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