Property porn warning: These American historic homes are simply stunning

Still perving over Irish properties? Check out these spectacular heritage properties from across the pond – many of which are laughably affordable


I blame the movies and TV shows. Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamed of owning a good, old fashioned all-American house. One with a duck egg blue, or sage green, clapboard façade, tall, dual aspect windows, an ahead-of-its-time open plan configuration, built-in dressers, insect screens, a fire engine-red mailbox and – the pièce de résistance – the quintessential wraparound front porch, upon which I’d sit on an obligatory rocking chair, or swing bench, nursing a whiskey sour during golden hour.

Reality/realtor check: I am now middle aged and this is dream is as likely to happen as, er, ever getting on the property ladder here in Ireland. And so I live vicariously through the artist and interior stylist Zöe McCarthy, one of my oldest and dearest friends who swapped Britain for New England nearly 20 years ago, and sensitively transformed their 1895 home into a 21st century haven. Which, of course, has a wraparound porch and all the required seating. 

The different seasons lending different vibes to the hallowed front porch, my American dreams of real estate spooling away in the background like an old cinema projector

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My last visit was in October 2019, when Bostonian facades were festooned with pumpkins, fairy lights, cobwebs and wreaths in the run-up to Halloween. I’ve been in early spring and late summer, too, the different seasons lending different vibes to the hallowed front porch, my American dreams of real estate spooling away in the background like an old cinema projector. 

So it’s no surprise that during lockdown I fell down the rabbit hole that is Historical Homes of America, an Instagram account primarily for realtors but also architects and interior design mavens – and dreamers, like me. 

Vintage treasures

Victorian-era houses feature prominently, from the ornate Queen Anne style to the more understated Craftsman design, each one tapping into cinematic memories of every buddy movie, rom-com and horror film you ever saw. Corinthian columns, turrets, sweeping oak staircases, millwork floors, pocket doors, original stained glass, plenty of land… these homes have character in spades, and often with jaw-droppingly low price tags. Buy the Irish equivalent of a four-storey, five-bed, 2,699 sq ft home in Ohio and it’d be considerably more than the $209k listed here.

Zöe enabled my historic American homes obsession further by pointing me in the direction of another time-sucking Instagram account, Cheap Old Houses, which, is exactly as it says on the tin, showcasing new-to-the-market period piles. Some are dirt cheap because they’re dilapidated. Others because they’re in the arse end of nowhere, or outside of “desirable neighbourhood” territory. But many just need a bit of imagination and TLC to bring out their potential.

They need me, basically. Me and a Lotto win (oh, and for those pesky Republicans to get their coat in November...). Here are some doozies...


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Header photo by Unsplash


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