#DSOldHouse Creative Challenge

Photo by Daniel Kanter.

Ever since my family moved into a crumbling, turn-of-the-century home in 1997 (complete with shattered windows and a massive hole between the first and second floors), I’ve held a special place in my heart for old homes and the brave, totally insane people who choose to love them and fix them up. After my fiancé and I bought our own 1870 fixer-upper in Kingston, NY this year, that love has increased tenfold. While buying new definitely has its perks—modern conveniences like functional plumbing and storm windows— there’s something magical about living in and getting to know an old house, a place that has a history that dates back generations. From beautiful moldings and decorative details to windows with wavy glass, the beauty that old homes have to offer more than makes up for the headaches, back pain, and sleepless nights trying to figure out a broken boiler in the middle of winter (yes, that happened) that comes with getting them back in shape.

All of this is to say, dear readers, we want to see your old houses. Whether those houses might be your own, or just ones that you admire while walking through your neighborhood. From wide exterior shots to microscopic details—we want to see the old homes that hold special places in your hearts.

Send us your photos using the hashtag #DSOldHouse on Twitter and Instagram OR leave us a comment with a link OR send your submissions to us via e-mail with the subject line “#DSOldHouse”. We’ll post our favorites right here on 1/27! Get snappin!

  1. We’ve got a 1920s American Foursquare – not as old as your house, but still historical and interesting! We are in the process of making it our own while still respecting its history and structure and style. Sometimes that’s a tricky balance to find, but we are loving the challenge. You can see the house and rooms (and our renovation progress so far) here:

  2. I love old houses! So much so that I created an entire website devoted to them. I have always been frustrated that old houses aren’t spoken up in loving, fun ways. I’m so excited to see other young people jumping on the old house bandwagon!

    Daniel, I’ve been following your blog and LOVE your work.

  3. Head on over to my blog to check out the 1902 American Foursquare we are in the process of restoring! It’s very much still a work in progress, but we hope to wrap up almost everything in the next 3 weeks! :) http://www.702parkproject.com (there’s a Shutterfly link with tons of pics too!)

  4. Hey guys – is it #DSOLDHOUSE or #DSOLDHOMES? The photo says one and the text says another. Just wanted to make sure there wasn’t any confusion.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      yikes! it’s old house- sorry, i’ll fix that! (and check both hashtags so we don’t miss anyoone)


  5. Jeanette says:

    This is such a fun challenge! I’ll be hashtagging away on our 1875 Georgian farmhouse and include the challenge on our blog http://www.boardandbatten.wordpress.com!

  6. My house was built in ’55. Does “mid-century” qualify; or are we basically talking about construction that predates WWII?

    Am I just over-thinking this? lol.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      old is subjective- there are no strict rules for this :) i think mid century is fine…


  7. Heidi S. says:

    How fun! I will have to find some of my favorite pictures of our in progress 1888 Stick Style Victorian.

  8. Chris says:

    “A Quiet Hell” – a morning after some demolition


  9. Kathryn says:

    I would adore living in a 19th century building some day. And it’s funny, but looking through the photos of your house, I get a feeling of familiarity, despite our home being more than half a century younger. I think it’s the dust, faded wallpaper, bare plaster and crumbling lino.

    My partner and I have been fixing up a British 1930s terrace for a few years now and love combining vintage features with bright, modern colors. I’m particularly in love with our handmade wooden kitchen (new), stained glass entry (old) and polished pine floorboards (refurbished). My partner, Kate, documents the house’s progress on her Flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49965961@N00/sets/72157625995617166

  10. Awesome! Thanks, G! (And a belated “congrats” on your marriage. I was really happy for you and Julia, when you made it public-knowledge.)

  11. Valerie says:

    I too am an old house restorer! I blog about our 1890 Victorian in the Bay Area.

  12. Dana S. says:

    I recently visited my mom’s childhood home, an historic brick house in Jersey City, NJ, and it was an amazing experience! http://circaoldhouses.com/jersey-city/

  13. Heide kemp says:

    I posted some recent before and after pictures of our 1920s Caicos style home in indiana. Hope you like them:) we love the simplicity and charm of the old homes. Thanks you for taking a look:)

  14. Lynn says:

    We’ve been renovating our 1900 Boston two-family home for a year now. It was owned by the same family across three generations since the time it was built. Like stepping into 1960 when we bought it! The photos are documented on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/lbossange/sets/72157632046062828/

  15. Elizabeth says:

    We’re more than two years in on a TOTAL renovation/rehab of a circa 1900 cobbled together Maine house. We’ve undertaken all the work ourselves (along with much help from parents!) including post and beam, newly plastered walls, and now we’re more than halfway through putting on a reclaimed slate roof. Photos of our process/progress here:

  16. marissa says:

    LOVE! we purchased an 1888 Queen Anne Victorian that’s a huge fixer upper! the previous owner had stripped it :( // no kitchen, no bathrooms, no floors! but the bones are goregous!–>> we are doing all the work ourselves as well. Would love to have a photo included in your roundup: (also tagged a few on my instagram @pitterpatterclunk)


  17. Jeffrey says:

    Like Maxwell, we moved north from the NYC to an upstate fixer upper. It is a 7000 sq. ft. house/restaurant/former strip club -built in 1890. It had been through more renewels, incarnations, and renovations than the Dali Lama, and we thought it would be a great place to “strip” bare and create a new live work space after our lease at 61 Greenpoint was doubled from $2500-5000/month. So it was off to Hudson with a mortgage and a hammer.

  18. Tania says:

    Such a great idea! We have been renovating/restorating/solving problems/having fun a 1870 house in Québec for the last 3 years.

    I love following Max and Daniel adventures with their new old house. It is always inspiring but, more than that, is nice to see we are not the only crazy people out there ;).

  19. We are just starting to rennovate our new old home! So awesome to see all the people passionate about old homes.

  20. This is great! Love Design*Sponge and seeing what everyone is up to!

    I am living one of my dreams restoring a 17th century townhouse in Bayeux, (Normandy) France:

    Keep up the great work and don’t let old homes die!


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