I only came for two days of playin’, but every time I come I always wind up stayin’…

Forever Amber

Miami rental house

Forever Amber

Miami home at night

(Dress: Louche ‘Leigh’ dress (last year) | Shoes: Carvela ‘Australia’ c/o Sarenza)

A few days ago I was obsessively checking house listings, as I always do, and as I scrolled past all of the now-familiar photos, I suddenly came across the listing for Nigel, the International Man of Mystery Next Door’s house… with a big fat ‘SOLD’ sign slapped across it. Uh-oh.

We’re pretty sure N’s house sold to the people who offered on ours last month, and who we had to turn down due to all of the drama with the house we were trying to buy. We knew there was a good chance they’d buy the house next door instead, so we’re not particularly surprised by this latest development, although we are a little disappointed. (And by “we”, I obviously mean “me”…) This, as some of you may recall, is the exact situation we were hoping to avoid, and now, in addition to going home and having to start from scratch again with the whole house hunting/selling thing, we’re also going home to deal with OMGNEIGHBOURS. Who REALLY wanted to buy our house. AWKWARD.

In the meantime however, we’re here in this house in Miami, which…is probably not haunted. I mean, there WAS that time when Terry woke me in the night shouting, “I heard something! I HEARD SOMETHING!” And there was also that time when I was sitting by the pool and someone opened the door to the house, walked out, and… there was no one there when I looked up. There was also that time during a dark and stormy night, which I will write about when I get home, but for the most part, the issues with the house aren’t that it’s HAUNTED (probably): they’re just that it’s OLD.

This house, you see, is an older property than we’re used to. It was built in 1940, and has been extended several times since then. One of those extensions involved the conversion of the garage to a bedroom, and let’s just say that when I opened the door to that room and looked in, my first thought was, “Oh, so THAT’S how they manage to imprison people for years in suburban neighbourhoods, and no one knows!” And when I went to my family and said, “You know that really creepy room?” they instantly all said, “Oh, you mean the one that’s just like a dungeon?” Which says it all, really. (Let’s also just say that we’ve been here for almost two weeks now, and I have still not been able to bring myself to walk into that room. Seriously.)

Other than that, though, there is no reason to suspect the house is haunted. No REAL reason, anyway. Obviously I totally think the house is haunted, but I am alone in this thought, and the consensus from everyone else is that it’s simply a house built in 1940, which  LOOKS like it was build in 1940. And FEELS like it was built in 1940. And which has pretty much confirmed for me that my next house will not be an older house, because while I LOVE to visit old houses, I most definitely don’t want to live in one. Nuh-uh.

I know this is a very unpopular view. Since our house has been on the market, I’ve been reading a few home blogs, and forums dedicated to home blogs, and what I’ve discovered from them is that most people seem to love older houses. The words “traditional” and “cosy” come up a lot, and most people seem to sneer at the idea of new, modern houses, and to love the idea of older, more traditional properties, which are deemed to have “character” and to be far superior to their “cookie cutter” modern contemporaries.

Terry and I are the complete opposite to all of this. I love retro-inspired fashion, but when it comes to houses, I like them as modern as it gets. I love open-plan interiors, lots of space, lots of light. And while we haven’t ruled out the idea of buying an older property if we found one we really loved, I have to admit that the ones we’ve loved so far have all been very new, and very contemporary in design. They may be “cookie cutter” to most people, but I’d much rather put my own stamp on a blank canvas, than spend years deconstructing someone else’s taste, decor and dirt. Yes, I’m THAT kind of lazy, and living in this house has simply served to confirm to me that those brand, spanking new showhomes we looked at the week before we came out here are RIGHT up my street.

With all of that said, this house has its plus points. The pool is AWESOME, for instance. The neighbourhood is quiet, and seems to be totally devoid of Others. And there’s something very cool about lying in bed at night and imagining all of the other people, down through the decades, who’ve lain in that room before me: wondering what their stories were, and what those walls would tell me, if only they could talk. (And, honestly, I’m not totally convinced they CAN’T…) There’s also this pretty little courtyard, where I took these photos, and which is really rather lovely.

It may be old and worn, and not as clean as I’d really like. It may look much better in photos than it does in real life. But I still don’t want to go home.

playsuit by the pool

(Hat: Target // Swimsuit: George // Playsuit: Primark)

Hi, I'm Amber. I'm a full-time fashion/shoe blogger from the UK, and this is the story of my life, my clothes, and the International Man of Mystery Next Door. You can read more from me at my other blogs, The Fashion Police and Shoeperwoman, and you can follow me on Bloglovin' here.

22 Comments

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    rakhshanda

    Such a lovely dress <3 The playsuit is very pretty too!!

    Have a great day!
    Latest look:
    http://rakhshanda-chamberofbeauty.blogspot.in/2013/07/you-dont-need-to-occasion-to-wear.html

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Tamara

    My husband is just like you. He doesn’t like old homes; only wants new. I can go either way, but tend towards liking new better just for bigger kitchens and closets.

    I don’t know if I have commented before, but I have been reading for awhile and I enjoy your blog very much. Not only because you are quite funny, but also because you are a redhead(like me), have a white fluffy dog(like me, though I have three other in addition to my white fluffy one) and have a weirdo neighbor(again, like me. though I believe our neighbor is a drug dealer. What single guy has a 5 bedroom house with a 2 car garage that he NEVER opens and has all his windows blacked out?)

    Anyways, have fun in Miami(I went to grad school there, but live in Georgia now)!

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      Amber

      Thank you so much for leaving your first comment – it always makes my day when people who’ve been reading for a while leave a comment :)

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Emily

    It is funny that you came from Scotland to the States and think a 1940′s house is old. Although for Florida, it really is. I hope you have a great vacation and everything works out on your return house/neighbors wise.

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      Amber

      It’s old for Florida! (And actually, would be considered fairly old where I live, too…)

  • Oh la la I m in love with your dress. Adorable!

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    lizteabee

    I always think vacation houses are haunted regardless of vintage. Is there a lot of new construction in your area? I’m surprised because there’s so little in my part of the states. I associate it with places that weren’t developed until much later.

    Also. I adore that dress. It looks fun to twirl in.

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      Amber

      Oh yeah, there’s tons of new construction where we are – feels like there’s always a new development under way!

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Emma

    Omg, I want your dress! Beautiful

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Alex

    I live in a 1960s house which is a good balance for me – old enough to have some space (newer builds will squeeze room in ANYWHERE in London), but young enough to be modern, clean and not have issues.

    Let’s hope your perfect modern dream house comes along soon – along with your perfect buyers!

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Louise

    You look beautiful as always.

    I have to say, I do love old houses. My current house was built in 1933, it’s m7ch more solid than new houses I’ve lived in, and with bigger rooms and higher ceilings it feels larger and airy. You do have to get used to the creaks and things that go bump in the night though, it’s just an old house thing. Xx

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Sandy

    I’m probably the other way to you, I like modern houses but could never live in one. My house was built around 1910, so I hope I’ve got rid of the 1910 dirt at least! LOL! Mind you it did take us 10 years to decorate everything away from the previous owners….oh, except the bathroom tiles, oh and we’ve never decorated the loft room but that’s become a bit of a dumping room. Oops?

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      Amber

      Haha, that’s exactly why I like new homes – I just couldn’t deal with 10 years of renovations!

  • Love the playsuit, it is really awesome!

  • Reply July 4, 2013

    Mana

    Honestly I don’t really think about that, The house I’m renting now is from the 40′s, but I’d be just as happy in a new house. All I really want from a house is a Window Seat to watch the rain from, and a basement if I’m living in an area that has Tornadoes. I’d love the bedrooms to be on the second floor, and things like that, but I could careless if the house is new or old.

    Mana
    Fashion and Happy Things

  • Reply July 5, 2013

    Corinne

    This dress. SIGH. It’s wonderful!

    I’m so sorry to hear that the neighbours house is sold, uh oh!

    I do love old houses with character, but I’m not sure how practical they are. I moved house on Monday, my old house had this fantastic coal fire place in the living room, which we had to cover with cardboard because the cold escaped so quickly. Amazing floor boards which were the hardest thing to clean in the world, and all the heat just sunk straight through it. The kitchen had this amazing brick wall, wooden cupboards and a stove right out of the 1920s, with an old iron.. er, iron to go with it. But it was dirty. It looked dirty. It was impossible to clean.

    The new house is an old house, I think, but it has been completely redone and modernised. It feels so much nicer to live here, in a clean, bright, airy house. Rather than one that is full of character but had a somewhat oppressing tone to it.

    Um, I guess this is just a really long way of me saying that I agree with you!

    Hope you are having a fab time and are joining in on the 4th of July celebrations!

    Corinne x
    http://www.skinnedcartree.com

  • Reply July 5, 2013

    Stacey

    I get not wanting to live in an older house. I’m the same way. I like the idea of living in an older house – they seem cozy – but practically I know that I couldn’t do it. If for nothing else, there’s no closet space!

    Years ago, I was house hunting and looked at a house that was built in 1910. Gorgeous house, perfect area, smack in the middle of my price range. But the house had 3 different staircases – one in the front of the house and one in the back, plus a sort of “hidden” staircase that was only accessible through one back room. That gave the house sort of a creepy feeling, along with its age. There were 4 floors of the house, basement, 2 living floors, and then the attic which was turned into 2 bedrooms. On one of the attic bedrooms’ floor was a pool of red. Everyone kept trying to convince me it was just paint – but none of the rooms in the house had red paint. So that with the generally creepy air and I’m like “Nope. I’m getting out of here.”

    Oh, and one of the bathrooms was completely mirrored. Walls, floors, ceiling, TOILET. Everything in mirrors. It was weird. And creepy.

    • Reply July 7, 2013

      Amber

      Wow, a mirrored toilet sounds crazy! I remember the house we rented in L.A. had a totally mirrored bathroom (I wanted to close my eyes every time I was in there), but the toilet was mercifully normal!

      I actually don’t find ALL old houses creepy (Just this one!), it’s mostly the amount of work they normally need that puts me off. If I found one that had already been totally renovated, and had modern kitchens and bathrooms, that would be fine: I just can’t deal with the thought of buying a house and knowing it’ll take years and years of work before I’ll feel comfortable/happy with it. That said, if we found a house we really loved, in a neighbourhood we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, I could probably be persuaded, just as long as it wasn’t creepy!

  • Its incredible how small a detail like shade of pink along with subtle scallop edging can make that shoe look so magnificent and the perfect addition for the dress. Gorgeous look and love your blog. New follower.

  • Reply July 14, 2013

    Kat

    I did read this going “1940? Old?” but I guess it is for Florida! My house is 1930 and – although it’s not exactly modern – I’d never think of it as old because it isn’t old enough to be valuable! I’d like a Victorian one, in contrast to most people here apparently, but they’re old enough to be interesting, and therefore expensive.

  • Reply July 26, 2013

    Amy

    I love, love, LOVE your hair in the first few images. As a fellow red hair, I completely stalk your OOD for inspiration! Do you mind me asking how you got it like this? I know you don’t beauty blog anymore but if you could briefly share any tips, I’d really, really appreciate it! It’s so groomed yet still has that ‘natural’ look to the curls.

    On another note – this is my first comment! I’ve been lurking in the shades for forever but just *had* to break my silence!xx

    • Reply July 26, 2013

      Amber

      Hi, thanks so much for commenting! The hair was just heated rollers – because of the humidity in Florida the curl drops out super-quickly, which I think is why it looks a bit more natural: I didn’t do anything special, though!

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