Insomnia Real Estate

By Ann Shayne
April 30, 2017
Whimsy and good humor abound in our yarns and patterns

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  • I read Mason-Dixon posts when I can’t sleep! Honestly you two exhaust me – your fingers must be worn to the bone – so much fun content. I do have an Aga stove, but otherwise I doubt my house would make the cut. Cheers.

    • Thank you, Mary Anne! We like to type. (Obviously.) (A little too obviously.)

  • Ann, next time you’re in this part of the world, you must visit the Sleeper-McCann house in Beauport, Gloucester. (I recommend the super-special “books and crannies” tour.) Google the images for a delightful insomnia cure.

    • Nooks not books!

      • Books, nooks, all sounds good to me.

      • But I LIKE crannies full of books…!

  • I was really hoping the kicker at the end was you put down a deposit…….

    • Wouldn’t that just blow Hubbo’s mind? Sweetie, I just bought us an anniversary present!

  • I bet this is one of the “single family homes” skewing the average home price to over 1.5 million right now. Good thing we like renting because otherwise we would live in a washing machine box! What a great find! The Asa Gray house has been on sale twice in the past 10 years. Both times the original herbarium cabinets have been intact.

    Feel better!

    • Herbarium cabinets! Amazing. And yes, this isn’t even a single-family house; it’s a single-PERSON house.

    • Just goes to show: no matter how much room Harvard gives you for your specimen cases, you still keep a lot of your coolest stuff at home.

  • What a great place for knitting retreats. Dibs on the Poet’s Corner.

    • I kind of had the same thought…

  • I’ll have what you’re having! That’s some fun. I like to reread my daily email from The Writers Almanac and go on a google stream-of-consciousness about one or more of the persons of the day. Our copywriting cousin in Virginia likes to go through her local Craigslist posts for unintendedly humorous items and descriptions. Then she shares her intendedly humorous comments with anyone who’ll listen. Also some fun.

    • These both sound like excellent snoozemakers.

  • I’m sad the lady is selling!

    • Yes, but I’m dying to know what she’ll buy next. I think we need to teach her to knit and make her our new best friend!

  • Kermit would like the windowsills, but where would you put his litter box?

  • My aunt and uncle used to live on Brattle Street in Cambridge, but it must have been the other end of the street — I never saw anything like that in their neighborhood! I love what the owner says about not being the “owner,” but being the “steward” of the place, That seems much more appropriate. Thanks, Ann, for giving us a glimpse of how the Other Half lives.

  • For going to sleep goodness, I recommend listening to David Axelrod’s podcasts, The Axe Files, thoughtful, intelligent, often funny interviews with a single guest.

  • This may not be as calling, but if you need a lift is the website for you! These are actual photos from real estate ensures. It’s based in England but uses photos from all over. The comment that accompanies the photo is the best part. There is also an entire thread on The Garden Chair Of Solitude on the website.

    • Where to begin? This is truly spectacular!

      • I know, right???

        • I have now seen way too many rooms that can’t be unseen.

    • It’s Cake Wrecks for real estate!

  • Perhaps ‘Escape to the Country’ should be another Lazy Sunday contender … it’s streamable via Netflix. Kind of a cozy, British version of HGTV’s House Hunters, with a bit of Huell Howser-style local history & character spotlights added in. It’s not so much the homes, but the beautiful villages and unspoiled countryside featured in this program that gives me sweet dreams. Hope this week finds you feeling better!

    • Oh, I LOVE Escape to the Country! Whenever my beloved Jane Austen films get a little too cloying and oppressive, it scratches the insomniacal Anglophile itch in me.

  • Damn! Now I want the Daniel Thorp House!

  • I hope your cold is over!!!

  • I also love looking at real estate that I can’t afford. I’ve had the Cold of All Colds for most of this month, too, and found sleep elusive. Because the cold featured an intermittent sore throat feature, I sometimes–wide awake–sucked on Ricola lozenges in bed. I think it was a combination of the sweet taste, the soothed sore throat, and frankly, the infant-like sucking that sent me quickly to sleep. Note: if you think this will work for you, try small lozenges, so that you don’t fall asleep before you finish them!

    • Ricola! I’m so jacked up on Ricola. I eat them day and night. Help meeeee.

  • I love to do this, too, but did you read about Swanee Hunt, the owner of the house who appears in the video? She is a fascinating woman! Thank you.

    • Yes, she seems to have had a very full and fascinating life!

  • Your find makes my search for a house to downsize to look puny! My cure for insomnia is LibraVox audio books, over my cell phone using ear buds (or one ear bud, in the ear that is on top). I’ve been working on The Count of Monte Cristo for months. Before that, I “read” all the Sherlock Holmes books.

    • Still forging through Moby-Dick Big Read. The whaling scenes make me SO QUEASY. I empathize with the whales, obviously.

      • I had to bail (see what I did there?) on Melville pretty early on because I suddenly remembered where we were going on our jolly cruise and decided to remain ashore for now.

  • My husband and I both love to surf real estate. We don’t end up on the same page though. I fantasize about smallish, contemporary and new, where all the drawers and windows work and the space is open and airy. And he waxes eloquent about big and old with lots of acreage. We already have a version of that and cannot keep it up as it is.

    As for what I do when I can’t sleep, usually it’s something easy to access with my Ipad. Ravelry fits the bill pretty well.

    Feel better soon, Ann. XOClare

    • Hubbo would like to live in an apartment with a super who fixes the water heater. That is his idea of heaven. He couldn’t care less whether we have a tree in the yard, or a yard, or any of it. Too funny.

  • What a beautiful house! Swanee Hunt is a former ambassador who teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her husband, Charles Ansbacher, led the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, an orchestra that performs free summer outdoor concerts, for many years. Amazing people.

    • How great that this house would be home to such interesting people.

  • I lived in Cambridge for ten years before moving to a neighboring town, and walked past this house from time to time. I always thought of it as “the sculpture house,” because of the sculptures outside, and wondered what the inside looked like. So thank you for the virtual tour!

  • This empty nester was feeling a little guilty last week when DH was out of town. It was just me and the cat in our house. I felt like I was taking up too much space. Now I don’t feel guilty at all.

    But DH wants to live in a condo with no stairs.

    Please buy this house and we’ll all come knit!

  • But oh my gosh, the dusting…….

  • Yes, we Massachusetts folk are nothing if not whimsical! I’m still working on “a sympathetic nod to the Queen Anne style,” though. That, to me, goes beyond whimsy and all the way into what-the-heckedness.

  • Oh, I love looking at real estate. It’s fun to imagine myself in realistic houses and snark about the crazy ones. If you haven’t looked yet you should check out

  • Ann, I keep commenting on comments and forgetting to say: I hope you are feeling at least a little better and will soon be 100% again!

  • Ann, I hope you are feeling better so many viruses around this winter!
    I loved this tour of this special house. I agree it would be great for a knitting weekend.
    I live in a small town in Massachusetts filled with historical homes. Some are mansion size. I love looking at real estate so thank you for the tour.