Nostalgic Neighborhood Home Tour, Part 3

After leaving Rosecroft, we wandered one block up to an usual home for the tour – a new construction, it was built in 2011 by two long-time residents after a fire destroyed the original home. Although from the outside, the house was true to the era of the area’s old homes, my husband and I found the interior to be similar to what we might see in a new home in the suburbs where we live. We didn’t stay long at this house, and I wasn’t motivated to take photos. I get why it was on the tour – to show people that a new home can also be constructed in the area, if house restoration isn’t a potential buyer’s cup of tea – but personally I was disappointed that the interior of the home was so bland.

So, no photos of house number two. Next up was a 3,300 sq. ft. home which was one of the first three built in the area back in 1912. As Lana mentioned yesterday, the trees in this part of town are so old and beautiful, and they feature prominently in my childhood memories. In my great-grandmother’s neighborhood, all the trees were dripping with Spanish moss, and the sound of cicadas would lull us into naptime on lazy summer days. However, all those huge trees made it difficult for me to get exterior shots of this house, as it was barely visible from the street – so you get a shot of the porch instead.

big house porch

One thing you’ll start to notice in these shots is that the spaces got progressively more crowded as they day wore on, and it became increasingly difficult for me to take photos without random people wandering into the frame. I also became more and more rushed, as I didn’t want to be obnoxious about framing the shots and therefore ruining other people’s experience of viewing the houses (people immediately jump out of the way and wait for you to finish when you’re taking photos, even if it’s just with your phone). It was also incredibly bright outside, so a lot of the shots I chose to convert to monochrome were altered because the outdoor light blew out most of the color in the shots anyway; plus I felt doing so made those blasts of light look more arty and intentional (in several of them, I even went ahead and made the light brighter for added effect).

big house den 2
View one of what I call the den. I’m not sure that’s technically the proper term.

This is actually a split staircase, but because the house was crowded when we visited it, I was not able to get a clear shot of the other side. When taking the stairs from this direction, you would turn right to continue up to the second floor. But if you took these stairs and turned left instead, you’d walk down another set that led you into the kitchen.

big house stair 1
The brochure says the wood is silver pine. I say it’s GORGEOUS.

big house den
Another shot of the den. Who wouldn’t die for this woodwork?

Lots of smaller spaces in this house too, which I’ve already mentioned I love, so getting the full dining room into the shot with my iPhone wasn’t possible. And when I look at these homes, I just wonder why we feel nowadays that we need so much damn space anyway. In  a contemporary home in our neighborhood, the ‘dining room’ would have to be twice this size to be considered livable, not to mention it would need to be completely open to the kitchen and the den!

big house dining
Another shot where the light lent itself to a monochrome treatment. This may be my second favorite shot, behind Rosecroft’s den picture.

This a nice shot of the sitting room – for the life of me, I cannot remember where in the house this was located:

big house sitting

big house fan
I mainly wanted a shot of how the wainscoting covered the ceiling here too, but I threw the fan into the bargain. Probably should have kept the original color, so you got the idea that this is still in the yellow sitting room. But, my compulsive editing got in the way of the consistency level. Sorry. 

So many lovely details in these old homes, like these little sitting areas located beneath many of the windows. This was a consistent detail from home to home – except for the new construction.

big house corner
We certainly weren’t nosy enough to check, but you just KNOW this is also a storage area. So many places to store one’s wigs!

I really didn’t find the bedrooms in any of these places to be anything thrilling; maybe it’s just me, but maybe it’s also the nature of these homes to consider the bedrooms less necessarily showy than the public areas of the house. Maybe it’s both. Anyway, this is one of the few bedrooms I even bothered to photograph:

big house bed
I didn’t ignore the bedrooms on purpose, it just happened. 

This house is situated on two lots, so the owners had a decidedly larger outdoor space to work with than most of the others featured on the tour. As a result, it was the only one we viewed that had a pool. I don’t have anything much to say about this one, since clearly it is not a restored feature of the original house, and it certainly doesn’t evoke any childhood memories of the area for me; my granny sure as hell didn’t have any swimming pool in her backyard aside from the little plastic ones she stuck us in when we were small. She did, however, have lots of trash cans in her backyard which she used to burn leaves in on fall evenings (not illegal in the city back then).

big house pool
Yep, there it is. A pool. You’re welcome. The trash cans must be stored elsewhere.

Up next: one seriously huge-ass house (at least for the area, although still small by today’s standards) that served, in part, as a private school in the early 1900’s, and was also owned by a local church for a while (during which time it was painted purple and, according to our docent, got “pretty much trashed”). While it was too big for me to consider it homey or reasonably see myself being able to live in, it was certainly impressive and stunning. The sunken living area and the kitchen, in particular, are amazing. Come back tomorrow!

Nostalgic Neighborhood Tour, Part 2

Before jumping into this post, I must preface it with a warning: I know next to nothing about architecture, home design, decoration, restoration – anything to do with houses, much less historical ones. So my names for things, and my descriptions, will be completely ignorant. I apologize. If I were more motivated I’d look all this stuff up before writing about it, but I mostly want to share pictures and the memories they evoke for me. I realize this makes me lazy and sloppy, but it’s my blog, so if you want to read expert writing on this subject, go read someone’s blog who’s getting paid to write. Moving on.

(And as previously stated, all pictures were taken with my iPhone 5S. I love how easy and portable a smart phone makes photography!)

The first house we toured had a name – Rosecroft – and was one of the more modest homes we visited. For that reason, I liked it best. It was still small and homey, and although it had been completely restored, all the renovations were fairly true to the original home. Call me crazy, but I actually prefer small homes to large ones, small rooms to big, and dark walls to light. I guess my ideal living space would be a cabin – something cozy and warm. Light, airy rooms feel sterile and drafty to me. So this house, which had retained the narrow hallways and tiny spaces of the original, felt very homey.


The house was named by the original owner, artist Charles Sherman. The name is seen here over the porte cochere (the brochure calls it that – I would have called it a car port, because I know nothing).

The rose motif carries over into the house, where stenciled art graces the sunroom. This is original artwork, which was restored by the current owner.


The sunroom, showing the rose stencils in action. The stained glass windows are a new addition.

Oh, how I did love his bathroom! I know that sounds weird – but the bathrooms in both my great-grandmother’s and grandparent’s houses were so distinctive, and different from what we had in our modern home, that they are etched in my memory. Tile everywhere – hexagon tile on the floors, and shiny tile on the walls, the counters, just all over. And in my grandmother’s house, it was ALL pink! And then of course, she kept pink toilet paper on the roll (remember colored toilet paper? I know it’s horrible stuff, but I miss it). Then my great-grandmother had a claw-foot tub, so I enjoyed seeing another one of those here, too. The tile on this guy’s floor was new, but it is very true to the original tile of the houses of the time (I think – remember, I know nothing). In all the other houses, the bathrooms appeared to be the one area where the owners modernized a lot, but I feel this gentleman did a nice job of maintaining some of the original feel (of the bathroom? Weird, I know. But still, it mattered to me).

Could have used tile on the walls, though. 

And now to share a shot that really captures a childhood memory for me – the glass doorknobs. Every door in my grandmother’s house had glass doorknobs (and that house had a lot of doors – every room including the kitchen had doors to close it off from all other parts of the house) and when I was a kid, I thought they were diamonds. I figured out at some point that they were not, but still considered them incredibly fancy and extravagant. This house maintained the glass doorknob feature throughout the house, so I made sure to get a shot of some:


The back of the house, where the two bedrooms were, was quite small and cramped, and although I loved that about it (the hallway was teeny-tiny, yet there were still built-in cabinets in the walls) I couldn’t get any decent shots of anything. So this house, although it was probably my favorite, doesn’t have a lot of photographic representation. Not that I didn’t try:

A shot of the den, taken from the front sunroom.

I also didn’t get any decent shots of his kitchen, once again because it was so small. But you can see a little glimpse of it there in back of the den. Here’s a shot of the den taken while standing in front of the fireplace:

Probably my favorite photo from the whole shoot. I don’t know if there’s a name for this feature, where the driveway pulls up right alongside a side door of the house – but I love it. So glad I got this shot. 

Sadly, this next one is the last photo from this house. It felt rude to me to spend too long setting up shots and getting obsessive with the photos, so I tried to do what I could quickly and move on. Since the den area was the largest part of the house, well, that’s where I took most of my shots. This last one was taken from the kitchen:

One of those dudes is my husband. Unfortunately, the owner of the house (whom everyone is listening to, as you can tell) can’t be seen. He was an incredibly friendly and interesting guy.

Oddly, both houses I liked the best have the least photos to represent them. Again, this is partly because the spaces within both places were very small, but also, I think when touring them I was more interested in experiencing the space than taking pictures of it.

I’ll share my shots from the second stop tomorrow.