Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Old house obsession

My obsession with old houses began long ago.
Having been born into a family of old house dwellers,
it was bound to happen. My earliest memories are of places I have lived.
They are snippets of time and space. I remember the gray paint
of the wood floor in my upstairs bedroom. I remember the three-paneled
front door with a window in the upper half. I remember hardwood floors
and ornate window and door casings. All the architectural details
that add pizzaz are embedded in my memory.

My heart longs for a home with a storied past. It does not have to be grand,
like many of the ones shown here. But it does have to have soul.
I need to feel its friendly presence upon entering through the front door.

I need to hear it call my name as I walk the halls and turn the corners.

There must be details that suggest it was built as a labor of love.

And it must have porches that span the front and sides to allow

for afternoons of leisure and nights where candlelight and whispers

beckon visitors up the wide steps.

And there must be lots of windows with gorgeous trim, both inside and out.

The ceilings must be high and the spaces bright.

And it must have a presence that suggests this place has seen and heard it all,

that it holds secrets deep in its bosom which will be slowly revealed

to those who take the time to listen.

Lately I can't seem to get this longing out of my mind. I love my house,

but there is one out there, over the hills and around the bend that calls to me.

It has had a hold on me for several months now.

In going through old family photographs over the weekend, I came across

a photo of the house that my great-great grandfather built

after emmigrating from Germany

in the late 1880's. Do you want to know a funny thing?

It looks remarkably like the one in my area I am obsessed with.

The porch railings and columns are the same.

The bay window in the dining room is the same.

The gables at the front and sides are the same.

Pretty strange, huh?

So this old house fever is in my blood. And sadly, there is no cure.

Perhaps I can talk my husband into selling our house and moving.

That would do the trick.

Until next time...


All images courtesy of Flickr.


  1. I love old houses too. I live in a 1906 house, built during the San Francisco earthquake. I like to think about the history of this home. One day an older lady knocked on my door and said she lived here as a child during WWII. She remembered hiding under the table during air raids. She left and promised to send me pictures but I never heard from her again. Weird huh? Oh, if these walls could talk. My kids have always said the house is haunted!

  2. When we left our first home(cookie cutter california house)to move to the mid-west in search of a farm, I didn't value that home until I didn't have it anymore. And during the 18mos. of living in KS and MO I longed for a home again...any home...just a home to own again. It took 6 yrs. after returning to Cali to be able to buy a home again. I no longer long for a farm or a beach house...I made this home a beach house. I have learned to be content with what I've been given. Don't miss understand me...you may be destined for that old house of longing...I'm just saying your longings do change when you lose what you already have. And I think your home is dreamy!

  3. Oh Anne,
    I LOVE old houses. Our last house was built in 1664 which was when Charles 1st was on the throne and the Great Fire of London was yet to happen !! The house that we are in now was built in 1890. I love to imagine who has lived in these houses before me.
    The ones that you have shown are wonderful. I love those American period houses, especially when they have retained their original features.We tend not to have the lovely verandahs, probably becausee our weather doesn't really lend itself to them.
    I'm sure that you will get your period home one day Anne and, I have a feeling that it just might be that one that you love in your area. XXXX

  4. I too crave an old house.....I keep trying to make mine look old..

  5. I hear you. And the whisper, too. Some houses speak more to our souls than others. We end up living somewhere because it was the one available when we were searching, not necessarily because it was THE ONE. My family moved a lot when I was growing up and my mom always counseled us to bloom where we were planted, so that is the attitude I take about my current house ~ which isn't my soul house, either. Hope you get your dream house, since it sounds like it's available....! xx P&H

  6. Good Morning Anne,
    I, too, love everything about older homes - they have a soul that new houses just don't have. I will take the funny noises, creaking floors, scratched wood, slanted walls and old dirt anyday ~ there's something about knowing that they hold so many stories and secrets that's warming to me.
    I knew the minute I walked into my front door that I was going to live in my home and we would be the next chapter in its 83 year old story. I did a post in April on the secrets that I found out about my house when an unexpected visitor came last Halloween night. It has made me more connected to my home and love it even more. When I am scrubbing out 83 year old dirt that seems to continuously ooze from the baseboards, I remember that it's a blessing to live here.
    Have a lovely day ~
    Sarah xo

  7. hi anne,

    how old is the house you live in now?

    our small cottage was built in 1890 but it was built with whatever was leftover from the estate that it was connected to. it was for the gardening staff and so it is very simple. nothing fancy about it at all. i don't have a wrap-around porch or lovely little window seats or fancy windows. but you know what? it's home and i've never felt connected to a place like i do here. i guess i can relate to the types of people that used to reside here. the gardeners, working-class people. so while i love all the details that you speak of, i realize that i am content here. and it's a wonderful feeling. thank you for helping me realize that.


  8. Hi Anne, i love old houses too.When i was growing up we lived in a very old home it had 6 fireplaces. The kitchen fireplace had a oven built in where they did i guess there baking.We didn't have heat just a big old coal stove.So i love old houses....Kathy

  9. Anne, I too crave an older home with history, details, and little special nooks and crannies. If my husband were at all a fixer upper this would be something I would push for, but alas he is not and I'll probably have to stick with my new home for quite some time unless he has a change of heart. I'm loving all of the images you've shared. Thanks again for the sweet award. Take Care, Carrie

  10. That gray and white house makes me want to start collecting moving boxes! My brother and his wife love old homes and have lived in 3 different homes each other 100 years old. There are so many great details in his current home. Fireplaces in 5-6 rooms, fabulous architectural detailing, ceilings with amazing detail, built-in bookshelves....My favorite thing in his home is hidden under a rug in the dining room. It's a small bell that the original builder put in for the home owner to step on when they wanted the servants to bring dinner. Very Swanky, huh?

  11. Hello!

    I just found your beautiful blog through Kate's Place and i am so glad i did!! I love old homes since i was a child and i am now living in a very old home.
    Love your blog i'm a new follower. I am going to go and make myself a tea so i can relax and visit the rest of your blog!
    Come for a visit sometime to my blog!
    Pamela from French Buttons



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