Ivy-Covered Houses: Magical or Malicious?

Ivy-covered houses conjure up all kinds of romantic imagery for me. I imagine small English cottages, large Tudor castles, and manses on the moor. Even their city counterparts can be inspiring - all that lush greenery, juxtaposed against a concrete jungle. It appears I'm not alone in this fascination either, as Joanna over at Cup of Jo recently did a post on the same subject. But all this got me thinking - verdantly green houses are fantastic to look at... what are they like to live in??

If you've ever sat on a bench in a Rittenhouse Square Park at night, you know what I mean. All that gorgeous greenery that we enjoy during the day becomes home to less desirable, four legged friends at night. Do ivy covered houses cover up numerous creepy crawlies, as well? Obviously, their verticality limits the number of furry vermin able to make the trek, but what about their insect brethren? And do the ground-bound scavengers simply collect at the base of the house instead?

Then there are the damaging properties inherent in the ivy itself. Growing green walls often result in structural damage to a building. They trap moisture and can expedite related problems, causing wood to rot and mortar to soften. So where do you draw the line between dreamy and detrimental?

I'm curious, have you ever lived in an ivy-covered house? What was your experience? Are they better to look at than to live in? Or, are they all we hope they'd be - charming, romantic...magical??

Images: 1. Cup of Jo 2. Dream a Little Dream 3. Design Chic 4. art.com 5. asla.org 6. Desert Dreamer 7. The SoHo 8. Burnham Design 9. Country Living 10. biglotmedia