Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10
681 Views

We got into hosting because we (well I) fell in love with our old schoolhouse and needed to figure out a way to have it make financial sense. My husband wanted to rent it full time as a landlord. Where is the fun in that?? This way we can enjoy it periodically ourselves. 

 

We currently own 3 houses. The main one is a carpenter gothic (vernacular style) 1908 farmhouse with a big wrap around porch and 2 additional  side porches,  kitchen stairs and an attic with a window seat in the gable. Its basically the house I wanted as a kid reading books like "Anne of Green Gables." There is an old dairy barn in the back which I would love to convert to a guest house/painting studio.

 

The Airbnb is a converted one room schoolhouse built of solid stone in 1850 or a bit before. It served the families who worked on the Francis Scott Key estate. Its hand built and there isn't a window of standard size (or really the same size) in the whole place. 

 

We recently bought a condo for friends and family to enjoy in an old mansion in New Orleans, also built in 1850. It has 13' ceilings, wide plank heart pine floors, and a huge balcony with walk out windows,  fireplaces (nonworking) in every room-- 2 have original tile and all have original mantles. That house was built by a prosperous free person of color (the Treme' neighborhood where it is located was the only place free people of color could own property.) There is a legend about a stolen necklace attached to this house and the homes on either side. (It seems to have survived Ida okay, thanks to those of you who asked!)

 

I don't know if this "hobby" has a name, but I am crazy about old houses. On the weekends we sometimes just go and tour places. I stalk real estate listings like its my job. I do fear it could bankrupt me one day! I feel strongly about preserving original features when it makes sense, and don't know if I could live in a place that was new construction. Am I alone?

14 Replies

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

Level 10

@Laura2592 I think old house built early such as 1910 or before have higher ceilings and the material quality is good. I bought one old house in SC a few years ago since it is a lake front (just little frontage though). We like water, most of our houses are near water (beach or sound or lake). There was a lot of work to do and we haven't figure out what I should use it for. It was built on 1890's in down town area, then been moved to a vacation lot when the land near lake is sold from US Army Corps of Engineer to the private owner. That move happened in 1980's. It was on local newspaper about this move. But the house is too big for rental (near 4000 sqft) in the not hot rental market. It's hard to decide what to do. So I just leave it there. But even though I go there less, but every time I go there, the house don't have any musty smell or any bad smell even though AC is not on. I can't image if I do that to my other houses. Maybe I will do some improvements to this house and make another Airbnb. But I am not sure if it can be rented out since it is in a small town.

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Z-2 sounds interesting! I have often wondered about moving a house. Do you have pics?

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

Level 10

@Laura2592 I attached aMove_newspaper2.jpg little part of an old newspaper here.

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Z-2 that is so cool! I would love to see what you do with it. 

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

Sharing some pics of houses we have now or have lived in in the past 🙂 Current houseCurrent houseA rowhouse we used to own, built in 1880A rowhouse we used to own, built in 1880Our ABBOur ABBNew Orleans condoNew Orleans condo

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

Level 10

@Laura2592 House looks so beautiful! Ours still need a lot of work!

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Laura2592  No, you are not alone 🙂 I love old buildings and old houses as well, they have a story to tell and they have a soul. I never liked new buildings and new furniture even though they are very popular here.

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Branka-and-Silvia0 my European friends definitely come down on the side of "brand new and modern glass box" houses. Don't get me wrong-- I think those can be super cool (anyone watch Grand Designs? Its one of my favorite shows.) But I am just not really comfortable in those spaces the way I am in an older house or building. 

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

The house my family lives in (where I grew up) was built in 1834. Last summer my boyfriend painted the entire exterior and replaced many sections of siding. We found newspapers (which were used to wrap the house) from the mid-1800s and could still read some of the ads and articles. It was pretty neat. 

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Emilia42 that is so cool! One day I want to own a saltbox or Classical Revival house in Maine. There are several I have drooled over in my feed over the years. If New Orleans is swept away, that is next on my list. My goal really would be 3-- one in Maine for the summer/fall, Maryland for the later part of fall and spring, New Orleans for the winter. 

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Laura2592 @Branka-and-Silvia0 @Z-2 

 

I believe it was Will Rogers who remarked, “The best investment you can make is real estate. They ain’t making any more of it.”

 

I still remember a time when I could have bought a weather-beaten little bungalow on the California coast for about $50,000. Today the lot would probably sell for around $2 million.

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Brian2036 I have so many regrets about the purchases I didn't make. My husband just shakes his head. He's not a fan of so many properties. But we don't have kids so why not? The houses might as well be college funds....

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Pavia, Italy
Level 10

No @Laura2592 , you are not alone! Congratulations on the beautiful houses you own and how you have restored them. 

My husbands family own this house since 1934. The land on which it was built was bought in 1912 from the first owner, Ing. Ungaro, but we could never find out the year of construction. Probably it was built before the First World War. We love it very much and so do our guests!
 

Re: Anyone else out there an old house nerd?

in
Munnsville, NY
Level 10

@Laura2592 , I think Saint Melodie would say our life is a real version of "This old house" (without a team of tradespeople to do all the work).  Our homestead was settled about 200 years ago and when we bought it 18 years ago, it was a few years from the wrecking ball.  Because it was in such bad shape, I could do as I wanted to make it perfect for Modern day Innkeeping including new staircases and reconfigured door passages.   It took about ten years of constant rebuilding before we turned the corner from shame to very presentable but now its nearly a gem (with some flaws).   Now that we are in a good place where we can rent 2 completely private suites and live in our own host suite, its worth the trip but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.  JR 

 

 

 

  

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