Monday, September 20, 2010

Pulling it all Together

When I visited Marblehead last month, someone commented that they wondered if people in Marblehead noticed all the beautiful details in the homes they walked past every day.  I thought, how could not not?  A few weeks after I first made the posts, I got the following comment:  "As a resident of Marblehead, you often take the town's architecture for granted until the arrival of guests."

Well, I'm here to admit, I'm guilty of the same offense.  After going through all of the options for sidelights and doors on the Simpson website, my tour of East Cambridge as well as my own library of Greek Revival photos, the answer was two doors down the street from me.  This little cottage (above) built in 1841 is exactly the same size as my house and, although, altered very differently through the years, still has its original sidelights.  Although I envisioned mine much differently, they are exactly the same width... the skinny (lavender or puce) spaces we found under the trim and vinyl siding on both sides of my door.

Don't I feel stupid!

I can't even express how much I love my new windows.  The gaps left after the old trim was removed have all been plastered in while we wait for the casings to be made.  A few people commented that the windows reminded them of old places in the South.  

That's a very astute observation.  Many of the southern plantation mansions right down to the gunshot houses of New Orleans...

...we built during the Greek Revival period and have many of the same details.

Here's a view of the windows looking into the living as one walks down the stairs.  My first feeling is that I want to keep them unobstructed which will be difficult in a 11.5 x 11.5 foot room.   The room has a much more elegant feeling...

...dare I say a little Cote de Texas elegant.  Silk drapes aren't really in the budget right now but it's fun to dream.  Think how fun it would be for the cats to climb some nice new silk drapes!

These are the four crown moldings that still have to be put on the house.  I've really come to trust the contractors judgment so I let him pick.  I would have really suffered through a week of sleepless nights picking these.

One crown molding is going here under the porch soffit.

Here's one little piece installed.  It just softens all the sharp corners a little bit.

One goes at the top of the frieze about the second floor windows.  This will go all the way around the entire house.  And then more up under the rake where the attic vent is attached.

And then another one goes up inside the porch around the edges of the beadboard.  This beadboard will get painted the traditional New England sky blue color. 

The original sky blue color was quite electric... seen here on this old house in Marblehead.

I'm using Benjamin Moore's "Clear Skies" which is a little softer.

I think it will look nice with the gray too.

Body color
 Trim color

The trim has been added on the new living room windows.

The clapboard siding is done on the front.  The first floor and third floor will be getting a tongue and groove cedar siding which, again, is a traditional treatment.  The flat boards were used to make the facade look more like a stone temple but I can't figure out why the clapboards on the second floor.  

Maybe it's a mistake but...

...a lot of houses have the same treatment.

And remember this?

This is what it looks like how.  Still some work to do on the soffits and gutters.  They did most of this siding in one day.

My poor garden.

And just a little reminder of the "before" and the "now."

I think they might install the columns tomorrow!


  1. The house is looking wonderful. I love the windows, they really make the front of the house. I'm glad you're going to paint the ceiling of the porch blue. I was going to ask you about that but forgot. Isn't it funny how the answers are sometimes right under our nose! Or two doors down.

  2. Steve, it's all looking fabulous! I've said this before but your research and attention to every detail is really paying off, in a grand way. It's coming back to his true historical beauty!
    I love the sidelights on the little cottage and the orange door.
    I love the picture coming down the stairs! I can only imagine this difference of light in that room now. gorgeous.

    I had a sky blue porch too - even the floor. It was too much with the yellow and red so unfortunately it got a coat of white paint. I would have loved to keep that traditional aspect but it's going to go so well with your gray house.
    Can't wait to see the columns!

  3. Your little lady is coming along. I think I can feel her taking deep breaths as she is reincarnated to a semblance of her original self. You are so gonna miss this process when it's done, so enjoy it while you're able!! I would stick to the KISS method, you know, Keep It Simple Stupid. You know I think you far from stupid though! But two doors down??

  4. Steve, it is coming along beautifully! I was recently in Boston taking my daughter to college and was awe-struck (okay, and a wee bit jealous, too!) by all the architectural gems there. It is easy to overlook what is right in front of our faces. In the college town where I live, most of the architectural history was decimanted in the 1960's and 1970's, so now we all cherish what little is left.

    It won't be long for you now! Can't wait to see those columns!


  5. Beautiful colour scheme, beautiful proportions. And you and the cats don't need curtains to clutter the clean lines of those super new windows. Hope you are going to throw a house warming party once the work is finishedl!

  6. Hi Steve, I haven't stopped by in a while...WOW Just amazing!

    Everything you have done is so well thought out and so "right" for the era of your home.

    Love the colors you have chosen too. Are they historical?

    Who cares...they are going to look spectacular


  7. This must be a dream come true to watch your house as it is restored to its original beauty. Your color choices are going to look great and the windows are gorgeous.