When someone new visits you, do you feel obligated to give them a house tour? Let’s say you’ve invited someone over to your home for the first time and they are going to be in your home for maybe 2-3 hours. It’s a social visit, maybe you are even hosting a casual neighborhood party and there are more like 20 or 30 people coming over for a BBQ or dessert or something.
As a guest in someone’s home for the first time, would you even be remotely interested in being lead around their house?
Do you feel the need to give your first time guests a tour of your home?
Do you have a burning desire to show people the dining room you never use, the bookcase your Great Aunt Matilda gave you but you can’t get rid of because it’s a family heirloom, the room where you sleep, your bath mats? Where do you draw the line? Your home office? The laundry room, the basement?
A few months ago we had some guests. And within 5 minutes of their arrival, my husband asked them if they wanted a tour of our house. I’m pretty sure I shot back an ARE YOU SERIOUS look immediately after he offered because he was like WHAT!? What did I say?
Maybe it really wasn’t an odd question after all. Maybe I’m the weird one. Maybe I don’t want to have to explain why I have 6 rolling carts of wool in the basement or a 50 pound sack of potatoes in the pantry to someone I just kind of sort of know.
Or if I’m being totally honest here, maybe I don’t find most people that interesting or want to pretend to care about their licence plate collection or be encouraged to touch someones silky bedspread because OH MY GOSH IT’S SO SOFT…. FEEEEEEL it.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the quirky one.
But how do YOU feel about house tours? Yea or Nay?
Linda M says
Oh girl, I am sooo with you! When we built our home fourteen years ago, people dropped in who I had never socializedd with Ever! They wanted a tour! Our house is just a basic little ranch which I love, love…but I want to be the one offering to show them through. I am not a decorator….we live in our eclectic home. So, usually I just said the house was a work in progress and when done perhaps then. But….we have one room that is an office/hobby room…..always in use and usually in disarray. My husband feels the need to parade guests there still to show them his current pursuit. Ugh! I
Shari Harniss says
I enjoy touring homes in the historic district of different towns, but I purchase a ticket for the privilege. I don’t feel the need to see every room in someone’s home. I’m much more interested in the garden or greenhouse.
And, what do you say to someone who asks you if you’d like a tour of their home, and not come across as rude?
And, Mavis, I would love to see your house, only because of it’s age and simplicity in design. It is beautiful from all the pics I’ve seen. But, I would never expect you or anyone else to offer a tour.
Eh, I could go either way. If I’m at someone’s house I definitely don’t expect a tour – I just need to know where the bathroom is. If a tour is offered I will always take it, but I never touch other people’s stuff – just seems like such an invasion of privacy.
Lisa Millar says
Hilarious! When you come to visit I’ll let you know where the essential rooms are and skip the library tour!!
Honestly – depends on the person/people.
I am mostly aesthetically relaxed (ie I am messy) so I don’t like showing people who don’t know us well my really chaotic spaces!
I do love seeing houses though, so if someone offers me the tour… I’m all in!! 😀
Aesthetically relaxed! I love that!!!! I keep waiting to “grow up and be a better house keeper”, at 48, I think this is as good as I’ll get!
Lisa Millar says
Glad to hear someone else at around my age hasn’t evolved into a super dooper fabulous house keeper! 😀
It doesn’t come naturally to me and there are so many more interesting things to do than housework!!
Lisa and Kate, I completely understand. I too am aesthetically relaxed. I have so many more things to do than have my house be spotless. Thanks for saying this ladies, so glad to know that there are others out there like me!
I love to see there are other women who share my perspective! Aesthetically relaxed! haha this will be my new motto. So much life to live and not all of it involves the supreme tidiness of my home! The house may be clean when company comes, but heaven help me if they are snoopy and find the dirty laundry I have hidden out of the way behind the shower curtain in the master bathroom. 🙂
Absolutely not! Like Linda M, when we built our house, people automatically expected a tour. I was okay with the downstairs, but the bedrooms? No way. And I was appalled when, during the building process, before the house was fully enclosed, a work colleague and her husband took it upon themselves to take a tour. I couldn’t believe it when she cheerfully shared this fun experience Monday morning at work, and teased me about the size of our bedroom and bathroom! Gave me the total creeps to think they had been prowling around and invading our privacy!
What if they stepped on a nail or were injured during their inspection? So rude!
Nay! I’ve never offered anyone a house tour. I’ve disliked them since I was a kid. My dad offered tours to anyone who stopped by, and suddenly there would be people looking into my bedroom. Never mind whether it was a mess, I had pjs on, zit cream on my face, etc.
Unless its a new house and you are visiting for that purpose…no no no. What is the point? I don’t want people seeing my bedroom, that is creepy to me.
Honest Ann says
If I’m not buying your home, I don’t need to see it. If you are an acquaintance, it’s rude/nosy to expect a tour of someone’s personal space. If you are a friend or family member, and visit often, are close to the home owner, you will see every part of the house over time – may take years but it will happen. That is part of the privilege of knowing someone – seeing their bedroom and personal space because they invite you to look at something there. I don’t give tours. I don’t take tours. I came to visit you, not see what you have. Tours feel very much like “look what I own” (I assume on credit) and tells me nothing much about you at all, other than you may not value your privacy in the same way I do. I don’t care what you own, it doesn’t make you a better friend/parent or a nicer person or a great host. It makes you seem shallow to me. If I require a bathroom I will ask for it’s location. If you want to impress me, show me the amazing, well-adjusted children you raised, the good deeds you’ve done (helped someone who couldn’t help themselves, didn’t know it was you who was selfless and can never pay you back), then tell me how you plan to leave the world a better place. Don’t try to impress me with ‘stuff’ you bought from a store, or paid someone else to build for you. That just makes you ordinary and boring in my eyes.
When I was about 10, my parents designed and built a custom home out in “the country”. People stopped by all the time expecting a tour. I get that a custom home. I live in a regular tract-home, in a regular neighborhood. It would never occur to me to give a tour now! Plus the master bedroom is where I put all the “stash and dash” items!
I love looking at houses–from those just being built to those having been lived in forever. I’ve never asked for a tour of a home, but I will certainly never turn one down. I like looking at the bones of a house, different layouts, and I love to get different decorating and organizing ideas.
House tour? No way! I still get angry when I think of a couple of in-laws who took it upon themselves to take a tour of a house into which we had just moved, checking out and commenting on closets and all. Some nerve! It;s been over 40 years and they both are gone.
My parents made a point of connecting with families at church by inviting them to Sunday dinner. My mom always offered a tour of our home to new visitors. She also liked to use the China dishes and made beautiful meals.
We’re not nearly so formal with our entertaining. I’ve never offered a tour of the house. But, our house has an open floor plan downstairs. A tour would be ridiculous. And who wants to trek upstairs to the bedrooms besides the kids?
Mama Cook says
I’m with Barb!!! I LOVE a house tour! I even watch local realty in order to see the virtual house tours! I love to see the design of houses, decor, organization, Aunt Matilda’s cupboard! But, I never ask for a tour!!!!
People tend to ask for tours of our home, but I think that’s because with 7 of the 11 still living at home, they wonder where we stack them all! ☺️
Does this really have to be an issue? Honestly, I’ve never given it any thought. If someone offers me a house tour, fine. Keep it brief, and be proud of your home but not a snob. I wouldn’t do a ‘self-guided’ tour of someone else’s house, unless they insist I look around and tell me what to look at. If someone wants to see my house, I show them the rooms I want them to see.
I totally get it. My husband does the same thing. It makes me cringe sometimes as not every thing is in its place. The way I choose to look at it is he is so incredibly proud of everything you have done.
Unless it’s family or a really good friend, I don’t take people on tours of our house. That’s just me.
It depends on the person. We built a custom home and when relatives and good friends visited for the first time, they were interested in seeing the house and we enjoyed showing it to them. My brother did a major remodel of his home and I loved seeing what he had done. But casual acquaintances — no.
We rarely offer but sometimes people ask.
My parents always offer, but that’s because their home was a major construction project and people are often curious about how it all worked out.
I would not ask a friend unless it was a new purchase or they’ve told me about new construction. In those cases our friends are usually happy to show off their hard earned changes and choices and asking about it is my way of showing interest and support.
Of course, your husband making that offer could be his way to resolve a moment of awkwardness. “Um you’re in my house now what do I do with you?” So you could come up with different things to offer in that moment such as seeing the garden, making a drink, or offering a place to sit.
The outside gardens for sure but never the inside!
Oh yes, I just had an impromptu overnight stay at a friend’s new home. I only see this couple about once a year, but still consider them good friends. I was sick at the airport in their town and could not bring myself to get on my connecting flight that night so they picked me up and put me up in their home for the night. She offered a tour the next morning and explained the condition of the home when they purchased it and the changes they had made. Loved that she shared that with me and she’s very talented with putting together the little details they make a home beautiful!
I am uncomfortable being given a tour of someone’s home, unless it is a dear friend who is excited about showing me around and insists. I never ask for a tour, and always decline when others ask for a tour of my house. If asked, I joke that I am now scheduling tours for late fall–or whatever season is a few seasons away. They don’t usually ask the next time they visit.
Stephanie Hughes says
Ok since none mentioned this, safety. Hello, family members is one thing, but random people heck no.
Maybe I watch to much crime TV, but I don’t want anyone “casing the joint” or figuring out which rooms the kids and jewels are in.
But I never invite people in. Ok hardly ever, but I have trust issues.
Bec B. says
I love taking tours of people’s homes (but would never ask) and I don’t mind giving tours of ours. We are usually doing some sort of project, so it’s natural when people come over to ask what we’ve been working on and to show them. If a room is a mess and I don’t feel like showing it, I close the door. We don’t have large parties or invite strangers in, so I’m not terribly concerned about having random people knowing where things are in our home.
P.S. Mavs, you kind of take us on a tour of your home each week when you show us the furniture you’ve picked up or the projects you’re working on! I’m glad that you invite us in.
Maybe lol at it as he is so Happy and proud of your home that he wants to show it off, you guys have worked hard to get to your hone if your dreams , maybe he is very happy and wants to show it off . I personally would love to see your home.
I agree with Karin. He is very proud of ur home, you & Lucy! Recently retired people continue to be open to our world and he is still finding his place. Consider the alternative. Sitting in a chair, in a dark room, never interacting with anyone. He’s a gem☝It’s his paradise.
Emily B. says
I’ve had people over before that have asked to see my home. I haven’t every really made a decision on how I felt about it. That said, I am a weirdo and SUPER clean whenever I know people are coming over JUST IN CASE they want to inspect my baseboards. If they’re good friends, they are welcome to use the common spaces like they would their own home, but bedrooms and personal bathrooms feel weird.
There is a comedian that talks about how times have changed with respect to having “company “. It is hysterically funny. Watch here. https://youtu.be/bzPhAYaJvtk
After a grueling 4 month remodel of my kitchen, entry, powder room, dining and living space, I had an open house. That was mostly as a thank you to folks that put up with my whining during that time. I love to cook so it was enjoyable, but only the kiddo wandered downstairs after the cat. 🙂 Otherwise they all stayed in the renovated spaces.
Mavis Butterfield says
I don’t expect or think a house tour is needed. If one is entertaining a group, just let us know where the guest bathroom is! (I’m not at all surprised your husband proposed the tour.)
I love historical house tours, but I pay for the privilege 😉
I love looking at people’s houses if they want to give me a tour! It is interesting to see how different spaces are decorated and used. I’ve been at people’s homes where they were doing a tour to show off or to being kind of teachy about how wonderful they are at homemaking. I’m not interested in either of those options. 😉
If we have someone over for dinner, they don’t get a “tour”. BUT if we have close friends over that want to see our house, then we show them around, messier rooms and all. We moved from Michigan to South Carolina and when we have guests from Michigan who love us and want to see our new home, then of course we show them around!
I’m definitely a YAY on this one. I am a house voyeur and when I go over to someone else’s house, once we’re comfortable with each other, if they haven’t offered to show me the house, I usually ask if it’s ok to have a tour. I LOVE to see the different layouts, the decorations, the ideas and so on. Of course, if there are off limits rooms, I totally respect that.
Since I’m a hermit most of the time, lol, I love it when people come over to my home and I always ask if they’d like to see the rest of the house. I live in an old mill house that I’m remodeling and I like to show what’s been accomplished, what’s new, what’s old, etc. With a house like yours, I would be asking to see it within the first 1/2 hour if you hadn’t already offered, lol.
I LOVE houses. All ages and styles. If it weren’t for the constant interaction with people I would want to be a real estate agent! I do not ask for a tour when visiting someone else’s home but if they offer I always accept. For my home, if it was a planned visit with a friend or family member my house will be clean and I would offer a tour. If someone just pops by and we aren’t close I would not offer one. No one needs to see my bra hanging on my bedroom doorknob. 😉 My partner and I have been DIYing a lot of house projects over the last 4 years and we like to show our friends what we’ve done.
No and No. I don’t want to see your bedroom and I don’t want you in mine. My SIL comes over and brings people we hardly know and gives them a full house tour. It drives me insane. She’s even put pictures of our master bath on social media. It’s totally creepy!
Melissa M. says
I think I would have to put locks on the rooms that I did not want toured by my SIL friends, maybe even installing a door with a lock if a hallway was involved. When I knew she was coming over, I would lock those doors. In my opinion, if she asked that her friends be allowed to see the locked rooms, gently & politely refuse. It will be uncomfortable but she will be the one that looks overbearing.
So I’m totally not being fair here, but I LOVE when other people offer a house tour (I’m the type of person who looks at real-estate listings for fun/inspiration) and HATE when we have guests over and my husband offers them a tour within seconds of them entering the place. While our first floor generally looks OK, I need a lot of headway before I feel comfortable with having guests upstairs – my kid’s room usually being messy, laundry not always stowed away, and our guest room might have a sick chicken or some baby chicks stowed away in a corner…
I get the sense though that this might be a male/female thing. Almost ever single house tour I’ve ever been on has been initiated by the husband, with the wife trying to signal that he doesn’t have to show the basement or the stowaway spare room…
I remember when I grew up my mother would always offer a tour. So my first home I had one of my closest friends and her husband over. She asked for a tour and I got to about the second room when he abruptly said “what the heck does a guy have to do to get a drink around here?” I was so put off I honestly did not know what to say.
We currently live in a log home. One day we just returned from the store when a neighbor who I had not known drove in and asked my husband if he and his out of town guests could “get a tour”. My husband replied we were just unpacking groceries and were a bit busy. He then replied it’s so beautiful inside the way you have it decorated. The only thing I could think was that they peeked in when we were not at home!
I’m like you Mavis. I have a lot of “stuff” nobody else in the world wants to see. We make our living as artists and I have been asked a hundred times if the person could “show up” at my home and get a tour of my studio. I find that pretty off-putting as well.
Rebecca in MD says
Interesting topic – – – – I love a house tour, historic or otherwise, only if I am invited. I would never request a tour. I love to get decorating or space usage ideas. It also tells you about the people who live there – – – what is important to them, what they take pride in, etc. When someone offers me a tour I feel honored.
As far as my own home, I do not mind giving friends (who have planned a visit with me in advance) a tour and will offer to do so. Never for strangers or neighbors I don’t really know.
Sounds like your husband is proud of your homestead and wants to share it with others. I guess he figured that since you put so many pictures of your home and garden on the Internet that you wouldn’t mind. Maybe you need to let him know that you want more control over what and when people see your home.
debbie in alaska says
If it’s a small group (less than 5 people maybe) that are coming to my home for the first time I would absolutely show them around my home. I love my home and am happy to share it with others. If they were invited to my house to begin with then I am happy to welcome them into my home and happy to share a quick tour. If it’s a big party that is primarily outdoors and not intimate in nature then I feel no obligation to give a tour unless someone I know well is at my house for the first time and would like a tour.
I have a fridge magnet that says” If you’ve come to see me you’re welcome any time. If you’ve come to see my house, make an appointment”
I think it is something old people do. That said I would never decline the offer of a tour – if someone if proud of their home I’m on board.
I looooove house tours! But I love houses! My parents used to take us to look at houses (fixeruppers) and dream of what could be when we were kids. Then my dad built and renovated houses for yrs, and we almost always ended up at the job sites multiple times….so we got to see the houses from start to finish. I love seeing inside houses….seeing how people decorate, what they love, what style suits them. In college, a few of us used to drive through neighborhoods and peek into the lit windows of different homes….wondering what was inside. So yeah, I dig getting a tour of people’s homes. I don’t always expect it….but I enjoy it when it is offered.
Most people seem to like seeing our house when they visit. I offer a tour if/where things are clean, lol, and if people seem interested….alot of people who like houses or antiques will comment….so I show them around. Our house was renovated 7yrs ago, and it’s pretty cute. We have metal roofing as our kitchen ceiling, and the people who started the reno work took ceiling heights up to the roofline, vs the old 8′ ceilings. I like showing off our home….it’s small, but it’s a happy little place.
(And most people on here have asked to see more of the inside of your house, Mavis, since y’all have moved, lol! And we’ve oohed and aahed over the rooms you have shown!)
I don’t show off our closet…it’s usually more messy than I’d prefer. And there have been times I’ve locked our bedroom door….or the spare room door….when we’ve stashed last min things in there, or didn’t get time to clean as much as I’d like. There are times that I don’t even show the kids’ rooms….omg. But we aren’t pretentious people….so things are what they are when people come. We try to keep things picked up and wiped down….but I’m not gonna promise that we won’t have folded laundry across the top of our couch if someone drops by….and there are times I take the unfolded clothes from the couch and dump them onto the bed, to get them out of the way. If someone is a decent friend….I won’t even care that I’m showing them a room with a pile of clean clothes in the middle of the bed, lol!
When we moved in, our neighbors were curious to see how the house turned out. So yeah, we showed them. The previous owners took a basic 50’s brick ranch, and they modernized it a bit. And when the neighbors had passed by the house with the brick removed and only studs you could see thru….they were curious with how it turned out! We eventually went to the local church, and half+ of the older people had been in my house when they were kids! So to see it redone, and very much NOT a closed, dark house….but with 6′ windows and sunlight and it looking teeny on the outside, but walking into a huge, open LR/kitchen….they have all been amazed. I love to hear their stories about the family who built the house and lived here for yrs!
I had one lady stop by cause she always passed the house and thought it was soooo cuuuute! She was so sweet….so I let a perfect stranger in, and gave her a tour. But you’d have to meet her….she is just the kind of person that you talk to for 5 min, and feel like you grew up as best friends. My dh even thought so when he met her finally. I was like, now that you’ve met her, do you see why I invited her inside? He said yep. Lol. ….Don’t worry….we live in the country and have country dogs….and if my shepherd mix stands at a persons car door and refuses to let them out….I won’t go outside to see what they are in my yard for! They can drive back on down the driveway and leave! I’m careful about who we greet outside and about who we allow into our lives. And we have 2nd amendment items that are ready, as well. I’m not naive, nor gullible. And there are times I just want to hide in my home and not have ANYONE come up to our home….so I don’t come out/answer the door. 90% of the time, if it’s a stranger who is out there, they won’t get out of their car cause the dogs scare them to death. And we get lots of strangers who seem to feel the need to drive up our driveway….which is so weird to me! We can (and have) close the cattle gates at the bottom of the drive, to keep people from driving up.
Also….we lived overseas for several yrs, in military housing….and having people over was the norm for there. And everyone wanted to see what kind of a decorating spin someone else put on the cookie cutter apts we all lived in, lol! Colored contact paper to cover the weird, plastic, orange cupboard doors….so cool! What antiques did you get at the flea market or on the side of the road? What new patterns did you get at the last trip to poland (polish pottery was everyone’s show off, lol)? What crystal pieces did you just buy in Czech? We showed off the pictures/photos/paintings we just go, the furniture borrowed from the military….arranged just so, the beautiful wool rugs we got from so and so down the hall who was moving…. And then military housing stateside was the same…..street after street of THE SAME HOUSE! The lady across the street had beautiful things her dh picked up for her in Egypt! Another had an an amazing collection of copper pots, bought in turkey. Gorgeous! Someone painted the white walls another color…shhhh, don’t tell housing….which led to everyone painting walls, lol! Then repainting them white before we moved out. Shhh!
Idk if the military community is just more open/inviting? It seemed we were always in and out of each other’s houses…. There ARE ways that it is built in to be hospitable in that community, so maybe that was part of it. And then, too, were the crazy long hours our dh’s worked….so maybe boredom and loneliness meant us calling up others to get together? And then sometimes apt living meant people were in and out of each other’s apts for different things….needing to use a phone, or borrow a cup of sugar, or visiting the new puppy, or chatting in the hallway, or asking if one could animal-sit while they were out of town….
But then our first house was a townhouse…and I was in all the townhouses connected to mine, except one, lol. And most of them were in mine at some point…. And they weren’t military. And funny enough, dh and I are pretty private people, but we still seem to have people in our house alot!
I think house tours are normal. My house has 4 rooms and a bathroom though.
If it is a “home” set up for tours, like historic homes that people don’t actually live in or homes to show you what they are building in a new neighborhood (can’t think of the name … model home?). Otherwise the only tour I’m willing to give of my home is here is the place to put your coat, the room you can visit/eat in, the bathroom, and if they have a small child or infant a place to lay them down if they fall asleep or feed them if they need it. The only reason anyone would need to see the rest of my house is if they are staying there at least overnight for some reason.
I think it is something that might be considered normal if a friend, and I mean a good friend, just moved into a new house or renovated. I would want to tour the new place. But, I would say, “show me around”. In general, I am not interested in seeing other people’s homes. I would not offer to show someone around my home unless they asked.
I tend to think spontaneously offering to give visitors a tour is, well….pretentious as hell. I would never just blurt out “would you like a tour?” unless it was a really good friend and it was the first ever they had even been over. My house is smaller —6 rooms plus 2 baths— and it’s neat as a pin and I love how every room is decorated, but I still wouldn’t be so “house proud” that I would assume someone would want to be dragged through every room to oooh and aaah. However, if someone specifically asked to “see the rest of the house”, I’d go make myself busy in the kitchen for a minute and simply suggest that they go right ahead and show themselves around. (It’s a modestly sized home…they don’t need a guide.). And if I so much as heard them open a closet or drawer, they’d likely never be invited back!
Now, if I was visiting someone else and they offered a tour, I’d slap a big smile on my face, jump right up and be sure to notice something wonderful about every room. Go figure…
Debora Knutson says
My parents bought a 3 story Queen Anne house built in 1910. My Mother spent years creating a Victorian style house. It is beautiful and I spent many years giving tours.
I don’t offer people a tour of our house, but by the time they put their coat an d purse on the guest room bed and go to the bathroom…………you’ve pretty much seen our 1400 sq ft. home.
However, if I ever get invited to your house, Mavis, (and I hope you will invite all of us over) I darn tootin’ want to see your beautiful New England home, wool rug craft room and all! Plus a tour of the chickens and gardens.
If I am invited to someones home, I only expect to see where to stash my coat and the bathroom. No tours wanted nor expected, too invasive. When we entertain, only the public rooms of our house are up for touring, and we have lots of people who expect full house tours. Out of respect for others, and myself, I politely decline full house tours. It can be messy or clean, doesn’t matter. There are places in my home you will never be invited to see, unless your my neighbor who sees me in the garden in my pj’s, without my bra on, and even that would have to involve wine drinking. My husband, being the proud home owner, would frequently invite houseguests for the entire home tour. We had to have a ‘come to J—- moment,,,” I am in your corner Mavis, too intrusive unless your doing the Spring Garden Tour for a fundraiser…
Linda Sand says
Nay. But we seldom host gatherings, anyway. When we were building model railroads things were different; lots of people came over to play with our trains but none of them were interested in seeing the rest of the house. When I wintered in my custom designed conversion van, I invited other van dwellers in to see it because everyone in that group wants to see what everyone else has done. Now we now live in a tiny apartment where you have to go through the bedroom to get to the bathroom so pretty much every guest gets at least a self-guided tour. But, all the guests here have been family except for one gathering of train friends. We don’t socialize with neighbors since we moved here–my introversion has become extreme to the point whereI have become a real hermit. In July, we are having family over for the 3rd time in three years.
I’m a definite yes for house tours! People are naturally curious and want to see what you’ve done with the place. There are some scenarios when I offer or ask. I am very rarely in someone’s home that I don’t know and do not ask for a tour; however, if they are offering I will typically go on a tour. I’ve also been in plenty of my friends’ homes and have never asked or been offered a tour. I don’t even think about it and it’s not a big deal. If it’s a good friend who has been redecorating, they will typically show me around anyway, or I might ask to see how the room is coming along, etc. At my own house I am happy to show people around providing my house is in good order, otherwise doors are shut and I will tell people they can’t see those rooms. I really don’t see this as an invasion of privacy, unless someone was opening closets and drawers, but a tour of any kind should be decided on a case-by-case basis. Lastly, I trust the people I’m letting in to my home.
We had to give tours while we were building our house. It is made out of Styrofoam blocks (technically insulated concrete forms). One afternoon I had two random elderly guys stop. They had been having a disagreement on their many trips by our house. One man said it was Styrofoam and the other said he was crazy. We ended up keeping an extra block handy just so we could give an informational talk since they were not the only ones to stop. To this day some people will ask where I live and then say “oh, the Styrofoam house”. We are one of the very few with this type of house so it makes it an oddity.
I think a house tour is normal if there is a particular reason the guest wants to see your whole house…i.e., they are family or close friends and you just moved in, or your house has some especially interesting characteristics. If it’s an ordinary house and they’re casual visitors, I agree it comes off pretentious to insist on showing them every room.
If someone offers, I say yes. I don’t ask unless it’s a close friend and a new (to them) house. It sounds like your husband is proud of your new, unique, historic home and totally confident in your housekeeping amd decorating skills.
Nay. Not interested in your cookie cutter house. AM interested in your collection, if you want to show me that and your favorite piece I’ll listen to the story of how you found it and why you like it.
I offer “tours” (in quotes because most of my house is one big room” but that’s because I had a major remodel with some unusual features (home power, superinsulation, locally milled planks on the wall and floor, etc). I show off those features and talk about them. I don’t lead people into my bedroom or bathroom or spare room full of exercise equipment, etc. even though they can see where those area are just by walking past.
If I was visiting Mavis, I would love a tour and would look forward to seeing things about the house that are historic, or that you have showcased on the blog, like your wool room or the display of canned foods on the beautiful sideboard, or anything you particularly wanted to show off. I wouldn’t expect to see bedrooms, or any rooms that weren’t being showcased.
I don’t think I would ever ask for a tour from a friend unless the house (history, construction or remodel) had been an active topic of conversation between us.
If you don’t want to show people your entire home, then you don’t want them to truly know how you and your family are..So if you don’t want them to truly know you, don’t invite them into your home. This way, no confusion and no stress. And *bonus* no reason to ask this question.
I have a 1915 Craftsman home in a historic district that we have spent 20 years restoring back to completely original. Painstakingly. Years of searching for pushbutton light switches, how to recreate the 12 inches of original 1915 kitchen countertop, linseed oil linoleum flooring, stripping paint from every beam and built in, finding a craftsman to fix lathe & plaster and not (gasp)drywall, color matching original paint colors…we are crazy! Are house was on the cities home tour and I tell ya-it was soooo much work getting it ready, and a bit horrifying having 1200 strangers inspect your house. I even had to stage the refrigerator-I knew people would open it ( and they did)
So when people come over-they expect a tour, but I expect to be able to clean the house before ! I don’t want anyone seeing my home until I feel it is clean enough. Being a historic house, I feel it is my gift to the neighborhood and I am somewhat obliged to share it. I am only the keeper until the next person takes over and takes good care of her.
Sara De Lancey says
When I entertained…I did not allow viewing of my bedrooms but the rest of the house was open to all that I invited. I expected people to be interested in how I decorated or what I collected. That said, I personally would never roam thru someones home without being assured that it was okay. (I live in a one-story home that is open from the sunroom to the front door so all of the main rooms are visible at nearly any angle)
I don’t mind giving people a tour of my house. Mainly to relatives or people I have known a while. One exception has been if the previous owners stop by. My current house has had 3 different owners stop by looking at the outside. I am very leery of people and go out and ask what they want since I have several NO Trespassing signs posted. I have stopped by my childhood home and have been invited in to see it, but that was a long time ago. One time I was guilty of stopping and asking about a house I drove by often. The owner was at the mailbox so I stopped and asked about the house. She invited me onto the property. One reason is because they were getting ready for a huge estate sale in a few weeks. The house had been in the family for over a 100 years, built by her father in law. Huge barns filled to the rafters with stuff. I went back for the auction and purchased several things. The house was not really what I thought it would be like on the inside but I loved the history of the place.
Can’t find the person that wrote about being an artist and people stop by wanting a studio tour. We have had that asked also. We tell people our homeowners insurance doesn’t allow this.
I always offer, but I live in a century old tiny house. The “tour” takes 5 sec. Plus to get to the restroom I need to make people feel comfortable to walk through my bedroom.
As for other homes, I must be nosy. I want to see how other people decorate. It really tells a lot about a person. But, agreed with many of your other readers, it should be offered. I will not snoop unaccompanied.
OK…sounds like I am the odd person for LOVING house tours. It’s mostly because I love to see how people decorate/arrange furniture, etc. In fact, when we lived in NC (we live in Hong Kong right now, but spend the summer at our home in Maine), my husband and I would walk the neighborhood every Sunday afternoon looking for open houses. All the realtors knew us and knew we weren’t buying, haha!! My parents never offered house tours, so I’m not sure why I love them so much. Because I love them, I assumed everyone did, and I used to ask people if they’d like a tour until one couple very rudely told me AFTER THE TOUR that they knew we were just “showing off.” What? Umm, you didn’t need to say yes! So, now I generally tell guests (we have people over often on the summer) “Mi casa es su casa. This house was an old barn that has been converted. Feel free to look around anywhere, we have no secrets and nothing to hide!”
Teresa M says
Nay said she! We have dear friends who take us on tour of their lovely home every time we visit. “This is new, look at this it’s new…”. I really don’t care but they do, so I carry on with compliments. As for me and my house, I do not open up our bedrooms and basement for others. The living rooms and kitchen is where we hang so they can look around there if they are interested. Not for me.
I’m with your husband on this one, house tours are so fun to give! I’m always curious about how people have decorated. If I’m visiting someone, I’m usually enthusiastic about seeing how they like to express themselves from a design perspective. It’s also cool to get ideas, like a real life Pinterest.
Also, my mom loves giving house tours! And whenever I visit someone new, I typically get people offering to show me around. If they don’t, it’s fine, but I feel less welcome in a way.