Category Archives: real estate

Homes for the Holidays

I know it’s a tad bit early, but I’ve been doing some window shopping and I think I found what I want for Christmas.


What’s the only thing better than a restored 1906 Craftsman? A restored 1906 Craftsman located on an island in San Francisco Bay, of course.

Okay, so we’re not even in the market for a new house – let alone one going for prices like this. But I like to keep my eye on what’s out there in Northern California. I call it research – very important research. Here are some of my very important findings.

 The porch alone was enough to sell me on this one. The red door is just the icing on the cake.

If Craftsmans are my favorite, Dutch-Colonials are a close second.  

Of course, nothing beats a big ol’ Victorian in gold country. I grew up around here, and home is where the heart is.


Something tells me I’m going to have to settle for a new coffee maker this year. And maybe some warm socks. But it doesn’t hurt to dream, right?

Photos via listings on Click on pics for more details.


Filed under bungalow, California, historic houses, old houses, real estate, Victorian

Home Business

I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten excited over a cute little cottage with a for-sale sign in the front yard, only to realize it’s zoned for commercial.

Sometimes it seems like half the historic homes in my town have been converted into businesses.

And while I think a mom and pop coffee shop can make a charming resident for a little old bungalow, it seems like an old house’s character and quirks sort of go to waste when it becomes, say, a law or insurance office.

And does it get any quirkier than this one’s brick wall?

I guess I like to be able to picture myself living in an old place – and a parking lot out front and fast-food joint next door disrupt my daydreams.

Of course, I’m probably missing the point. Most converted houses are situated on busy thoroughfares– good for business, not so good for raising your family. Then there’s the historic preservation aspect. I’m thankful that I live in a city where businesses and planning departments had the fortitude to preserve many (though certainly not all) of our old buildings. Better that the houses be used than left vacant and, ultimately, torn down.

Still, I sometimes imagine myself buying one of these businesses and turning it back into a home. But you know what would be even cooler?  Converting a historic school, church or – believe it or not – a post office into a home. Wish I had the guts to take on a project like this one.

Michael Luppino/This Old House

 U.S. Post Office becomes first-class home


Filed under bungalow, cottages, historic houses, old houses, real estate, Victorian

Old House Tours

Every neighborhood seems to have one – that large, stately, well-cared for old house that stands out among the rest.

Manicured lawn, wraparound porch, probably passed down from generation to generation, looks like it belongs in a movie – you know the one I’m talking about.

 And when, unbelievably,  it finally goes up for sale, you feel two things.

First, regret that you can’t afford to buy it on the spot. And second, excitement over the possibility that an upcoming open house – or a favor from a good friend who just happens to be a local realtor – might grant you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour the inside.

While I cross my fingers and wait for a peek inside my dream home (OK, one of many dream homes) I’ve found a way to satisfy my needs for old house voyeurism.

At My Old House Online, you can look inside strangers’ homes, from sprawling manors to quaint cottages.

Image from Gayle Roberts on My Old House Online

Photo from Barry Taschman at My Old House Online

Image from Michael Rouchell at My Old House Online

 Isn’t this card table the cutest use for a little nook?

Image from Ted Crocker at My Old House Online

For the arts and crafts obsessed such as myself, myArtsandCraftsHome lets you tour homes with an emphasis on wood detailing, white shaker-style cabinets and lots of built-ins.

Image from Stacy L at

Image from Stacy L at

Image from Vernon Townsend at

Thank goodness I’ve got photo forums for distraction. Otherwise I might spend all summer daydreaming about what it must be like to kick back on that pretty porch.



Filed under interiors, old houses, real estate