In Charlestown we saw a little house built in 1799. It was low-ceilinged and narrow, with many fireplaces and original floors, and a miniature brick patio hiding under snow piles. We were charmed by it, but it could not hold my husband's big, fat academic library:
When I say it is "narrow," I am not exaggerating.
In Cambridge, we saw a two-story wooden French Mansard Victorian that needed a tremendous amount of work, inside and out. I loved it in all its cracked, peeling, knob-and-tube, 1960's kitchen wreckage; my husband did not. He pointed out that we could not afford to buy the house and do all the work it needs. And since it is a house in Cambridge, it will likely sell for at least $200,000 over the asking price anyhow. Sigh:
The living room, with original floors, fireplace, and two tall bay windows, was the nicest room by far.
In Brookline, we saw a brick house from 1905 that had been gut-renovated with more taste than usual, so it still had a lot of character. It's out of our price range; we just wanted to see it to cheer ourselves up with the knowledge that there are builders with style that doesn't run to whatever is on special at Home Depot. While I'd still want to change all the hardware (trendy "bronze"), the lighting (er, lots of what can only be called "boob" ceiling fixtures), the gas-fireplace inserts (the kind that look like flat-screen monitors), and couple of other things, it was still one of the better gut-renos I've seen. They kept original moldings, doors and doorknobs, mantels, and built-ins, for example. Most builders also go crazy with recessed lighting everywhere and flat-screen TVs mounted above all the fireplaces; this one restrained himself.
A moderately sized, detached brick house — unusual for the Boston area.
Did I mention that it was dangerously close to Kupel's Bakery? (Closed for Shabbat.)
The entire interior was done in white and light gray. Living in a house painted and furnished like this might feel like being stuck in an old B&W television series, preferably more like "Burns & Allen" than "The Twilight Zone." Unfortunately, we won't have a chance to find out for sure.