We've finally arrived at the final home on our house hunting tour.

Thus far we've shared three very different homes located on waterfront property, from a 1980's ranch to an 1880's Victorian. Many readers have been divided on both their opinions of the homes and whether or not the home featured was the one we'd ultimately choose. Today we'll show you just one more home before we let you all in on the house we've ended up purchasing.

The final house we're sharing that we have on our list of second home contenders is this three bedroom, two and a half bath 18th century gem.

As you can see from the photo, beneath the glass porch exterior is a somewhat traditional historic home that's been added onto over the years, not too much unlike the home that is the focus of the blog/journal Enon Hall (one of our all time favorite blogs that's no longer being updated).

There are three primary aspects to this house that simultaneously speak to us regarding its tremendous potential and terrify us to our basic DIY foundations.

First, the house is situated on 22 acres with about 900 feet of waterfront. Yes, that's not a typo, that's two-two acres, as in almost 10 hectares (if you're on the metric system) of mostly wooded property. I'd estimate the open area to about three or four acres, with the remaining as a densely forested area of relatively newer growth (15-20 years) trees. Apparently the owner had an infestation of some sort that required them to wipeout the majority of their trees and replant everything about 20 years ago.

I don't know why, but there's just something intriguing and oddly romantic about "acreage" in a property. I'm not sure if it's the idea that you can do so much with it, like have chickens, build outbuildings, plant a pumpkin patch, or set up a massive wall and turn it into a compound to outlast the zombie apocalypse, but we've been raised with this mentality (is it American?) that you should strive to "own land." Alex even has crazily concocted dreams about having enough land to ultimately build his own Field of Dreams. I think he's mentioned this before, along with my "Wendy is not impressed" face that typically accompanies the discussion. As romantic as a lot of land may sound (ignoring Alex's crazy) 22 acres of maintenance, even on 22 largely wooded acres, is substantial from a time and maintenance cost standpoint.

Second, the house's age. At 200 plus years young, a home of this age needs work almost always. This is both wonderful and difficult when we're talking "second home." You know we like historic home projects, but what is there that we cannot see in the home that's waiting just below the surface? While we both have this dream to own an 18th century home that we'll work on all the time, how difficult would it be to own a place that needs a significant amount of work when all I really want is a place where we hope to some day relax?

And finally, the waterfront views are nothing less than spectacular and offer panoramic sunrise settings on a protected inlet with a huge amount of privacy and seclusion. There's a brand new pier, a lot of potential for waterfront fire pits and entertaining areas, and even a swimming hole that was dug for an owner in the 1930s who wanted a place where she could swim with her prize winning poodles.

However, as you can tell from the photo, there's little elevation change between the water's edge and the house, so flooding is a distinct possibility. While the house has survived in its location for 200 years, it hasn't been without the occasional water incident (such as during hurricane Isabel). And to be honest, this terrifies us, from both a cost of insurance standpoint, and the idea that we'd sink a ton of time and effort into making the home what we want it to be, only to have it all swept away or badly damaged.

Oh, are you still stuck on what I said about the poodles and the swimming hole? I don't blame you. And yes, I'm totally serious, prize winning poodles. All of their ribbons are still hanging behind glass in the home's garage.

The garage itself is a single level, but completely huge. It's split into two sides, a parking area and a workshop area with heat and electricity.

This even has a fenced area behind the garage where I'm guessing the prize winning poodles were allowed to roam between the interior and exterior of the garage. I have a feeling that Lulu would not be impressed by these accommodations and would lead a mutiny if we suggested our princess sleep in that area.

The house itself is very interesting. Since it started life as a much smaller house and has been added onto as time has progressed, the floor plan is a bit of a winding collections of rooms. The living areas are spread across the three primary sections of house with the kitchen all of the way in the right section.

From the looks of the interior, the house likely had a 1780's section, a mid 1800's section, and a mid 1950's section.

The main staircase (yes, a Christmas staircase!) in the center portion of the home branches off to the various rooms upstairs and is where the shared second floor bathroom lives as well.

There are somewhat steep steps up to the attic space which has been converted into a bedroom with some of the best water views from the house.

Each bedroom is adorned with a slightly different wall covering material and quirky layout based on the section of house the room resides in.

There's also a small guest cottage on the property with some great water views. It was built in what appears to be the mid 1970s and completely frozen in time. But absolutely tons of potential for a one bedroom and one bath guest living space that has easy access to the main house and water.

Alex's Take: Well, this is it, it's what I've been searching for. 18th century, waterfront, lots of land, so many things that I've dreamed about for so long. I want a giant cooking fireplace, huge exposed beams, something that feels equally comfortable any time of the year because the house just feels so perfect. But...is this it? I'd want to remove the glass front porch and do something more appropriate for the house. Inside I'd like to take most of it back to it's original bones, removing anything modern and new. The old oil furnace needs to be replaced, the kitchen needs updated (with historical sensitive materials and layout), the bathrooms all need significant changes, and I want to replace the roof with cedar shake. Can you see all of the dollar signs and time adding up as all of that stuff is mentioned?

The garage/workshop is great for all of the stuff I'd need to be building, and the property does offer so much potential for lounging and enjoying the surroundings, but it's definitely a whole lot of work. This is one of the houses that I figured I'd want 100% when we first saw the listing, but seeing it in person made me worried about it as a second home. If it were our primary residence, I might be all over it, but I feel I'm lukewarm at best given all of the potential work and also the long term risk of flooding. Can this be right? Am I really not sure about the house that checks all of my "dream house" boxes?

Wendy's Take: Wow, talk about the view! When I think waterfront, this is exactly what I envision seeing when I sit on the porch or look out the windows. I love the interesting history and the potential-rich guest cottage would be a great place for our parents to stay when they visit. A huge plus for me too is the separate workshop space where Alex can keep his sawdust and piles of wood where I don't have to see it, do laundry in it, or trip over it trying to find what I need. On the downside, this home needs a lot of work, both seen and unseen. It also seems like there are endless places for snakes to hide out, including in that "swimming pool" out front.

What do you think? Too much work, not enough reward? Or could this be the perfect colonial homestead to enjoy and grow old in?

We can't wait to let you all know which house we ended up going with, all of the work we have planned, and how we possibly decided that "hey, I think buying a second home when we can barely complete a project in our small primary residence is a really great idea!"

Comments 22


Laura C
11/5/2014 at 1:08 PM

Lovely, but I'm still pulling for the ranch house!

Margaret Schleicher Bjorklund
11/5/2014 at 1:20 PM
An awful lot to take on for a second home. What State is it in--think taxes.
Franki Parde
11/5/2014 at 1:35 PM

I LOV*E this home...NINE HUNDRED FEET OF WATERFRONT!! We have 500 ft and (hauled ourselves) rip rap to ease the "flooding possibility." The autumn color must be outstanding!! franki

11/5/2014 at 1:59 PM

This is a lovely home, and that waterfront lineup sounds great. I'm still pulling for the victorian though.

Also, I love that you mention Enon Hall. That was such a great blog - basically the first! - in this area of blogland. I miss their updates and I'd love to hear how things are going now that the work is done...like if they still combat miles of vines in the trees all these years later ; )

Rachel Roellke-Smith
11/5/2014 at 2:00 PM
Ooh, you could transform the accommodations for the prize-winning poodles into your very own dog rescue!

Oh my gosh, why didn't I think of this?? Genius idea!Alt smile

Emma Petrie Barcelona
11/5/2014 at 2:44 PM
I think #3 is the winner. (#2 in second, #4 third, and #1 last). I can't wait to find out which one won and what part of the region it is! Love the reference to Enon Hall in this post by the way (I thought it looked like Enon Hall when I saw the photo- and then I read your post).
Kristin Saveland Buchanan
11/5/2014 at 3:10 PM
I think too much land and maintenance for a second home. Can't wait to see which you picked!!
11/5/2014 at 4:15 PM

Outstanding views! Water creepage is a big concern, looks like too much maintenance for a second home. I pulling for the third home.

11/5/2014 at 6:38 PM

It's awesome – if you live there full-time, and have an actual use for all that space. And have the money and time to do everything you outlined. But as a vacation-home that is supposed to be enjoyed and only occasionally worked on (at least after the initial updates are made), this is too much of a handful. You'd basically go there to work, and worry about things breaking while you're not there.

My guess would be you chose the 3rd one, but wouldn't be totally surprised if it was 2nd one, if you felt like doing something a little different. On this one and the first one, I expect you did some dreaming and imagining all the the things you could do, and then sighing and moving on (but maybe still thinking of them every now and then).

11/5/2014 at 10:16 PM

I was thinking along these lines as well, both as regards to this house and the prioritization of the others.

The lack of protection from the water level is a serious issue. The wooded land isn't. I know from indirect experience that woods can be left alone.

Everyone else is echoing my sentiments too, this one is too much as a vacation home, add in its age, and its location and the possibility of flooding, well, not the ideal vacation home in my estimation.

Granted, it's cute and all, but...

I'm pulling more for the ranch for it's relatively painless maintenance, once updated, given the outbuildings and land size.

Good luck and can't wait to hear what you decide on.

11/5/2014 at 10:04 PM

I'm guessing house #3, with the exception of a workshop which could be a custom addition and A/C its a nice compromise between both lists and that porch is to die for. Not to mention the ghost! I think that's a great sign!
However, House #1... that Kitchen is CRYING for an intervention and I think you guys could really make that place amazing. The property, outbuildings, bones, its all there and it just needs updating and A/C. I myself bought a blank slate dark ranch like #2 and let me tell you, blank slates are over rated once you realize you have to add all the charm and character and it ends up costing more thank you thought. House #4, flooding and previous damage from a hurricane makes it an automatic no in my book but if anyone can turn it around you guys can. I can't wait to see which one you picked!

Jean-Christian Pitre
11/5/2014 at 10:45 PM
Wow, I was expecting some more interior photos, guys. I do love those early 2 panel doors though. Lots of potential, and a great amount of land (privacy), but this one looks like it could be a lot of work. I'm excited to see which house you guys bought. Are we finding out next week?
Mike Howard
11/6/2014 at 7:10 AM
My preference is definitely number 4 by a long way, for all the reasons listed on the blog. I don't think any of these will make a good holiday home - all too much work for 50-75 nights per year that you might use it. I'd also be worried about storm damage and the effect of Global warming in our lifetime. if you've bought any of these it will the easiest one to get to.
11/6/2014 at 10:40 AM

I love #1, #3 and this house. All of them are so BIG, though. But then I live in 900 sq feet LOL. That's a lot of maintenance for a weekend house. I'd worry about flooding with this one, but the history is very cool.

Looking forward to the 'big reveal' to see what you chose.

11/6/2014 at 12:34 PM

My votes (I really did try to narrow to 1) are at both ends of the extreme - 1980 and 1780. I feel like they all need such an amount of work that doing massive renos to #4 and knowing full well that you're opening a can of worms, or doing massive renos to turn the mid-century one (was that #2?) into a fabulous beach house with the slightly less ominous issues of digging into the structure of a newer house, give you the best bang for your buck. Either way you'll end up with a home on which you can put a lot of your own mark.

Plus I loved the location bonuses of both of those ones!

And I'll admit that I am still hoping if you go for the possibilities of the mid-century house you will consider me as a home for those living room lights. Please?

11/6/2014 at 4:05 PM

I've looked at all four choices and realized that one of the properties was one that we had also looked at during the early summer. It looks completely different with furniture! I won't say which one to keep the others guessing but since it was subsequently purchased in October, I will assume it is the one you went with.

We loved the house also but the cost with renovations coupled with the fact that the "acreage" was not quite what we were looking for, put it it in the no column for us.

I know you guys will make that house shine and I can't wait to see how different it looks!

11/7/2014 at 11:22 PM

Assuming that Amanda has correctly deduced the house that Alex and Wendy bought, that means it's either #1 or #4 -- #2 and #3 don't have furniture in the posts. If so, big YEA as I'm in favor of 1 or 4; these two (to me) have much more charm than the others. Admittedly I'm biased to like 1 and 4 best because of their old, added onto quirkiness, the extra land and privacy that goes with it, and outbuildings. Those items would be important considerations to me.

11/6/2014 at 6:09 PM

As Alan and I are discussing the possibility of moving back to Ohio, the one thing we keep coming back to is acreage so I totally understand the desire for so much land. Also, I simply adore early Americana architecture, but this house seems to be lacking anything that I would firmly put in the late 1700s. I'm torn. This seems the one that I would want to pick, but I don't know that I could.

11/13/2014 at 2:49 PM

@bfish I totally read that comment the opposite way and was thinking it had furniture in it when Amanda looked at it but didn't in the tours posted here.

So it could be either of 2 & 3 instead.

Maybe Amanda is super wily and that was exactly her intent....

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