Kitchen My Life Parenting The Victorian House

Feels Like Home

Last week, someone asked me on Twitter if I ever get spooked in this big old house. I grew up in the Chicago area (River Grove and Franklin Park), but we didn’t have Victorian houses in that neighborhood. My only references to them as a kid would have been The Addams Family and The Munsters. Creepy, but not scary. More awesome, really.

I am easily spooked though. I no longer watch scary movies because I can’t stop thinking about them for days months years afterwards. The Gift creeped me out. I don’t even remember much about it, besides a scene with some water and a tree, and oh let’s not think of it. I’m pretty sure that The Ring was the last one I saw, where I decided that yes! That’s it! I’m done with these! In the old house, more often than I’d like to admit, I ran up the stairs at night. Because: zombies. I know it’s irrational, but at least it was good cardio?

In this house though, there has been no nighttime running up stairs. No sprinting down halls in dumb terror. Brandon tries to mess with me. I told him what I was writing about today and he said “yeah, this house is good. Except for that sound of a baby crying. You ever hear it? In the hallway upstairs. But it always sounds far away…” (It isn’t working on me. Yet.) This house feels right. The kids took to it immediately, and we all fit in very happily here. I think that as long as I can go downstairs for a glass of water at night without being scared, and we can have impromptu picnics in the kitchen the next morning, we’re good.

Impromptu Kitchen Breakfast Picnic

This house feels right in so many ways. I hope we’re here for a long, long time.

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  • Sarah from a fine line
    November 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I love your kitchen picnic, so sweet!

    • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
      November 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Yes, me too!

      Kids look happy and content. : ) That’s what really matters most.

      Good to know you (or anyone) is not afraid of this beautiful home.

  • Jane
    November 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Do not see insidious then! I could not go upstairs in my home alone for months. It is a wonderful feeling to be at home in your home ;)!

  • Laura @ Rather Square
    November 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

    It’s probably a good sign overall that you’re not scared of your new house. A good omen for the future!

    • Making it Lovely
      November 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Ha, yeah. That’s probably a good sign. :)

  • Telma
    November 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

    It’s funny that you are writing this post because, my first reaction of your new home was “Oh, how spooky and gloomy”. Being European and having grown up in old houses I shouldn’t have had that reaction but I still did.
    I’m glad that you are all enjoying your new home, specially the kids. Still, I must say as your reader, I felt a bit disappointed when you left your old house, after so much redecoration and hard work. But I’m happy for you.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

      That house was great, but I’ve never loved where I lived as much as I do now.

  • Gisele
    November 18, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I find it quite funny that it was actually those same movies that made me stop watching horror films :P

  • Melissa
    November 18, 2013 at 11:01 am

    It feels refreshing to hear someone else having these weird panics! I cant explain it, and I think my husband thinks Im crazy.

  • Sarah
    November 18, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Paranormal Activity was the end of the line for me and zombies are my kryptonite. Disney’s where it’s at these days. I think your new home is loverly.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

      That’s the one with a possessed baby, right? I didn’t watch it, but the commercials for it were enough. I would go into the nursery at night to get August I think, or maybe it was Eleanor, and I’d sometimes think of the movie trailer and push it from my mind. I know myself well enough not to ever see the whole thing!

      • Catherine
        November 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

        I did the same thing! Whenever I had to get up to nurse my baby in the night, I would automatically think of the scariest things. So happy you feel safe and at home in your new house. It means it was meant for you!

  • Melanie
    November 18, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Funny – I think that The Ring was the last one I saw too! I watched it on DVD and that was it. Scary movies over.

  • Rachel
    November 18, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who simply refuses to see those movies any more. People never understand when I try to explain that it’s just not worth the stress I feel when I see them. I get no enjoyment out of that… those movies and haunted houses are out for me!

  • Moe
    November 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

    “I hope we’re here for a long, long time.”

    That’s such a great statement, and something I think we all strive for!

  • Kathryn
    November 18, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Glad I’m not the only one who runs up stairs (I also leave on a lot of lights).

  • Karen
    November 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I grew up in an old house and my friends used to ask me all the time if I got scared…I never did (even though I am a total scaredy cat about movies and other generally scary things). It was for the same exact reason you are talking about — it was OUR place, and I knew there was nothing to be scared of.

    So happy that you all found your place. We are really looking forward to finding ours someday.

  • ryan
    November 18, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I love this post! There’s definitely a set of stairs in our home where I find myself quickening my step :) Have you heard of the website where you can look up if anyone died in your home? I think I’d rather just not know…

  • Elizabeth
    November 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Your house is beautiful! I can see how it would be kinda scary at night, but that’s with any house!

    The Ring haunted me for six years. SIX YEARS! I still freak out when people mention it/her. That had been the first scary movie I’d seen in the theaters so there was no escaping it by watching it with the lights on or in the middle of the afternoon followed up with a funny movie. By the time she crawled out of the TV (so I was told) I was curled up in a ball, my eyes closed, fingers in ears, humming “Jesus Loves Me”. I have an overactive imagination anyway, so that was just a bad movie to watch all around. Wish I would have known how badly it would mess with my mind!

  • Tiffany Grant-Riley
    November 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

    This really made me smile, mainly because I kept myself awake thinking about scary stuff last night…actually it’s the woman in the mirror in Insidious. I had to go to the loo and was dreading catching my reflection in the mirror in case she was there! Old houses can feel really creepy when you’re on your own or the last one awake and I sometimes run up the stairs too! Glad you don’t feel that in the new house though, it’s really rather gorgeous and I’m not remotely jealous. Really.

  • anita k
    November 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

    The Ring was the last one I saw too, and I still think about it sometimes alone at night- creeeepy!! That was what, 10+ years ago? My husband laughs at me, he says it was the dumbest movie ever. Still freaked me out!

    • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
      November 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Ring Two is awful. Do not remember seeing the first film. Even though I sat and watched Ring Two until the end, many times I had to get up and leave the room. Movie is still shown very often. Not for my eyes.

      Other films I cannot watch = The Shining, Halloween, etc. They all leave me spooked for months on end.


  • Amelia
    November 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

    “The Gift” ! No one ever remembers that movie, but it stuck with me. I always cite it as the one movie in which Keanu Reeves plays someone other than…Keanu Reeves.

  • Fiona
    November 18, 2013 at 11:39 am

    It’s interesting. I had an old apartment that REALLY freaked me out. I thought it was me, but now I don’t think it was. I’ve lived in two apartments since then, and have never had that panicked feeling. I’m not saying it was haunted or anything, but I think there was some bad energy there.

  • Laurie
    November 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Houses do have a feel. I don’t know if it is the actual house or something we project on them because of our own experiences or feelings. It’s nice that the new house feels good to you all.

    That goes a long way into making it your home.

  • Kim
    November 18, 2013 at 11:57 am

    OH man this is perfect timing, as my fiance and I are house hunting right now and a lot of the houses we’re seeing are Victorians (in Cincinnati). One was AWESOME (my pick, but he needs some persuasion) but one we went into had the CREEPIEST vibe ever. It was instantly uncomfortable in there and my heart was racing the whole time. And this was at 2 in the afternoon! Needless to say, that house is not on our list of prospects anymore. Haha.

  • Alisa
    November 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I turn on all the lights while going to the kitchen and slowly turn them off as I go back to bed. Boogeyman.

  • e burke
    November 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Great post! I did similar “heeby-jeeby” tests when we were looking at houses here in New Bedford. Ours is 122 years old and feels cozy and safe. Nary a dash up the stairs. And I’m a scaredy cat.

  • Sarah @ 702 Park Project
    November 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I get this question a lot, and so far, we haven’t had any weird “happenings.” I love scary movies and ghost stories, but my husband absolutely hates them, so I like to mess with him when we’re at the house. We are planning to have the house blessed though, just to bring lots of positive vibes and love in. I can’t wait to see what that’s like!

  • Stephanie
    November 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I’m sure it was unintentional but your last two sentences sound exactly like what someone might say in a movie *just before the strange things start happening* … (^_^)

  • Jessica
    November 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Your home is beautiful, but I’d be just a bit spooked out in it too :) I’m not sure if there is anything “off” about my house or if I just have a wild imagination. Our home inspector informed us that our house was one of the oldest homes in Oak Park, so that freaked me out from the beginning. After we moved in, doors and windows would open and shut on their own, and I could have sworn I heard footsteps walking upstairs when I was downstairs. And my husband and I both thought we heard little kids laughing in the basement. It didn’t help that shortly after one of our neighbors introduced herself, she said, “so what’s it like living in the HAUNTED house?” and proceeded to tell us stories she heard from the previous owners (one of whom died in the house). Nothing weird has happened in a few months though, thank goodness :)

  • Meg
    November 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I love this…we just moved into our first house. Although it’s not as old as yours (ours was built in ’55), I run up the basement stairs a little too often. And I love our basement but it’s the five-year-old in me that still runs away from the unknown (all created in my head…). :)

  • Amanda
    November 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    You should always spiritually clean a home before moving in. There often energies/entities stuck in old homes. I had a ghost (friendly)in my previous apartment. The Ring or the Skeleton Key was the last horror movie several years ago -not worth feeling like I am going to have a heart attack.

  • Sabrina
    November 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    The Ring did it for me too. Never again will I watch anything scary. Your house is lovely and looks very inviting and cozy… and Zombie free. :)

  • Kelsey
    November 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I don’t watch horror movies ever, because I’m just not interested in scaring my pants off. The closest I’ve come is watching the first episode of The Walking Dead with my husband when my baby was two weeks old. I COULD NOT get those images out of my head, especially being up with the baby in the middle of the night. I swore off of anything scary after that. I don’t want to feel afraid in my own home.

  • judy
    November 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I am so happy for you and your adorable family and I have a strong feeling that you all will be there far into your future, I actually got a flash of you with your pretty smile and grandchildren on the same floor having a Christmas morning picnic. Vivid imagination here but it was very endearing.

  • Maya
    November 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I live in an old victorian house from 1898 and I get spooked from time to time. My latest mistake was watching the first season of American Horror Story, where a lot of scary things happen in the attic. Well, the attic in our house was converted into the beautiful master suite where we sleep, so as you can imagine, going to bed (or worse, taking showers!!) has been difficult lately.

  • katiedid
    November 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    You know you found your real home when you can watch those scary movies and they just don’t have the same creepy hold on you anymore. We have a 1911 house and I watch the Living Dead every Sunday…..with windows behind me. It could just be that I have moved past being scared of things I think are pretty much never going to happen. Now a movie where stuff happens that I think might have a possibility? Maybe I do avoid those….or watch in the daytime. :)

    But your house has never creeped me put because you are filling it with light and good stuff….family, memories, etc. I am sure you will only have good spirits (guardian angels) who are happy to have you there. ;)

  • merlin513
    November 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    so, how are you and the antique stove in the kitchen getting along?

    houses definitely have a vibe to them! so happy that you’ve found one that the whole family instantly loved, means the house loves you back i’m sure. :D

  • Kayli Schattner
    November 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Love that picture! So sweet.

  • Donna
    November 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Nicole, my eyebrows raised in delight when I saw the name of my hometown in your second sentence! I grew up in River Grove (third generation, actually)! Did you happen to go to grammar school there? What years did you inhabit “The Village of Friendly Neighbors”? I’ve been reading you for years not knowing that you too were a resident of RG. What a nice discovery!

    • Making it Lovely
      November 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      I did! I went to River Grove Elementary School for K-8 until ’94, and then East Leyden High School, class of ’98. I’ve lived on Center, Rhodes, and Enger Ln. in River Grove, and then we moved when I was in high school to my grandparents’ old house on Maple, which was the outer edge of Franklin Park.

      • Donna
        November 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm

        What a small world! I went to St. Cyprian and Guerin WAAAY before you went to RG and EL. Did you happen to know Mrs Hodges at RG School? She grew up two doors away from me on Budd Street and taught at RGS for a million years. After I got married we lived on Struckman, half a block from Center Street, from 1984-2000! I’ll save all references to Gene’s and Jude’s for future conversations… ;-) ! I know Franklin Park, too. My grandmother’s family were “pioneers” in FP, settling there in the early 1920s. So cool to examine our shared roots!

        • Making it Lovely
          November 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm

          Was Mrs. Hodges the biology teacher? I think I did have her. And I went to St. Cyprian for CCD! And the apartment we lived in on Enger was right by Guerin. (Also, I have referenced the best hot dogs ever several times over the years. Now I want some.)

  • Donna
    November 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

    YES! Linda Hodges was the science teacher there for years! As to the other coincidences….how neat! I probably grew up with some of your CCD teachers and used to walk down Enger on the way to Guerin! Sorry to bring up the Local Shrine of Hot Dog Awesomeness. Luckily, you live a stone’s throw away from the source to satisfy your craving (providing the joint isn’t under water). I’m in St. Charles now, so it’s more of an ordeal to get there when my craving strikes!

    BTW, I really admire your work and writing. You are quite the inspiration! If you are ever in need of an illustrator, let me know and I’ll send some samples. We creative River Grove Girls have to stick together! Keep up the wonderful work, Nicole!

  • Kelly S.
    November 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Ohhhh, then don’t watch The Conjuring, from earlier this year. This happy family moves into an old farmhouse….

    And The Gift! I love that movie. Did you know that Billy Bob Thornton based it on his own mother, who was a psychic?

    I love a good spooky/haunted movie, it’s the slasher “Saw” kinda stuff that I can’t take.

  • DianeG
    November 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Late to comment on this, but I know exactly what you mean. My house was built in 1920, so obviously has the potential to be haunted, ha ha. Each time we looked at the house before buying, and several times since then, I have had the distinct feeling that it is NOT haunted. It is just the opposite, in fact – it feels very peaceful to me. (And, like you, I cannot watch anything scary, even commercials. October is the worst – all those commercials for scary movies. My imagination just grabs that stuff and runs with it.)

  • Erin Devey
    November 26, 2013 at 6:03 am

    The Gift made me throw up-I had to excuse myself and dash to the bathroom!