This is The Manor Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. Built in 1896 as a luxury hotel, it's now a National Historic Site — and Laurel and Michael, an academic and a "headshrinker" respectively, have lived there for two and a half years.
The couple like the balance of it: they get to love their sconces, Ionic columns, and high ceilings while staying close to downtown Asheville. Because really, living in a house old enough to be your great-grandmother is no fun if it makes you FEEL left out of the younger crowd's world of music, cafes, and nightlife.
Common rooms are styled for both Michael and Laurel: heavy, ornate furniture and loads of gargoyles make them BOTH happy. In the bathrooms they get individual: Michael's has a pirate theme, Laurel's has mermaids.
Every home has a challenge — and this building's challenge for occupants is rising to meet the sheer potential. Even though they've collected antiques for years, the remaining cheap-o grad school furniture they moved in with stuck out like a sore thumb in the Manor's grandeur.
There are always downsides about living in a rental, but Laurel and Michael are happy. "We're content to rent because we have yet to see a place for sale with anything like the Manor's style. Our lesson has been to reject the idea that we have to buy just for the sake of owning a place; inhabiting a world of crazy-Gothic-awesome means more to us."
Want to learn more about The Manor Inn? Indulge yourself here.