There are very few things that I love more than an old house. Especially those old dowagers that have served as a summer retreat for generations. Patiently waiting through the long quiet months of winter always ready for its family to walk in after it's been empty for a time .Waiting for its people to stand in the living room, sunlight filtering through the wavy glass panes, dust moats dancing in the beams. Waiting for the thump of the trunks being unloaded on to the front porch and that first sensory intake of the familiarity; the aromas of dried wood, oceany moisture and the sweet smell of aging wallpaper all sitting, waiting to be let out as the windows are opened, the sheets are taken from the furniture. . A creak here and there as the old soul stretches and settles, sighing into place ready for another summer.
It seems that these are a thing of the past as so many, want 'new' and 'decorated' these days. While those are fabulous and dreamy, there's something missing for me - th sort of soulfulness that comes from years of memories and plain old living.
Knowing my love for a good old, soulful, home, a reader - 'Sparkie', shared with me her family's summer home. Come get the tour........
|REAL shutters. Please take note, builders. It's the details.|
"As far as I can tell, the house was built around the turn of the century (various sources say 1897, 1900, 1915). The first owner had it built and I believe my family bought it from him. My great aunt Honey (don't you just love that?)"
Doesn't it remind you so much of the photos from Mary Randolph Carter's book, 'American Family Style'?
".....it is a true summer cottage, uninsulated and unheated except for the fireplace and space heaters. It gets opened in May and closed for the winter in September. Sadly, it belongs to a dying breed of such houses and if I'm being particularly maudlin, I realize that if we were ever to have to sell the place it would most likely be seen as a teardown."
"I learned to swim there, I learned to sail there, my love of rowing and boats in general was fostered there. Beachcombing, lighthouses, lobster, clamming, birding. You name it, I can probably trace it back to this Eden."
"My grandparents were both antique collectors and the house was largely furnished as a result of their foraging. There again, going to the antique stores in the area was de rigueur for any extended stay at the cottage."
"There have been some subtle and not so subtle updates over the years. My sister and I jokingly chair The Historical Commission which presides over any changes considered for the cottage. Over the years, some changes have skirted the system and are still ruefully spoken of today by the "injured parties". Others, like the time my father innocently tried to update the anciently wonderful brass and Bakelite button lightswitches at the top and bottom of the stairs; were thwarted in the nick of time and suitable punishments were meted out by The Historical Commission."
|Don't you just know that the linoleum is worn to the wood in the spot before the stove?|
"One other cool aspect of the house is that the upstairs has no ceilings, just walls and then open to the rafters. So you can hear everything that goes on up there which is unfortunate for the bathroom-shy but made for hours of fun for us as kids, climbing as best we could, up the walls, to spy on what was going on in the next room. And lying in bed up there during a rainstorm was magical."
|um, Peter Dunham 'Fig Leaf' , anyone?|
drum roll.....this collection, SLAYS me. 19 century, Limoge, Oyster plates.
Thanks again, Sparkie. This place is magical. And I know you know (because we've discussed) you are so lucky to have this in your life.