Oh, how I love old homes, historic places that have withstood the sands of time. From farmhouse simplicity to grand plantations, my heart thrills at the sight of them.
Victorian homes with their gingerbread trims look to me like decorated cakes. Sag Harbor and Shelter Island are full of them. They stand like grand ladies, decked out in their finery, and just call out to me to tour them. Some of them are small cottages and utilitarian, rather than formal places, but still, there is something about them that causes me to say that I believe I like Victorian architecture best. They are full of such character.....slanted ceilings, some have high ceilings, nine feet or more. Some have exceptional interior oak wood floors and trim work, some have iron grill work that is not seen anymore, over fireplaces and holes in floors for heating. Some have stained glass which is the utmost in decorating, from my point of view. Many of them have panelled doors and walls, and even sliding doors that hide inside the walls, to separate parlors or dining rooms. Chandeliers of that day were glorious!
Farmhouses, too, are worthy of note, in my estimation. Most are simple, unpretentious, no matter what the size of them. Wide pine floors that creak underfoot, walls that retain the vent piping for the old coal or wood stoves used for cooking and heating,now covered by metal plates to cut the draft. Large sashed windows, wainscotted walls and sometimes ceilings, tin ceilings, large pantries speak of days gone by.
Old homes pull me in. Whenever an opportunity arises, I will take it and wander through one. We did just that the other evening when we took a tour of a Civil War time home, decorated in the manner it would have been during the War Between the States. It was chilly, even with the space heaters set into the historically furnished rooms. It was elegant with it's 12 foot ceilings and it's wide trimwork. Yet, it was simply decorated with live cedar trees bearing rafia ribbons, pine cones and paper cones of edible treats. Candlelight glowed in each room, and made it feel warm and hospitable.
I live in a newly built farmhouse, and I'm always on the lookout for a way to make it look as if it's been standing for a hundred years. So far, I haven't mastered the task of actually putting these ideas into action, but stay tuned. I have big plans! It all takes time to look old...and it takes money too, to drag a house through a time machine. One day, you'll see, this place will look the way I'd like it to....old, comfortable and homey.