Do Tell: Old vs. New

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Last week, while I was home resting after my surgery, I tortured myself by watching a few episodes of “Celebrity Ghost Stories” on the Bio channel. I am very intrigued by stories of hauntings and ghosts, but I am also a complete chicken, which is obviously a very bad combination! I haven’t watched a scary movie in ages and typically avoid shows about anything frightening because I’ll be up all night, trying to sleep with the lamp on in our bedroom. Anyhow, I love historic homes for the architecture, charm, and of course, history, but watching these shows really got me thinking– If money were no object, what would my dream home consist of? I used to say that I’d love to have a grand old house from the 1930s and renovate it, keeping the original charm, but adding all of the comforts of modern living. After hearing all of these ghost stories, I am now thinking my dream home may be a brand new house built with some of the architectural details you’d find in a historic property. I know this is all pretty ridiculous, but it got me wondering whether you all have strong feelings on buying a newly built home versus an older home. If you live in an older home, does your house have an intriguing history? Do tell: would you prefer to purchase a brand new home or a historic home? Do things like possible hauntings factor into your search for a home? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!


{Image Source: Ferguson & Shamamian Architects}

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  1. We live in a converted church (the Chouse, as I call it) and yes, it has an awesome history. I love the history that comes with living in an old home. Did you know that some states actually require a seller of a home to inform the buyer if they beleive the house is haunted? That might help to ensure you are living in a home where the history stays in the past!

    xoxo, Emily

  2. I recently moved to a new city & purchased my first home. During my search, I looked at many newer homes & even considered having one one built, but was drawn to the amazing character & unique little quirks of the older homes. In the end, my ceilings are a not quite straight (which makes painting impossible!), storage space is limited (no attic or basement!), and I pull up all kinds of weird, rusty pieces when gardening, but the history & charm of the home makes it absolutely worth it! I don’t think I would even mind if it was haunted….

  3. My husband and I bought our first home and it was built in 1939. We got it for a great price, so we were able to renovate to our liking (for the most part). So far, everything is turning out well and we’re almost moved in. I have learned that there are certain qualities old houses maintain, despite large amounts of renovation. My home won’t be perfect, just like the above poster mentioned. Surfaces might not be perfectly level and I might not have a large closet, but there’s a certain romanticism in having an old house! Plus, our “new” old neighborhood has a historic preservation society! How cool is that?

  4. Ok…I’m so glad you asked these questions! Yes….I have very strong feelings about NOT buying an old house to re-do because of past “bad history” is what I like to call it! I would never ever sleep well if I talked about it much or watched scary movies!LOL! I’ve actually passed up the house of my dreams for that very reason! And I’ve watched it go for sale many a time since then! Hmmmm….
    I would very much prefer to build my dream historic home and incorporate those features that I long for so much! We actually did re-do a 110 year old farmhouse and after moving in and living there for 2 weeks…found out we were expecting a baby after many a surgery….things that make you go hmmmm!
    Anyway…glad I got to see this…I promise I”m really not superstitious! Until it comes to houses!
    I hope you are recovering well, though! Switch to the Food Network or something!
    I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July! So glad I found your blog!

  5. I live in the coolest converted stone barn that I plan to start blogging about soon at Supposedly there is a dog ghost here but I haven’t met him yet!!!!

  6. It is too bad you cant sleep in house for a few days to test it out to make sure it is ghost free before you purchase it…bc I am a total chicken, and if I thought my house was haunted I would def have to move!!

  7. As much as I adore the charm of older homes, for their architectural details and lived-in patinas, I’m leaning towards building a new house, rather than buying an existing house. Not a big fan of ghosts, either!

  8. I always prefer older homes. The charm factor is undeniable. When we were house hunting last summer there was one home we looked at in Laurel Canyon (I live in Los Angeles) that just felt…sad. It was utterly charming but there was a very weird energy about it that made me feel like something bad happened there. Of course there were other things wrong with it, but that “sad” feeling was definitely a problem for me. My husband and realtor felt it, too!

  9. I think it depends on whether or not you can get a home that has enough character and history that it makes it worth it. Where we live the houses have none and so we always choose to build 4 to be exact. But if one did come along I would jump at the opportunity to renovate.Who doesnt love a place with history!

  10. Our house is a brick ranch built in 1969 — nothing historic about it. My 7-year-old has occasionally mentioned that her bedroom is haunted, but lately she’s been insisting that she saw a little girl in there, pointing at her. I’ve never believed in ghosts, but she almost has me convinced!

  11. I grew up in a home built in 1900. Yes, it had a ghost. I loved the house and felt very comfortable with Henry (the old pig farmer that haunted the house). He did his thing and let us do ours. My father refused to believe in him, until my parents divorced. After a while my father remarried, but the stepmom made him sell – she had seen the ghost. She described the exact same man I had been seeing all along. By that time I was a mom, and had not ever met the step mom or spoken to her! Dad had to admit that maybe there was something to the stories after all…
    I would love to live in a haunted house, and it would not bother me at all. The old historic homes have so much personality!

  12. I remember when we moved to Connecticut when I was 11, and the house we had planned on renting was said to be haunted. It truly freaked me out! I begged and pleaded with my parents to look at other houses. I could not imagine living there! I don’t know if it was because of me, or because a great house with a pool was available, but we ended up renting a different house.

    I was recently reading the Bobby McAlpine book, and in it he said that some people need to build their own houses as an expression of their inner selves. That resonated with me. I love the fact that I live in a house that my husband and I designed (of course, with the leadership of a wonderful team) and built ourselves. I love the fact that no one else has lived here! And, I love the fact that there are no past memories of anyone else – it is just the new memories and experiences of my family.

    Have a happy 4th!