Monday, March 12, 2012

This Old House

Really it's a miracle that I have not mentioned my place of residence sooner. Once an 1850s era school and totally the first house on the block (or farm field), the bulding is a slice of New England history. The place was owned by the Allen family for several generations and was transformed over time from a little farmhouse to a Greek Revival estate. Mr. Allen operated the kindergarden and primary school for a good portion of his life but then over the next few decades, the family died out. 

One fine day in the 1970s, my Grandma Helen fell in love with the house and made it her life's work to preserve the structure and the Allen family's legacy. Grandma has passed on but thanks to her hard work, the building is on the National Historic Registrar (so it can never be town down) and it houses seven fantastically quirky rental units. A long story short, it was fate that I ended up moving here. Possibly because my mind is often clouded with frustration directed at my closet size kitchen and the apartment's simultaneous lack of actual closets, I often forget how near and dear my surroundings really are. I have always admired home interiors of yore but living here has brought a whole new meaning to "they don't make it like they used to." I have been wanting to share this place for quite some time and now the time seems ripe! I just found out that yours truly and the bf will be moving to Portland, Oregon later this year, so the nostalgia is already setting in. Welcome to my virtual museum.

There is way too much to show so I am going to break this into a few separate posts. First off are the two parlor rooms. About 20 years ago, the rooms were restored to their former Victorian glory complete with a refurbished gilded mirror and historically accurate wall embellishments. My all time favorite is the chandelier. It's out of commission as a light source (gas lighting = giant fire hazard) but it remains the focal point of the room. I am not much for cupids, like the one on top, but it's still a spectacular piece. I especially like the hidden faces on the ceiling hardware.
Then we have the mirror. I have seen a photo circa the 19th century of this exact wall. The piece hasn't moved! Modern taste would probably warn against putting  that chandelier with that looking glass but those Victorians layered on the opulence with abandon. 
And by now you may have been wondering: "What on earth is going on with that wallpaper?" Glad you asked. In efforts to restore these rooms, research was conducted on what type of wallpaper and ceiling paint would have been present back in the day. A grant allowed for the paper to be custom ordered from England. Fine stock indeed. The golds are metallic and the trim is the richest of black hues. Remember those velvety coloring posters you had as a kid? That's what the black most closely resembles. It's actually fuzzy felt! The ceiling is sea green with fancy flourishes at each corner. Again, the design scheme is busy but the 1o foot ceilings and tall, plentiful windows make for a bright, airy space. 
 There is definitely some killer iron work going on here as well. The level of attention to detail simply melts my heart! Also, see my desk area which has a floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcase on the right hand side.


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  2. Love that posted about your lovely living situation which is simply devine!

  3. Love that you posted about your lovely living situation which is simply devine and looking forward to viewing your next blogs as the house has so much character!


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