‘Home is where the heart is:’ Share your interesting house photos with Houstory

Home, Paktika Province, Afghanistan
(Photo by Goldsboro Williams)

A reader working in Afghanistan (who, for security reasons — and a bit of fun — asked to be identified by the pseudonym “Goldsboro Williams”) recently submitted this photo of an interesting home in that country’s Paktika Province. His post to us was labeled simply, “Home is Where the Heart Is.”

Mr. “Williams” is right. Wherever it may be, whatever it looks like, I think we all share the same feeling: home is where the heart is.

Bless them all.

And thanks, Goldsboro, for sharing.

If you’ve come across an interesting home — particularly one that really shows off that that often indefinable quality of “heart” — we’d love for you to share it with us and our Houstory readers. Please post your photo on our Facebook page, or shoot us an e-mail (info@houstory.com) with the title “Home is where the heart is.” We’d love to share it with our readers.

Dear Photograph: 22-year-old starts a ‘new-age nostalgic’ storytelling movement

Not long ago, we came upon a concept that immediately resonated with us: A Web site that urges users to blend the past and present together using photography.  It’s a notion very similar to our Houstory Hearth post from March (“Bring your home’s history to life using these simple photo tips“). In that article, we talked about the magic of shooting pictures of your house from a similar vantage point to one done in the past, and then blending the images together. The results were impressive and fascinating.

Dear Photograph, nostalgia, photography, family stories, genealogy, preservation

Dear Photograph, the book, features more than 200 photos submitted readers.

Dear Photograph, which was started by 22-year-old Taylor Jones, urges a similar call to action — except with more of a focus on people. No digital manipulation is required, as submitters simply hold up a current photo against the background of an older photo — lining up the angles as best as possible — and snapping a shot of that image. These juxtapositions are not only fun, but also elicit a lot of emotion .

Maybe it’s revisiting the site of your senior photo and reenacting a similar scene 20 years later, or going back to grandma’s dining room to take an updated photo of a family dinner 30 years past.

Listen to a story on Dear Photograph — including how Jones developed the idea (spoiler alert: Winnie the Pooh was involved) —  from earlier this week .

Over the past year — since the conception of the project — thousands of people have contributed photos to his blog, and earlier this month he published a book entitled “Dear Photograph” highlighting some of these photos.

The project is a modern-day testimony to the power of storytelling — and preserving legacy.  If you’d like to contribute photos, you can do so at http://dearphotograph.com.

UPDATE: Genealogist and family historian Caroline Pointer (www.4yourfamilystory.com) pointed out Dear Photograph’s similarity to another site – HistoryPin.com – which we wrote about last October (“New site allows millions chance to explore the past, share the present). Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Caroline!

Real estate expert: Recording, sharing love of your home can help sell it

We recently came across an article, written by real estate expert Tara-Nicholle Nelson, that we thought really tied into concepts we believe in: legacy and love of home. In her piece written last month, she talks about the importance of sharing the stories that make a house a home, and how that can positively impact the home-selling process. In the past few months, we’ve seen a few articles that touch on the value of knowing a home’s history, such as this one (“Researching your home’s past could pay off” — Chicago Tribune, Feb. 3, 2012).

house history, legacy, home history, real estate

A love letter, Tara-Nicholle Nelson explains, expresses the love the seller’s family has had for the home, and explains the facts and events underlying that sentiment.

“As someone who has been inside probably thousands of homes with buyers over the years, I’ve always thought there was one super-simple, vastly underrated marketing technique for homes that are having a hard time standing out from the rest of the market: the seller love letter. A seller love letter is a note, personally written or typed up by the home’s seller. Among other things, it expresses the love the seller’s family has had for the home, and explains the facts and events underlying that sentiment,” she wrote.

She continued: “If the power of staging lies in depersonalizing the property so buyers can picture their own family living out their own lives in the home, the power of a seller love letter is that it leaves buyers with a warm feeling that the home has a positive energy and history, which is especially desirable on today’s distressed property-riddled market.”

To read the full article, please visit her Web site at http://www.rethinkrealestate.com/http:/www.rethinkrealestate.com/6-elements-of-a-compelling-home-seller-love-letter/#

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of “The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook” and “Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions.” Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.

We’d love to know your thoughts! Let us know — do you think knowing a home’s story can add value?

If you have knowledge in a topic our readers may be interested in — such as historical preservation, home genealogy or homes in general — and are interested in writing a guest column for us, please let us know! Contact us at info@homehistorybook.com.

Houstory visits new — and old — friends in New England

By Dan Hiestand, Houstory Marketing Director

The past few days have been good ones for Houstory.

As Mike and I forge ahead, we are more excited than ever at the possibilities. In the coming months, we look forward to exciting developments and partnerships — which we’ll let you know more about in the near future. In the meantime, we wanted to share some of what has happened during our trip to Massachusetts over the past few days.

houstory, marian pierre-louis, maureen taylor, home history, house history

(left to right)  Mike Hiestand, Maureen Taylor, Marian Pierre-Louis and Dan Hiestand

First, we had a chance to visit with two people who have been very important to our company’s young development: Maureen Taylor, ‘The Photo Detective,’ and ‘The New England House Historian‘ Marian Pierre-Louis. Mike and I had a chance to sit down for lunch with both of them, and discuss a few ideas. More than that, it was great just to finally meet them in person after reading their blogs, monitoring their Tweets and chatting with them on the phone and via e-mail.

Maureen has been instrumental in helping Houstory produce an archival-quality book. From our first telephone conversation in 2008, she has helped us to build a product of the highest quality through meticulous selection of materials — specifically helping to guide us in our choice of acid- and lignin-free paper, and our archival-safe photo sleeves. In other words, she was our ‘preservation guru’, and has even authored an article on the topic for our Web site.

We have only recently connected with Marian, but have watched her work from afar for quite some time and learned a ton about home history research from her along the way. In the world of home historians, she is among the best, and obviously we are quite fortunate to have connected with her.

Additionally, we attended the 2012 New England Conference & Trade Show, hosted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International in Hyannis, Mass., on Cape Cod. Along the way, we re-visited old friends, made a lot of new ones and took a trip to Provincetown to take in the scenery. While in ‘P-Town,’ Mike and I were lucky enough to attend a huge community party at The Red Inn, built in 1915.

Provincetown, Cape Cod

A beach house with a bright yellow door and colorful boats on Cape Cod.

The evening, which took place in cozy confines and in the shadow of the historic homes and lighthouses on Cape Cod, was magical. Complimentary appetizers included lobster bisque, bacon-wrapped oysters, incredible bread pudding and lots of new friends — all in the comfort of a beautiful historic building. Thank you to The Red Inn for your generosity!

Provincetown, Massachusetts, Cape Cod

Located on beautiful Provincetown Harbor, in one of the world’s most spectacular settings, The Red Inn has welcomed guests since 1915.