DIY + Design

A Connecticut Ghost Town Is For Sale And I Want It

So, surprisingly (or not if you really want to get depressed for a second), there are a lot of forgotten towns and villages for sale across the United States (and the rest of the world) looking for new ownership. I feel like I’m coming across these articles more often than not, to be honest. This one most recently caught my eye: a Connecticut ghost town spanning 62 acres and coming in at just under 2 million dollars. Which is weird and sad, and also makes me wish I had some giant vault of cash like Scrooge McDuck so I could help a community out. This is like Fixer Upper on steroids! Instead of just picking the ugliest house on the block in the best neighborhood, you get to redo the entire town!

Of course we’d all have to be careful of any spirits lingering around, but we’d come well equipped with sage and if worse comes to worst, we can always sacrifice Chip Gaines to the ghosts haunting the place. I feel like he’d be really into it, no?

Anyway, the potential is there. The architecture among the structures still standing just need a little bit of love and maybe a little bit of innovation. And definitely a lot of power-washing. But I can’t help but envision what this small village could really look like in this year 2017. So, instead of doing my laundry, I’ve decided to rethink Johnsonville and give any investors out there some ideas on how to make this beautiful village into something livable. And, if investors ARE reading this, give me a call and let me save a few houses for myself and for all my friends.


Let’s start with the heart of any town- the general store.

So, the roof is sagging and the brown is a little dark. But give it a fresh coat of paint (maybe in a pretty bluish-gray like Smoke by Benjamin Moore), replace the weird porch roof with a beautiful white painted pergola teaming with vines and you’ve got yourself the perfect indoor/outdoor organic market. With produce and flowers spilling along the sides and all your everyday essentials inside, who needs Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods?

Bonus points for summer Farmers Markets to bring in vendors from across the state!

Ok, I know it used to be a church. Or at least, I think so? I’m also sensing it might have been a school – those dual doors make me think one was for boys and one for girls. Either way, I can only imagine how adorable it would be to convert into a town library.

A fresh coat of white paint with the doors freshened up (that blue color is legit) and two matching outdoor light fixtures, this could become the coolest library not only for children, but for adults- with book clubs and author Q&As to keep it hip. (I know, I know, this is me DREAMING, ok.)

I’d make sure to add in a warm and welcoming front entry, replacing the overgrown grass with a slate walkway and a few benches that are just begging to be filled with readers during the warmer weather.


Not gonna lie- I think these are the same property, but  just can’t tell. Let’s pretend, huh?

This one might be the most horrifying but also the one holding the most potential. I sure as hell have no idea what this was back then, but it could be a great area for small shops now. The conversion to a cute little indoor shopping center doesn’t seem too impossible. And just imagine a coffee and tea shop alongside a bakery or ice cream place? A bookstore or a record shop? Maybe I’m going too twee, but who cares? The design on the building is everything and I wouldn’t really change a thing when it comes to those details.

Of course, the exterior needs a serious coat of paint and the glass needs to be replaced in those windows. What do we think of a soft Sage Tint by Benjamin Moore? With a crisp white update to the trim, this could be serious.

Plus, updating the cracked front parking lot to make room for some outdoor seating would be a huge welcome to the back and also makes me think we need some cute patios in the front too!

Not everyone can live in their own house. I envision this huge ass place (maybe a former restaurant? Or inn? Or bar?) as a cool apartment/condo building. The conversion here might be the most expensive project across Johnsonville, but I could seriously see this as a variety of 1-2 bedroom apartments.

Of course everything here needs help. New windows, new restructuring and definitely updated paint colors. I’m envisioning a moody Old Navy by Benjamin Moore with bright white on the railings and molding.

This was more than likely a house. Right? I don’t know, I can’t tell the layout of this place. But I think it could be a really cute spot for a restaurant. Those big, bright windows would be perfectly for quaint bistro tables or candlelight dinners. Updated paint, a cute patio added to the front for outdoor seating and string lights underneath the front awning would be so much more welcoming than what we’ve got right now.

This big, ugly dude isn’t a bad contender for condos either, but I think it would really be amazing as a community center rife with a daycare center for children and after-school programs for the kids in town. When I was growing up, we had town Halloween parties and holiday gatherings and wouldn’t that be so cute? Suck it, Stars Hollow! Johnsonville is coming for you!

This would need a lot of work but I don’t think I’d change the black/white color scheme. I’d keep it just as fresh, but maybe swap out the black doors for something a bit more fun. Maybe a classic Ruby Red by Benjamin Moore.

While I can’t see the back, this would need a full overhaul – a basketball court, a playground, outdoor seating and maybe even one of those adorable water features where kids can run around while water shoots from the ground.

I don’t think there was a photo for the outside of the Neptune Bank but I am dying at the thought of converting this into a new business. Whether that’s a bar or a hair salon and spa, I think the original molding and wrought iron teller wall would be a seriously cool feature.

That’s it, that’s all I got there. Just give me something cool, ok?

In one of the few articles I could find on this place, there was an idea to turn the whole town into a resort/tourist community. Meh. Who needs it.

BUT, there was the idea of a spa/bed & breakfast. To me, that makes perfect sense. Of all the buildings I could find in town, this one stood out the most. It also had the most pictures and seemed to be so ridiculously massive. So why not this creepy looking guy? Fresh coats of paint (are we thinking like a million dollars alone to paint everything in town? Cause I am.), an update to the grounds and an addition for spa rooms and guest houses could make this a seriously beautiful retreat. Especially if investments went into adding its own botanical gardens on the grounds. Cause that picket fence is not a good look.

I’m also imagining an addition for a top of the line restaurant attached.

The town was original most known for the Twine and Mill industry that populated it in the first place. And this little piece of history should go as untouched as possible. But it’s also the most perfect backdrop for a community garden and park. Imagine a town gazebo, maybe a mini concert hall for town events? Swing sets and slides along with something kids could climb and run around on would be perfect.

I’m also a big fan of community gardens. This would be perfect, especially for right around the old mill here.

Making sure the building is safe is key, it could be great for storage for the park or an area where an ice cream truck could set up for the summer months.

There seems to be no shortage of homes that need a little love within Johnsonville. With the picturesque pond and all of the lush greenery, who wouldn’t want to invest in property here once everything was going?

Can you peek that blue on the ceiling on the front porch in that first one? LOVE IT.

I’d be totally into this project, FYI. Who wants to give me $10 million for it? I think that could cover the initial purchase and then all the work. Give or take a few, sure.

You can just call me Mayor Daria of Johnsonville.

For more on the listing, check it out here. If you buy it, let me know, we can chat. If you’re just a weirdo who wants to own a town, leave a comment! I’d love to know what you’d do with it.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Ross Greenberg June 7, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    BRB launching a Kickstarter and moving to Johnsonville

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