids! ;) I'm having a great time repainting and decorating (I've been working on it for 2 years now)!


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Part of the reason that we bought was that we grew weary of looking, and had just submitted an offer on a Queen Anne Vistorian house and discovered upon inspection that it had too much termite damage.

So as we were feeling particularly sad about the other house along came this quaint little 1921 bungalow that needed a lot of cosmetic work but was structurally sound. It had windows everywhere, a very open floor plan and I could look past all of the ugly carpet and wallpaper and see that it had potential.

We removed heavy curtains, stained and threadbare carpet, 5 rooms of wallpaper, aluminum awnings, cut down giant shrubs, stripped paint off of the the word work, stripped the exterior paint and repainted and today we have a sweet little house that fits us just right.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Reasons? Only one for my DH--it was Grandpa's house and his whole family grew up there--he was glad to buy it back.

Me? 3100sf Victorian farmhouse a few miles from Albany, NY, 6 bedrooms, 2 baths, southern yellow heartpine floors throughout, circa 1880's, big front porch, floor-to-ceiling built-ins in dining room, an actual "nursery" off the master bedroom (we'll have three kids under 5 as of January!)...and close enough to my parents (80 minutes away--his parents are next door!).

Best part was the price--125.5K for that and about 1.5 acres.

BUT...lots of cosmetic work, wallpaper removel, kitchen and bath remodels, new boiler, etc. All the joys of old house ownership!!

--Sarah


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

The realtor called it "quaint" on one acre of mostly yard, house is in a corner 10' off the road (35' if you count the angle, but 10' above the road).

I'd lived in 'old' structures (1920's apartment complex, 1908 Dutch colonial, and granddad had a pre-revolution farm in the country - great place to get lost in the woods).

It needed work (couldn't quite call it a handyman's special;hence quaint). But DW liked it, I liked it, we bought it and fixed what we had to, did what we could, and payed for what we to contract out. The house pre-dates the revolution.

It's Home!


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

We're closing in a few weeks, so it isn't 100% ours yet, but we pretty much knew as soon as we stepped onto the porch. It was just a feeling of "rightness"; even though the house isn't that much to look at right yet, being wrapped in vinyl and denuded of details, I could see through/past it and know what had once been and could be again. It had the "psychic residue" of people being born and dying and laughing and crying and just plain living their daily lives in that house for decades. I've spent the last 3 1/2 years living in an utterly soulless 14-year-old tract house (and 2 years before that renting an equally soulless Subdivision Special), and have been waiting for that feeling to come along. We too are moving due to a financial setback (so tell me why I agreed to the possibility of carrying two mortgages? *eyeroll* LOL) and were getting frustrated with the dreck that was available in our pathetic price range, although we had actually blown off this house for weeks and weeks because the other end of the street is in a kind of crappy neighborhood. I'm not entirely sure how it is we ended up going down there anyway to discover that "our" end of the street and the adjacent street (it's a corner lot) are actually pretty decent - if the modest houses are in need of updating/restoration and the yards are small, they are at least clean and mowed - and come across the house we're buying. We prowled around the yard, peered inside, interrogated the neighbors, and called our agent to tell her we needed to get inside ASAP.

DH was a lost cause as soon as he saw the newly-refinished wide heart-pine floors. The front room with the bay window and high ceilings (OK, 9' isn't that high, but it is for me, especially after 3.5 years with 7.5' ones!) did it for me. I too thought of what the house would look like at Winter Solstice-time, frosted with snow and the lights of a Yule tree shining through lace curtains in the bay window. The new wiring, plumbing, and heating, and the "grandfather trees" behind the house, pretty much finished us both off. Although it's almost 25% smaller square-footage-wise than our current house, it feels downright huge because of the big windows, generously-sized rooms and high ceilings. We were giving each other Meaningful Looks even before we got upstairs, and were writing an offer an hour later. Our agent still hasn't entirely forgiven us ;-) for not letting her try to beat the seller down any more on price, but the poor bugger is taking a bath on the place (attempted to rehab as an investment but the market went into the toilet at just the wrong time) and we think it's just good karma on our parts to give him a fair price instead of bending him over the table.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

The price was right (~$38./sq ft), and it had a lot of house and outbuilding space, including a large workshop, a small, stone stable-type structure, a stone 2-car garage, LR fireplace with built-in Arts & Crafts bookcase (glass doors on either side and 12-paned windows above), cedar flooring in DR and LR, oak elsewhere, 2 and 1/2 baths, china cabinet with hand carving, a kitchen with almost an entire wall of casement windows and a pantry, a second bedroom with its own fireplace, and 11' ceilings in the original rooms.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Man, I cannot imagine getting such a wonderful house in the $30s per square foot! Unbelievable! Where do you guys live, out in the middle of nowhere? New England house prices are crazy (although I know not as crazy as southern CA and the NYC area). We are paying $130 and everyone says we are getting a deal on a stripped-and-remuddled house in a not-very-desirable town in SE NH; we are selling at around ~$150/sf and are offering a very good bargain because it's a 4/2.5 in a yuppified historic town 15 minutes from the beach with an excellent school system.

I'm terribly envious of the Craftsmans, though - we looked at the only two that were in our budget and both were awful. Major structural work first, then replacement of wiring, plumbing, heating systems and THEN total interior restoration from scratch, easily $100k in work. I went to an open house at an Arts & Crafts house that had all its "pretties" - it was 50% over our budget and I only went out of sheer masochism. ;-)


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Well, I suppose to a lot of people we *do* live in the middle of nowhere: New Mexico. When we were house hunting (2004), housing prices here were at their best. Prices are rising a little now, but there are still LOTS of good bargains here, and LOTS of bungalows and even old NM adobes which are really unique!!!! There are a number of factors that serve to constrain the market here. Limited job opportunities (but that's getting a bit better ever so gradually), and limited water resources keep growth and all else that derives from that in check. This house was on the market, we were told, for about 4 years. It was relatively unmuddled overall, or at least the addition was put on at a time (1930-ish) when quality construction was still the norm. There was one issue that made this otherwise fantastic property a white elephant: the previous owner had roofed over all the outbuildings in back into one large catacomb, and it took my husband and I many months to dismantle all the extraneous sheds, connecting structures and whatnot. The yard is now opened up to the sky again, and while it's not big, there is a nice atrium area and a nice garden area that we have landscaped. I'll post a picture or two later today to illustrate.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

johnmari, I don't know if this picture will take as I have never posted pics here before and it doesn't show on the preview, but I'll try. We had only 4 feet of backyard space next to the house when we moved in due to the cave of connected outbuildings, and this is what we've opened up so far.
[img]http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w209/KSR_photos/Exterior Back/Augustbackyard7.jpg[/img]


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Use the other img code, the one that starts "img src" instead. This site uses HTML.

You have a cool courtyard setup back there now. I took the liberty of poking a bit further through your albums and while I was a bit taken aback at pink stucco (not my first thought when I hear "Craftsman" ;-)) it's a cute little house that I think you will be able to keep plenty busy with! Is that a Caroma toilet you put in the half bath? I am downright green with jealousy over your fireplace tiles.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I was pretty sure this was IT when we drove up in the middle of the day and the current owner, who had run to town, had left his front door wide open, safe in the knowledge that no one would bother anything. (it's a small farm on a very, very quiet country road)

Still, we'd rejected otherwise perfectly wonderful houses for being too close to those gawd awful blinking cell phone towers so bright you could read a newspaper in the yard, and I didn't want to have to see any vile orange glow from someone else's yard lights across the horizion in every direction. So just to be sure, that night we drove all the way back down to check out the place after dark. And we saw stars. Millions and millions of stars in a velvety blue-black sky. Perfect.

We closed 30 days later on the afternoon of New Year's Eve, and our realtor had given us a big washtub of goodies; non alcoholic champagne, fancy glasses, noisemakers, party hats, candles, chips, dip, candy, and sparklers. We loaded up the girls and one of their friends, a few groceries for breakfast, three mattresses, bedding, and the dogs, and rang in the New Year in our new (old) home. It took us another 21 days to get all of our stuff moved, but we never spent another night at the other house.

You know how it is, there's no place like home.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

johnmari--Thanks! Rereading my other post, I saw that it reads as if the entire house itself is Arts & Crafts, and I wanted to clarify. It's an early 1890's vernacular Victorian that was a little bit later 'updated' with the A & C fireplace/bookcase/window elements, making it essentially transitional. There is even a bit of art deco with the 1930's addition to the house. At any rate, most of the original trim/hardware is not so much A & C as it is Victorian. We thus had a choice of emphasizing one or the other, and we both like A & C better than Victorian, so that's the way we're leaning in color choices, etc. The toilet is an inexpensive one we found at the local hardware store, not Caroma.
The exterior was originally clapboard, and then stuccoed probably some time before 1930. We don't mind it that way for now. The paint color is terra cotta, similar to common clay flower pots, but maybe it reads as pink on your computer. We're buying a longer extension ladder very soon, as we can't finish painting until we do and the one we have is too short.
Right now, however, we're in the middle of the biggest mess we've ever dealt with, ever, ever ever! We've been doing a lot to try to make the attic suitable for storage and there's 100+ years of soot/dirt/debris up there to be removed! I'll be SO glad when this attic and ceiling thing is over.
You've got a nice, clean place to work with, very homey and warm even in it's current state, and it's good to have the floors all pretty and done *before* you move in. You got lucky on that, and it's a very sweet home. Have fun!


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

So many things:

-A location on the edge of a hill with 1.8 acres- feels like solitude even though it's in the middle of town with a busy road just below us
-Two owners in the past 90 years; other than some hideous wallpaper/panelling and carpet from the 1960s, very little to un-remuddle.
-Big two-drainboard porcelain sink
-playroom porch just off the dining room for kids' toys
-deep front porch w/ swing and room for a dining table w/ chairs
-9-over-1 windows throughout with wavy glass everywhere-- just gorgeous
-9' ceilings
-double-hung windows with the upper sashes fully functional
-the original owners were gardeners, and there are daffodils and hyacinths and lilacs and etc that I believe were planted by them still flourishing on the property
-room in the kitchen for the 36" wide 1950s Chambers stove that I WILL someday install there.

-and believe it or not, I like that every room in the place-- and the exterior-- needs to be painted. Gives me a chance to do things my way!

Here is a link that might be useful: our house


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Wow, where do I start? Heart pine floors, lots of big (original) windows, plaster walls, Art Deco hardware, SOLID, SOLID construction (2x6). Also, the house was generally intact - had all original windows, doors, footprint, even the original venetian blinds! Our lot is very small, but the neighborhood was a big drawing factor too (brick streets, 50' from bayou...)


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I drove past it for years. Back and forth to work - extra when a kid got sick at school or my adopted donkies broke fence and ended up blocking the small Hwy, over a mile from where the first house I owned and lived. That was the 'Goat Lady's House - a story for another time - but it had radiator hoses instead of plumbing and that was the least of the problems.

This house, though not pretencious, was huge. Middle class, for sure. Maybe even a bit better. Red in color, it sat down off the road. I could tell it had a great view though it sat at a place where one had to pay close attention to the narrow road. Though I always snuck a quick look, I never even hoped it could be mine.

Years and a forest fire later (that demolished the Goat Lady's House) we started a business in the laundry room of another old house. The business was outgrowing the space. The first day we realized that, I looked in the paper. There was an open house... "I know that house". It was way too much money.

We took a tour and it was everything I thought it would be. We offered what we could afford (way under asking price). The owners didn't respond. Later the realtor told us the house had sold at full asking price. Well, we didn't have any money other than the equity in our humble home and it wasn't even up for sale. We began looking at other options...

Nothing fit our needs like the red house. Full basement with outside entrance for employees. Right off a main road with no neighbors to complain about daily UPS deliveries, etc.

Well, three weeks later, we got a call -That full price offer fell through. Hubby thought the place was too much work. (It is.) We got it. $65,000. less than asking price. We've been working on it ever since. We've raised our kids here and plan to be here until someone decides that we're not competent enough to live here anymore. Our kid's have been raised and married here. We have a graveyard for our beloved animals here. We're staying.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

First, it was in the community I knew I wanted to live in - a rather funky tiny city with a high concentration of artists and musicians and lots of older single people (that is, older than 35).

Why this house? I don't know. I was attracted to it from the first time I saw the pictures on the web. I looked at other cozier houses with more style elements. The inside of this one, though, was the perfect entertaining house I had never had. It was started in 1938, around the time the city was developed, and it had no architectural features that make it look like a cottage or a bungalow or cabin or craftsman. It's a good size of me - under 2000 sf, and the front yard was just lawn, which meant I could build my own garden from scratch.

I love living in this house, and people love to come and spend time in it with me. Maybe the attraction was that it was a fairly blank canvas that I could see how to personalize.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Location...home. upstate NY
2 acre city lot with a pond and a stream
Mature oaks tearing up the sidewalk
Brown clap board snd cream trim
huge "L" shaped porch
stain glass and lead glass windows
2 staircases
foyer staircase shaped like a "Y"
rounded walls
12 ft ceilings
stone wall around the property
and the list goes on....


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

We had been looking for a Victorian, drove way beyond the area we had been thinking of as "close enough" to look at a Victorian just for fun and happened to drive by a colonial/georgian open house in the same neighborhood. Of course, we had to look. I swear we were bewitched. This house has a lot of cool, quirky features, but it also just felt like home. After the second visit we didn't care about finding a Victorian any longer. Recently we debated about moving to a house with space that better suits our family, but we couldn't do it. We're adding on instead.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I grew up four blocks from the house I live in now. I always remember riding my bike past this little house when I was a child (1960's), starring at it. It was in the woods, 2 blocks from the water, overgrown, run down and always empty.
It is literally a treehouse. On piers (that you can walk underneath), in a heavily wooded area. There are 26 steps to my front door from the street. It was built in 1940.
In 1980 I was looking for a place to live and could not get this little house out of my mind. Since the house was still empty I went to the town and got the lot and block number, found the owners. They held a mortgage for me for $15,000
for 15 years.
The first time I looked inside the house it had no walls, no plumbing and no electrical and the cast iron sink was on the floor. But every window in the house was what I call shutter windows. I walked over to one of the windows and opened the shutter in,looking out into the woods. I turned to my "EX" husband and said I will buy it! He thought I was nuts and said so..lol
27 years later the "EX" does not live here but I still do and will forever.
This house talked to me from the first day I saw it in 1966.
And I truly believe that you will know when a house was meant for you. It talks to you right to your heart!!

Hope all goes well with your new house!

dawn


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

My husband and I had been priced out of the city we grew up in - which was heartbreaking in and of itself, as we both wanted to live here badly. We bought a "starter home" about 25 minutes away and saved up for a year. Just as the market started coming down last year, I got a call from Nana, my Dad's mom. The church she belongs to was selling their parsonage - a 1910, 3300 sq. ft. Victorian that I assumed was WAY out of our league. As it turned out, the house needed major cosmetic work (luckily roof, windows and siding had been done). From the first time we entered the house, we loved it. Behind the dirt, underneath the linoleum tile, was a grand old house waiting for some help. I will literally never forget how I felt the first time I stood in our foyer. It brought tears to my eyes. I now own the home that my Nana celebrated her bridal shower in in 1957. I hope to be in this house forever.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Hm, we are thinking about purchasing a home that is MUCH older than many of the houses listed here. (See link-circa 1698) We have lived in new construction in Virginia Beach, VA (will never do that again) and a 1820's colonial in central NY. We are now in the ridiculous Boston housing market and there is so much history here we are ga-ga! We are just smitten by this saltbox. It had a total overhaul in the early 1990's which removed all of the recent updates and restored it to it's original bones as much as possible. Can anyone let me know what it is like living in a home this old?!

Here is a link that might be useful: Antique Saltbox in Massachusetts


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

$399,900 in North Andover AND on 1.41 acres?!?! I would RUN to my realtors office. Literally. I am in Boston, too and in my above post, the "20 minutes away" was North Andover. We loved it - so quaint and safe. They also have an excellent school system. If we hadn't wanted to get back to our hometown so badly, I think we would have become permanent residents.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Size. We have 8 kids, six still at home, and 2 grandkids. This was 4300 sq ft...It had 2 1/4 acres with it so I could have my little bitty farm, and price...it had been abandoned and was a mess. We still have alot to do!


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Hi
My total ignorance of what an old home really is,a romantic feel ,the turret,the stain glass windows the 12 feet ceilings.
Now I know what all means,big proyect,big expenses,a never ending job.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Funny you should mention the "good ghost" theory. That is probably the biggest factor in purchasing our old home 17 years ago. It was built in 1871 by a Civil War general. From the time we passed through the double doors into the 12X40 foyer, with its 13' ceilings. converted gas light chandiliers and ragged wool carpet with pink and mauve flowers, we were "hooked". The house had a "GOOD" feeling. It was in quite disrepair, but we had no choice in the decision to purchase it. It was ours. We are only the third family in 137 yr to own the home and feel that we are part of the General's family. Our friends love to come over and "visit" him.

Just be prepared for all of the "Surprises" in renovating an old home. It is not like renovating a newer one. We are redoing the kitchen in this house and NOTHING is easy, however, we have uncovered some wonderful wood features, covered up by old wallboard and sheetrock.

Anyway, I could go on for hours about my home. I love it and if you have the same "feeling" you will love yours.
CC


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

It was cheap and I loved the land and oaks.

Michelle


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

..here is a house built in the 1600's and lovingly restored to where is was back when..the house has been decorated for the sale as it was back in that era.. it's truly something! take a peek and enjoy..just beautiful! Ree

Here is a link that might be useful: restored 1600's house


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

My husband, God bless him. I told him not to buy it, but he wouldn't listen. So I put him on the 2 year plan. One year to make repairs/renovations and one year to sell. Don't get me wrong, I really like old houses. I just don't like overpriced houses with no land. Worse, this house had land but its either planted with apple orchards or in a conservation contract which means we can do nothing with it but pay taxes on it. Very expensive in NY. No farming, no animals on it. We can lease it to hunters seasonally but I am very ambivalent about that. Every three years we are required to submit to a USDA inspection to verify that the contract is being honored. Plus the PO was a flake so the house has some issues...but no good stories or ghosts. It definitely has history. Everyone, it seems, knows who we are because we are the ones who moved from out West and bought the Fitch house. They all nod knowingly to themselves and with coaxing, tell a little story about the PO. They even drive by to see what we are doing with the place. Hilarious little town.
The 'good' news is after I sell my horses to pay for repairs, I guess I won't need so much land at the next house.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

hazmom,
That is a great price and with all that land. I agree, do what you have to do to get it. We live in an 1811 house in Lexington. How tall is your husband and if you have one, teenage son? Tall people are not comfortable with old, low ceilings. Does it have enough light for you? It sure looks in fine shape. If you buy it, join us on the New England Garden Web Forum, and come to our plant swaps.

Welcome!!!!


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I havn't figured out what yet made me crazy enough to buy our home.

It was built in 1905 (or somewhere around there).

We have a myrad of electical wiring, K&T, K&T spliced with modern romex, NM ungrounded, NM Romex grounded, old original K&T going through the wood planks... and I said "no problem" when we thought we could rewire this place easily.. HA!

We have termites from hell, although we were treated initially during purchase. I know they don't immediately go away, but they're here with a vengance this year. Going to cost us easily 2,000 more to start another treatment and possibly more if the foundation has to be drilled.

New boiler system to replace teh 60 year old boiler. Bought a 80% efficient that killed us this winter. I could only imagine how much it would have cost us if we didn't replace it.

House is 3000 SQ ft roughly. It was added on in 3 parts from what I can tell. It doesn't have a name, it's not a craftsman or a american 4-square. I think that's one of the things that attracted me. 2 stairwells in the center that lead up to each other. not a lot of original anything in the house unless you count the one original electrical K&T 2 button switch that was painted over, the rats nests of K&T, the original windows (including the ones that were insulated and drywalled over!)

I just opened a wall in our basement because of the termites, and found the original plaster walls of the first part of the house - and guess what.. a window.... LOL

I think overall, the price was right - 80K for a 3000 SQ foot house. The taxes total 900 a year right ouside a county that charges 2000-3000 a year on average.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Although our house will end up costing several times what we paid for it when we're through restoring and renovating, it is a dream come true. I always wanted an historical home but never thought I would own one. The house is in my hometown, and it is a beautiful, fantastic old house. PO was a DIY fool and did a fair amount of damage to the house. We are undoing what he did. Probably won't be able to afford to undo what he did to the outside: replaced the original tile roof with metal, covered the house in aluminum siding, and replaced the 1889 windows with putrid vinyl windows. The house would probably have been eligible for National Register status without the "improvements" of siding and elcheapo windows---according to the SC Dept. of Archives and History.

There's a good chance we'll have to replace the cruddy windows one day and probably do something with the siding---just to protect the house---but that is in the future. For now, replacing the porch floor, having new stucco applied to the brick columns, and restoring the interior are the priorities.

We have already had the house completely rewired. All new ductwork has been added along with two HVAC systems (one for upstairs and one for downstairs). New plumbing is in the works. It will take years to get all the floors refinished (most were painted and some had carpet over that), but the ones we have had refinished are just absolutely gorgeous. We are repairing as much plaster as possible. So far, I've had only one plaster wall knocked out and replaced with sheetrock. Hopefully, that will be the only one that is too far gone to repair. Most of the woodwork is intact. I'm about to have a few pieces copied. My grandmother is 96, and we're having her bedroom and bath finished now. About 2/3 of the upstairs is on the verge of being finished.

It's expensive. We're selling some property to get the funds to do a lot of the work, but living there is just living in history. We believe that we have saved the house for many more years. The house seems like a living entity. It's a beautiful neo-classical Victorian with four huge columns on the front, a wraparound porch, a gorgeous front staircase, a back staircase, six fireplaces, original parlor light (gas/electric design), and original front door with leaded glass sidelights. Even though I'm pouring my time and money into the house, it is all worth it to me. I just hope I can get everything done that the house needs.

Please, please, research before you destroy great things about your old house. And if you know how---really know how---to DIY, that's great. But don't ruin the house like the PO tried to do to our house. Of course, he thinks we're "messing up" all the great things he did---like adding trailer wallboard over the plaster and ripping out claw foot tubs to add fiberglas. I'm going to stop now; I'm returning to a place I don't want to revisit! On with the restoration!


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

I liked the high ceilings, high baseboards, the shelves in the kitchen, the big porch, the large, numerous windows and the floor plan.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Well... We bought our house "sight-unseen" via the internet!! Basically, we moved from Ohio (USA) to Saskatchewan (Canada) to live in this 100 year old old house that we had never really seen!!! I know - we are "nuts"! We had only seen photos of the house, but we knew it was a diamond in the rough (VERY rough!). The house just spoke to us!! The place needed (and still needs) a lot of work.... we have removed about 60,000 pounds of bricks from the house and retrofitted with styrofoam insulation and siding. We had to do this because the foundation was collapsing from the weight of the bricks!! LOVELY!! Now that we have tackled that... it is time to redo the crib walls that are supporting the stacked stone foundation. We just finished up restoring all of the old wooden windows and wooden storm windows, too! There is still so much to do, but the fun part is that the house still has all of its original wood trims and fixtures, etc. There is a CRAZY split staircase, too! You walk up the flight of stairs, come to a little landing and then have to choose which way to go from there (left or right). There are rooms on both sides of the place! I have never seen anything like it in my life. I have to walk down the stairs, across the landing and up the stairs again to use the toilet during the night! How fun is that??? Really fun.... actually! I am posting a link to my website!! There are lots of interesting photos of some of the renovations and there is also a section with photos of the inside of the house!! Enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Whipstitches.com


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

My kids are grown but still in the house, so to speak. They come, they go. One wanted to save for a condo (what timing!). So we needed a "flexible space" place. Ours is a 1904 Arts and Crafts brick number with very cool spaces. Two stairways, smaller kitchen, DR fireplace and a small yard in suburban Chicago. It is the middle of three all built by the same guy so we are the neighborhood. It is downtown so had the convenience factor as well.

The wrap-around porch makes it seem larger than it is and the high ceilings have the same effect - illusion of space.

A delight to work on. These were built by true craftsmen. Things are still true: level, plumb and square for the most part.


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Hi Whipstitches. I would love to see your pictures, but your link doesn't work. Are you going to reload them in your new blog? I hope you do, your home sounds very interesting!


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RE: What was it about YOUR old house that made you buy?

Oh these are all so great!

Ours was huge (to us anyway), cheap, nothing VERY wrong with it that we couldn't fix ourselves or afford to have fixed. These were the final deciding factors. What made us want it to begin with was when we were standing on the limestone porch, looking through the original windows at the hardwood floors, pocket doors and fireplace in the front parlor. I think after that, if we didn't get it I'd have been disappointed for life. lol.


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