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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Ones That Got Away -- 3 or more houses we didn't buy!

This is the house we bought last year:

That Old House

But when we were house hunting -- a process that took more than two years -- we looked at a lot of houses.
We liked many of them, but fell in love with three, and even had a contract on one. So on this Three Or More Tuesday, hosted by Tam at The Gypsy's Corner, join me on a tour of the three houses that got away! Click here for more 3 Or More posts!


My first love was a house right in our former town:

It is the oldest house in the area -- the original part (way on the right, you can just make out the roofline in this picture) is from the early 1700s, the newer part dates from well before the Revolution. It is so beautiful it hurts. It was built by a farmer who also operated the local tavern and inn, also still standing, and now our dentist's office.

Not a huge house, but a perfectly preserved time capsule, never abused, never "modernized" -- a simple gem, and sometimes it pops into one of my dreams (is it sad that I dream about houses?). This might be the only house I would leave That Old House for.

Next house -- a converted cider mill.
Begun in 1809, the Bryant Cider Mill was expanded in the 1860s:

Well, OK, the cider was that kind of cider; the place was a distillery.
Cleans up nice, doesn't it?

In 1938, it was converted into a gracious and beautiful home -- incorporating the perfect traditional workmanship of the 30s with the atmosphere of a very old structure. All on nearly 5 acres, with outbuildings, and even a little spring with a tiny bridge.

The front is to the right of this picture, below, around on the side of the house ... but you can't see it without trespassing, and I love my blog, but not that much.

We stepped foot on that property, and were enchanted. We looked at it the 2nd day it was on the market, and by that evening, there was a contract on it. Sadly, not ours.

I comfort myself that it was too small for us. But, oh my ... it was just a perfect jewel of a house.

Here's a picture of one part of the kitchen:

There was also a resident peacock. But, it wasn't meant to be.

Then, this house, ca. 1897, that we came within 5 days of owning:

Not a great beauty on the outside, but oh my -- I had plans for this baby.

On this side of the house, I planned on putting a sunroom where the deck now is,
and going up to expand the second floor master bedroom:

The master bath didn't need any help at all --- big whirlpool tub and
separate shower and Howard's favorite feature -- heated floors:

And the kitchen? Maybe not what I would have chosen, but it was gorgeous.
Here's just part of it; there was another wall of cabinets and countertop:

A very large living room, with a rock fireplace, like our old house also had:

And a dining room already painted red!

I have more pictures of this house, but I will exercise restraint. I really loved it, and had mentally decorated and expanded it, landscaped it, and it was in the most beautiful neighborhood. . . but five days before closing on both the sale of our house and the purchase of this one, it all fell apart.

It was to be a year before we bought That Old House,
but clearly, this is where we are meant to be:

When I pull into our driveway, behind the house, and head for the old stone steps,
I fall in love all over again.

(I had to crop the picture, because my handbag and packages from the grocery store were on the grass and in the shot. Please excuse the rear yard chaos; the girls and I have good intentions of tidying and planting today!)


We will stay in That Old House; it suits us and it keeps us busy!

Unless that fieldstone pre-Revolutionary cape comes back on the market. . . .

Are there houses you still think about, dream about, wish you had bought? I could never live long enough to own (or afford) all the houses I would love to live in and decorate!

I'm a house junkie, and I'm afraid there ain't no cure.

Enjoy your Tuesday! My girls are just rolling out of bed, and we'll be heading out to the garden to bring some order out of the post-winter chaos. If I'd have known children could grow up to be so useful, I'd have had more of them! -- Cass


  1. All three are beautiful old homes. There is a house that is very close to my kids school in our old neighborhood that I wish we would have bought, however hubbs wasn't "feeling it". To this day I'll drive by and "wonder". It's just a typical Cali ranch style home, not much bigger then my cozy abode, but there is something about that particular house that "calls" to me. Now if money were not an object, there is an old craftsman about 1/2 mile from here that I'd love to have. It still has it's original glass, pocket doors an attic and even a basement (unheard of around here because of quakes). It was built in the 1880s and it is beautiful and completely restored. When it sold two years ago, they got $990K for it. sigh*

  2. Yes, there was a house we were trying to buy but when we were honest with ourselves it was way too expensive for us.... :(

    There was a house in my hometown that called to me when I was a little girl... I still have dreams of buying it.

    Fun post!!

  3. Hi Cass :)

    You're preaching to the choir sister! LOL All of those houses are beauties, especially the first one. Mine is the farmhouse. I still get choked up just thinking about it (sigh).

    I love your mosaic and I think it's the best one ever, but I may just be a little prejudice ;)

    Thank you for the cookie advice. Oil? Never would have thought of that! Is it too early for Martinis?? Probably... darn it! ;)


  4. Those are beautiful old homes. Yes, I have seen many that I would love to have. I have lived in a couple that I would love to still have, but not in the same cities or under the same circumstances. From what you have shared with us, your home is beautiful.

  5. I think the house that you ended up with is just perfect. I, like you, had a house that got away right near the end, but I ended up finding something I loved even more and I couldn't be happier.

  6. Those are beautiful old homes but so is "That Old House" -- and perhaps it was meant to be yours which is why the white house fell through.

    I love Linderhof -- do I covet others? Perhaps. Shortly after we bought Linderhof (and still owned ANOTHER house), a great house in the little town where the ANOTHER house was still draining our checkbook as we were making DOUBLE house payments, was put on the market. I did love that house, it was across from my best girl friend but I simply could not afford THREE houses and so I knew that it was never meant to be. Sigh!

  7. I like That Old House best of the three, so I think you got LUCKY to miss on the other one and end up with this one!!!

  8. All three lovely - all three wonderful. We've lived in all sorts of houses - in all sorts of places and it seems that the house we are in at any moment is our favorite. We loved the old school house on a slight hill - overlooking a river just past the farm across the road - and the friends we met on that road who had attended school in that very building oh so many years ago -oh the stories they told.

    We adored the Victorian in a tiny town of 1200 people - painted hot pink (which we painted over with a calm blue with navy and white trim) - and the neighbors that stopped by to chat as we gardened and the spare room with a painting of a young girl who followed you with her eyes (we called her Minerva - so it was the Minerva room).

    We were ecstatic when we bought a 2,400 square foot house in the desert with a citrus orchard on the extra lot - 2 bathrooms - a huge family room and sewing room - breakfast room, formal dining room and two fireplaces - with three teenagers it was the perfect house.

    We have lived in two craftsman houses that were built around 1920 from kits bought from Sears and Roebuck catalog. Cozy sweet cottages with great personalities.

    Oh - you get the idea - and now we live in a 4 bedroom house - only 9 years old - near woods and animals and with just the right small-ish yard for this time in our lives - and a wooden swingset/climbing structure for our grandsons - isn't life just grand - and all the houses wonderful!!

  9. Hi Dear Cass! Oh, I loved looking at those three houses you almost chose, but your home is you! The green cabineted kitchen was charming and the modern one in the old house was beautiful but just didn't fit the house! I love your old house! I love coming over and seeing what you're doing to it next!
    Thanks for popping in to see me and be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  10. Well I didn't see evidence of a ghost in the other ones so I guess you made the best choice in the end. Once you've had a ghost in your home there is no going back.
    We missed out on a house years ago when we went away on holidays. Funny thing is I had a dream while away that some family was in "my" new house and I was trying to get some woman to put down the lamp. I know who did get the house and have seen how they decorated (not)their old place. Makes me sad about the one that got away but here I am 26 years later.

  11. No contest for me...I love 'that old house" the best. Yes, I really wanted an antebellum home in my old hometown. Husband said NO WAY. It's a good thing too--he is not the handy type. But sometimes I still dream. Oh yes, I also want a little beach front real estate :)

  12. I think you picked the right house. I love "That Old House" that you live in the very best. I would love to live in your old house. It would be a dream come true. Since I live in southern California we mostly have Mediterranean style homes & I hate them. I long for an old Victorian or farmhouse. Just not that many here. But we make do with what we have. At least I have a pool, my only consolation. I do remember as a child my parents looking for a new house & they told me about a house they found that I could have a horse. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, we ended up moving only 2 blocks away. I never did get my horse. Boo hoo!

  13. I am soooo with ya...major house junkie, too! I love your's best out of all of those! You cracked me up about dreaming of houses...that is too cute! :-) I don't dream about them but every historic home tour that comes within a 2 hour drive of ATL gets my definite attention! :-) Susan

  14. Each and every home you wanted had great qualities and because you came thisclose to getting them, of course you still dream about them. I do love That Old House, it is you, and I love reading your blog just to hear (well, not just that) what you are doing with TOH.

    A few years ago we were looking at home in a quiet suburb about 20 minutes from where we live now. I fell in love with a home that was on a secluded little road with a forest preserve across the way, big tees all around, a lot of bedrooms and baths, that dining room I always wanted and we really lost sleep over it. You see, my husband is smart. Whenever we have had a windfall, he made sure we were secure in every way first. So, we own this house and the lake house. If we had bought Dream House, we would have had a mortgage. Shortly after, the economy turned upside down. Today I embrace this little house, the one without the formal dining room, and I say a prayer that we followed his good judgement~not mine! But I will keep collecting all that china, glassware, etc., because someday I will have Dream House. The sellers took the house off the market until the economy improves, so maybe someday...


  15. Right Cass, you and I are normal. Keep repeating that. N..O..R..M..A..L..That's our story and we are sticking to it.

  16. Hi Cass...what a great threesome post...Your "That Old House" would have been my is gorgeous! I do dream about houses very often...especially OLD ones... for some reason they are always falling apart though...LOL
    ;-) Bo

  17. Wow...what beautiful homes! I loved the tours and reading all aboutthem but yes. You are where you were meant to be and YOUR sweet home is SO perfectly beautiful!


  18. I think it all worked out for the best. I love the house you are in now, and I so envy the porches!


  19. Morning Cass! I just came back to tell you I loved your comments! LOL
    Yes, I was stepping on the huge big ole black ants and Mr. Precious took a shower with a cricket! LOL
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)


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