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Updated Older Houses: The Best of all Worlds?

by | Jul 17, 2008 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

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Updated Older Houses: The Best of all Worlds?

I was considering the flip side of what we talked about in the last post, instead of a new house designed to look old (which I think is an excellent option if it presented itself), I think in my heart of hearts I am most drawn to an old house that has been updated. Updated, but still retains much of its original charm and personality. It may not be the most practical option for me, but it is still the most romantic.

Updated Older Houses: The Best of all Worlds?

I think I could be happy in a variety of settings, and even just simply grateful to have ANY roof over my head. But I am so drawn to charming details, cozy feelings and old house romance that I think I am best suited to older houses, assuming I can update them to my liking, in my ideal world. Dreaming here, remember.

Updated Older Houses: The Best of all Worlds?

Speaking of older charming houses, I really enjoyed one of the houses in the movie The Holiday. This charming English cottage was oozing with personality and English style! The perfect house for spending a wintry holiday. I drooled over all these pictures on my blogging buddy Joni’s blog so I am sharing a few for you here so you can drool too. You can click over to her blog to see her expert commentary and the rest of the photos! She has lots of photos of this house, the Something’s Gotta Give House (one of my very favorites ever) and all sorts of charming rooms in her last few posts (her whole blog, actually).

Updated Older Houses: The Best of all Worlds?

Updated Older Houses: The Best of all Worlds?

Updated Older Houses: The Best of all Worlds?

Updated Older Houses: The Best of all Worlds?

Thanks to each of you who shared their two bits this week and weighed in on the options. You were all really helpful, I loved hearing your contributions!

Sigh. I think whoever wrote in my comments “When you find the right house, old or new, you will know” was absolutely right. If the right opportunity, money, schools and neighborhoods all align themselves with the right house, old or new, I will know.

The Holiday movie house photos via Cote de Texas.


  1. Mrs. Q

    Drooling over my keyboard here…

    I love older homes, but I agree with you…updated older homes are better :)

    And I just love all the photos you find to put on your blog!

    Oh my gosh! You put me on your blogroll…eeek :) (I am squealing with glee) Thank you! I feel like I just got an autograph from a famous celebrity. (Well, in my mind you are famous…lol)

    Have an awesome week!


    Mrs. Q

  2. Kathleen Grace

    Oooooh, Aaaaah, I love these photos. Every single one of them. A new old house would be right up my alley. I don’t think I would ever choose to live in a brand new home if given a choice, even if the home I wanted needed a few repairs. I’m just not a new home kind of gal.

  3. Beck

    These are too cute! love old loved homes

  4. Karin

    Oh, dear! My heart started pounding when the house came up, but then I saw the white kitchen with the soapstone counters and sink! We had a soapstone sink in our back hall in the house I grew up in. It was deep and sturdy and had help up through generations of mucky clothes, family pets and the bounty of summer gardens. I firmly planted the desire in my 10 year old heart to have one just like it in my own home one day. I still want one, but here in GA, it may be a bit of a trick finding one. ;)
    Thank you for sharing such lovely photos. I’m going back to drool a bit more.

  5. Melissa


    Thank you for coming by and introducing yourself. I love your sense of style.

    I have been to Portland and I adore your city. I love going to the Oregon Coast. In fact, I have two favorite spots. One is the Cannon Beach Lodge at Cannon Beach, Oregon and the other is the Sylvia Beach Hotel, located in Nye Beach (Newport).

    In fact, my husband and I are thinking about going on another visit there in October.

    Thank you for your extremely nice comments.

    I really look forward to getting to know you better through blogland as well.

    I definitely can learn a thing or two from your elegant decorating style.

    Have a wonderful day.


  6. Mari-Nanci

    Yes, when you find the right house, you will know. Goes along with my {not so classy} ‘follow your gut feeling.’ :-)))

    And oh the pics in this entry!!!!! Oh sigh and happy moan…

    And a link to a blog, which shows sets from films!! Be still my heart. I LUVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV film sets! Oh Melissa you are the greatest! Your ideas and your finds and what you share with us. I LUVVVVVVVVVVVV you too! :-)

    Miss Mari-Nanci
    When Twilight Embraces

  7. kellilou3

    Thank you so much for your posts on this topic! Our house is for sale, and I’d love to find a nice, old home that needs some TLC, so this information has been really relevant to me. And a BIG thank you for the New Old House magazine link! I never knew such a magazine existed, and I can just see myself pouring over every detail of every page.

    Karin, what about this place for soapstone: They even have free shipping on some of them, if you can either install yourself or find someone who can!

  8. M&Co

    What beautiful and interesting posts you’re doing on New/old houses! Living in an updated old house myself I find this truly inspiering!! I love my old house because; Its unique, it has an unusual floor plan which you never find in new houses, it has history, it has soul and its made in a period of time when only the best of materials and craftmanship was used :-) On the downside; Its costing me a fortune to upgrade, and everytime I get my head above water something else needs to be fixed ;-)
    All in all though, Its a love affair!

  9. Linds

    Is it odd that the sight of those kitchens make my heart skip a beat :) Love them!!

  10. Trina

    Great post…this is always a debate of mine. Can’t beat the character of older homes and their neighborhoods.

    Also I gave you an award.. check it out at my blog!

    XX Trina

  11. Catherine

    I love that charming kitchen! It makes me want to jump in and redo mine!

  12. jane

    i said it, i said it!! and you will know when you see it. but in the meantime we are ALL really LOVING your search the the photos/tips you share with us along the way. THANK YOU! jkj

  13. Ruth

    I love these kitchens, also! I will be re-doing our kitchen in the next few years, and your pictures nailed what I want! I love the sinks! If I could redo my whole house with the decor in your photos, I’d love it!

    Thanks for posting these!

  14. Kendra

    These photos are just stunning. Thanks for stopping by and staying hi so that I could visit you and drool over those pictures of that amazing old-new kitchen. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  15. please sir

    Lovely photos. I know what you mean about personal style. I can post and send people photos that remind me of them, and they are like “that’s so me!” But, I like so much that I get a bit unfocused in my own personal style. There is just too much inspiration out there to not love all of it!

  16. Brandee

    They all look so cozy. I love old houses. So much character.

    Brandee :-)

  17. Bejeweled

    I love that stuffed, footed ottoman. It would make any room, new or old, feel cozy and homey.

  18. pam

    Love the first kitchen.

  19. At Home Redesigns

    Beautiful photos. And yes, I really do think an updated older home is the best option. Now I want to move…. (that’s a lie…I’m always ready for a move!)

  20. Pat

    As always I’ve loved my visit here. I’ve just spent time looking at the posts I’ve missed in the past few days! I just love them all! I’d certainly be listening to my heart if I had a chance to choose. It would be so difficult to pick just the one.

    Great posts, Melissa!

  21. Laura

    That first kitchen photo! Swoon….. What I would do for that sink especially.

    And I agree: My first choice would be an old house that is updated but still retains its charm is the house for me!

    Fun posts this week!

  22. Joni Webb

    Thanks for the shout out!!!! I was wondering what was going on – I got some comments from people saying Melissa sent them over! Thanks girl!!!! You are the best, EVA.


  23. Christine

    Oh my goodness..that first pic looks like it could have been made by the same folks who made my 108yr old farm house!!
    I loove my old just has some personality issues!lol!’s home and we are very thankful to live in a one of a kind…
    You are always sooo inspirational!
    ~p.s…I just emailed you!

  24. Penny

    I loved that house from Somethings Gotta Give! It doesn’t look “decorated”…just looks like it evolved over time…

  25. Dana

    I love both, I think there are so many benefits either way. With many older homes the detail are stunning and unique. Sometimes harder to get with a new home.

    But the up keep and work that an old home takes sometimes can be exhausting and overwhelming too!

    Hard decision… I just love so much about both.

    I agree that when you see it, you will know. Great Advice.

    Many Blessings, Dana

  26. Counting Your Blessings

    I just adore our old farmhouse. It’s huge – 3 stories with high ceilings BUT the kitchen is tiny. Though we have lots of closets, not a one of them is large. We have doors all over the place! Some are cool glass swinging doors, some are paned, some are paneled – loads and loads of doors – that we keep open pretty much all the time. I suppose they needed it for keep heat in or cool air out way back then. For us, it’s a sure way to keep us from buying large furniture! =) Blessings… Polly

  27. Melissa


    I just passed on an award to you.

    Your blog is so inspiring to me. I thank you for sharing your talent for decorating.

    Please stop by Sunbonnet Cottage to receive your award.

    Many thanks.

    Sunbonnet Cottage

  28. Kimba

    I was so excited to see pictures of the English cottage from The Holiday. Hubby and I just watched that movie and I kept pausing the movie to look at the house. :-)

    In my heart of hearts, I would love an old home that’s been updated. I don’t know if I have it in me to do the actual updating. We’re actually just finishing our new home and I would have loved to do a New/Old home but it wasn’t in the budget. So I have my new home (and I’m ever so grateful) and I’ll incorporate the “old” part with decor.

  29. Porchlight Interiors

    Loved your comments about it being easier to make decisions about the decor in someone elses home than your own. I struggle with this often. I’m very quick to decide what accessories will look great for someone else but for my house I take much longer to decide. Love all these photos you have put together for this post.

  30. Lisa

    I like the combination of old and new and can’t even decide what is best. I do agree that you will know when it seems right.

  31. Vee~A Haven for Vee

    May the house of your dreams be waiting for you, Melissa. Somehow, I think it will be.

    I find that I can be happy in a great many rooms, if they’re neat and tidy. Simple really. Ha!

  32. Kristeen

    By heart always heads to the older look – the Vermont kitchen is just one examble… I love the ideas of the furniture placements… it gave me some ideas for my home which we will be starting to build soon in the craftsman style… thanks for all your ideas… Kristeen

  33. Jen

    There is just one thing missing…Jude Law :)

  34. Melissa

    Yeah, if Jude Law was there we wouldn’t be noticing if it was an old house OR a new house… LOL! Good thinking.

  35. anne

    I love the first kitchen…could see myself in there!!

  36. Kari

    Whoa! LOVE these past few posts…I totally feel the same way. I always debate back and forth about whether to go OLD or “newer” but have the look of old. Truth is, sometimes it’s too expensive to go old…and fix it up the way you want it. Guess it’s just the right house finding you and seeing whether it fits in your price range. Happy House Hunting dear friend…can’t wait to see what He brings along for y’all! :) Thanks for sharing the journey with us…

  37. Sweet Cottage Dreams

    I am in love with each of these rooms. They are all perfectly appointed with wonderful touches!!! Ok, any for sale? haha.

    Have a marvelous weekend and huggies to Winston!!

    Becky and Doogs

  38. Laura Ingalls Gunn

    I could move right into “Iris’s” cottage and be blissfully happy.
    Thank you for the wonderful images.

  39. rosieswhimsy

    What wonderful pics. Those kitchens are fabulous! I love new houses that look old and old houses that have all new guts but still look old. Did I just sound a bit crazy there?

    ((hugs)) Rosie

  40. Martha

    Architect Sandy Vitzthum New Old House Magazine
    This house is in Craftsbury, Vermont, we just returned from vacation there. My son attends Sterling College in Craftsbury Commons, VT. We love it up there, so much so in fact we almost purchased a 1800’s house that had been completely restored. We wanted to think about it and when we had decided it had already been sold. There are so many quaint old houses in that area, many waiting to be restored, if only I could win the lottery! I love old houses, it is my dream to one day own one which has been completely refurbished. I have my eye on two more, but my husband keeps telling me now is not the time. . .so I wait. I love your blog!

  41. Jill T

    Wow! What a great blog!
    As for decorating an older house, you can do it differently but not better! Outstanding pictures!

  42. Christi from Charm & Grace

    Gor.Geous. I love the first little farm cottage picture, but what really gets my attention are the photos of the house from The Holiday. I mean real stone walls, exposed beams, gorgeous furniture, and that kitchen… with a fireplace… even the bedroom with its walls and exposed beams. Charming is definitely an understatement. I am making notes so that I can plan my cottage! (Trying to catch up because I am behind on my blog rounds…)

    :-) Blessings,


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