would you want a blogger to buy your house?

by | Sep 2, 2022 | All Things Home, Decorating | 65 comments

Would you want a blogger (or social media influencer/YouTuber) to buy your house?

dining room | miss mustard seed

I had this thought as I’ve been browsing online real estate listings.  One of the questions I’m asked every so often is, “What do the former owners think about what you’ve done to the house?”  And, in the case of both of our homes that I shared online, I don’t know.  I never heard.  But, I have to admit that I wasn’t very sensitive to the idea they would even care when I first started sharing about our PA house on this blog.  I just wrote what I thought about the house with little recognition of the fact that the former owners might read about it and be offended.

MN living room | miss mustard seed

(Our MN living room when we first moved in.)

Criticism in the form of poking fun at something dated, poorly done, or just off the wall is entertaining to write about and read.  There are entire social media accounts devoted to houses with stairs to nowhere, bathroom walls upholstered in carpet, and faucets that completely miss their intended sink.  We can look at those and laugh, but what if that was your house?  What if you were just doing the best you could with what you had?

MN living room | miss mustard seed

(MN living room in progress.)

I get a tiny taste of it when I get not-so-nice comments on something I’ve done that wasn’t perfect or to their taste.  But, I’ve signed up to share my home online, so I’m prepared for it.  I’ve learned to take it all in stride and with a grain of salt.

MN living room | miss mustard seed

(MN Living room in 2021.)

What about the people who sold their house, unsuspectingly, to someone who then shares it online and points out all of the design decisions they hate, the lousy DIY projects, the things that weren’t maintained, the stains on the carpet, or the dirt in the corners?  Their house, maybe one that was loved for many years, becomes the before content for someone else.

blue white green design board | miss mustard seed

As a writer and designer, I can’t help but look at homes online and think about how I would transform them and how I would write about them.  It’s easy to go to the place where the blog readers and I can have a little laugh at the anonymous previous homeowner’s expense.  What were they thinking when they picked out that wallpaper?  Who thought the wall oven looked good right there?  

When I made a comment (that was meant to be funny) about the color of the front door of our MN house before I painted it Card Room Green, someone pointed out to me that it might just be a difference of preference.  And they were right!  I made sure that in the future, I pointed out that any changes I made were not about making something better, but making them fit my aesthetic.

card room green front door | miss mustard seed

What is my point?  Well, I think it’s an interesting topic and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.  Would you want a blogger/influencer to buy your house?  Would it be fun to watch the transformation?

Second, we hope to buy a house that needs work and it will likely have cosmetic issues.  And, as we work on the home, I want to make the previous owners proud.  I want to thank them for selling us a home with such great bones and potential.  I want to respect the decisions they made, even if they are a departure from my own.  I want to acknowledge that we don’t all love the same things and that is how God made us.

Above all, I want to be kind, so that if the previous owners or their friends and family ever read what I write about their house, they are glad that a blogger bought it.

65 Comments

  1. Zhaleh

    This is so interesting. I know if someone bought my house with our DIY flooring, replacement of balusters, amateurish patching etc, (because even though we can’t afford to have these done professionally, we didn’t want to live with the former owners choices) that they would have a lot of fodder. Imperfections are rampant. I hope that would be as kind as you are about it, but it’s easily to be unkind on the internet.

    Reply
  2. Christy K

    I would enjoy seeing what the next owner of my homes has done with them. Taste is very personal and it’s okay to like different things. I enjoy looking at houses and can appreciate something well done even if I would never choose it. You certainly didn’t make fun of the folks who chose that color, just expressed how you saw it and acknowledged that it wasn’t ‘you’!

    Reply
  3. Cassie

    Ugh, thank you for this post. I just sold my home. A home I invested blood, sweat and tears into – and painstakingly chose every last detail. After our home sold and, no lie, the very next day, someone was out painting over my mustard door and she shed, that I spent hours picking out the color for. Not doing to lie, it hurt. I love your line, “ I pointed out that any changes I made were not about making something better, but making them fit my aesthetic.” Thank you for that. In my head, I knew it was not personal, but I couldn’t help but be hurt a little. I do want someone to enjoy the home we loved for so long. I think it was more about me letting go. Xx

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I think sometimes it’s just about it being hard to let go and let someone else make it their own. I thought that would be harder for me when we moved, but I found that I’m more excited about working on the next house! 🙂

      Reply
      • Deb C

        We needed to move sooner than we expected so still had more we had planned on doing to our home. The new owners completely redid the whole house including changing out the bamboo floors and the newly redone kitchen amongst other things. I’m not going to lie, it hurt but as my husband said it wasn’t ours anymore and the new owners had a different style. So yes it does boil down to aesthetics and now we have a new home to make our own!

        Reply
    • Patricia

      We sold our home in Colorado a year ago to a couple I knew were planning on making a lot of changes – but they had paid us a fair amount and there’s nothing I could do about it anyway . I went back a few months ago and they had taken down my very expensive window blinds. . Not gonna lie – it’s the only thing I minded ! On the other hand the couple I bought our new house from live across the street and I keep thinking I don’t want to offend them with changes ! 😅

      Reply
  4. Cheri

    We bought our home from friends 20 years ago and we are still friends! They enjoy seeing what we are doing and have done. I’m thankful for that. They understand people are going to make changes — they made changes to the house before we moved in. We never dismissed their choices — just made our own changes for our aesthetic.
    For me it is disappointing to see our former homes not being loved and cared for.

    Reply
  5. CJ

    After posting a family dinner picture on FB, we were pleased when the previous owner’s son said he was happy to see a family celebrating in his childhood home. It was a heartwarming comment.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Aww, that’s nice to hear!

      Reply
  6. Kris I.

    Absolutely, I would love to see a decorator blogger buy my house. I don’t understand how the sellers could be offended. We all have different budgets, aesthetics, and plans for the new house that must fit the needs of the family. When you’re a creative person, it’s a new palette. Transforming a home is part of the creative process and I love seeing the changes online. It’s inspiring when bloggers share their vision and design. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I love this perspective and I would feel the same way. It would be fun to see a different take on my house, but I know not everyone feels that way.

      Reply
    • CathyR

      I think the previous owners can be offended if the current ones are bashing the past owners blatantly; as in “look what these people did, were they drunk?” There are so many mean humans out there hiding behind the screen of the internet it’s very possible to cut down another’s efforts.

      Reply
  7. Nora

    I don’t know about after I sell but I often think I’d love for you or someone like you whose taste I admire to stroll through one day and give suggestions on what could be done differently. Furniture placement. Colors. Any little decorating tips. A fresh pair of eyes would be so fun!!!!
    (Hint hint. lol)

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Well yes, that would be fun! I wish I had the time to do something like that. I’ve tried to fit it in here and there, but it always gets pushed out by other things.

      Reply
  8. Linda

    I think it would be great . I recently sold my home of 20 years, I’ve been very interested to see how the new homeowner changes things . I was very impressed when she repainted. And chose two re- use two of my favorite colors .
    I would love to watch the transformation !

    Reply
  9. Patricia Kasparian

    This post is very thoughtful. I’d be good with a blogger buying our home, esp if critiques weren’t personal affronts! Our sellers loved the 1775 home they sold us, but they were advancing in age and it needed considerable work; sill replacement, new floor joists, and on and on. It also was full of mice, we found two nests, and it was freezing in wintertime. BIG work, Nearly three years of work. They were antique dealers and had good taste, very primitive-like, but different than my own. Through a neighbor, I’ve invited our seller to see the house now, but I think it’s too emotional for her to come back and see it different (her kids were married on the property). I like to think she’d like the thoughtful changes and restoration we’ve done to much of it, but I find comfort knowing she’s aware how much we adore the old place.

    Reply
  10. Betsy

    I think I would because I’m always interested in peoples style ideas and they may come up with better ways of space design that I never thought of. The problem is that social media has turned into people saying whatever they feel and I’ve read some hurtful comments.

    Reply
  11. Jo Ellen Hickey

    When I sold my former house I knew that whoever moved in would probably change it to their taste. I also knew that there were things in my house that I didn’t like from the previous owners but had not gotten around to changing. I would have changed them if I had the time and money to do so but was just living with them. Also each family lives differently. What makes sense for my family may not work for your family.
    If some “popular” bloggers did my house over it would be different but I might not agree with their choices/taste. I think you have fabulous taste and an eye to really make things beautiful so I would enjoy seeing what you would do with my house. I appreciate that you are sensitive to how you present it on your blog though.

    I live about 45 minutes from Gettysburg, PA so I have really enjoyed seeing your recent antiquing trips as these shops are within driving distance for me! So fun! I want to go antiquing now!

    I can’t wait to see your next house!

    Reply
  12. Anita

    One house we owned had a deep, double closet next to the laundry room and a bathroom on the lower level. My husband turned it into a lovely sauna.
    Later, after selling that house, I had to laugh when an old neighbor told me that the new owners turned that sauna back into a closet. You never know what someone else will want. I would love to see what other changes they made.

    Reply
  13. TAG

    By the time some homeowners sell their home they may be at a phase of their life where it is no longer worth investing in that particular home because they outgrew it or are empty nesters or aging and it’s time to downside. These homes can be well maintained and look a little outdated, but it no longer makes sense to invest in expensive upgrades or make a big investment in fresh decor. That’s why kindness matters and why your readers appreciate your respect for others. Thank you for reminding people. Can’t wait to see what is next and follow along!

    Reply
  14. peg

    I think whomever owns the home at the time has the right to do what they want with it. As long as they live there, it is there home and they should make it fit their taste and comfort requirements. I am in a facebook group, “our old house”, and am surprised about how mean and judgemental people can be about aesthetic choices someone makes. If what they did is a code violation or fire hazard that is one thing, but other then that, live and let live.

    Reply
  15. Jo

    Dear DWF,
    Thank you, from my heart for this lesson.

    Reply
  16. Monica

    When anyone buys a house, unless it’s custom-built for them, they go into it with ideas of what they want to change to make it their own. I think the hurt comes because of the emotional and family ties we have with our homes. Memories are powerful things and if a blogger comes in and documents a house full of changes, posting and commenting on every social media platform, it’s understandable that the sellers would be sad. Nothing (or little) may remain of their family home and the events preserved in photo albums. I guess homeowners experience both sides, but the public sharing is the hard part, especially if you find out later that your home is the subject of someone’s blog or IG account.

    Reply
  17. Jo

    I have always felt you were very sensitive to previous owners whenever you changed something. You were quick to point out that there was nothing wrong with whatever it was you were changing – just not your taste. I would like to think that if anyone sells their home, they have to assume the buyers are going to want to fix it up to their taste. There is nothing wrong with that. You just have to be sensitive to never criticize whatever had been done by previous owners, and you are very good at that.

    Reply
  18. Diane P.

    I have always rented and my MIL and her sister came to help us move. At the new house, they immediately took the opportunity to point out everything wrong with the place. I found their comments offensive because even though I hadn’t done a thing to it yet, it was still my home. It was the place my family would feel safe and share their love. It was sacred to me, but to them it was simply an unsolicited joke. Always be kind about other people’s homes. Keep the jokes private.

    Reply
  19. Kimberly Westby

    How about someone buying a former house of a blogger, and blogging about the changes? Or how one could blog about a ‘raffle’ house/dream home won on a ticket, and the changes made, that a professional designer had, well designed?
    Or would there be an agreement in selling the house, that it is kept out of the media?
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  20. Karen

    I would love to see what the new owners of our previous home have done. There was so much more I would have done with more time and money. The only thing I’ve been disappointed that they have done is on the outside. We had just planted two large trees of a cherished variety which they let die, and they cut down two other trees. The largest hurt was they turned thousands of dollars in Perrenials, bulbs, crepe myrtles and roses into Bermuda grass. The pain of that will never go away as it was a 10 year labor of much love!

    Reply
  21. Jill

    Our last house was sold and a couple of years later was put back on the market. I was horrified when I saw the changes (on Zillow), especially in the garden. They ripped out all the rosebushes and raised vegetable planters, a picket fence and huge Cecile Brunner rosebush that had been growing for 5 years, and cut down two lovely trees that always hosted hummingbird nests in the spring. They replaced it all with rock ground covering. Rock! It wasn’t even pretty pea gravel, but those sharp gray rocks. It almost made me cry.

    Reply
    • Deb

      I recently saw online a house for sale that we had built in 1991.
      We sold it in 1998. I was eager to see what the owners had done to it over the years. All the wallpaper had been removed ( which I am sure I would have done after fifteen to twenty years. They had removed carpet in the living room and family room and had wood look tile installed.
      But the big surprise is they had remodeled the kitchen. It was the same footprint but they had removed the breakfast bar and added more cabinets and installed a big gas range. It looked great but two streets over a house was also on the market with the same exact floor plan.
      The builder was known for his woodwork and moldings throughout the house. This homeowner had painted all of the stained woodwork white and their cabinets in the bathrooms and kitchen white.
      They also had painted the walls nice colors . They had not spent near the money on their house as the owners of my previous home. They both sold within two weeks for the exact same price. I feel certain had we stayed there I would have done the same thing as the owners in the second home as all of that stained trim work and bookcases etc now looked dated. I feel like when you sell a house it is someone else’s turn to make it into the home they want for their family. I feel certain the buyers of my home said …..what’s with all of the Laura Ashley wallpaper:):):):) But that is what I loved at the time and I am just happy I wasn’t the one to have to remove it all these years later.

      Reply
      • Beth

        I like your comment about being a caretaker! My husband & I lived in a historic home for many years & always felt we were the caretakers. About 6 years ago we sold it & now spend our summers across the street in a lake cottage that we’ve been renovating. The new owners are from out of state & have been renting the old homestead out – oh how we hate looking across the street at it. So many hours & weekends were spent mowing the grass, maintaining & caring for beautiful dogwood trees & perennial gardens surrounded by stone beds – now it’s a disaster of weeds & trees with no sight of the stone beds, trees growing in front of entryways to the house & just everything completely overgrown.
        I would have loved a blogger to have bought that home!

        Reply
  22. Emily

    A few years ago my sister and I visited our childhood home, which we had not lived in for about 45 years. We shyly sat in our car outside, and the present owner (whom we did not know) came to the curb and invited us in. Turns out he is the architectural editor for a major publication. Our parents had renovated the home extensively, and many others had done renovations between us and the present owner. It was fascinating to point out to him where there had been a door, etc (he knew it all already!). It was a fantastic and affirming experience, not because he had kept things “the same” but because we all had loved the same wonderful home…

    Reply
  23. Kris

    Interesting topic! I am not a fan of bloggers/social media who ridicule a former owner’s home. As you said so well, you don’t know their story. Money may have been tight, there may have been health problems which kept the owners from making updates, and so on. I know that our house needs some love in different areas, but we have addressed the “biggies” such as making sure we have a good roof, replacing the furnace, installing air conditioning and new windows …. and there hasn’t always been money or time left to deal with cosmetic changes .

    With that being said, I think it’s important to recognize that ultimately, none of us own anything–in the big scheme, we are all just caretakers. That person who makes fun of a previous owner’s choices will someday sell their home and find that they may be the one being laughed at for choices made. That mindset should keep us humble and kind.

    Reply
  24. Christie

    I think it depends on the influencer. Some can be so unkind, but if the person was respectful, then maybe!

    My family sold my grandfather’s home which had 50 years of family memories attached to an acquaintance of a family member. It’s been so beautiful to see photos of the young family making their own new memories there & has been a blessing to help with letting go. They were so thankful for his house, it’s size, and the large amount of land it had for their kids & animals, that it’s been sweet to see.

    So I think it can go either way! It’s all about how the person presents things (as you said, a matter of preference versus making fun of choices). I think at the end of the day, everyone wants their house to go to someone who will enjoy it!

    Reply
  25. Lynne

    We knew the land owners we bought our current property from. They said they were excited that someone they knew was buying the property, and knew we would work to find the property’s full potential (rural and set up for a cowboy life). About a year after we moved in she came by and wanted to see what all we had done. Knowing we were building on to one side of the old ranch house and would be losing two windows, when there is not much natural light in the home anyway, I had that entire side of the home painted a bright white, which looked really good against the rough cedar trim. She had painted the kitchen a bright yellow and a deep maroon, and she couldn’t believe I had covered her paint job. It was no offense meant to her but she took it as such. I brushed it off, knowing we were working to make the home our own, to our tastes (or mine, as my husband doesn’t care much about the house, just the outside property). When we did build the extension, the long vanity in the new master bath was built almost 4′ high, and I’m 5′. My husband is well over 6 feet with long arms and legs, he’s much more comfortable with the high vanity. I have adapted. Several have made fun of me for this but I had that vanity built for my husband’s comfort and have no regrets. That, and I have a step stool in every room!

    Reply
  26. Sandy

    I don’t think it matters if you are a blogger or not. Be kind, yes, but beyond that let it go. We all have our own memories and attachments to our homes. I’ll never forget a home we sold when our children were in grade school. We had so many memories of teaching them to swim in our pool and summer bbqs in the shade of our big trees. Well, years later we were in the neighborhood and went by to see our beautiful former ranchette. They had chopped down the gorgeous big tree that shaded the house! So sad to see the house baking all alone in the hot summer sun. Then to top it off, they had filled in the pool with a rose garden!!! I still laugh at the shock of it all as I recite the Serenity Prayer! Lol

    Reply
  27. Kristine

    This was a good lesson for me. I do write a blog, and we DID just buy and move into a new house for us. The new house had different paint colors in every room, which I have no problem with, but we preferred to have the same color through-out the house (for the most part). We did not make drastic changes at all, except for the fireplace. We painted all the walls SW Cotton White, added crown molding and baseboards everywhere in the same color. Pulled up all the carpet (it was quite old) and put down engineered wood floors (we matched the existing wood floors in the kitchen/breakfast nook), and new carpeting in the bedrooms. The fireplace went from being a small hole in a dark paneled room to being a large, beautiful fireplace with a hearth and a stone surround, topped with a simple, rustic mantel. Without moving walls or tearing anything out, we completely changed the look and the feel of the house. The previous owner came over one day to pick up mail, so I took her through the ‘living’ part of the house. She did not say a word. A single word. I know they raised children in that house, but they went through a divorce, which was why the house was on the market.

    All of this to say that when I start posting on my blog about this new home, and showing before & after pictures, I fully intend to be sensitive and aware that this home was loved by someone before us.

    Reply
  28. Sandy

    So very thankful for your tender heart and concern for how others feel. I know you would never intentionally hurt others but know there are lots of folks who would be hurtful to make themselves look better.
    I think I would be grateful to have a blogger take my home and make it their own. I would wish that is how we all could feel because of being content with where we are in life, whether buying or selling., or in any phase of life.

    Reply
  29. Susan Blair

    This is so interesting. We have moved many times, and just started (this week) a complete kitchen gut & remodel- actually moving the kitchen to a new space in the house. In regard to houses we have previously owned, I save them on Zillow as I am curious (my husband would probably say nosy!) when they come up for sale to see what people have done. For the most part I am not offended at all -well maybe the white windows on the English Tudor were a bit much! 🙂 but they just weren’t my taste. I tend to view it as my home is where my family is, and the house is our “container” if you will, we shape it to suit us, as will the next family. I want them to make it their home, and love it as much as we did. I would be offended by unkind comments made publicly (and in private I admit I have made some about work a previous owner did- especially related to mechanicals). I would hope that anyone blogging about decorating or physical changes they are making would make it clear that they are doing so to meet their family’s needs (in the case of our kitchen) or their aesthetic — not to be mean about doing it because the previous owner had not taste.

    Reply
  30. Becky

    What an interesting question! I don’t know if I would want an influencer/blogger to live in my house or not. Every house we have lived in has been allowed to deteriorate after we left it so, unfortunately, looking at all of our former homes has been very very sad for our family. We are intentional about leaving places as good or better than they were when we arrived so to see those places where so many happy memories were made falling down or even removed stings our hearts not a little. Even if people had changed the look, had the homes had been cared for and loved, it would have been better than to see broken windows and trees growing inside.
    The home we now live in is on our own land and was literally built “with our own hands”. All of our family helped. Many things look like a group of people built this themselves, but we did the best we knew and did our best to make good decisions that will serve those who live in it well. I know that someday one of our children may live here with their family. I have been working to emotionally prepare myself for that future season when a daughter or daughter-in-law will put her own stamp of ownership on everything. Not everyone who may live here in the future personally stained by hand every single one of the over 1600 boards that comprise the ceiling of the open living area like I did. Nor will they have refinished the wood floors two or three times. How will I feel if the decision to paint the wood is made? How will my husband feel if someday I want to paint over the stain? LOL! Those emotions! How complicated situations can be when emotions and sentiment are involved! Hopefully I am able to see beyond my personal feelings and celebrate the legacy of love future occupants continue to live in this home. As long as it is a place of peace, love, and safety, that is what truly matters. At least this is what I pray I live out when the time comes to move into a new season. And if the next people to live here don’t have any ideas of their own, I still have several more I haven’t yet tried – and I’m willing to share:)

    Speaking of home, here is one of my favorite quotes. If I can remember this, I’ll have the right perspective on any changes made.

    “that house…was a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or storytelling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness.” J.R.R. Tolkien

    Reply
  31. Karen

    When my first husband and I were divorcing we had to put our house up for sale. It was our very first house, we were its only occupants and we raised a daughter (our only child) in it – well, for 9 years anyway. We loved the house. I met twice a month with 34 of my Girl Scouts in it, held countless birthday parties, 4th of July cook outs and created many memories that remain with me to this day. Since it was a divorce necessary sale, we opted to NOT do any repairs or paint or replace carpet. We were willing to give anyone who wanted to buy it a discount to do those things themselves. While it was on the market my realtor confided in me that one couple stepped in the door to view the house and the wife said, “this house is filthy” and walked back out refusing to even look at it. My feelings were hurt so bad over this. It happened over 30 years ago and it still stings to talk about it. My house was NOT filthy. But in that lady’s mind it was because the carpets weren’t new and the paint wasn’t fresh. It was a like a kick to my heart. I think people forget sometimes that whatever home they look at belonged to someone once and was most likely loved and they built a life there. It’s always good to be kind in these situations.

    Reply
  32. JC

    Marian, You summed it up well by saying, “Above all, I want to be kind, so that if the previous owners or their friends and family ever read what I write about their house, they are glad that a blogger bought it.” I think change is inevitable because we are all different and it is OK to want to make a space our own. What I think bloggers should be particularly sensitive too is the wording of those changes. We wouldn’t or shouldn’t criticize the way someone’s child looks, right? So, why should we do that to a home someone has poured their heart into?

    We literally just closed on our vacation cabin today and had the privilege to meet the buyers before closing. My husband and I spent almost 8 years remodeling just about every square inch of it. Having done 99% of the work ourselves, when we say blood, sweat, and tears we mean it! Having it in a remote mountain location was 10xs harder to get materials and remodel, but God blessed and it did come out beautifully. The new owners love it and want to complete a bunkhouse over the garage we never got the chance to do. We feel very fortunate for this meeting. We shared our wonderful memories and they shared their dreams for the place. Not all sales are like that, but when they are, it sure is a sweet release.

    Reply
  33. Babs

    My husband and I bought an 1829 antebellum in neglected shape to restore and turn into a bed and breakfast. We worked 7 days a week for almost 2 years and when it was finished we were so proud (exhausted but proud!) We ran the business for almost 7 years and then sold it. Of course, we looked at their newly designed website with pictures of all the rooms and wondered what they were thinking. They had made some changes to make it theirs (they did pay us for it!) but we were amazed and disappointed that they felt it necessary to make ANY changes to our perfect house.

    Eventually, we got tired of peeking at them on line and gave it a rest.

    Reply
  34. Kari

    When we were newlyweds, we bought our first and only home from the original owners just before their death. We updated it as our tiny budget allowed. One day a granddaughter of the previous owners knocked on the door and asked if I would show her around. I told her things didn’t look the same, and she decided to come inside anyway. She commented that some of the changes we made were ones they wanted to make, too, but never got around to it. We both felt good about the experience.
    About 15 years after we bought it, we designed and built a new home on our same property. My father was our general contractor, so we all have an emotional attachment to this house. I’m not sure whether or not I would like to watch a blogger change my house, but I also don’t have to watch it happen. I could freely decide not to follow along! I suspect not one single person in a blogger’s audience had ever been in my house, so my anonymity would be preserved. Blog away!! 🙂

    Reply
  35. Janet Burns Pucillo

    I’m not a blogger, but if I lived where your house is located, I would be thrilled to buy it if I could afford it. You have great taste in decorating.

    Reply
  36. Lou E Gipson

    Marian~
    My former home, which i personally designed , had blueprints made for and built (acting as general contractor) was lost in divorce after 25 years of marriage.
    When former husband died, the house went to his daughter living in another state.. I tried to purchase it to no avail..she chose to let the house fall into disrepair rather than to sell to me..
    Fast forward to present day.. I was told the house had been sold..
    So i followed them on facebook.. getting glimpses of the changes..finally, i had courage enough to write a letter, explaining how their beloved home on the lake came to be..
    She was more than grateful knowing all the secrets of the house, why certain things were the way the were.. the depth of the well 85 ft through solid granite,clear sweet icy cold drinking water from the tap on the hottest of days..and especially what the plants were which appeared without having been planted!
    They changed the interior of the house to meet the needs of four active growing boys, large dogs and a very modern, busy family..where before it had been a comfortable showcase for our many travels during our years prior to retirement!
    To them, the house was seriously outdated with bleached oak cabinets and bookcases throughout the house..soft blues and peaches wall paint with bright white trim and crown moulding..
    to me it was a calm and restful oasis after many years of must attends and entertaining from 5-50 at the drop of a hat..
    She was thrilled to hear from me..invited me to stop by for a tour any time i was in town..

    Reply
  37. Kim

    It’s a fine line with these types of posts. Having read your blog for many years, have never seen a mean-spirited post. There are others out there, however, that show no such restraint or diplomacy. I had the opportunity, for lack of a better word, to see my former home after the new owners made their renovations. Went there because the new owner was holding on to my mail, (which included the delivery of a check for a large amount), vs. putting it back into the mailbox, but that’s another story. He was quite proud of the changes and oblivious to my lack of enthusiasm. I actually felt ill as I saw that any trace of my family had been obliterated by his choices. It was as if our memories had been rendered worthless. This was the place where I raised my children, the place I needed to be when my mother called with her cancer diagnosis while I was at the grocery store and couldn’t get home soon enough, the home where we created family memories to last a lifetime: our safe place. All I could do was to look at the floor and try to ignore my rising panic/distress. The new decor was not to my taste, nor to my liking, but it reinforced the fact that the property was no longer ours. The window treatments that absolutely had to be part of the purchase price had inexplicably disappeared. Would have been better had he been a bit more diplomatic, as the purchasing process with him had been an utter nightmare. It seemed like gloating at that point. Insult to injury: his wife had announced that any further delivery of my packages or mail would be thrown away. The mail carrier had retired so there was a transition period which explained the confusion. The postal supervisor also explained to them that destroying or disposal of mail was a federal offense. Ugh.

    Reply
    • Chris

      My mother-in-law gave power-of-attorney to my husband to handle the sale of her house after she moved out of state. A prospective buyer was found and the sale was contingent on the results of a home inspection. The house was built in the 50s and was about 40 years old at time. We were present for the inspection and, man, was he thorough!. He found one loose tile next to the bathtub in the pink mid-century modern bathroom. There were a few other minor items and a dead squirrel in the rafters The buyer was very upset about that loose pink tile and, after a lot of back and forth among her, her agent and MIL’s agent, my husband negotiated a $400 reduction in the sale price for the tile repair. (The closing was a near fiasco and a story for another time.) My mother-in-law called one of her old neighbors a few months later and and learned that, just days after the closing, remodeling contractor trucks were seen there, debris was hauled into dumpsters, and the pink toilet sat outside for a day or so. Mother was angry that she had been taken for $400 when the new owner planned all along to rip out the bathroom and not repair the tile.

      Reply
  38. Karen B.

    Marian,
    I’ve never thought your comments about a change you were making to a home previously owned were hurtful or unkind. I believe you’ve always explained that the item (color or style) was not to your taste and that you were making it your and your family’s own.
    I’m so excited to hear of a new home in your future. I know I will enjoy your projects to any home to make it your own. You always provide a lot of inspiration.

    Reply
  39. Tracy

    I’d love to see how somebody would transform my house. Altho I know I would be constantly thinking “darn, why didn’t I think of that!”

    Reply
  40. Ellen Shook

    Well, this post certainly resonated with a lot of us. I will not go into detail, but I do know what some of the tactless comments, not by bloggers, etc., but by the realtor who handled the transaction, felt like. “It will be a HOLE lot plainer.” “Oh my goodness, you just wouldn’t believe what all they have done to that house!” when I ran into her about a year later. It is now all beige and grey. The pretty yellow door and black shutters are gone. All the $$$ we spent and all the backbreaking work — disappeared. Big trees — gone. I would drive by once in a while, but after a few years, I just said NO MORE. It has been 15 years, and the neighborhood has really gone down overall. It is not my house, and I am very happy I do not live in that part of town anymore. But I I don’t need the self-flagellation because I am not striving for sainthood. I would be lying, however, if I said that Realtor didn’t hurt my feelings.

    Reply
  41. Rose

    I think most home sellers expect the new owners will personalize the home to their own unique needs and aesthetic. There is however, a disconnect in some bloggers who renovate a home with the attitude that the previous owners had inferior taste or were ignorant of design in general. Bloggers manufacture content for profit, and many have exquisite taste and phenomenal talent. Not everyone has the resources to renovate a home to their taste, and sometimes the blogger renovations seem insensitive. Marian, you are very inspirational in all facets of your blog and supremely tactful. I think you have one of the few blogs that’s uplifting and I find such joy in each post!

    Reply
  42. mary

    I love your kind heart…and your decorating style! I try to practice my mom’s words “if you can’t be kind, be quiet”. It is so much easier to be “unkind” on social media and I appreciate your gentle wording.

    Reply
  43. Nancy Cox

    I think i would be flattered because you obviously liked something about the house. And i would love to see your changes and what you would do to make it yours.

    Reply
  44. Barbara Y.

    I think it if one is careful about stating, as you did, that it is a matter of personal preferences. When someone is critical in a hurtful way about the previous owner’s choices it can be very hurtful. I know that I put much thought and love into our home when we built it, agonizing over every little detail and putting much care and attention into the work we did. Then it was criticized by the new owners and their friends on social media who knew perfectly well that I would see it. There are kind ways to express your preferences and then there are those who do not care about the feelings of others. I think you way is the former and I appreciate your kindness.

    Reply
  45. Sandy

    Similarly, I have cringed watching TV programs when the prospective buyer calls the decor choices “gross”. When actually its just not their taste, but possibly hurtful for the seller to see.

    Reply
  46. Kay Hess Grogg

    This is a great article and something to think about. I have wondered about some bloggers or TV shows making a big deal about how bad, shabby, or nasty a house was before they fixed it up. This happened to my family. My grandparent’s home in Charlottesville, VA had been in the family for over 200 years. When my grandparents passed away, none of the family was willing to move back to the old home place, so it was sold. A well-meaning friend told my aunt that the people who had purchased the c. 1734 home commented that it was in such bad shape and how awful the house was before they “fixed it up”. We all knew this was not entirely true. My aunt was very hurt by these comments, especially knowing the sweat equity that my grandfather had put into modernizing his home. After reflecting on these remarks, I finally decided that it wasn’t about the former family who had owned this historic home, but more about the new owners. They were proud of the work they had done and the changes they had made. By downplaying the condition at purchase, it made them and their skills at preservation seem wonderful and awesome. I appreciate that you take this into consideration when you write about the work that you do. Next time you hear someone comment on just “how awful this place was when they bought it”, ask- is this more about the previous owners or the new owners?

    Reply
  47. Sandra

    14 years ago we moved to the house next door – and watched with horror as all three mature trees in the back yard were removed by the new owners. It bothered my husband tremendously to see the changes the new owners made, but it’s their house now and we are very happy in our new house where we’ve made many changes ourselves. It doesn’t bother me in the least that their design decisions are different than ours, they are almost 20 years younger than us and at a different life stage.

    Reply
  48. Dawn

    I recently sold a home I had lived in for 25 years. I raised my babies in it, and re-did every room, top to bottom. Because it was a historic home, I tried to keep as much original as I could (much had been removed by the previous owners). I scraped the exterior siding with a heat gun and scraper! I painted it every year. I worked tirelessly on landscaping. I built a white picket fence around it. Added a green house. Refinished and added missing/ruined hardwood floors. It was lovely.
    Sold it to a lady with 4 young daughters and multiple dogs.
    I’ve had people tell me they miss me living there, and taking care of the house. I tell them “I was raising flowers. She is raising daughters.”
    My mind set as I was preparing the house for sale was, it’s no longer my house. It’s theirs. I changed EVERYTHING. They should have the same choice.
    And, I sold it for absolutely top dollar. I think that had a lot to do with it…..if you sell your house cheap, because you know it needs updating, then I think you’d be happy to see it fixed up. And, for me, selling it for top dollar means, it’s their money. If they don’t maintain it, or change it completely (fence and green house are gone), it’s on them. It’s their investment.
    I love my new house so much, I don’t miss the old at all. I try to not drive by, not look, and truly, just be happy for them, and hope the home brings them joy, updates or not.
    If a blogger bought my house, and was even mean, laughing at my choices, I honestly don’t know how I’d feel. But if they were nice, and just wanted to make the house feel more like them, I’d be thrilled. And gosh, trends change! Even a blogger or interior designer wouldn’t expect their tastes to stay the same 20 years later. Selling a home means eventually, someone is going to have to do some updates, right?

    Reply
  49. Mary Files

    Is there ANY way to get rid of that annoying ad space at the bottom of the page?

    Reply
  50. Taria

    I figure the things I do were to please our lifestyle or increase the value. We have done well selling homes we worked hard on. I just always remember the money we made and that money sort of divorced me from the houses. The one really hard thing is to watch a fruit tree
    or special plant die but I figure I got my joy out of the process, the finished use and the money.

    Reply
  51. Janet Johnston

    You have been very complimentary about the home in Minnesota, always commenting what a lovely home it was and you were making it in the colors and design that fit your style. I don’t like to see bloggers, when initially purchasing a home, say the home is not their forever or dream home, which sounds somewhat not happy or discontent. Yes, a blogger puts out content to make a blog and it’s fun to read along to see new ideas. Just don’t prefer the not our dream home comment.

    Reply
  52. Kris B

    The house I grew up in and that my parents had custom built was sold a few years ago after their passing. My sister & I had let it sit empty for a few years, and realized things were just getting too worn out to keep fixing and for what purpose when no one lived there…The house was sold to a young couple with 3 little children. They loved the woods, the yard, and bought the 3 bedroom house with intentions to renovate it & add on to it. After the first year they contacted us and invited us to come look at what they had done so far. It was way beyond my wildest imagination, that they could even do the things they did, but they did and it was beautiful & well planned out. We go back to visit each year and I continue to be impressed with their remodeling decisions, and yard remakes so their family can enjoy all it has to offer. A family campgrounds in the woods, trails for biking & riding….I love it and am happy to see my childhood memories be made into someone elses eyes & minds. I’m glad it is being used & loved.

    Reply
  53. BeverlyO

    I don’t have a home blog that earns my living. I have shared some changes made to our home over the years that I have lived here – mostly just to document it and to share with family. I don’t share as much these days because my full-time job involves working at a computer and I just don’t want to spend much of my spare time creating content for my blog after I’ve spent all day creating content for work – even though the topics would be different. I just want to get up and move away from my computer or tablet at the end of my work time!

    This house was originally built by my in-laws and was moved here from another site. It has some wonderful features and great bones. However, it was not really decorated or designed to my taste. Plus, when I moved in here in 2009, there were no upgrades or changes made to it since 2000. So, it really needed some freshening up. I spent a lot of time cleaning, painting, and making inexpensive changes because at the time my husband and I were making two mortgage payments – the one on this house and the one on the home I had moved from to be with him. Over the past few years, we have slowly made a few changes and updates beyond just paint and cleanup. For example, I redecorated with new light fixtures and new towel bars and mirrors and we updated with new faucets, replacement windows, changed out the front door, added a ceiling fan to the front porch, and recently updated the laundry room/pantry area with bead board and new flooring. I have always thought of all the work we’ve done on this place as improvements and updates – a way of maintaining a nice home and shifting the aesthetic a bit more toward my taste and current trends.

    My mother-in-law moved into our two-bedroom basement area a few years back where there is also a small kitchen, bath, laundry area, and den. She was living in a 5000+ square foot home that was just too much for her to maintain and needed a smaller space where someone could check in on her daily. Prior to her move, painters came and replaced the flooring and painted everything from floor to ceiling. She chose the colors and flooring because it is her space. Everything down there is grey. Cabinetry, flooring, and walls are all grey and look very institutional to me. I hate it. But, she is happy and I’m rarely down there. Yet, when we began making changes she commented that we should not paint the front door a certain color and then that we should not have changed out the nice door that she had put there (even though it had cracked and weathered with neglect over the 20+ years). She even commented that we had spent quite a bit of time and money on our laundry/pantry area, “when it isn’t really a space where we spend a lot of time living and was really fine to begin with.” I was a bit chafed by her comments, maybe even more than miffed. Updating the windows where it would be more cozy for her was alright but updating the front door was not? Later she made comments about changes that were made to the house she had recently moved from and how they had, “ruined the whole thing.” That’s when it dawned on me that it was just that she was insulted that her choices were changed and no longer revered. She didn’t even consider that we never stood in the way of her making the basement space her own. She didn’t consider that over time things do need upkeep and updating. She was just insulted that her choices had been changed. So, I have come to understand and appreciate the idea that some folks might be insulted by changes we make but when it is our own space and something we have invested our hard work – be it time and labor or just time earning the funding for a project, it is truly alright. Other people’s taste might not be the same as mine but we each live in our own space and should enjoy and appreciate it as a way of enriching and brightening our daily lives. I think that is why I have enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your home-making projects over the years. Everything you do isn’t exactly to my own taste but truly is beautiful in its own way and inspirational!

    Reply
  54. annette

    This post has had me thinking long and hard. I feel guilty because in the past when it was popular to walk the neighborhood and visit open houses on a Sunday afternoon I wondered about a lot of the decor.While I never spoke of it outloud,I criticized it internally. Thanks for your thoughtfulness!

    Reply
  55. Downraspberrylane

    What a breath of fresh air this post is. There is a well-known publication that always has a feature showing a photo of someone’s (supposedly bad) remodel, asking readers to submit their (supposedly funny) caption for it. I find it rather mean and snarky, and agree that someone may have done the best they could with what they had, either money- or talent-wise. I also think of any kids who live there and how they must feel if word gets back to them about their home being bashed in a public forum.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Hello!

Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

Let's Connect

WATCH ON YOUTUBE

Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!

decorating, projects, and recipes for Summer

  • mexican lasagna bake aka burrito cake recipe
    I love recipes that are…quick to make, can be made in one pot, are easy to adjust to different food preferences, and are delicious!  Such is the case with this […]
  • the best strawberry rhubarb crisp
    We have an absolutely wonderful next-door neighbor.  She has blown snow out of our driveway when Jeff was unable to, she has saved Calvin’s bike from sitting out on the […]
  • decorating with shells
    As I collected shells at the beach this spring, the question I was asked most often is, “What do you do with them?”  And I get that question!  When we […]
  • Isle of Palms 2022
    I thought I would share a little bit more about our time at Isle of Palms this year.  If you’d like to read about our trip last year and the […]

Categories

Articles by Date

 

our sponsors

 

 

Bliss and Tell Branding Company

 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This