Design

What Are Your Home’s Quirks?

Caroline Donofrio Brooklyn apartment

When I moved to New York at 18 years old, the city was the second home I’d ever known…

I was instantly enamored with the way I could become lost in a crowd, the paradox of feeling both always and never alone. Every walk promised the discovery of some new secret, even if I took the very same route as the day before. After all, this was the setting for countless books and films and essays, a place where every moment felt laden with possibility, where even running errands could make me feel like the hero of the story of my life.

It’s safe to say that kind of romanticism is what kept me here. Because it certainly wasn’t the real estate.

My apartments — there have been a lot of them — have had quirks upon quirks. For years, I lived in a building where one neighbor seemed to spend all their waking hours cooking bacon, the smell perpetually permeating the hall. Then came the apartment with the photogenic farmhouse sink that only spouted scalding hot water. Thick rubber gloves were a dishwashing necessity, and hand washing was not for the faint of heart.

There was the Brooklyn bedroom with the radiators that hissed and moaned like an evil witch from a fairy tale. For weeks, I woke in the middle of the night, thinking someone was breaking in. Eventually, I got so used to it that it barely registered.

Then, late one night, I heard a new, more disturbing sound. Scraaaaaatch. It echoed from inside the wall, like something straight out of an Edgar Allan Poe story. Scratch-scratch-scratch. A friend came to my apartment, to confirm, and the sound abated. Then as soon as I was alone — and easier to terrify out of my wits — the scratching persisted. Finally, when it seemed like the creature might bust through the drywall, someone came to take a look. It was an entire family of raccoons.

In one Manhattan apartment, my upstairs neighbor worked as a bartender, shuffling up the stairs at 4am, where his presence immediately became known. He made dinner — or was it breakfast? — and watched TV, the sound fading just as I was getting up for work. If what comes around goes around, this was not the case for me, as my next place came with a downstairs neighbor who complained about every noise short of the sound of my breathing. If only he could go live beneath the bartender, I’d think.

And that’s just my experience. Friends who live in all different places have tales of their own quirks — the deer and rabbits that eat their gardens, creepy sounds in the attic, neighborly brawls over landscaping or the color of holiday lights. When Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home,” this likely wasn’t what she had in mind. But such quirks are, in some cases, what make a home a home.

While I do not miss the scalding water sink, many of these idiosyncrasies only added to my living experiences. In the years when I lived alone, hearing the hum of a neighbor’s television helped me feel less so. I felt safer, knowing someone was bearing witness to my life the same way I bore witness to the sound of their footsteps.

Over the course of this past year, I’ve especially found that proximity to other humans feels comforting, even when it happens through windows and walls. In a larger sense, we are all neighbors. And whether we know it or not, we are all a little quirky. So, what more can we expect?

Where do you live, and what are the quirks of your home? Do you have any stories to share?

P.S. On going home and Stella’s 175-square-foot apartment.

(Photo of Caroline’s apartment via Instagram.)

  1. Anne A says...

    Living in an apartment as plain as they come. The only quirks it has are the ones we brought in. 😁😅

  2. Fiona says...

    I used to live in a cute apartment in a quirky neighborhood in Seattle. It was lovely – crown moulding, old wood floors, so much charm. It was right next to a small grocery store, cute coffee shops and had a fig tree in the front yard. The rooms were tiny, the bathroom was basically a closet, but it was a wonderful place to start my adult life and experience city living. I think the biggest quirk was the “2nd bedroom” which was basically a half-room under the stairs that I eventually used as a walk in closet! My boyfriend, now husband, got the basement as his “space” and I had the dressing room/closet all to myself :) Now we live in a house, and I find myself missing small, quirky apartment living sometimes. Thank you for this post!

  3. Sarah Jane says...

    Our current house is the first one we’ve owned. Its most charming feature is a nook in the living room that fits our couch, a sofa table behind it, and two floor lamps. It has windows on two sides and sits up in the treetops. It’s lovely. We first noticed a quirk about a year and a half ago– a series of scratching sounds. After a little research about creatures that live in roofs, we deduced that it was a squirrel. We named her Priscilla and crossed our fingers that she wouldn’t have babies. Eventually we called an exterminator who, after a series of visits, evicted her. No sounds for several months until…. well, lots more sounds. She returned a few months ago and upped both her activity level and her range, now going into the walls in addition to the roof. Our charming nook in the trees was suddenly significantly less charming. This time we called a squirrel specialist. Long story somewhat shorter: She wasn’t a squirrel. She was a rat. Our squirrel guy is luckily also a rat guy. Josh. Took three visits but he evicted her. Two weeks later and we’re driving down the road (baby in the back) when the power steering goes out and all of the lights on the dashboard go on. Turns out Priscilla and/ or her rodent friends chewed through ALL THE MAJOR WIRES IN OUR CAR. Words to the wise: Car insurance covers rodent damage. Car wires can be wrapped in rodent tape to prevent chewing. Homeownership is expensive.

  4. D says...

    The way you write about life in the city is perfect, beautiful, thank you!

  5. Emelia says...

    One of my neighbors plays the flute. My husband and I call it the “haunting flute music” but the spooky quality of it is very comforting now!

  6. Connor says...

    I lived catty-cornered to a brothel in a residential neighborhood for about 6 years.

    Aside from us not being zoned for that particular kind of work, they were great neighbors.

  7. I’m a senior in college, and I’ve lived in the same 100+ year old house in Chapel Hill for the past three years… so there are simply too many quirks to count! I’ve shared this home with several different roommates, and certainly have a love/hate relationship with this dinky house. I’ve grown to become more appreciative for things like counter space or even flooring, and I’ve even learned some lessons as I share in my blog post linked here: https://jamiemd.com/lessons-learned-from-the-fridge/

    Thank you for sharing this relatable story, Caroline!

  8. Hilary says...

    I live in a 1847 apartment building with almost 20 units in Connecticut. My upstairs neighbor is a woman in her 50’s from Egypt who (mostly) gently snores, rolls around on a chair, watches Bollywood movies and shrieks with laughter on the telephone once a week – which never fails to put a smile on my face. My downstairs neighbors are a young couple. The gentleman coughs/clears his throat in a pattern of threes. I call the sounds they make playing with their infant daughter “The Wheeee Olympics.” A couple of months ago I surmised that she was teething as she would wail every 4.5 hours on the dot, which made me want to leave them a note “You’re letting her Baby Tylenol wear out… :)” but I would just send soothing thoughts through the floorboards and wish them well. Odd to be so connected to a tiny being that you’ll never hold. <3 This is a great post, thank you.

  9. janine says...

    I live in a 100+ year old house, so it has plenty of quirks (and the woman who grew up in the house still lives in my town and I’ve met her! Her grandson is the same age as my son and they share the same birthday). When we first moved in, our bathroom had a toilet with a triangular-shaped tank, wedged into a corner. The whole operation was literally held together with paper clips. Needless to say, we had to eventually replace it.

    I used to live in a ground floor apartment in Brooklyn where we heard all kinds of noises from upstairs (including a dog who ran around and barked a lot) and the street. I had a cat at the time who was scared of his own shadow; he was terrified by all the noises and resorted to obsessively licking the fur off his belly (poor cat). It was definitely stress, according to the vet. When we finally moved out of the place, he stopped the belly licking.

  10. Cleo says...

    I live upstairs from my landlord, a 60-something year old dandy who always looks like he’s ready to go on a royal hunting trip in his neat little tweed vests. He’s a singer and concert pianist and often practices early in the morning. I love it when his music seeps through my old wooden floors while I’m having my coffee. But a couple of weeks ago at breakfast, instead of music I heard a very disturbing, long, agonizing cry. Convinced the poor man was having a heart attack, I rushed downstairs, only to realize halfway down that the sound had developed into relieved moans. Suddenly I remembered the man had recently gotten married again for the third time… Ever since, I have been living with his orgastic vocal acrobatics on a daily basis. I do feel happy for him, but talking about home quirks…

  11. rachel simmons says...

    I live in Central california in a 1950’s ranch homeand my home has 0 quirks. like 0. sad. but im certainly enjoying reading all of these comments!

  12. Lacey says...

    My kitchen window faces my neighbor’s kitchen window. It was comforting to watch her wash dishes, get a glass of water as I did the same things. I’m a SAHM and she worked from home so, like your post says, we bore witness to each other’s lives. When they moved, I missed not just our gardening conversations over the backyard fence but also just noticing her presence in passing. The new neighbors are lovely and just as neighborly but they keep their blinds drawn.

  13. Caryn says...

    We lived in a house in Florida, at the back of a neighborhood. The large property behind us belonged to the county police dept. and to the rear of the their property they would detonate explosive devices that they confiscated, at all hours! Very weird.

  14. Meghan says...

    Haha. My apartment is in a hundered-year-old heritage home and the floors are bowed. If I’m in my home office on the roller chair and don’t have my feet planted, I’ll roll to the other side of the room. I love apartment living, cozy sounds all around, and a loose knit community.

  15. Sreb says...

    Oh God, we’re trying to have a house build, so at the moment we (as in me, my husband and our 8 years old son) are renting the cheapest, most bare 2 bedroom apartment in the entirety of the Denver Metro Area. I think the biggest “quirk” , though it is hard to pick, is that our downstairs neighbor seems to be a “working girl”, that coming with the creepy on again off again boyfriend who always has a murder trailer attached to his various vehicles, 14 plush bears peaking from her car windows on Valentine’s day, random torn off flowers on the stairs, and the occasional cooking of nasty smelling, unidentifiable stuff at 3 am (when she’s home once or twice a week)…she also wears a different wig every time I see her. The list goes on, but it certainly feels like living above a real life sorta creepy sitcom.

  16. My.neighbor.is.nutz. says...

    I forgot to mention that he is using his leaf blower to dry off the water that is wetting the sidewalk, due to the melting snow, which he has moved several times now with the shovel for faster melting. Now moving the car from the road in front of the house. Presuming he’ll leaf-blow the road dry now.

  17. My house is over 110 years old. It is an old miner’s cottage – it’s tiny. Kitchen and living room on the ground floor, a big bedroom, a tiny bedroom, and a teeny bathroom on the middle floor, and an attic room on the 2nd floor. It’s 13′ wide by about 23′ long. Teeny. It’s also has a lot of idiosyncrasies….. which make it hard to decorate and sometimes hard to live in, but I love it anyway

    • Hilary says...

      That reminds me of a friend’s old house in Red Cliff, CO. <3 Sounds cool.

  18. Kelly Smith says...

    Our first apartment in Chicago was in a high-rise building by the lake. For a long time, we thought the apartment next to ours was vacant. Unlike the other apartments on our floor, it was eerily quiet. Then we started hearing strange sounds, like the cawing of an exotic bird. Occasionally, we could make out words or phrases like “No” and “Go away,” so we assumed our neighbor owned a grouchy parrot.

    But it was a person, not a parrot. We discovered our neighbor was elderly and bed-ridden, and being cared for by family.

    Another neighbor in the same building used to pound on our door about once a month and accuse us of torturing his dog, then threaten to kill us. We ran into him once outside our apartment while waiting for the elevator, and thank goodness there were other neighbors there, too! It was scary, and I was happy to move out.

    We moved to an apartment with ONE closet. But it had in-unit laundry! Worth it!

  19. When we lived in Amsterdam, everyone left their windows uncovered (it’s an actual thing there), so I was always catching glimpses of other peoples’ lives from our floor-to-ceiling living room windows. I spend the first nine months in our flat pregnant, and then finally brought our second daughter home from the hospital on a cold February morning. As I was snuggling her on the couch in our living room, I saw the couple across the street standing in their window watching me. I had never spoken to them, but knew they were a young-ish couple close in age to us. As it became clear that they must have been discussing that the “pregnant vrouw across the way had had her baby,” I saw the woman, across the street in her own living room, sweetly rubbing her own belly, which started to show just a few weeks later.

    • Sarah says...

      This was so sweet, and made me quite emotional – the feeling that you were connected and seen even if you didn’t speak. This last year made that feel really important.

  20. Jennifer says...

    Have you ever noticed that most horror movies take place in homes and not apartments? Those “terrors” that creep the heroine out in horror movies are old news in apartments. Voices of people you don’t know through the wall? Yep. Music and you don’t know where it’s coming from? Every day. Footsteps on the ceiling when you didn’t think anyone was home? Got that too.

    • rachel simmons says...

      lol. i believe every episode of Law and Order SVU happens in apartments thou…

  21. Jen says...

    I had a home with a weird split-level platform that transitioned from the living room into the master bedroom. It had a few steps up to it and down again into the bedroom, and some built-in shelves to house the TV. Definitely a focal point and a design challenge. We called it the karaoke stage (though we never actually karaoked) and my nephews loved playing on it.

  22. Rita says...

    My San Francisco apartment was right below the property manager’s apartment, and he was…a lot. Didn’t ever repair anything, super noisy upstairs neighbor, responded to a break-in into our unit from a back porch only accessible by people in the building by saying “don’t worry about it,” was eventually most likely dealing out of his place if the stream of people buzzing our doorbell at all hours was evidence. We called the cops on him a lot, but nothing ever happened. Eventually the rest of us in the building banded together and managed to get him fired and evicted (my neighbor fell through a stairwell that hadn’t been repaired, so there was good lawsuit material).
    .
    When he moved out, he dragged a full-sized grocery cart down the stairs from his third floor apartment. He was an aspiring comedian, and he’d built a small stage in the corner of his living room to practice on. He squatted in some homes halfway down the block after he left, till he got booted from there as well. And then about six months after he was finally really gone gone, some men in suits showed up on our doorstep. Turns out they were from the FBI and they wanted to talk with him about a woman who had disappeared and did we know where he was…

    • Vittoria says...

      OH MY!!!!

  23. LHR says...

    A small sapling started growing on my fire escape in Brooklyn and eventually made its way through an opening at the top of the window and started creeping across my bedroom ceiling. I would occasionally trim it back, but for the final year of my lease I was living the reality of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”!

    In London, I moved into a small flat above a coffee shop on a quiet square in Belsize Park. My first morning there, I was awakened to a god-awful sound from below. I heard it again that evening. Turns out the cafe dragged their tables and chairs to the corner of the cafe every evening so they could mop the floors and then dragged them back into place when they opened (very early) the following morning. Didn’t manage to sleep in very much in that flat!

  24. I moved to the North End of Boston about three months ago (moving during a pandemic is a special kind of nerve wracking!). For the first few weeks I lived here, I would hear a loud bang every morning and every afternoon, and just assumed it was one of my neighbors going to or coming from work (it sounded like someone jumping on a metal door), and wrote it off. Weird, but not obnoxious.

    About three weeks after I moved I realized I was hearing a CANNON twice a day, every day—they fire one at 8 am every day and again at sunset over in the Navy Yard. It’s so much a fact of life for everyone who lives in this neighborhood that no one thought to tell the new neighbor!

    • vanessa says...

      yes! the cannon shot in the North End!! there are so many quirks in Boston that people are completely used to and never think to warn you about! the next one to be on the lookout for in the North End: right around patriots day they reenact Paul Revere’s “midnight ride” which starts at Old North Church. Don’t be caught unawares as I was one night, casually strolling down the street, suddenly overtaken by two men in colonial garb galloping past on horses!!

    • LK says...

      HAHA I live across the water in East Boston. This is hilarious and made me laugh. Classic Boston!

  25. Oh,please.stop.it. says...

    It’s the neighbors that are quirky, mostly one neighbor. He mows the lawn with intensity, stopping the mower exactly 13 times in the back yard to sweep clippings into a dustpan with a broom; 13 more times in the front yard and 13 times in the side yard. This takes hours. We can mow the lawn in 10 minutes, by comparison. The catch basket would do a fine job with the clippings, but whatever.

    In winter, the snow gets in his craw. Close to midnight, when the lights are out in most houses on the street, the process begins. He scrapes the sidewalks vigorously, then he clears off the entire road in front of his house, with precise, sharp edges. Next he takes out his precious Christmas present, a leaf blower, and gives any stray snowflakes a good blast. This continues long after the snow has fallen, in case a single snowflake does not know its place. Several times a day those errant snowflakes must be put in their place.

    Now it is spring, so the snow piles must be distributed equally on the lawn for expedient melting, and the garage must be vacuumed, not that any of his cars are allowed in there, or even on the driveway. Soon it will be time to mow the grass…

    • Kristina says...

      ❤️❤️❤️

  26. S. says...

    I was thinking and couldn’t find any quirks in my house, and then I realized that MY BATHROOM HAS NO DOOR. The bedroom has one, and the hallway that connects bedroom and bathroom also has one, so it’s not too bad, but it’s definitely bonded my boyfriend and I. It’s the first place where we’ve lived together and here we are, shouting to one another PLEASE DONT LEAVE THE BEDROOM UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE. Romance!

  27. Danielle says...

    Just moments before this post came up my husband came in to show me a video of us touring our little SF apartment the day we moved in. It had it’s charms- beautiful moldings, French doors, big windows that you could just barely spot the Golden Gate Bridge from. We both sort of sighed watching it. Then we remembered the kitchen with not one inch of counter and a giant hot water heater in the corner, the dentist office below who turned on their air compressor (located directly below our bed) every morning at 6 am, and last but not least the upstairs neighbor with heavy feet, a barking dog and intimate guests at 3 AM every night. Did I mention our neighbor’s bed was on wheels?

    • Amy says...

      HA

  28. Brittany says...

    Our last house was in a nice residential neighborhood. The first oddity we noticed was a neighbor kitty-corner from us who chopped wood in his tiny city front yard all night and built fires in a big flower pot. We called him “The Chopper.” He began moving crappy indoor furniture into the yard under an awning, including interior lamps. We would recognize items in the yard that neighbors had reported stolen.

    Over a couple years, it escalated. Many incidents were funny, until we added them all up. For instance, I called 911 when one guy chased another down the street tasing him. A guy we dubbed “The Twirler” inexpertly twirled (and dropped) a martial arts stick in the street all night. We reported people passed out in cars. A man and woman fought in front of our house. He hit her and she bit his face. Some women jumped out of a car and slit the tires of another car. A man passed out in front of our house and almost died of an overdose. A woman moved into our back yard when we were on vacation. She left our hose on long enough that our yard flooded and our tree fell over. We spotted many large guns in the back of The Chopper’s van.

    After speaking with a police liaison, I learned we had to report every single little thing and get other neighbors to do it too. If only one household reports, they think you’re just a squeaky wheel. I made a list of every authority for reporting different infractions and shared it with all our neighbors. Due to these efforts, The Chopper was finally arrested and forced to move after a couple years, just after we sold that house.

  29. Sarah says...

    I moved into my first apartment when I was 18. It was located on the 2nd floor of an elderly women’s house. This was 1993 and my rent was only $100 per month! I very much loved being on my own and loved my cute little one bedroom apartment. However my landlord was very nosey and my parents probably told her to keep an eye on me too. When you entered my apartment you could go straight upstairs but there was also a door on the left that opened to her living room that could not be locked from my side. I didn’t have a phone (no cell phones – 1993) so my parents would call me on her phone and she would yell up the stairs for me. It was so weird and uncomfortable to me to try to have a conversation while my landlord was sitting there listening to everything!

  30. hm says...

    Our current house, a 1940s Cape Cod, has more personality than a house should be allowed. Always shifting, expanding, groaning. In summer and winter, doors don’t close. There are vintage crystal doorknobs on every door, which are prone to falling off and locking you in rooms. The tiny upstairs bathroom features a “Cinderella tub,” which is basically a diagonal tub within a square frame–there are seats on either side (very convenient for bathing babies and dogs). The winter sunshine in the kitchen is pure magic. There is no mudroom, but there’s an awful lot of mud. The third bedroom is the size of a closet. When someone stomps their feet upstairs, you can hear it from the basement. There is no privacy in a 1940s Cape Cod. I never want to move!

    • Megan says...

      Yyyyyes, relate to so much of this in our 1924 home. The diamond doorknobs look so pretty but they require just the right touch to close and do fall off so easily! A guest stayed once and reprimanded me about how dangerous it was after they were temporarily locked in when the knob fell out of their door. Whoops! Charm, right?

  31. Reba says...

    I once lived in an apartment that was the top floor of two adjoining rowhouses…walking down the hallway from the bathroom to the kitchen, you would cross from #24 to #26. My current house has a bathroom with original 1940s tilework and those old fashioned “H” and “C” knobs for hot and cold water. Except all of mine–sink, shower, bath–say “C” There *is* hot water, and it is piped correctly (hot on the left, cold on the right), but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the knobs. This is part of a terrace of houses all built just after World War II, on the land cleared for the neighborhood Victory Gardens, so I don’t know if there was some sort of war-related shortage or a mix-up at the building site. Perhaps one of my neighbors has a bathroom outfitted with nothing but “H” knobs!

  32. Lindsey says...

    On the first night at my first apartment, I was in the shower when I heard the bathroom door click open. “SO THIS IS HOW IT ENDS?” was my first thought. “I wonder how this shampoo bottle will do as a weapon?” was my second. Thankfully, it was nothing. The old door just never stayed closed.

  33. Danielle says...

    Right now I live in a 100+ year old school building that’s been converted to apartments. It has the most wonderful original wood floods, and the light through the windows in the mornings is fantastic. My dog spends the first few hours after sunrise moving from sunny spot to sunny spot just basking. But those glorious windows are wood framed, single pane originals that are stunningly drafty. Like sometimes I think paper taped into the frames would keep the cold out better. And occasionally I get whiffs of broccoli but I can’t tell where it’s coming from.

    Before here, I lived in an older apartment in New Orleans that was also home to critters in the walls and a persistent whiff of cigarette smoke. But the my neighbors were an eclectic mix of retirees and young professionals, and the doorman was just lovely. I could walk to the park and several great coffee shops and restaurants, and during Jazz Fest, I could open the window and listen to the concerts all day.

  34. Ticiane Marassi says...

    Loud sex. Always! 😟

    • Michelle says...

      It’s annoying as hell… All that uh uh uh. Like put a sock in it. So glad I’m a homeowner now.

  35. Alyssa says...

    I’ve lived in the same apartment building in Lancaster, PA since I graduated college 9 years ago. My first apartment in the building was a lovely, tiny efficiency on the second floor. It had the most beautiful windows which let so much light stream through. It had teal tiles in the kitchen which I loved. However, it also had me sharing my bedroom wall with my neighbor’s bathroom wall. Which made for some AWFUL nights.

    I’ve lived in my current apartment for nearly 6 years (same building) and it’s super spacious and lovely, with gorgeous french doors and the most beautiful mantle and high windows. It also happens to be the first floor apartment so I hear every coming and going. And most meal delivery services feel the need to bang on my window to deliver food, regardless of which person ordered it.

    My fiance and I will be looking for our own place in the next few months and while I feel ready for this big change, I know I’ll miss the rapping on the front window or the predictability of hearing my neighbors, knowing that we’re all looking out for each other, even subconsciously.

    • Britt says...

      I lived in Lancaster for a couple of months while I was working a contract job onsite at Franklin and Marshall. Crazy to read someone else reference Lancaster on this blog!

  36. Elllin says...

    I lived in a nearly 100 year old studio apartment in San Francisco. It had beautiful bay windows and sweeping views over the hills, which made a small space feel bigger. My first night there (in August), the radiator came on and turned the apartment into a sauna. Turns out a small studio is no match for a steam heat radiator! The next day, I asked the very kind super how to turn it off. He explained to me that unlike NYC apartments (where I’d previously lived), radiators in this building were an all or nothing affair. They couldn’t be individually controlled from unit to unit. I then asked him when heating season was, figuring that since SF’s summers are quite chilly and damp, maybe it had just been a cold night. He told me that the heat would come on any time the temperature fell below 60 degrees (what?!?), which is pretty much every night in SF. I spent the next year dreading that evening hour when the radiator would come on and I’d have to throw the windows open to keep from drowning in my own sweat over night. As much as I loved the views, I only lasted one year in that apartment and am now happy as can be when I need to reach for an extra blanket in my pleasantly chilly apartment.

    Prior to that, I lived in SE Asia for a few years and learned that I had to turn the hot water heater on about 30 minutes before I wanted to take a shower. My landlords were quite amused by the American woman gesturing to them about the cold shower when I sought their help. Thankfully, they figured out what I meant quickly and showed me the switch. I suffered more than a few cold showers before I got in the routine of getting up early enough to let the water heat up before my morning shower!

    • Tyler says...

      I have a hot water story from living abroad! In Spain, I lived in a very old apartment. I moved in with three other American girls and the hot water wouldn’t come on, but we just kept.. hoping? that it would? Finally after a few days, in desperation we asked our handsome downstairs neighbor what the hell was the deal and it turned out we needed butane tanks to run the hot water, that would connect to this old fashioned pilot system in the kitchen. Not fun to have the butane run out in the middle of a shower and have to change the tank in my towel. Don’t even get me started on the process of acquiring the butane tanks, which is a whole other story, and all the other quirks of that ancient place. Funny memories for sure!

  37. Lauren says...

    In college my best girlfriends and I lived in a house that had an array of critters such as fleas from previous tenants, a box elder beetle infestation, and my favorite of all: a mysterious mouse we never saw but kept chewing through our dishwasher water line causing it to rain in our basement! I lived in a new build post-grad and found myself missing the quirks of our shoddy college house!

  38. Abbe says...

    My family and I live in a 100-year-old Craftsman bungalow in Minneapolis. Good bones.

    We bought it eight years ago from a guy who did a ton of work on it. I guess you would call it a flip, except that it looked flipped for his very specific tastes and then plans changed and he had to sell. (I looked him up and his professional photo on LinkedIn was an avatar on a unicorn. Not that that’s bad! But I could just see where this atypical bungalow aesthetic was coming from.)

    Most of the walls were a purple that for some reason really put me in a sour mood, and there was fanciful stained glass installed EVERYWHERE. (I guess he made it all himself in a studio in the basement.) Which would be cool if the pieces had been in any way cohesive. All different colors and designs, and it was just too much.

    So we neutralized the wall color (instant inner peace) and proceeded to swap out light fixtures and take down the stained glass pieces we could, leaving just one main stained glass item in the house: these bright red/yellow/orange/blue/brown stained glass bungalow dining room built-in buffet door panels, and decided we’re really going to own them.

    We use one of these cabinets for kid’s art supplies, so my kids are constantly in and out of it. It has a funny latch that’s hard for them to open, so they’re always asking me to open it. One day it took me a moment to figure out what my four-year-old daughter was talking about when I heard her holler “OPEN THE OWL DOOR!!”

    And then I realized, eye level for her, there is what looks like, yes, a small funny little owl in the middle of the design. I honestly had never really looked before.

    Even though I don’t love objectively love this stained glass, I do very much love that it’s one of those special can’t-make-this-up house memories that my kids will have. Sometimes it’s good just to embrace the weird! It can become precious memories!

    • Katie says...

      I love this! We’ve lived in some doozies and seeing them through my kids’ eyes DOES make it easier to embrace the quirks!

  39. Kelly Drummond says...

    I lived alone right out of college, in an old house split into 2 apartments, an upstairs (where I lived) and a downstairs that was inhabited by an older, single librarian! She was the perfect housemate (quiet! thoughtful! a great cat sitter!), minus her habit of vacuuming at 10pm annnnd her love of watching Law and Order. The theme song would come through my vents at all hours of the day (DUN DUN, do dodododoooooo), getting stuck in my head for 2 years of my life. But, I miss her! and think of her anytime I hear that song.