Pretty Bones

Classical Architecture

There’s a saying in real estate that a house has “good bones”. Some say “good bones” refers to a solid house, a good foundation. Others use it to mean the roof and basic systems (wiring, plumbing, heating, cooling) are in good shape.

My own definition of “good bones” is about the architectural design aspects of a home, both interior and exterior. Is there a good flow from one room to another? Are design details still in place? Do the proportions of the rooms work? Is there a balance of public and private spaces? Can rooms easily be used for multiple purposes? Are there adequate windows, allowing natural light and ventilation in the rooms? Is there a connection to the outside areas by way of views and passageways? Often but not always, the phrase “good bones” is used to describe a home in need of updating.

The home pictured above had (at the time I walked through it) “good bones”. It also had what I call “pretty bones”–elements like the French windows along the front. It sits on a lovely lot and on a tree-lined, winding street. At the time I saw this home, it clearly would have benefited from a significant amount of updating; my Realtor colleagues felt the same way.

Several agents questioned my passion for this home. I could see it had the “bones” to be a magnificent jewel.

The home sold quickly–just twenty-four days. I was not surprised. I consider the family who bought it lucky. They chose a house that will serve them well on many levels for years to come.

Here is another home with both “great bones” and “pretty bones”. This Renaissance Revival came on the market after being in the same family for thirty years. Interestingly, this home also sold in just twenty-four days.

I’m glad I was able to see these two homes when they came on the market. It may well be another thirty years before they come on the market again.

I love a house with “great bones”. Even more, I love a house with “pretty bones”.


If you’re wanting to find a home with “great bones”, give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to help you find just such a home.

Ellen Walsh

Kate Walsh


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