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The Magazine

This Spectacular New York Home was Designed by the Esteemed Charles A. Platt — And I Want it!

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

 
I live just north of New York City, so I’ll admit that when it comes to historical homes, I’m a tad bit spoiled. A number of homes in and around my area were built by the crème de la crème of hotshot architects—at a time when architects themselves were a rare breed and accessible only to the very wealthy. Case in point: This jawdropper of a home in Rye, New York, built by the esteemed Charles A. Platt—a pioneer in the American Renaissance movement in architecture whose clients included the Roosevelts and Astors.
 
ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN TO YOU WHY YOU NEED THIS HOUSE.
 
NEED. THIS. HOUSE.

The Brady Bunch House is for Sale!

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

 
If I could only cough up $1,885,000, my childhood dream of being Cindy Brady might be one step closer to reality. (Hey, you have to admit, that family had fabulous taste in houses.) Check out this super fun listing from Douglas Elliman!
 
Lemme see!

This New York Estate is the Most Amazing Historical Home I’ve Ever Stepped Inside

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

Living in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley, I’m surrounded by incredible old houses. I see them every day; I gawk at them, I take pictures of them, I drag all of my out-of-town guests on long neighborhood walks, and I talk ad nauseam about them. My entire town is eye candy; frankly, it’s why I live here. Every so often, the opportunity presents itself for me to visit an old house being sold nearby. AND I JUMP AT THE CHANCE.
 
As you probably know by now, the fabulous team over at Houlihan Lawrence has been sending buckets of gorgeous historical home listings our way, which we’ve been lucky enough to showcase on CIRCA. When they asked me to spend a bit of time looking into the story of this amazing estate for sale in Dobbs Ferry (just 15 minutes from my house, and a hop, skip and a jump from New York City), I was practically squealing with delight.
 
I mean, can you blame me? As much as the photos show off the home’s features, this one really has to be seen to be believed. The texture, overall feeling of history and quality of the materials are just things you can’t capture in a photo.
 
THIS HOUSE HAS SPOILED ALL OTHER HOUSES FOR ME.
 
It’s Amazing!

Send Us Your Vintage Photos

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I grew up in a Greek Revival home in upstate New York that my parents poured decades of love into restoring. The photo above is my mom standing in front of the house when she and my dad first purchased it over 30 years ago. This photo inspired CIRCA Houses, and it’s now inspiring our new social media series for Throwback Thursday!
 
All are invited to join in the fun! Send us your back-in-the-day old house photos, along with a little note about where the pic was taken, and we’ll add it to our cache to be featured on our Facebook page and our Instagram feeds. That pic of you on the front steps of your parents old house on the first day of 2nd grade? Send it in! That campy lake house you vacationed in during your childhood? Yes! Family vacation photos from 1980 with an adorably historic Main Street in the background? Love it!
 
Please send all photos to [email protected]

15 Houses Under $50,000: May 2018 Edition

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

Ever since I started writing this particular column several years back, a funny thing has happened: I’ve started to become a magnet for cheap, old fixer-uppers. They seem to come to me in my sleep. They arrive daily in my inbox. People have even stopped me on the street to tell me about them. (Yes, this IS my dream-come-true, in case you were wondering.) It occurred to me one day that I’m aware of more cheap old house listings than I know what to do with, so I started a special Instagram feed @cheapoldhouses as a place to share them with others who can’t get enough fixer-upper eye candy. The feed has done so well that I’ve taken a short hiatus from our standard 10 Under 50K post on CIRCA. But I’m back now, ready to share with you a handful of the most gorgeous homes for sale under $50K that are ready and waiting for your TLC.
 
(If you come across any beautiful old houses for sale for under $50,000, send them along to us at [email protected])
 
Also… We don’t personally represent any of these homes. We’ve provided a link back to the original listing in the description for each home. Click through if you’re looking for more information!
 
This month’s picks, right this way

A Historic District on Fire: You Should Move to Danville, Virginia!

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein. Photos courtesy of Friends of the Old West End.

 
Ok, Danville is not literally on fire. But hear me out. The city’s Old West End National Historic District has 43 historic homes for sale – half for under $50,000. These homes range from 1,400 square foot cottages to 5,000+ square foot Millionaires’ Row mansions. There’s something for everyone.

Sure, I love ogling beautiful homes, but behind every gorgeous house is at least one person with a vision and a passion. And that’s really what makes my work at CIRCA so delightful. Of course, I’ve always known Virginia to have one of the most striking collections of historical homes of any state in the country. But when Danville’s homes started popping up on CIRCA, my jaw was literally on the floor. (If you need a visual, check out the incredible Victorian home at 137 Holbrook Avenue, which is shown above, for sale for $154,900.)

The group responsible for helping revive this very special part of Danville is known as the Friends of the Old West End, and I’m designating them my official old house heroes.
 
YOU NEED TO MOVE TO DANVILLE.

This Unassuming New York Cape Has the Most Spectacular 1940s Interior

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

 
Never judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to old houses. This ca. 1945 Cape Revival, marketed by the lovely team over at Houlihan Lawrence, is cute enough from the outside. But I was absolutely blown away by the magnificent period-perfect interior, dating to my favorite era. Now THAT’S something you don’t see everyday! Here’s hoping the next owner doesn’t change a thing!
 
Lemme see!

If You Don’t Buy This $44,960 House, I Will!

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

 
Much as I love what I do for a living, it can sometimes wreck havoc on my life. BECAUSE I WANT ALL THE HOUSES. Can you blame me!? LOOK AT THIS ONE. It’s $44,960. It hurts. I want it. The little fan on the front landing! The staircase! The built-ins! The pocket doors! EVERYTHING!!!! Seriously, just look at the photos.
 
Can you believe this!?

15 Houses Under 50K: January 2018 Edition

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

Just because I know that most of you have long lists of New Year’s resolutions that begin with “fix up an old house” (am I right?), I’ve rounded up 15+ gorgeous historical homes for sale for under $50,000 that are just waiting for a little TLC.
 
And lest I forgot to mention it, if you LOVE cheap old houses as much as we do, make sure to follow our other Instagram feed @cheapoldhouses on which we showcase only gorgeous historical homes for sale for under $100,000.
 
(If you come across any beautiful old houses for sale for under $50,000, send them along to us at [email protected])
 
Also… We don’t personally represent any of these homes. We’ve provided a link back to the original listing in the description for each home. Click through if you’re looking for more information!
 
This month’s picks, right this way

Save This House! An Endangered Arizona Ranch With Architectural Pedigree

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

Our friends over at the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation (THPF) tipped me off to a pretty stellar, ninety-acre historical property in imminent danger. They describe it as “a 1938 guest ranch designed by Margaret Fulton Spencer, one of American’s first women architects,” and “a survivor of Southern Arizona’s golden age of Guest Ranching.” How fun is that? But because it’s for sale and lacks any preservation protections, the ranch could be purchased and torn down, if it doesn’t fall into the hands of a preservation-minded buyer.

Preserving a place like this seems like a no-brainer to me, but it’s amazing how little regard there seems to be for history, at least when it comes to big developers. So, for the trillionth time in my life as a historic preservation professional, I find myself asking, “why, why, why don’t people get it?!”

But you guys get it, right? Of course you do. THIS IS WHY I STARTED CIRCA.

I mean, just LOOK at this place. It’s gorgeous (By the way, many thanks to Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas, who took these amazing photos for the THPF).

Help save it!

There’s an Incredible Frank Lloyd Wright House for Sale Just Outside of NYC

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

Houlihan Lawrence has a pretty spectacular portfolio of homes for sale just north of NYC (In my next life, I’m hoping they’ll hook me up with that crazy-beautiful Tudor estate that I’ve been swooning over all week). I nearly fell out of my chair this morning when this c. 1948 stunner landed on CIRCA, and knew immediately that something this good could only come from the master himself: FRANK. LLOYD. WRIGHT.

It’s located a mere 50 minutes from NYC, and, like all of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses, seems to blend seamlessly into the landscape (it sits on over an acre). This is the real deal, guys—even the furniture has Wright’s name on it. Then again, who’s looking at the furniture? I’m sure your eyes are still glued to the carport. I WOULD BUY IT FOR THE CARPORT ALONE.
 
Gorgeous, am I wright? (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

The Interior of This Pittsburgh Fixer-Upper is Blowing My Mind

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

 
When you do what you love for a living, and make it as public as I have made CIRCA, a funny thing happens: People start “thinking” of you a lot. Or, at least, they say they do. For me, this usually comes in the form of “I thought of you yesterday because I drove by a crazy looking salvage dump and you would have loved it,” or “Have you seen so-and-so’s house yet? You should become friends with her just to see her staircase! Thought of you as soon as I stepped inside!” or “You saw that amazing house that was just listed in XXX town, right? It totally made me think of you!”

I really should just wear a shirt that says “Skip the Niceties, Let’s Just Cut Straight to the House Talk,” but I think it’s probably a little obvious at this point. (And for what it’s worth, I’m totally ok with this, so please, world, DON’T STOP.)

Last night, my neighbor, Hope (who loves old houses and beagles, just like me) told me about this ridiculously beautiful house for sale in Pittsburgh—where the architecture never ceases to blow my mind. I’ve always been more of a small, cozy space kind of girl, but have long admired people who endeavor to fix up huge, old mansions. Check out the moldings, have you EVER seen anything like them? Amazing, right!?
 
Amazing, right?!

25 Houses Under 50K: November 2017 Edition

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by Elizabeth Finkelstein

I’m so smitten with this collection of houses for sale for under $50,000 that I couldn’t wait a second past the 1st of November to share them with you. I’ve rounded up 25 beauties, plus a couple bonuses! Don’t miss #16, an eclectic historical gem that’s for sale for just $9,000.
 
And remember, if you LOVE cheap old houses as much as we do, make sure to follow our other Instagram feed @cheapoldhouses on which we showcase only gorgeous historical homes for sale for under $100,000.
 
(If you come across any beautiful old houses for sale for under $50,000, send them along to us at [email protected])
 
Also… We don’t personally represent any of these homes. We’ve provided a link back to the original listing in the description for each home. Click through if you’re looking for more information!
 
This month’s picks, right this way

A Charming Gingerbread Cottage for Sale in Tappan, New York

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by Christina Poletto

 
Have a love/hate relationship with your studio apartment? Welcome to North of New York City, in which the lovely Christina attempts to lure all die-hard urbanites to points north. Swoon with us over the most beautiful historical homes for sale just a hop, skip and a jump away from the city that never sleeps.
 
Every once in awhile, you come across a house that stops you in your tracks because it’s so unusual and remarkable in its own way. I’ve seen my share of homes in the lower Hudson Valley but nothing quite prepared me for the miniature frame Perry-Smith dwelling, a Gothic Revival style cottage, circa 1855, that hit the market in Tappan’s historic district just a number of weeks ago.
 

I LOVE IT

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Is CIRCA not enough old house love for you? Follow Elizabeth's column at Country Living Magazine. | Monthly Print | Weekly Online