Old Stone Crazy

If people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, can people in stone houses throw whatever they want?  


I don’t think I’ll be finding out anytime soon. An old stone or brick cottage is like my holy grail of houses. While I’d love to settle down in a little mini-castle of my own, it’s pretty hard to find the real thing – at least here in the United States.  

 But if the definition of a dream home is absolute unavailability, then mine is not the beauty I discussed last week, but this one.  


Not because it’s out of my price range or location, but because it isn’t really a home – at least not anymore. It’s the property of Empire Mine State Historic Park – the country castle-type manor of the owners of California’s oldest and richest gold mine.  

I adore this house, from its leaded glass windows to its rose gardens and water features to its herringbone-patterned brick patios.

Image via NevadaCounty.com


Try to imagine this walkway as it appears every spring, tangled in climbing roses – or accented by the red blaze of Virginia Creeper in fall. I guess I’ll have to visit again so I can take more pictures to post (especially pics of the mining area – the view down the old mine shaft is scary-cool).



 As if Empire Mine isn’t romantic enough on its own, this lovely park happens to be where I had my first real date with the boyfriend eight years ago in June….ah, memories.  

 But enough with the reminiscing. I saw a glimmer of hope for my stone house future when I cracked open the latest issue of Cottages and Bungalows and flipped right to an ad for Storybook Homes, a company that designs little to large fairy tale-friendly cottages and castles.  

Image via Storybook Homes

Image via Cotswold Village

 It’s a cute concept – but alas, I’m still not sure if I could ever do the new old house thing, even if said house was meticulously designed to look and feel aged, even if it was designed to look like my dream house.  

After all, what is it that makes an old house special? Is it in the details – the nooks and crannies, the built-ins, the quirks – all of which can be recreated? Or is it in time itself – the creaky floors and crumbling bricks, the multiple renovations and the echoes of past lives that once called it home?


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Filed under cottages, famous houses, old houses

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