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20 Signs You’re Obsessed with Old Houses

  • February 21, 2015
  • News
20 Signs You’re Obsessed with Old Houses

by Elizabeth Finkelstein

It’s time to face the music.


1. When shopping for a house, you’re more concerned with the number of fireplaces than bedrooms.

Who needs an extra bathroom when you have historical details to beat the band?

House in Charlotte Hall, Maryland for sale. More information HERE.


2. You’ve been known to lose total control at the mention of pocket doors.

Also on your list of can’t-live-without things: tin ceilings, crown molding and parquet floors.

Photo courtesy of Wood Window Workshop.


3. What’s Ikea? Your go-to furniture spot is the local antiques market.

After all, a one-of-a-kind house deserves one-of-a-kind décor.

Photo courtesy of Chawed Rosin.


4. People said you were crazy when you bought your house.

Now they drool with envy.

Victorian house for sale in Appleton, Wisconsin for sale. More information HERE.


5. You can see the potential in anything.

You’d never let a little lead paint stand between you and your dream project.

Fixer-Upper for sale in Lexington, Georgia. More information HERE.


6. You know the difference between a tower and a turret

(Psst! The answer’s HERE!)


Photo courtesy of Mr. TinDC.


7. You’ve dressed up like a bungalow for Halloween.

… and none of your friends were remotely surprised.

Bungalow for sale in Cannonville, Utah. More information HERE.


8. You’ve attended at least one dinner party just to see the inside of the house.

The conversation was nice, but the pumpkin pine floors were the best part of the evening.

Greek Revival home in Queensbury, New York for sale. More information HERE.


9. You have a roster of movies you’ve watched over and over just to ogle the old houses.

Your favorite Hollywood stars? Manderley, Tara and Green Gables, of course!

Photo of Green Gables via Wikimedia Commons.


10. You consider dumpster diving to be a fine art.

One man’s trash is another man’s 19th century mantelpiece.

Photo courtesy of Ecocult.


11. You’d prefer a roaring fire in your bedroom to a television any day.

Because there’s nothing like falling asleep to the sound of history.

House in Barnstable, Massachusetts for sale. More information HERE.


12. You’ve dreamt of running a historical inn for as long as you can remember.

Anything for an excuse to buy that big, old farmhouse.

Photo courtesy of Tithe Hall Farm.


13. You know the exact year in which your house was built, and probably have done research on its history at your local archives.

We think that’s worthy of a plaque, don’t you?

Photo courtesy of Foster Preservation Society .


14. You named your dog (or child) after a famous 18th century architect.



15. Your “Dream House” Pinterest board contains over 500 pins, broken down by style and age.


Photo courtesy of Talk of the House.


16. Forget the condo in Florida. You plan to retire in a little stone house in the country.


1742 stone house for sale in Hannacroix, New York. More information HERE.


17. You read “before and after” home renovation articles and often prefer the “before.”

There’s just something about that crumbling wallpaper that makes your old-house-loving heart skip a beat.

Photo courtesy of the Willis Green House


18. You have a personal vendetta against aluminum siding.

Breathe. Remember to breathe.

Photo courtesy of Inspectapedia .


19. You’ve nearly gotten into a car accident because you were fixated on a Victorian house you were driving by.

How is one supposed to focus on the road in the face of such beauty?

Victorian house in Belvedere, New Jersey for sale for $549,900. More information HERE.


20. You’ve spent more blood, sweat and tears on your house than you ever could have imagined.

… and you’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Elizabeth is the founder of CIRCA and a practicing writer, architectural historian and preservation consultant living in Brooklyn, NY. Elizabeth has loved historic houses for as long as she can remember, having grown up in an 1850’s Greek Revival gem that was lovingly restored by her parents. Elizabeth, her husband Ethan and their beagle Banjo remain on a relentless hunt for their perfect “Thanksgiving house.”

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31 thoughts on “20 Signs You’re Obsessed with Old Houses”

  • Janice

    February 21, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Oh—my—-gosh. I really am obsessed. But I wouldn’t have it any other way!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sandy Jacquez

    February 21, 2015 at 4:46 am

    splendid indeed. 🙂

  • Perry

    February 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    #19: Yelling, “Slow down!” to my husband while driving through a quaint little town. “I want to see the houses.”

  • Jo

    February 21, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    All of the above!

  • Karen Richards

    February 21, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Yes, to all of the above. lol

  • Laura

    February 22, 2015 at 1:07 am

    For sure!!! Love ’em!:))

  • Jessica Campo

    February 23, 2015 at 12:15 am

    This post made me shake my head vigorously, sigh, and laugh out loud. I LOVE it! I’ve never met another person who understands and that’s perfectly okay with me! Thank you for this article!

  • Johanna

    February 23, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Haha, # 14! My son’s name is Calvert.


    February 24, 2015 at 12:17 am

    i grew up in a tall narrow Victorian overlooking the largest bend on the OHIO RIVER. The view of the River was spectacular..and each bedroom had it’s own fireplace, had three porches, and a charming bay window. Unfortunately, it’s torn down now but i wish i could go back just one more time! PS. Pocket doors too and a three terraced garden in the back it sat on top of a big hill…thus the spectacular view!

  • Porscha Miller

    February 24, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    #13 – and everyone I know *also* knows the year my house was built (1894) because I’m constantly referring to it any time I mention my house.

  • Lisa Hassler

    February 25, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Have you been reading my diary? You know me too well!

  • shatc

    February 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    We are in the process of restoring our 1890’s home in upstate New York. When we were looking for a home, we knew it had to be at least 100 years old.

  • Frances Meyer

    February 25, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    This is pretty much me, with a few exceptions.

  • Lana

    February 25, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    So sad that it’s gone. It’s beautiful!

  • Bud McDonald

    February 25, 2015 at 10:31 pm


  • dseiffertart

    February 26, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Love the article. I live in the Historical District of Vallejo, California. I live surrounded by Victorians, Arts & Crafts homes, and bungalos. I’m also an artist trying to capture the beautiful of these houses. Take a look at my portfolio:

  • Michael Peterson

    February 26, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Wow!!! VERY VERY cool house!!

  • AshleyL

    February 26, 2015 at 5:21 am

    Sums me up, I love old houses, and really love when people don’t change or update the inside and outside and let the natural beauty shine. I’m a huge fan of wood, I hate it when people rip those out. You just can’t find wood made like that anymore, its truly sad, and don’t get me started about painting over them, ugh

  • Susan Sallamack

    February 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    You left out: “You seek old towns to visit and walk their streets with the reverence of a monk processing up the nave of a great cathedral.” I make my devotions in Bordentown, NJ.

  • Terri

    February 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Was it in WV?

  • David Snyder

    February 26, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Yes, I am smitten.

  • henri12

    February 26, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Ours is only from 1938–that’s old for around here. It was suggested that we were crazy for remodeling this little cottage. But yes, now people walk in and their eyes get big!

  • Dale Oglesby

    February 27, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    (Middle Georgia) 5/3, 11 fireplaces!
    Restored & Updated – GREEK REVIVAL

  • Valerie Pope Burnes

    March 20, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Elizabeth – you are spot on! I kept trying to “like” each entry. And thanks so much for including “Reverie” in Marion, Alabama as the photo for #15! The house is open for tours if anyone is ever rollicking through the Black Belt of west Alabama.

  • Theresa King Anderson

    March 22, 2015 at 2:02 am

    So glad you included #15 in Marion, AL. We would love to show you the rest of the lovely mansions we treasure here.

  • Dona

    March 27, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Especially #11! I owned a house on Pinckney St. for 4 years…no fireplace 🙁

  • James Athens

    April 1, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    That’s me

  • Roberta

    April 18, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Well, yes, we have retired to a stone house in the country. And all the rest are true except #1 and #2. Our 1850 house never had fireplaces, tin ceilings, crown molding or parquet floors. But we have one heck of a spiral staircase and the only octagonal cupola in town.

  • Christine parker

    June 15, 2015 at 12:55 am

    This is definitely my husband and I! We did a peeksy on an old house today and he was horrified at the sight of Aluminum siding. The inside looked beautiful though. This is the porch to our 1757 home in NJ…

  • Adrian Carlisi

    June 20, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Omg how much do I love this woman!

  • George

    July 8, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Wow I look here and then I see these once beautiful homes that are just let go of and wonder why ? It’s beyond my comprehension

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