I’ll preface this post by saying this has been one of Those Weeks for me. Hard to articulate precisely why – just has been. It’s one of those weeks when I am eternally grateful that I met and married Sally and that she is my business partner. As you have seen/read, she brings a very different and complimentary energy and perspective to the blog, as she does to our work.
This past weekend Historic Salem hosted their annual Christmas in Salem House Tour. This year’s primary theme was the homes of architect William G. Rantoul. All clustered in the neighborhood of Salem’s most prominent and historical street, Chestnut Street. Local Salem resident and awesome blogger, Donna Seger reports further on the Rantoul homes in her delightful blog Streets of Salem.
Included in the tour was an antique colonial originally built for the Stone family, possibly as early as 1762. Sally and I have done interiors work for the current family, off and on, over the past 5 years. We volunteered to be house tour guides last Saturday. This tour is the major fund raiser for the year for Historic Salem, Inc.
It is unclear precisely when the home was actually built. There is a cornerstone in the basement dated 1762. The earliest written documentation dates back to 1831, while the historic plaque on the home’s exterior says 1820. At minimum, the home’s history has been varied and checkered, including a friendly ghost, Becky, who has been making regular appearances to the current home owners since they bought the house about 21 years ago. The home owners say that one morning they found the brass newel post finial on their front stair, obviously unscrewed by Becky during the night. No one had heard a thing.
Before the tour started on Saturday, I made a quick trip through the house and took a few snapshots of decorations in a few rooms.
This is the front foyer. I’ve always loved the boldness of the wall paper Sally and the homeowner chose. Below the chair rail Sally proposed a brown fabric instead of paint. The entire house is furnished and styled in a way that reminds me of an English cottage. I love it’s quirkiness. (Sally designed the lamp shade – another passion of hers.)
My station was in the renovated attic. It had been gutted, exposing the structural cross ties. The chimney and fireplace were re pointed and made functional again. The existing wide plank floor was repaired and refinished, new electrical installed and custom millwork was designed. Once again, Sally’s color engine was firing on all eight cylinders – creating a cozy intimate loft space. Virtually every visitor loved the deep red ceiling, commenting on how intimate, comfortable and cozy the room felt.
Here’s what the room looked like when we started construction…
The existing fireplace…
Demolition around the exisiting fireplace and chimney during construction…
The day of the Christmas Tour… Note the salvaged beam used for the mantel shelf. All Christmas decorations were done by Elfworks, from Marblehead, MA.
Overall view of the room…
Note the antique ladder beyond the fireplace.
Sally selected a different flannel pattern for each family member, and had a blanket custom made for them to cozy up with. Each blanket was edged in a color-coordinated ultrasuede. I’m told there’s frequent falling asleep in front of the TV…
Hope you enjoyed the mini house tour!
Have a great day!