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Irish House Porn

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From the urban centers to the countryside, Ireland isn’t lacking in the historic housing department.  It’s unfortunate that many of the private renovations are modern shite…just like here in the US, but they make up for it with their manors and castles dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Here’s a look at some of the nicer historic housing stock.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!





Daryl Hall. Who Knew?

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I must be living under a rock. Twas only yesterday that I was informed of Daryl Hall’s historic home restorations. When hit The Google, lots of information came up dating back a good few years. The guy’s music never impressed me but he does have some talent in the home improvement department, although in my opinion, it’s slightly bland like his songs.

Jeez, he even has a DIY show called “Daryl’s Restoration Over Hall”. I’m so out of the loop.


The John Bray House, circa 1662, is considered the oldest surviving home in the State of Maine. It’s on the market now for close to $1.7. Hall spent a few years restoring it while retaining the original detail.

Daryl-Hall-fireplaceHis Revolutionary War era Georgian in Amenia, NY. Click on images for more info.

Dromoland:Now THAT’S a Castle!

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The Irish castle tour continues. It’s as if each one gets better as they go along, although Dromoland Castle in County Clare will be a tough one to beat. It’s clear that this one is da shit as you pull up to the gorgeous main entrance where not one, but two bell hops literally run out to greet you.

Sucker for the fine architecture that I am, I’ve gotta say that the quality of service here actually made me a bit uncomfortable. I’m not sure if it’s something I could get used to. From the bellhops who wouldn’t let me carry my own bag to the wait staff who had to pour my coffee for me in the dining room, this place is a challenge for the self reliant sort. Not that I’m complaining. I’m just not used to it.


That being said, one night was not enough for this place. I could have put up with the discomfort of having people wait on me hand and foot for another day or oh, a week would have been nice. There’s much to do at this hotel. There’s an awesome looking spa that we didn’t get to use. There are about 400 acres of property where we took a 30 minute walk before we left. Golf is a big thing here. The tennis courts would have been great during good weather.



Staying indoors isn’t the worst thing in the world. Much of the woodwork and paintings are reproductions but still amazing quality. Between the stained glass and vaulted ceilings and stone walls, I couldn’t keep my jaw off the ground.


Dinner was worth the splurge. Not $2000 bottle of wine splurge but you can get away with cheapo bottles for around 50 bucks. The food was incredible and I was delighted to find a separate vegetarian menu. Again, service was over the top. We had about 4 servers on our table.

Deluxe Room-49088-2-full

If it was up to me, the rooms would have been dark and antique. I can see that they don’t want to depress people though. The decor reminded me of a tween girl’s room with the painted white traditional style furniture. It was all very comfortable. They even had a US outlet near the desk. My one complaint is that there was no coffee or tea in the room…not even instant! I guess that’s because they don’t want their guests lifting a finger to do something for themselves, but I was too cheap to pay for the €6.50 room service charge so I suffered until everyone was ready for breakfast.

So here’s the deal. If you ever find yourself on this side of Ireland, I suggest you make an effort to stay here. If you take one of these package tours, do an extra night extension for Dromoland. That place is stellar!

Houses and Barns for Relocation

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Maybe I just found my next project. The Husband will kill me! Ever see a great old house and say “Location, location, location sucks”? Well, there are ways around it. Just move the damn house.

Ok, so it’s not that simple. Actually, it may be simple enough for you because someone else would be taking care of all the work. What I should have said is that it’s not that cheap. Movers charge by the mile amongst other things so it’s not like you’ll want to move a house cross-country or even across state lines.

That being said, check out William Gould’s Architectural Preservation site. He’s located in CT. It’s really not thaaat far. There are barns and homes for sale, previously dimantled buildings, rebuilding plans and contractor services all wrapped up in one single website.

Thanks to Old House Web for being so awesome and posting this.

Bed Stuy Landmarks Public Hearing

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Got some time to spare tomorrow, January 15th? Well, then come on down to the Landmarks Preservation hearing at One Centre Street in Manhattan. The meeting is to be held on the 9th floor from 10:30-12:00.

It should prove to be interesting as preacher Johnny Ray Youngblood is set to protest. Word around the neighborhood is that he’ll be busing people in who do not live in Bed Stuy, just to make his voice heard.

Why protest something that is in the best interest of the neighborhood and the city? Money. There are some old timers who are under the impression that having to go by Landmarks rules and doing things in a historically correct manner will be unaffordable. Yeah, there are grants to be had from Landmarks. No, they don’t force you to spend money you don’t have. Perhaps these folks will actually listen to the truth at the meeting. Or perhaps they just want to stir the pot.

Anyway, Team Landmark can use your help. No, you do not have to live in Bed Stuy to show your support. If Johnny Ray can bring people in from other areas, we only want to keep it fair by doing the same.

So, see you tomorrow?

Reclaimed in Miami

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What do you think of when you think of Florida? Me? I think of those senior developments as seen on Seinfeld because that’s where my mother is. Or some other horrible developments. Or McMansions. But at least one woman in Miami has devoted herself to saving an old house.

Sally purchased a 1924 Spanish Colonial Revival in Coconut Grove that had been derelict for years. Her blog, “This Old Coconut Grove” has some incredible before and after shots. Love to see inspiration coming from this neck of the woods beach!

Check out some of the “afters” and then shoot on over to her blog to find out where she obtained her salvaged pieces.

Bungalows For (Almost) Every Borough

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Bungalow Court On The Bay

We all know that The Catskills have their fair share of bungalows, but what about right here in our fair city? Do you know which New York City neighborhoods still have bungalow communities?

The cute block of bungalows above is Shaler Street in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

City Island in The Bronx is more like a quaint seaside village than a Big Apple neighborhood. The two bungalows shown above are for sale. The one on the left is listed with Weichert for $289k and the one on the right is for sale by owner at $355k.

Well, Staten Island HAD an adorable bungalow colony right on the beach, but sadly Cedar Grove has been demolished. Out with the historic old, in with the tacky new…

Rockaway Beach Bungalows, Queens NYC

The bungalows of The Rockaways are probably the best known in the city.

It’s hard to believe, but Manhattan actually has some small single family homes left. I found these Inwood bungalows on Google satellite and was surprised to learn that they are priced under $300k when they go up for sale. Hello next project!

Correction: I confused Inwood, Queens Long Island with Inwood, NYC. 🙁

Lefferts House

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We visited one of the oldest houses in Brooklyn yesterday. The late 1700’s Lefferts House is located in Prospect Park, but did you know that the original location was six blocks away on Flatbush and Maple? And did you know that the 1783 structure was the second Lefferts home to be built after the original 1687 homestead was burned down during the British invasion of 1776?


It’s all good now. The home was donated to the city back before it was moved and has been a museum ever since. It’s a small house by today’s standards so if you visit, don’t expect a full day trip. Bring the kiddies as the Prospect Park Zoo and Carousel are within spittin’ distance.

Suggested admission is a mere $3 for adults.


George and Mary’s Drafty Old House

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I’ve watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” every year since I was a little girl. Never tire of it! I don’t think I have a favorite character. Clarence the Angel is certainly up there, but so is forgetful Uncle Billy and free spirit/lost soul Violet Bick. Have I been right in thinking all these years that she needed to go to NY for an abortion?

320 Sycamore plays as large a role as any human in the story. When it first appears, George is about to throw a rock at the windows. Mary tells him not to because she loves that house. George doesn’t get it. “It is a weather-beaten, old-fashioned two-storied house that once was no doubt resplendent.” Mary: Oh, no, George, don’t. It’s full of romance, that old place. I’d like to live in it. George: In that place? I wouldn’t live in it as a ghost.

Ah, but who ends up being right about that old house? Mary recognizes the potential in the forgotten Victorian beauty and knows it just needs some attention. Also, pretty cool that we see her working on it herself without the help of contractors.

The house is a metaphor for every character in that film and the entire town of Bedford Falls. They are all worth the effort. Why, even Old Man Potter comes around in the end, doesn’t he?

FYI, in my Beacon house, which I not-so-subconsciously fell in love with because of that film, there was a loose newel post. I always refused to fix it because it always reminded me of George and Mary’s broken bannister.

More on the old house @ Hooked on Houses.


Crown Heights North House Tour

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What’s better than looking at internet house porn? Participating in house porn! Yes, all you house whores, it’s time for the 5th Annual Crown Heights North House Tour!

When? Saturday, October 1. 11am-4pm

Where? The kick off ceremony and breakfast starts at 10:45 at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church. Brooklyn Avenue and St. John’s Place.

What? A self guided tour of nine homes, one church, one community garden and a nonprofit location.

Tix? $20 in advance, available at Barbara’s Flowers, 615 Nostrand Avenue and Yanatiba,714 Washington Avenue or on-line from Crown Heights North Association. Tickets can be purchased for $25 at door on October 1st.

Bed Stuy Walking Tour

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Spending your Memorial weekend in NYC and thinking of things to do? Free tour of Bed Stuy’s historic Bedford Corners district, led by “Montrose Morris” and “Amzi Hill” will take place on Saturday.

Old House Museums in the Boroughs

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Looking for something to do now that the weather is willing to cooperate? Hey kids, here’s an idea that’s fun and productive! Visit an old house museum. Get your inspiration from historic homes on a Saturday and start ripping into your house on the Sunday. (Some of these places are only open on weekdays, so you’ll have to call in sick.)

In Manhattan. FYI, did you know you can take a tour of Gracie Mansion? I never even considered that. Shipping merchant Archibald Gracie built this “country home” in 1799. It went through a few incarnations, including the Museum of the City of New York, until 1942. Fiorello La Guardia was the first mayor to move into Gracie Mansion.

Also, check out Manhattan’s only remaining lighthouse!

In Brooklyn. The Lefferts House has been right under my nose all these years and yet I’ve never been inside. This is one of the few remaining farmhouses in Brooklyn. The period rooms reflect daily life in the 1820’s and what finer backyard than Prospect Park?

In Queens. King Manor Museum was home to Rufus King, one of the first senators from New York. The house opened as a museum in 1900 and today, programs focus on King’s role in the antislavery movement.

In The Bronx. The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage is currently closed for restoration, but I’m including it here anyway because Poe is too cool to pass up. Poe spent the later years of his life in the 1812 cottage. He wrote such poems here as “Annabel Lee” and his wife Virginia actually died in the cottage.

In Staten Island. The Alice Austen House Museum is a Victorian Gothic cottage overlooking the water near on Verrazano Narrows. Austen was one of the first female photographers in America. The museum features Austen’s images as well as those of contemporary photographers. Plus, it’s a great old house.

Crown Heights North House Tour

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The 4th annual Crown Heights North house tour is this Saturday, October 2nd. There are 8 houses and two churches this year. A St. Marks Avenue mansion that most people thought was unsalvageable will be included. It’s still a work in progress and the committee promises it is spectacular.  Other fab homes include the double duplex Kinko house, an American classic Colonial Revival, a new house that rose in an old shell, plus more.

Meet at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, at 991 St. Johns Place, on the corner of Brooklyn Avenue. Representatives of various city agencies and local non-profit groups will be on hand to answer questions. There will also be local vendors selling crafts, art, books, and other products.

The Tour kicks off at 10:00 am with a welcoming ceremony. The self guided tour commences from 11-4pm, rain or shine.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Tickets will be on sale at Barbara’s Flowers, 615 Nostrand Avenue, Brownstone Books, 409 Lewis Avenue and online.

Old House Web

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Hey, dy’all know about Old House Web? It’s a mega website that has just about any information you need to find on older homes.

Although some of it is paid advertising (no problem with that-they have to make money), there are blog posts and diy tips that are pretty handy.

My favorite section of the site is the forum. It looks like lots of people use it, which always makes for a good forum. There are pre and post 1900 house categories with topics ranging from wallpaper to countertops to foundations.

Such a shame I actually have to do physical work on my house today or I’d be on Old House Web all day dreaming up some crazy new restoration scheme.

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