The Project Gutenberg EBook of Remodeled Farmhouses, by Mary H. Northend

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Title: Remodeled Farmhouses

Author: Mary H. Northend

Release Date: October 1, 2010 [EBook #33955]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Book Cover



The Curtis House from the Roadside The Curtis House from the Roadside











Copyright, 1915,

By Little, Brown, and Company.





[Pg vii]


There is a certain fascination connected with the remodeling of a farmhouse. Its low, raftered interior, its weather-beaten exterior, never fail to appeal. Types vary with the period in which they were built, but all are of interest.

In this collection, which has been pictured with great care, pains have been taken to show as many different types as possible, so that the student will be able to find numerous interesting details that can be incorporated into his contemplated remodeling. In the study of this work I have grown to feel a deep reverence for the old homes of our forefathers, and have come to realize as never before the care and painstaking thoroughness of the old master builders.

I wish to thank the owners of these homes who have so kindly thrown open their doors to my inspection, and who have told me the interesting stories connected with the houses.[Pg viii]

Acknowledgment should be made to American Homes and Gardens for permission to use various articles of mine which they have previously published.

In the contents of this book I trust there may be much of value to those who are contemplating the remodeling of a farmhouse and that the work will bring to them the same enjoyment that the study of the subject has brought to me.

August, 1915.


III.The Kittredge House
IV.The Curtis House
V.Green Meadows
VI.Nawn Farm
VII.Boulder Farm
VIII.Three Acres
IX.The Robert Spencer House
X.The Davenport Brown House
XI.The Doctor Charles E. Inches House
XII.The Charles Martin Loeffler House
XIII.Little Orchard
XV.The George E. Barnard Estate
XVI.The W. P. Adden House
XVII.The Kate Douglas Wiggin House
XVIII.The Franklin Brett House
XIX.The George D. Hall House
XX.The Walter Scott Hopkins House
XXI.Henry W. Wright's House
XXII.The Howland S. Chandler House


The Curtis House from the Roadside

Iristhorpe, Front View
  The Entrance Porch
  From the Garden
  The Entrance Porch, Another View
  The Dining Room
  The Living Room
  The Morning Room
  The Out-door Living Room

Limovady, Rear View from the Garden
  Side View
  Two Views of the Living Room
   The Dining Room
   The Lounge
  Two of the Chambers

An Old Cape Cod House
  Side View
  The Living Room
  The Kitchen
  The Attic Chamber

The Curtis House, Before Remodeling
  Side View
  The Entrance Porch
  The Hall and Unique Stairway
  The Dining Room

Green Meadows, Front View
  The Living Room
  Two Views of the Den
  An Old-fashioned Chamber

Nawn Farm, Front View
  Rear View
  The Living Room
  Two Views of the Dining Room
  The China Closet in the Dining Room

Boulder Farm, Front View
  The Front Doorway
  The Hall
  The Parlor
  Two Views of the Dining Room
  The Den

Three Acres, from the Main Road
  Front View
  Side View
  A Corner of the Living Room
  The Living Room
  The Dining Room

The Robert Spencer House on Cape Cod
  Front View
  Two Views of the Living Room
  The Attic Chambers

The Davenport Brown House
  The Hallway
  The Sun-Parlor or Out-door Nursery
  The Library
  The Service Wing
  The Nursery
  Two of the Chambers

The Charles E. Inches House, Front View showing the Old Well
  Before Remodeling
  Across the Lawn
  The Hall and Stairway
  The Living Room

The Charles M. Loeffler House Before Remodeling
  As Remodeled
  The Dining Room
  Two Views of the Living Room
  The Studio Opposite the Charles M. Loeffler House
  The Music Room in the Studio Building

Little Orchard, The House from the Driveway
  The Angle of the Ell
  The Entrance Porch
  The Stairway
  The Dining Room

Willowdale, Before Remodeling
  The Front View
  The House from the Garden
  A Rear View
  The Living Room
  Two of the Chambers

The George E. Barnard House Before Remodeling
  The Front of the House
  The House from the Terrace
  The Pergola-Porch
  The Hall
  The Alcove in the Living Room
  The Den
  The Dining Room

The W. P. Adden House
  The Stairway

Quillcote, Mrs. Kate Douglas Wiggin's Summer Home
  The Hall
  The Dining Room
  The Den
  Two Views of the Living Room
  Two of the Chambers

The Franklin Brett House, Front View
  Before Remodeling
  As Remodeled
  The Pergola-Porch
  A First-floor Vista
  The Living Room

Lone Tree Farm
  As Finally Remodeled
  The Living Room
  The Sun-Parlor
  The Den
  A Corner in the Dining Room
  The Sewing Room

The Walter Scott Hopkins House Before Remodeling
  As Remodeled
  The Living Room
  Two Views of the Dining Room

The Henry W. Wright House
  The Living Room
  The Dining Room
  Two Noteworthy Chambers

The Howland S. Chandler House
  End View
  The Sun-Parlor
  The Hall
  The Living Room
  The Den
  The Kitchen



As you drove slowly along the country road, did you ever stop to consider the many possibilities for development that lie hidden in the old Colonial farmhouses found here and there? Some are situated quite a distance from the main road, while others are placed practically on its boundary line. Many of the types are disguised by the unattractive additions that have been built to accommodate the growing needs of their occupants. Others, with sagging roofs and weather-beaten exteriors, stand mute witnesses of the days when our country was making history for itself. Some of these unattractive old dwellings in their early days sheltered the most ardent patriots of our land, men whose gallant deeds have made them famous, and who now lie forgotten.

Fortunately for us, these old houses were not all built in the same century, but present a variety[Pg 2] of types which makes them all the more interesting both to architect and house owner. The age of the house is clearly defined in its design. Many of the earliest examples were framed in white pine, a wood whose lasting qualities have been plainly shown through their power to withstand the ravages of time. Others were constructed of stone or brick and are equally interesting in character. From an architectural standpoint, most of these houses, no matter how dilapidated their condition, show good lines. To be sure, these are often hidden under poor surroundings, for as the families grew larger and additions became necessary, the new parts were often badly placed. This makes it hard for an inexperienced eye to detect where the old house leaves off and the additions begin. It must be remembered that the early tillers of the soil took little interest in their homes save as shelters for themselves and families, and chose for their buildings material that lay nearest at hand. All their ready money was expended in the building of large and spacious barns to house their cattle.

There is a wealth of possibilities in the reconstruction of old farmhouses that are easily recognized by the experienced eye of the architect.[Pg 3] The study of lines which determine the size and design of the old building is most interesting and teaches a lesson in old-time architecture which is extremely fascinating. The adaptation of the house to new and different purposes, the creation of a picturesque result wholly unlike and yet following the lines of the original building, calls into play not only skilful designing but careful planning.

Many of these old houses contain fine woodwork which is often hidden under layer upon layer of hideous wall-paper bought with an eye to price rather than good taste. The fireplaces are sometimes bricked up and plastered over to permit the use of a modern "air-tight"; the wainscot and molding are buried under coats of unattractive paint and give little impression of their value until the original walls and woodwork lie bare. Some houses, more especially those situated near the coast and erected during the period of commercial prosperity, were built by ship carpenters and wood-carvers during dull seasons. In these, one comes occasionally upon a wonderful old fireplace or perchance a porch that shows artistic carving. Many of these old dwellings naturally show original treatment, and it is to these that[Pg 4] the architects of to-day turn for details to be introduced into the modified Colonial house. They were built by men who were forced to use their brains, since they were unable to turn to books for ideas.

As originally built, many of them stood with their backs to the road, their long, sloping roofs sweeping to the ground, their front doors opening on to extensive farm lands. Before the door usually stood the father and mother elm, their graceful branches seeming to hover protectingly over the dwellings. Many of the trees were there when the houses were built, while others have replaced their worthy sires and contribute a bit of landscape picturing that adds much to the attractiveness of the home.

In these old houses, more especially those that are past complete restoration, the architect of to-day frequently finds choice old woodwork. Sometimes it is a rare bit of pumpkin pine such as is seldom seen; again it is a fine old wainscot, or a wonderful staircase that has been saved from the ravages of time. Often some of these details are introduced into another remodeled farmhouse to replace parts too far gone to be used. The growing vogue of the country home has led to the[Pg 5] restoration of many of these old-time farmhouses and has saved many a valuable structure from falling into decay. Fortunately the appreciation of their possibilities came before it was too late to save them from destruction, although many that could have done service were allowed to go to ruin. There are, however, many fine examples still standing, and some of these have been altered to suit modern uses. Little wonder the old farmhouse has come into its own, its attractiveness after remodeling making it available for summer or all-the-year-round uses. To-day there is scarcely a farm or country resort that does not show one or more of these old-time buildings in their new dress. Some have interesting history connected with them and are associated with legends that have been handed down from generation to generation. Often the house has been photographed to show both its former appearance and the results of the restoration. Some owners, however, have given little thought to the original structure, and it is left to the imagination to picture the house as it used to be.

Iristhorpe—Front View Iristhorpe—Front View

It was six years ago, while hunting for a place to locate a summer home, that Doctor and Mrs. Homer Gage of Worcester, Massachusetts, discovered[Pg 6] at Shrewsbury a simple little farmhouse, showing no claim to architectural beauty. It was such an unattractive, plain, little building, that only the experienced eye could discover its fine lines. This house stood close by the dusty highway; the fence which formed the boundary line had fallen into decay, while the farm lands, run down through hard usage, showed no trace even of an old-fashioned garden, such as many of the housewives of the earlier day so loved to tend. The house was built before the Revolutionary War, being erected in 1760, and was considered in those days to be a good example of what a farmhouse stood for. Surely it was an excellent type, considering the usual lines in the New England farmhouses of that day,—this small, unpretentious dwelling, whose entrance door out of plumb and windows irregularly placed made a curious combination that was in reality fascinating and appealing.

It was two stories in height, with an attic under the eaves,—a hot little place during the summer months and cold in winter, but good for storage of furniture and unnecessary household belongings. The roof had a pitch at the back and sloped to meet the kitchen, which was only one story in[Pg 7] height. Two sturdy, six-foot chimneys had been built on one side of the house, as stoves were unknown in those days. The frame was of white pine, well seasoned, and the timber hand-hewn, with the mark of the adze plainly showing in the beams, for it was built when honest labor prevailed and was as stanch as in the days when the bush stuck in the chimney or ridge-pole showed that the carpenters' work was done. The farm buildings were connected with the main house and comprised a barn, hen-house, corn-crib, and byre, all huddled together in the most compact kind of way. It had not been occupied since Doctor Brown, the original owner, paid his last visit and left the house to its fate. The interior was not as dilapidated as in most old houses, being in tolerably good repair. And so, with little alteration, it was used as a dwelling house, while the new home which was being built near the center of the estate was erected.

After the cellar was built and the foundation partly laid, the work on the new house was stopped. There was something about the old clapboarded farmhouse that appealed so strongly to the new occupants that they fell under its charm and decided not to supplant it by a modern home. But[Pg 8] the house stood too near the road; there was no privacy and no freedom from dust. It was of such solid construction, however, that its moving could be easily accomplished. So, slowly but surely, it slid down the hill and finally rested on the foundations which had been designed for the summer house.

The Entrance Porch The Entrance Porch

Under the direction of Mr. George Hunt Ingraham, the remodeling was begun. The old lines of the roof were left unaltered, and although more room was needed, dormers were left out in its reconstruction. Nothing, the new owners felt, could so destroy the lines of the house as to break them with intrusions such as this. The long, unbroken skyline is one of its greatest charms, and even the long slope at one side, reaching down and over the one-story kitchen ell, has been carefully retained and adds not a little to the harmonious effect of the whole structure. At the front was added a small porch showing Colonial treatment, in the center of which hang graceful vases filled with iris. The same latticed effect was carried out across the front of the house in the space between the windows of the first and second stories. On either side of the main dwelling, outdoor living-rooms were secured by the introduction of screened[Pg 9] piazzas, the roofs of which were painted with water-proof paint. One of these living-rooms opens on to a water-garden with its arches of roses at one side of the house. It is fitted up with willow furniture, in the coverings of which is introduced the prevailing flower, the iris, which is also shown in the table cover and the shape of the vase filled with the same flowers. The opposite porch is also fitted up as a living-room and overlooks the home garden. The exterior of the house is painted white with conventional green blinds, the chimneys following the same treatment, while the windows remain unchanged. The massive stone fireplaces were not taken out, although the old kitchen chimney had to be altered slightly in order to meet present needs. The house to-day overlooks extensive grounds and is embowered in a wealth of rambler roses and iris. It resembles the old house in its lines but shows in its remodeled form a most wonderful effect and reveals what beautiful results can be obtained by correct restoration.

From the Garden From the Garden

The house is named "Iristhorpe," the name being chosen by the mistress of the house, who since her childhood has taken great interest in the iris because of a fairy tale told her by her[Pg 10] grandmother, in which the flower was supposed to be the home of the fairies.

The Entrance Porch. Another View The Entrance Porch. Another View

With modern methods of living, it would have been an impossibility to retain the old house in its entirety. More room was needed, and a service department was an absolute necessity, but in its enlargement such careful attention was paid to carrying out the lines of the original type that to-day it is almost an impossibility to find where the old house leaves off, and the new one commences. In the old structure, as it stood facing the main road, there were three rooms in a row on the first floor, with the kitchen ell attached at the rear, and the upper part of the house cut up into small rooms. In remodeling, these rooms were changed over into morning-room, living-room, and library, and occupy the entire front of the house, just as they did in the original building. They are connected with doors so carefully placed in line that they give one the impression of greater space than is really found at Iristhorpe. At the rear, the old kitchen was converted into a most attractive hallway and stairway, with closets and lavatory located at the farther side.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

The dining-room, which is at the rear of the living-room, has been added and conforms in[Pg 11] every respect to the original design of the old house. Back of this are the service rooms, which are admirably planned and equipped with butler's pantry, servants' dining-room, kitchen pantry, rear hall, and stairway, together with a kitchen. In the remodeling, the second story was divided into four servants' bedrooms, a bathroom, and a large sewing-room at the rear. An interesting feature is that this department has no connection on the second floor with any other room in the house.

The porch door opens directly into the living-room, which has never been changed from its original place in the old house. Its central feature is the old fireplace, which has been opened at the opposite side into the new dining-room. This was originally the old kitchen chimney and contained the brick oven. It has been bricked in for modern use, and here, as throughout the house, the iris motive prevails. It is shown in the graceful andirons, in the coverings of the Sheraton wing chair, in the sofa pillows, and even in the lamp-shade. This room contains fine woodwork, which is, in fact, a noticeable feature of every part of the house, and the Colonial idea has been carefully carried out in all the furniture used.[Pg 12]

The Living Room The Living Room

The library opens out from the living-room at the right, and from that one passes to the outdoor living-room. On the opposite side of the living-room is the den or morning-room, with glass doors which open on to the porch. Here again the iris is always the motive of decoration. In this room particularly the old paneling has been retained, as have the old strap hinges and latches, which, when missing, have been replaced by others of like design. This room was originally the doctor's office, and in the cupboard was found, at the purchase of the house, some of his old stock.

One of the most interesting rooms is the dining-room, which contains an old brick oven and paneling so exactly corresponding to the character of the original that at first glance it is impossible to differentiate between them, either in age or workmanship. The window sashes, with their small well-shaped panes, give to the room an appropriate scale, and the old iron and brass hinges and latches lend an effective tone. The iris, charming in nature and no less decorative in its conventionalized form, appears here and there in the carved woodwork and always gives a delicate twist to the Colonial design it embellishes. The beamed ceiling carries out the old-time idea, while wonderful[Pg 13] Japanese panels have been inserted in the finish over the fireplace, and huge iron andirons show an exact reproduction of the fleur-de-lis. This flower is found also in the cushions of the Chippendale chairs, the decoration of the table, the china, and in a beautiful Japanese screen of most graceful design that hides the service entrance into this room.

The Morning Room The Morning Room

The white woodwork is a noticeable feature of the interior, where harmony has been so carefully maintained that on entering one feels as if he were in a really old house, rather than one restored. It should be noted that in the architectural treatment, especial consideration has been given to lighting and air; the windows have been distributed so that the light is concentrated, giving the rooms an effect of cheerfulness that could not be obtained otherwise. Even the hanging of the curtains, which are of the Colonial type, adds to the charm of the house.

The Out-door Living Room The Out-door Living Room

The bedrooms, on the second floor, of which there are four, show the same low stud that is characteristic of the lower floor. They are small but most conveniently fitted up, even to the conversion of a small closet, which the architect had considered impractical for use, into an extra[Pg 14] bathroom. Every bit of available space has been made usable.

An unusual feature is the guest house, which has been created in the second story of the large stable which stands at one side of the estate. This is especially useful for week-end parties. The loft has been converted into a suite of bedrooms, pool-rooms, and a screened veranda that can be used for sleeping accommodations.

Iristhorpe might be called a conventional farmhouse, one of the type met with on almost every country road. It has no exterior adornment of any kind, but is a fine example of how a picturesque building can be evolved from an unattractive one, and is probably one of the best examples of remodeling that can be found. The house is typical of the best American architecture, and credit should be given the pioneer who first laid the foundation of the old farmhouse. As Iristhorpe now stands, its graceful lines cannot be improved upon, and clever as the alterations undoubtedly are, the great fascination that grips us as we view the house arises from the fact that it is a part of the early architecture, when hewn beams were first primed together, and when dwellings were erected that would endure for centuries.[Pg 15]



First the electric car and now the automobile have solved the problem of accessibility which until recently confronted those who would have returned to the old homestead even sooner, had it been nearer the town. But to-day the house must be far away indeed if it cannot be easily reached from the more active centers, and probably this fact more than any other has opened up for the enjoyment of the younger generations the natural charm of the countryside endeared to our forefathers. In the roomy, old-fashioned farmhouses of New England, surrounded by stately trees and overlooking acres upon acres of rolling pasture and meadow land, unlimited opportunities are offered for the development of the country home.

In remodeling these houses of the early builders, any radical departure from the original scheme is seldom necessary. Rather should the lines and motives be sacredly preserved to accentuate their[Pg 16] old-time charm, and modern improvements introduced unobtrusively and with such care that the final result is indeed a restoration and not an alteration. The mellowing passage of time has dealt gently with many of our old homes, and history and romance have woven about them an added fascination for every generation to enjoy. When the work of restoration is commenced, the problem of retaining this charm is often a difficult one. In some instances it would seem as if nothing short of pure inspiration had guided the hands of the remodelers of many of the quaint and irregular old houses that stand by the side of the road.

The old house is nearly always in harmony with its surroundings; if it did not seem a part of the landscape when it was built, it has at least had time to grow into it through the years, and the problem of all remodeling is to preserve in the completed structure the atmosphere that will make it appear to have always belonged where it stands. While the first thought of our forefathers was to provide an adequate home, they undoubtedly possessed a peculiar instinct in the choice of a picturesque location. By selecting the site best adapted to their needs, the house seemed literally to grow out of the land, and herein lies the secret[Pg 17] of more than half the allurement of the old-fashioned structures. The intimacy between house and grounds seems as strong as were the family ties of those hardy pioneers who laid the foundations of American civilization.

More practical considerations in regard to the environment than picturesqueness confront the house owner, however, and one of the most important is that of water supply and drainage. These must necessarily be kept far apart. A gentle incline is the best location for a dwelling, so that the one may come to the house from higher ground above, and the other be carried off below. A hollow is bad, because the water will not readily flow away from it; it is always damp and hot, as it is shut in from the breezes. On too steep a hillside, heavy rains will work havoc with lawns, walks, and flower beds.

The slope of the land should be considered in reference to the prevailing winds. The house should be placed so that the cool breezes of summer blow upon the living-room side and not upon the kitchen, or all the heat and odors from cooking will fill the rooms, and they will always be hot and stuffy. The attractiveness of the immediate outlook should be noted, and it is well to ascertain if[Pg 18] there are any objectionable features which cannot be removed or which are likely to arise within immediate prospect. The character and proximity of the neighbors will play a large part in the enjoyment of a summer home. If the house is not set well back on the property, it should at least be screened with full-grown trees and shrubbery to obtain the seclusion desired. Old trees add greatly not only to the attractiveness of a place but to its actual value and comfort, for it takes a long time to grow new trees that will provide adequate shade from the heat of summer suns.

There is an illustration of a thus happily situated farmhouse at Georgetown, about thirty miles from Boston, known as the Jewett house, which was built in 1711. It is typical of an old Dutch lean-to and has a great central chimney twelve feet square, with four flues. Snuggled down in the midst of rolling grass land, it made an attractive picture in its surroundings of old elms. It stood far back from the road and was approached by a long lane that wound among splendid trees to the front of the house. Like many dwellings of this period, its back was toward the main road, and the front door opened upon a wide expanse of shady meadows which in the[Pg 19] summer were bright with many-colored wild flowers. Between the house and the road there was a wide stretch of green grass which has been transformed into an old-fashioned flower garden, planted about a small, cement-lined pool and water garden.

Rear View from the Garden Rear View from the Garden

This house was discovered several years ago by a young Southerner who had come north from her sunny home in Kentucky to find a summer abode for her brother and herself. The house as it stood was in a very dilapidated condition, and only an artist would have realized its possibilities. But about it was a warmth of atmosphere that appealed to the enthusiastic Southerner. Not the least of its attractions were the elms that cast their protecting shadows not only over the long avenue which led to the house but over the dwelling itself; many of them were patriarchs of the primeval forests when their younger companions were yet in seed; others were set out later, to add their charm to the forsaken home.

Limovady—Side View Limovady—Side View

It was purchased in 1906, and the work of restoration was immediately commenced. The outside was weather-beaten and guiltless of paint. The roof sagged, and the great stone chimney needed repair. It was propped up and made[Pg 20] thoroughly safe, and the old roof was entirely-rebuilt, but the original lines were closely followed. Viewing the house as it stands to-day, one realizes what attractive apartments can be evolved from ugly interiors, and what interesting results ingenuity and good judgment can bring about.

The interior showed coat after coat of vivid tint and layer after layer of atrociously colored wall-paper. The rooms, originally large and square, had been divided and partitioned off to meet the needs of growing families; many of them were small and hopelessly unattractive. But there were latent possibilities.

When the house was first purchased, the owner went over the inside herself to discover the original lines. As in many houses of the kind, it was easy to restore the size of the room by following beams and knocking out partitions. It must be remembered that the usual plan in houses of that period was to construct a large, square room in the center with small rooms opening off from it which were used as chambers.

The work of decorating, and, as far as possible, the remodeling itself, was done by Mrs. William Otis Kimball and her brother. Along the front of[Pg 21] the house a screened, outdoor living-room has been added. The original building consisted of four rooms on the first floor. The front door opened into a small hall, to the right of which was the great living-room, and to the left the dining-room. Back of the former was a guest room, and back of the latter the old kitchen.

Two Views of the Living Room Two Views of the Living Room

In the living-room, the flooring, which was composed of boards often two feet wide, was in such good condition that it was left intact, treated to a black walnut stain, and shellacked. The height of the ceiling was but seven feet; so the heavy beams of swamp oak were boxed in and painted white, and the space between whitewashed. The walls, which were covered with ten tiers of paper, each one uglier than the last, were cleared to the boarding. The last one was found to be a wonderfully fine landscape paper, which showed that an early owner of the house must have been a person of means, who probably had it brought over in one of the merchant-ships during the time of commercial prosperity, when Newburyport had a lively trade with foreign lands. The walls were treated with a water paint colored a creamy pumpkin tint that makes the room seem always well lighted. It is a most[Pg 22] inexpensive finish, such as is used by scene painters in a theater, and can be put on with an ordinary-whitewash brush. The wainscot was stained dark brown to harmonize with the floors. Around the top of the room the owner painted a frieze of conventionalized pomegranates, which follow the color scheme of the woodwork and wall. The old fireplace, which had been closed up, was opened, and the over-mantel enriched with a splendidly decorative painting by the artist herself, representing a Normandy boar hunt about 1330.

After it was remodeled, the room measured twenty-four by twenty-six feet, the original size when the house was first built. It is now used as a living-room and library. Inexpensive shelves, made of boards stained to match the wainscot, are fastened along the walls. In places there is a single shelf; sometimes two are placed about twelve inches apart, and they are used for books, pictures, and ornaments. The windows are curtained with an appropriate simplicity that is unusually attractive. Unbleached cotton is used for the over-curtains and decorated with a border of richly colored cretonne, corresponding in color and conventionality of design to the painted frieze on the walls.[Pg 23]

The hallway is five feet in width and has been kept in the original boards. They are stained in tones of soft brown which harmonize splendidly with the varying color schemes of the rooms that open on either side. Opposite the entrance door is a narrow, winding staircase whose white steps and balustrade contrast sharply with the dark woodwork and hand-rail. Half way up is the old nightcap closet from which, in the early days, our forefathers took their nightly toddy. Underneath the stairs is a secret closet so carefully hidden in the panels that only those familiar with it can find it. This was known in Colonial days as the "priest hole," and it was here, so the legend runs, that French refugees were secreted during the French and Indian wars.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

The dining-room opens off the hallway at the left. It is a long, narrow room with a fireplace at one side of the end nearest the hall. The woodwork has been finished in a dark stain, and the old corner cupboard has been kept intact. The fireplace wall is paneled in swamp pine, and over the mantel there is a secret panel cupboard. The lower part of the walls is covered with dark green burlap, and above is a decorative paper in boldly striking colors. There is a long, refectory[Pg 24] dining-table in this room, made of stout oak boards, and the other furniture has a monastic simplicity which is entirely in keeping with the character of the room.

The small room at the rear of the living-room is used as a guest chamber and is known as the missionary room. Here the walls are tinted a soft moss green, and ornamented at the top by a black and white frieze that pictures the different stages of a missionary's life. He is shown from the time of his arrival on the lonely island to his chase and capture by a band of cannibals, and finally being roasted amidst scenes of hilarity as they turn his fat form on the spit.

The studio was originally the kitchen and opens out of this room. The woodwork is of the same dark brown tint used through all the lower story, and the walls are hung with natural colored burlap. The principal features of the room are its fireplace and quaint Dutch oven which were built into the center of the twelve-foot chimney when the house was erected. From the pothook on the crane hangs an old Colonial kettle. Of almost equal interest are the small-paned windows which are closed by sliding inside panels.

The present kitchen has been added at the rear.[Pg 25] It has white walls decorated with a frieze in which lobsters disport themselves in different attitudes.

A small closet at one side of the passage that leads into the kitchen has been utilized for a bathroom. It is finished in white with a dado of tiles painted with turtles.

The Lounge The Lounge

When the house was first purchased, there was an old barn on the property a short distance away. This was moved up and connected with the house. It opens from the dining-room and has been converted into a lounge room, with servants' quarters at the rear. This room is one of the most interesting in the house. It is finished in stained pine, and the old rafters and woodwork have been left as they originally were. The spaces between the heavy beams of the ceiling are white, the beams being black with a narrow band of peacock blue above.

Two of the Chambers Two of the Chambers

The originality used in finishing the house is evidenced nowhere better than in the chambers, on the second floor. Each one has been decorated with a different flower, and they are known as the holly-hock, the sweet pea, the wistaria, and the morning-glory room. A frieze of the particular flower has been painted around, and the canopies and bed coverings show the same design and colors in cretonne.[Pg 26]

A small room in the barn wing, which was not large enough to be converted into a chamber as it stood, has been utilized for this purpose by opening up a large, connecting closet into an alcove to hold the bed. It is so arranged that at night the bed can be pulled out into the center of the room, and in the daytime hidden behind curtains drawn across the alcove.

There are quaint old four-posters in all of the bedrooms, and old-fashioned and simple furniture is used throughout the house. Some of it is home-made, and in many of the rooms are bookcases constructed from packing-boxes, and hung across with curtains of the cretonne used elsewhere in the room.

In altering many old houses for modern occupancy, there has been a greater expenditure than would have been required to build an entirely new structure. But in this instance the charm of the old home has been retained with a considerably smaller outlay than would have been necessary to erect another of equal size and facilities.

There is an undeniable satisfaction in realizing that all has been gotten out of a venture of this kind that was possible, and that no offense has[Pg 27] been committed against the spirit of the old house. Every one who has attempted remodeling obtains different results from those first planned, for as the work proceeds, new possibilities and new limitations constantly appear, till the completed building has an individuality unrealized in the beginning.

In Limovady, as this little country place is named, we find a good example of what can be done to make an old house not only a livable but a delightful home, and it is a success such as this that inspires other home seekers to remodel, according to their own ideas. For no two people will be likely to conceive the reconstruction of a home in just the same way, and it is this stamp of individuality that lends to the remodeled house a large part of its charm.[Pg 28]



Have you ever noticed the fishermen's little cottages that stand along the seacoast wherever modern summer resorts have not displaced them? From a modern architectural point of view, they would at first seem quite insignificant, and yet, hidden away beneath the rough exteriors, there are often interesting lines and good proportions. The humble fishermen who dwelt there cared little for external appearance, but they built their cottages strong and solid and, though unpretentious, they were comfortable.

These little old houses, seemingly commonplace though they may be, hold much more interest for the prospective house owner and the architect than do the more elaborate ones of later periods. For wherever men have utilized what skill and intelligence they have to satisfy definite needs in the simplest, most straightforward way, they have achieved something of lasting worth.

The ages of these old seacoast houses vary just[Pg 29] as do those farther inland. Some were built long before the Revolution and others at a much more recent date. Some have fallen into hopeless decay, while others are still stanch and habitable. The possible purchaser should make a careful examination both inside and out before he decides to remodel. Sometimes, from a superficial survey, an old house may appear sturdy enough to warrant renovation, but a closer investigation will prove that this would be an expensive business. For the old timbers often hold together firmly because they have all settled together as a unit; if any one is disturbed, the rest may be greatly weakened or even threaten to fall apart, like the proverbial house of cards.

The first indication of dangerous weakness is a sagging roof. If the lines are even a little concave, it is a bad sign, for the roof would not have settled had the walls held absolutely true. Because of pressure against them, they have been forced apart and perhaps are on the point of tumbling down altogether. If the roof passes its test well, then examine the line of the walls and be sure they are absolutely vertical and have neither spread nor fallen inward.

Next study the condition of the timbers. The[Pg 30] sill is the most important one. If it is badly-decayed, all the other members resting upon it will have been thereby weakened and the whole structure impaired. The upright timbers and the studs will all have settled, and to straighten them will mean practically the rebuilding of the house. The floors and the roof which rest upon them will be endangered. Sometimes the ends of the uprights have rotted, and the slightest new work about them will result in their crumbling and undermining the beams and rafters they support. It is often necessary to use a sharp iron or a long knife and pry underneath the coverings on both the exterior and the interior to determine their condition. A little attention given to these points will determine whether it is worth while to attempt remodeling, or whether the expense involved would be out of all proportion to the result.

Scarcely less vital is the condition of the cellar. Is there dampness, caused by lack of ventilation, by bad walls, or by some inherent moisture? Some of these old houses have a well in the cellar; this should be drained off and filled up. But if there is an actual spring of water, as not infrequently occurs, either move the house or abandon[Pg 31] it. Bad walls can be cemented and waterproofed. If the trouble comes from lack of light and air, it may be possible to cut larger window openings. Most old houses were set too low, however, and it is frequently an advantage to raise them. This requires sound underpinning, or the expense will be great.

While considering the subject of dampness, it is well to examine the roof and see how much it leaks under the moss-grown shingles. If it is an old house that is in tolerably good repair at the present time, it may be that under some previous owner the roof fell into decay, and rains soaked through. Look for signs of this, for it will mean weakness in timbers and plaster that must be guarded against. Examine the boards of the roof to see if they are strong enough to permit the laying of new shingles.

The chimney is another important matter to investigate. In old houses which have not been used for some time, the bricks often deteriorate and become so soft that they crumble at the touch. This would necessitate the not inconsiderable expense of rebuilding the whole chimney, unless it is so large that a second smaller one may be inserted within the old. With the huge fireplaces[Pg 32] of other days, whose yawning mouths were often capable of holding a ten-foot log, a metal flue is frequently used in the remodeling. It is surrounded on the outside, between itself and the old chimney, with concrete, which renders it entirely safe from danger of fire.

A glance should be given also, in this inspection, at the condition of the floors. If they are not level, it indicates defects in the timbers underneath. The boards themselves are often so rough and laid with such large cracks that it will be necessary to lay new floors. Notice, too, the condition of doors and windows; whether they are straight and true enough to be used again, or if others will have to replace them. Tap the plaster here and there to see where it is loose and to what extent it must be renewed.

These are the tests that indicate whether the old house is worth buying and what will be the essential expense to make it habitable. Sometimes one or another defect is so severe as to make the venture foolish; again it can be remedied by resort to strenuous methods. Not infrequently the drawbacks of a bad cellar and a poor location are at once overcome by removing the house altogether to a new site. This is practicable when[Pg 33] the building is sound in structure and an inexpensive operation if it is small.

An Old Cape Cod House An Old Cape Cod House

That was the proceeding which Miss Mabel L. Kittredge undertook with an old fisherman's cottage that had stood for many years on the shores of Cape Cod. It was a simple little building, dilapidated and weather-beaten, and quite unsuggestive of a summer home. But its very quaintness and diminutive size attracted her attention, and she determined to investigate it. The owner was willing to part with it, just as it stood, for eighty-five dollars, not including the land.

The location was not desirable, and it was decided to "fleck" the house, as is the colloquial term on the Cape for preparing a building to be moved. It was taken apart and floated across the water to its new foundations in South Yarmouth. Here it was "unflecked" and set up facing the harbor and the cool breezes from the ocean.

An Old Cape Cod House—Side View An Old Cape Cod House—Side View

The original building, erected in the early part of the nineteenth century, was a small, shingled structure, thirty by twenty feet, with a straight gable roof rising from the low stud of the first story. Its proportions were not at all unpleasing,[Pg 34] and the placing of the several small-paned windows was particularly agreeable. There was a kitchen shed attached to the rear.

When it was set in position in the new location, additional windows were cut, a small porch built at the front entrance, and a second shed attached at right angles to the kitchen wing. In the second story, a broad flat-roofed dormer with three windows increased the interior space, without seriously altering the straight lines of the roof. The effort to retain the original simplicity of line is also evident in the porch roof, which follows closely the wide angle of the gable ends of the house.

The Living Room The Living Room

The original interior was cut up into a number of small rooms, the partitions of which were removed, with the exception of those dividing off a bedroom at the rear. This left one good-sized apartment, which was fitted up for living and dining-room combined and made a most delightful place. The stairs were built at the left, along the rear wall. A group of three windows was cut here to give extra light and air, and the manner in which they have been handled is interesting. On account of the position of a heavy supporting beam, it was impossible to make these new windows[Pg 35] the height of the original ones. The effect of this was ameliorated by placing a shelf directly above the group of three and extending it across the wall to meet the old window. A number of interesting pieces of china placed on the shelf give it a character and weight which thus carries the eye along from one opening to the other without any consciousness of the break in height. This is but one of those ingenious methods by which remodeling is made successful.

The large, old-fashioned fireplace is the center of interest in this room. At the right of it is a china closet with mullioned glass door, and on the left two narrower closets are found in the paneling. A new hardwood floor had to be laid, as the original one was in bad condition. The wainscot and woodwork throughout the house was unusually good for such a small and unpretentious structure. After the former layers of paint had been removed and the wood thoroughly cleaned, it was finished in white. The walls, scraped down to the original plaster, were painted in a soft green flat-coat that was delightfully fresh and cool.

Back of this large room was a small hallway leading into the ell at the back. At the left, space was taken for a bathroom.[Pg 36]

An Old Cape Cod House—The Kitchen An Old Cape Cod House—The Kitchen

The kitchen was kept practically the same as in the old house. The rough stud and rafters were stained a dark brown, and the boards of the roof whitewashed. The walls were plastered to the height of the stud. A modern stove was attached to the old chimney flue on the outside of the building. The exposed uprights provided an opportunity for convenient shelves to be built for the various kitchen appliances.

The Attic Chamber The Attic Chamber

Up-stairs the entire floor was thrown into one room, instead of making several small, stuffy, sleeping apartments. The dormer which was cut in the front added not only to the light, air, and space of the room, but gave an opportunity for a most attractive window-seat to be built beneath the broad windows. The old, wide boards of the floor were in good condition and kept intact. The walls were plastered to the ridge, exposing the heavy tie-beams. Along the walls under the eaves, sets of drawers were built into the woodwork, thus obviating the necessity of having chiffoniers or chests of drawers to consume already limited space. The rough bricks of the chimney, which breaks slantingly through the floor near the center of the room, are not concealed. Instead, they form a rather decorative[Pg 37] feature in the little apartment, and about the four sides of the flue shelves are built which serve as a dressing-table and a desk.

The furnishings of the whole house are delightfully simple and suggestive of the quaint Colonial period when it was built. Tables and chairs, pictures, mirrors, and china are interesting heirlooms that have been handed down in the family of the owner and preserve the spirit of the little cottage as admirably as do the various alterations which have made it so modern and habitable.[Pg 38]



The great charm of Colonial farmhouses lies in the simplicity of their appearance. Many dilapidated, weather-beaten old buildings, long neglected by an indifferent community, are really little masterpieces of harmonious line and good proportion.

The style of the roof tells much about the age of the building to the initiated, and its line is easily the most important factor in the appearance of the house. The pitched roof is one of the oldest types and was used long before our country was discovered. This roof slopes away from the ridge-pole on both sides, thus forming a triangular area, the angle at each end of which is called a gable. In the early days, the pitch was built very steep to accommodate the thatching with which the roof was covered. As shingles came into use, the slope gradually flattened, and the age can be roughly judged by its angle.

The gambrel roof appeared before the eighteenth[Pg 39] century and was commonly used in New England farmhouses. Each side of this is made up of two distinct pitches, which have no rule to govern their relationship. A somewhat later development was the hipped roof, in which the gabled ends were flattened, making four flat sides sloping from the ridge-pole. This was used when no attic chamber was needed. In the more pretentious Georgian houses, the top was flattened, and a wooden balustrade put around it. These roofs are generally shingled and practically never painted; the soft gray color they attain in weathering is sometimes imitated in stain on new shingles.

The addition of a wing or ell brought up a new problem in roofing, and it is this point that demands most serious attention from the remodeler. The old builders have not always been successful in preserving the unity of the roof line that is so essential to pleasing design. Whenever it is possible, the new roof should be made a part of the old, and the lines of one should run into those of the other. The pitch of the two should be practically the same. The same type of roof must be used over all parts of the building, although it is occasionally permissible to have a pitched roof on an ell when the main roof is a gambrel.[Pg 40]

Where a veranda is added, its roof line must be carefully studied and made to seem an original part of the building, not something stuck on as an afterthought. This problem of keeping the lines of the different roofs in harmony is a vital one, and nowhere is there greater demand for ingenuity and thoughtful treatment.

The question of dormers is also important. When it is desired to have a second-story porch or sleeping-room, the dormer often supplies the solution of this difficult problem. The earliest ones were merely a flattening of the pitch of the roof, and this is the type that should be used when it is necessary to add a dormer to the older farmhouses. As the Georgian details were developed, the gable-roofed dormer was used with the cornice moldings of porches and door frames. These dormers were high, with a single window often having a semicircular head. They were usually combined in groups of three and connected with each other by a balustrade.

The exterior walls of the first houses were made of heavy boards laid vertically on the framework, without studding. Before long, the wood was laid horizontally, each board overlapping the one below it. This clapboarding and siding was[Pg 41] used without interruption through all the various changes in other details. Much later, the shingle was adopted for the sides of the house as well as for the roof. A larger shingle, however, was used on the walls, with a wide exposure of surface. These were made of pine or cypress.

Although the walls of most old houses follow a straight line from one story to the next, there was a type, copied by the colonists from the buildings of the mother country and used somewhat freely before the Georgian era, in which the second story extended beyond the first. This overhang was generally used only on the front and back and not on all four sides, as in the European counterparts. The girders and cross beams were framed into the second-story posts, which frequently ended in an ornamental knob or drop, as it was called. The gables, too, occasionally had a slight overhang. In altering a pre-Georgian house, it is therefore permissible to make use of this overhang feature, and it may solve some otherwise knotty problems of required extra space.

Before Remodeling Before Remodeling

A house which shows unusually clever handling of these points is situated in the little village of Charles River, not so many miles outside of Boston. Within the last few years, this locality has[Pg 42] been opened up, and many modern homes have been built and farmhouses remodeled. They are situated along charming woodland roads and seem to nestle in their picturesque surroundings. This particular one stands on the road from Boston to Dover, invitingly shaded by graceful elms that have watched unnumbered generations pass. It suggests to passers-by a typical, seventeenth century farmhouse, ingeniously remodeled, through the plans of the late Philip B. Howard and F. M. Wakefield, architects of Boston, into a twentieth-century summer home. This old farmhouse was built in 1647 and was of the rectangular type, built about a central chimney, with four rooms and a hall on the lower floor. When Mr. Frederick H. Curtis selected it for his home, it had already been materially altered from the original simple structure by various succeeding tenants. And many of these had not added to its charms. The exterior was most uninviting in a vicious shade of red paint with white trim. In front was a small lattice porch entirely out of keeping with the architecture of the house. But in spite of all these unattractive features, there was an insistent appeal about the old place that made it seem worth venturing to restore.[Pg 43]

The first problem which presented itself was that of interior space. The difficulty lay in enlarging this space in such a way as to provide the needed room and at the same time maintain the harmony of the exterior lines. The original four rooms had been added to from time to time by former owners by means of the customary ells at the rear. The house was two and a half stories high, with a straight, pitched roof starting from the top of the second story. In the rear there was a two-story ell and a one-story addition behind that, with an outside chimney. Each of these was increased by one room, so that space for a laundry was added in the lower floor and for servants' quarters in the second. The chimney was kept on the outside above the laundry roof and built up to the required height. This second-story extension overhangs the old kitchen wall by about eighteen inches on one side and on the other runs into an entirely new wing, whose roof line joins without a break to that of the old ell. The roof of the main building has been extended in the rear, following its straight line to the top of the first story, as was frequently done in old houses. This brought the lines of the main building and the rear ells into greater harmony and[Pg 44] provided space for an outdoor living-room on the first floor. A flat-roofed dormer was thrown out above this on the second floor and turned into a sleeping-porch. The lines of the several roofs have thus been kept remarkably simple, considering the great amount of space which has been added.

Remodeled Remodeled
Side View Side View

On the opposite side of the house a new wing has been added to the second floor, parallel to the main building and at right angles to the ells in the rear. The front part of it has a pitched roof following the angle of that on the main building, and the rear has a flat roof on a very low stud. This provides three additional rooms on the second floor. It has been built over an outdoor breakfast or morning-room on the first floor, and the kitchen has been widened under it.

The Entrance Porch The Entrance Porch

At the front of the house, the flat-roofed entrance porch was removed, and one more in keeping with the Colonial period built in its place. This has a gabled roof, supported in front on two simple columns. The back part of it is closed and forms a small vestibule, with old-time oval windows extending on each side beyond the gabled roof-line. There are two benches in front, also beyond this line and protected by vine-grown lattices and small, extending eaves. The floor is paved with brick.[Pg 45]

These comprise the major changes to the exterior; but new shingles were put on the old roof; the dilapidated slat-shutters were replaced by blinds of solid wood, with a diamond cut in the upper panel after the old-time fashion; and the ugly red paint was changed to a soft Colonial buff.

The Hall and Unique Stairway The Hall and Unique Stairway

The narrow entrance hall, opening directly on the stairs, has not been altered. In the stairs, however, an exceedingly interesting treatment has been introduced, made necessary by the plan of the rooms above. On the first landing a doorway was cut in the chimney wall, and stairs built up the center of the chimney between the two flues. These give access to a small hall in the rear, connecting the several bedrooms. The door that leads to these stairs, at the foot, is a "secret" one; that is, it is covered with the wall-paper which surrounds it and fits tightly into the wall without framing woodwork.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

At the right of the hallway the parlor and dining-room were thrown into one long living-room, and a pleasant triple window was cut in the rear wall looking out upon the veranda. The fine old woodwork about the fireplace was restored to its original beauty with many coats of white paint. The hand-hewn beams in the ceiling were uncovered from[Pg 46] the casing which had hidden them, and the wood rubbed and oiled. The floor was found to be in good condition and, after the placing of additional boards where the partition was removed, was merely scraped, filled, stained, and polished. A semicircular corner cupboard in a reproduction of an old style, its shelves filled with interesting specimens of seventeenth-century pewter, gives character to the room. The walls were finished in a soft shade of burlap, and the old mahogany furniture, chintz covers, rag rugs, and simple scrim curtains preserve the delightful atmosphere.

On the opposite side of the hall is the library or den. This is unchanged, except for the white paint and the quaint Colonial wall-paper. Willow furniture is used.

Back of this, and extending across to the living-room, is the dining-room. The beams show the position of the original walls and indicate the way in which the room was enlarged. This leaves the fireplace at the side of a sort of alcove and so, to balance it and give importance to that end of the room, a china closet was built across the corner. An unpaneled wainscot, with simple baseboard and molding at the top, runs around the room, the new part matching the old. The woodwork is all[Pg 47] white, including the encased beams, which here were not in a condition to be exposed. The upper walls are covered with a blue and silver grass-cloth that strikes an effective color note behind the mahogany furniture. In this room is a good example of the use of modern reproductions of Sheraton chairs with a genuine old sideboard.

Glass doors lead from either end of the dining-room on to the two verandas. Both of these verandas are really rooms without walls, as they have been incorporated so completely within the lines and framework of the house. The one on the side of the house in front of the kitchen is used as a breakfast-room, and many of the other meals are served out here in the open air. That in the rear of the living-room is a delightful spot on summer afternoons and evenings. Both of these porches are thoroughly screened and fitted with framework in which glass sashes are placed during the winter.

On the second floor there are four bedrooms and a bath in the main part of the building, with a sleeping balcony leading from one of them. This is protected with screens and awnings and furnished with hammocks and reclining chairs. In the wings there are three servants' rooms and a bath. All of the rooms have been fitted up in a[Pg 48] quaintly simple style that is thoroughly in keeping with the period of the house, the low ceilings, and fine woodwork. In some of the rooms there are valuable old pieces of furniture, a four-poster of the Sheraton type, and a highboy with details of the Queen Anne period. In another room modern white enamel furniture has been used, but it is so simple and straightforward in design that it harmonizes entirely with the atmosphere of the room engendered by the old fireplace and chimney cupboard, the thumb latches on the doors, rag rugs, and an old-time wall-paper figured with stripes of morning-glories and daintily poised humming-birds. In this second floor, the old iron hardware has been largely used in strap and H and L hinges, latches, knobs, and shutter fastenings.

Throughout the lower story, modern brass knobs and key plates reproducing an old Colonial pattern have been used, securing greater convenience and safety.

Hot-air heating has been installed and electric lighting. The outlets, however, are all in the walls or baseboard sockets, so that there is no conspicuous inconsistency in the atmosphere, and lamps and candles are also used throughout the house.[Pg 49]



The architect of to-day has an advantage over the master builder of long ago in that he is able to grasp all ideas that were introduced into the old house and can restore it without losing the spirit of the original in either the exterior or interior. The wings and ells which were added by succeeding tenants often bear little relation to the main building and must either be torn down or harmonized in some way to preserve the unity of the completed design. The general plan of the house and the arrangement of the rooms should be carefully observed before the house owner and architect undertake the task of remodeling. Too many houses are disappointing because a study has not been made of the different types and periods of old houses, and the result is a mixture, neither one thing nor the other.

Old Colonial houses were always built on the rectangular plan, as this provided the greatest amount of enclosed space with the least expenditure[Pg 50] of labor and material. They were also constructed about an axis, and it is essential for the remodeler to determine what that axis is before making any alterations.

In the earliest days, the chimney was the center of the building and dominated the plan. The various rooms opened around it, so that as many of them as possible could have a fireplace from the one chimney. It was consequently a huge affair and occupied about three fourths as much space as one of the rooms. In the first plans, there were usually but two rooms, a kitchen on one side and a parlor on the other. Later, a room was built in the back for the kitchen, and a third opening made in the chimney. The narrow stairs were built in at the front to fit into the chimney space and generally ascended with two landings and turns at right angles.

As a late development, about the time of the Revolution, four equally large rooms were needed, and this one chimney was divided into two and placed on either side of the center of the house, so that in each of the main rooms there was a fireplace opening front or back from one of the two chimneys. This arrangement altered the position of the stairs, and stairs and hall became the central[Pg 51] axis of the house. The proportion of the space allotted to them, however, remained about the same as when the chimney had occupied the center. This accounts for the wide Colonial halls, which are such a charming feature of old houses. The stairs were built along one side, the length of the hall, often a perfectly straight flight without turn or landing, and the hall was frequently cut clear through to a door in the back, which formed a rear exit to the garden. The Georgian houses at the end of the eighteenth century were commonly built on this plan.

There was one other distinct type, in which the fireplaces in the four corner rooms were in the outer walls, and four separate chimneys were built. The central hall and staircase retained their same dominant proportions, but a second cross hall was sometimes built, dividing the house from end to end.

To all of these types, additions were frequently made, as the family increased, or new owners took possession. The extra space was not acquired by enlarging the main building but by adding an ell in the back at right angles to the original structure, or a wing at the side, parallel with it. These additions were attached to the[Pg 52] house by their smallest dimension, as that obstructed the least amount of light. They were smaller than the main part; many were but one story in height, and those that were two had a lower stud, so that the original building would remain the important feature in the whole.

After examining the old house from this point of view, consider the new uses to which it will be put and determine what changes will have to be made. Sketch the entire plan out before commencing an alteration, and then endeavor to see if the proposed remodeling is practical from a structural point of view, and if it harmonizes with the original spirit of the old building. Mark out in each room the position of windows and decide where new ones may have to be cut in the rearranged interiors. Study the fireplaces and find out whether the proposed removal of a partition wall will throw them out of balance in the rooms, and what you can do to counteract it. Pay particular attention to closet room, for in the old days it was given too little consideration for modern requirements.

Draw rough plans and put your ideas regarding every possibility down on paper; it is surprising how many new suggestions will occur as each[Pg 53] scheme is worked out, and there is a fascination in seeing how much can be fitted into a given space. After the work is begun, unforeseen conditions will crop up and necessitate changes in the project, as well as disclose new opportunities, but a greater part of the planning can be done beforehand.

A roomy, old, New England farmhouse near Hamilton was recognized by Mr. George Burroughs as a fertile subject for development into a beautiful country home. It was situated in the heart of rolling country and surrounded by wide stretches of grass land, from which the estate was named "Green Meadows."

Green Meadows—Front View Green Meadows—Front View

The original house, separated from the highway by an old wall of field stone and an elm-shaded dooryard, was built in 1786, and it is curious to note that no deed was ever recorded. It was the usual type of farmhouse, constructed about a central chimney, two and a half stories in height, with an unbroken roof line. Subsequent owners had added wings at each side instead of the more customary ell at the rear. One of these wings is of brick, which indicates that it was probably not built before the middle of the last century, but although the two building materials seem[Pg 54] incongruous in the one house, vines have so overgrown this wing that the red glimpsed through them and contrasting with the white walls of the house is very attractive.

The only important alterations in the exterior appearance of the house were in the addition of the long veranda across the rear and the alteration of the frame wing at the right. The old structure was found to be in too dilapidated a condition to restore, but it was reproduced in all its exterior details and joined to the end of a new wing attached to the house and a trifle broader than the old. Two hip-roofed dormers add to the space in the second floor and permit the construction of attractive servants' quarters.

The frame of the entrance door in the center of the front façade is a particularly happy example of the simple Georgian style used in the better class of farmhouses of that day. Its flat pilasters and well-proportioned cornice illustrate the restraint and refinement in the work of even the average builders.

The door itself opens into a small hallway, restored with fresh white paint to all its original beauty.

On this left side of the house the partition between[Pg 55] the old dining-room and parlor has been removed to make one large living-room. After the cornices and the wainscoting were restored, the woodwork, including the encased beams in the ceiling, was painted white. The condition of the old floor made it necessary to lay a new one of hard wood. This room admirably reflects the old Colonial spirit in its fireplace and cupboards. The paneling above the mantel shelf presents an interesting variation in the framing of fireplaces. The original wainscot with its molded cap divides the wall surface in an agreeable proportion, and the rather heavy cornice moldings at the ceiling line relieve the emphasis of the great beams. The old hardware is used on doors and windows, the thumb latches are finished in the natural black, and the H and L hinges painted white to correspond with the woodwork. The upper part of the walls is covered with a rose-colored paper reproducing a conventional Georgian medallion design in silvery gray. This rose color has been carried out in all the furnishings of this room; the upholstery of chairs and sofas is in a deeper shade; the over-curtains are somewhat paler, and in the Oriental rugs, rose blends with soft browns and blues. Old-fashioned[Pg 56] Venetian blinds or slat-curtains shade the windows in the living-room and throughout the house.

On the opposite side of the entrance hall is the reception-room. The same treatment has been accorded here as in the living-room, and the furnishings are especially harmonious and well arranged. The long, low lines of an Adam sofa, a slender-legged desk, and chairs and table, each one a noteworthy masterpiece of cabinet making, are admirably chosen to add apparent height to the low stud, but the monotony of too much light and low furniture is broken by a tall grandfather clock placed in the corner. The pictures on the walls, old prints simply framed in mahogany, are hung with a similar thought to increase the apparent height of the room, and their arrangement is well worth studying. The fireplace, on the opposite side of the chimney from that in the living-room, is equally interesting. The wall above the white wainscot is papered in a golden yellow of conventional flowers, and the upholstery and draperies are of a golden striped and figured Adam damask that brings out the rich color of the satinwood and mahogany furniture.

In the rear, on the same side of the house, is the dining-room. The old woodwork here was[Pg 57] insignificant, and it has been replaced with modern paneled wainscot covering two thirds of the wall surface. One could wish that the proportions of the original woodwork had been a little more closely followed, and the atmosphere of the other rooms carried more definitely into this. The old fireplace has been retained across the corner of the room with its flue in the central chimney, but its frame is a modern conception. The chimney cupboard in the side has been turned into a china closet with a new door of mullioned glass displaying interesting old pewter and plates. The upper third of the wall above the wainscot is covered with a reproduction of an old-time scenic paper in greens and grays, and the window hangings are of corresponding colors in damask. The seats of the Hepplewhite chairs carry the same tones in tapestry. The apparent size of the dining-room has been cleverly increased by carrying the decorative motives into the passageway which connects it with the service quarters in the right wing. The same paneling of the wainscot and the same paper above, seen through the double doorway, give the impression that this is all part of the one room, and the placing of a buffet in front of the opening enhances the effect.[Pg 58]

On the other side of the dining-room a small hall, paneled with white enameled woodwork to the ceiling, leads into the living-room.

The Living Room The Living Room

French doors of glass open from here on to the wide veranda which has been added across the back of the house, overlooking the green meadows and shady vales that stretch away on all sides.

Two Views of the Den Two Views of the Den

From this veranda or from the living-room, one can enter the brick wing at the left of the house. This originally contained the kitchen with bedrooms above, but in altering it, the entire wing was thrown into one room opened to the roof. With the great old beams and rafters showing, and all the woodwork stained dark, this apartment lends itself admirably to the character of a den or smoking-room. At the end, the old kitchen chimney has been utilized for a fireplace, and old paneling inserted above the high mantel. Seats have been built under the windows flanking the chimney and, with their soft cushions and pillows, add materially to the comfort of the room. The windows in this wing are unusually large,—an indication of the later date of its construction,—and in order to carry the same proportions in their divisions as in the older part of the house, twenty-four panes of glass were used in each.[Pg 59] A rich green and brown landscape paper covers the upper two thirds of the walls above the wainscot molding. The upholstery and cushions on davenport, armchairs, and window-seats of brown leather stamp this apartment indelibly as a man's room, and the decorations of old flint-locks in one corner add to the effect.

The service quarters of the house in the wings at the right have been made especially complete. In the middle section are butler's pantry, kitchen, laundry, and refrigerator, with two bedrooms on the second floor; and in the narrower part is a servants' hall and three bedrooms which are open to the roof.

The Old-fashioned Chamber The Old-fashioned Chamber

On the upper floor of the main part of the house the four bedrooms have been kept much as in the past. Those in the rear have been made to open out, through double doors, on to the second story of the veranda, which can be used as a sleeping-porch. The old white woodwork and the original fireplaces add their ineffable charm. The floors were in poor condition and are covered with matting as a background for the rag rugs. Some very interesting old pieces of furniture add to the atmosphere of these chambers.

The registers of the hot-air heating system which[Pg 60] has been installed are unusually well selected for an old Colonial house. Instead of the customary meaningless scroll and meander pattern in the grills, a simple square lattice has been used, which preserves the spirit of other days admirably.[Pg 61]



City people are prone to think that the country is agreeable only during the summer months, and that winters spent there are unpleasant and dreary. This notion is fast being dispelled, as country houses are kept open longer and longer each year, and the pleasures of country week-ends during the entire winter are definitely proven. There is in reality no more delightful place to spend the long winter months than in the heart of a beautiful country. A never-ending round of interests astonishes one who has never tried it before. Each month brings a fresh phase, and it is hard to determine whether the country is at its best during the summer or winter season.

There is a fascination indescribable in watching the fall of snow, the settling of flakes on the bare limbs, the transition from brown to diamond-covered branches that glisten with every motion and are often decorated with long icicles reflecting all the prismatic colors. If you have never seen[Pg 62] this side of country life, you will find it a wonderful world, where it is intensely interesting to study the seasons in turn, note the coming and going of birds, look for the early and late flowers, watch the melting of snows and the swelling of buds in the warm spring suns.

More active pleasures, too, await the adventurer in the winter country. There are so many sports to be enjoyed that one does not wonder the youth delights to come here for skating, snow-shoeing, or toboganning. What is more delightful than a sleighing party, whose destination is a remodeled farmhouse not too many miles from the city? Start the cheery fire in the huge fireplace, pile on the six-foot logs, draw your chairs nearer while you forget the outside world, and feel a glow of delight that you, too, have joined the throng who know the thrill of country life.

The first thing to do when contemplating an all-the-year-round country home is to look for a house in the right location. In selecting it the problem of heating must be thought of in a different way than as that for merely summer use. Then fireplaces will amply suffice for the few cool days and chilly evenings, and no better method could be desired. But for the real cold of winter,[Pg 63] whether for continued use or the occasional week-end, more complete heating will need to be provided.

The cheapest and simplest way is undoubtedly by stoves which can be attached to the fireplace flues. But this necessitates closing up the fireplace and depriving family and guests of all the joys of the blazing logs which never seem more cheerful and hospitable than in the bitterest weather. If the house is to be used mainly for week-end parties, stoves have another serious drawback. They must be kept oiled when not in use, to prevent their rusting, and it takes nearly two days after the fire is lighted to burn the oil off. Then, when closing up the house again, the stove must be re-oiled, and this necessitates putting the fire out and waiting in the cold house until the metal is sufficiently cool to apply the treatment.

The most adequate method is by hot water or steam, and for a large country house these are really the only practical ways. The expense involved will depend upon the structure of the house. In a brick or stone building, it will cost a good deal to have the pipes built into the wall. Sometimes conditions will allow them to be carried[Pg 64] up in a closet or partition. In a frame house that has been built with deep window jambs, as was so often done in the olden times, the pipes can be hidden within this furred framework. The great objection to steam or hot-water systems in old houses, however, is the presence of the radiator, which never can be made to harmonize thoroughly with the spirit of the old building. When it is used, some attempt must be made to disguise it. If it can be made long and low and placed in front of a window, it can be treated as a window-seat with a metal grill in front. For houses of the later Georgian period, grills can be found whose designs are not at all out of keeping with the other classical details. Sometimes a radiator can be placed entirely within the furred partition, and the heat admitted into the room through paneled doors which are thrown open when it is in use.

For small houses, the hot-air system is perhaps the most desirable. The registers are inconspicuous and bring no jarring note into the old-time atmosphere. The pipes require considerable overhead room in the cellar, which sometimes becomes a hard problem in the low foundations of old houses. The fact that it is difficult to drive the[Pg 65] hot air against the wind raises a second objection, but if the furnace is placed in the corner of the house from which the cold winds blow, or even a second furnace is installed, the trouble will be largely overcome. And there is the great advantage, especially for a week-end house, that it can be started up or left at a moment's notice without trouble from water in the pipes or danger of freezing as in the hot-water systems.

Whatever the method decided upon, it is an interesting work from start to finish. One feels a thrill of adventure in evoking from the home of past generations one for twentieth-century living with all the comforts and appliances necessary. But to transform an old building that has never even been intended for living purposes into a residence that is not only comfortable and suited to the owner's needs but an architectural success as well, is a still more fascinating problem. How Messrs. Killam and Hopkins have accomplished this with an old barn at Dover and kept the distinctive simplicity and atmosphere of the original building is worthy of emulation.

Nawn Farm—Front View Nawn Farm—Front View

When Mrs. Genevieve Fuller bought the Nawn Farm some three years ago, it was her intention to alter the farmhouse then on the property.[Pg 66] Its location, however, was not entirely favorable; the house was on sloping ground in somewhat of a hollow and too near the public road. Besides this, the rooms were small and very much out of repair. On the crest of the hill was the barn, occupying a commanding position and framed in splendid old trees. The structure was found to be so stanch that it was decided to tear down the old house and convert the barn into the residence.

Rear View Rear View

The foundations were left unchanged, and an ell on the north side was added for the service portion of the building. The supports and interior divisions are all virtually unaltered. The living and dining rooms occupy the positions of the former mows, and the hall connecting them is the old passage for the wagons. Most of the original studding has been used as it stood, and the beams incased or hidden in the finish of the walls. The roof was flattened on the top, and the gables cut off, but the slope was unaltered. Wider eaves were added at a slightly different pitch, softening the lines of the roof.

Doors and windows were, of course, cut anew to conform with the different usage of the building. Their position was necessarily determined[Pg 67] somewhat by the existing supports, but they have been very happily placed, whether in groups or singly. Those of the sleeping rooms on the second floor are especially well handled; they are wide and raised well up under the overhanging roof, so that they carry out the broad low lines of the architecture. The openings of the sleeping-porches have been treated exactly as windows, their size corresponding with the apparent dimensions of the windows, and their locations determined by the same factors. They become at once an integral part of the structure instead of the unsightly excrescence which the presence of a sleeping-porch so often proves.

The Living Room The Living Room

On the first floor, the living-room occupies the entire eastern end, having exposures on three sides. This has been attractively finished in gum wood stained a dark brown, and the warm tones of natural colored grass-cloth tone the walls. An interesting treatment has been accorded the fireplace by flanking it on either side with a nook, the outer walls of which cleverly conceal parts of the old structure. In each of the recesses is a small window above the paneling and window-seat. The furnishings of the room are appropriately simple and invitingly comfortable, suggesting old-fashioned[Pg 68] things adapted for modern uses. Especial interest is attached to the fireplace fittings; they are of hand-forged iron, wrought by the village blacksmith after designs of the owner. The andirons were made from the tires of old cart wheels, flattened and bent into shape and curled over at the top. The wood-box is of flat strips of iron interlaced.

From one wing of the hall ascend stairs which are the faithful reproduction of an old Colonial design. The other part of the hall, across the southern front, is so broad and cheerful with two big windows and two glass doors opening on to the sunny loggia that it has been furnished with a davenport, tables, and chairs almost as a second living-room. The woodwork is North Carolina pine stained brown, and the walls are gray.

The billiard-room back of this hall, with its attractive alcove and fireplace, is finished in fumed oak, and the walls are also gray.

Two Views of the Dining Room Two Views of the Dining Room

Perhaps the distinction of being the most attractive room in the house can be accorded the dining-room with its Colonial white woodwork. The fireplace and the china closet, balanced on the other side by the door into the pantry, are of excellent proportions and charming detail. The mullioned[Pg 69] panes of the china closet and the treatment of the moldings about the frame are especially interesting. On the opposite side of the room a group of three windows provides opportunity for an unusually delightful feature in the long window-box, built by the village carpenter. Its simple, sturdy lines are worthy of notice. The walls are papered in a deep cream, and the greatest simplicity maintained in the furniture and draperies.

The China Closet in the Dining Room The China Closet in the Dining Room

The service portion is well arranged both for convenience of labor and comfort of the domestics. The basement laundry leads directly into a large drying yard which was the original enclosure for the cows and is surrounded by the same wall of field stone.

Up-stairs the rooms might be said to be divided into three suites, which can be practically shut off from each other: each has its own bath and sleeping-porch. In the group over the living-room there has been an ingenious solution of the structural conditions. The division of the rooms made possible by the old supports permitted a dressing-room to be placed conveniently between the two chambers, but the fireplace added in the living-room was directly below, so that the[Pg 70] chimney would naturally cut off the outside wall. It would have been possible to construct a large fireplace in the dressing-room and allow the light to come through the chambers, but the architects evolved another scheme. The chimney was carried up on one side, providing a fireplace for one of the chambers, and a second chimney was built in the opposite corner of the dressing-room. In the space between, a window was cut, and the two flues joined directly over the window. From the outside of the building this gives a most unusual effect as there is a chimney directly over a window, having no apparent support, or even purpose. The lines of the pyramidal base conform to the slope of the roof.[Pg 71]



The remodeling of an old farmhouse is apparently a simple matter; it would at first seem necessary only to preserve the main lines and characteristics of the original in the alterations that are required to meet the conditions of modern life. But when one realizes that the less conspicuous details are also important, in order to maintain the essential harmony of the whole, it becomes a more intricate proposition. One cannot merely study the details already on the building and slavishly copy them for the new parts, because frequently it will be found that doors or windows or shutters have been added by more recent owners and are not really in keeping with the old structure at all. In order to reclaim the house, then, so that it shall have a consistent unity throughout, one must have some understanding of the evolution of these details.

There is no more significant element in these old Colonial houses than the front door. It was[Pg 72] placed in the center of the front wall and formed the unit of the exterior design. The very early doors were of heavy oak boards placed vertically and fastened together with horizontal strips. These batten doors, as they were called, were made very sturdy and strong, in order to resist attacks from Indians or other marauders. Often they were marked with an awl into diamond and lozenge patterns and sometimes studded with hand-wrought nails. Not for a good many years did the panel door come into use. At first it was a flat panel, flush with the sides of the door and separated from the sides and top only by a small bead molding. This was soon developed into the flat sunken panel, meeting the surrounding wood with several moldings; and then the panels were beveled and raised in the center, and the moldings gradually became more elaborate and delicate in outline. The early doors were solid for purposes of protection, but as the country became more settled, thick bull's-eye glass was inserted into the top horizontal panel to let light into the hall. As the interior plan was changed in its evolution, the hall became larger, and these bull's-eyes did not provide sufficient light, so the transom was introduced over the[Pg 73] door. For some time a simple top light was used, divided by lead and then wooden muntins. Then side lights were introduced, and the treatment became more elaborate in the beautiful styles of the later Georgian period.

The frame about the door was at first of flat, undecorated boards, the upper one resting on the two at the sides. Then these were molded and mitered at the corners, and later a cap of heavier moldings was put across the top. This hood became more and more prominent and required the use of definite support. Console brackets were sometimes used but more frequently flat pilasters set against the wall. These gradually became more important, developing into the three-quarter round and finally the isolated column. The pediment and cornice were then extended into the open porch that is one of the splendid features of the Georgian style. Here in cornice and capital was a field for the development of all the most delicate and beautiful motives of classic carving.

As this door and porch was the center of the design of the exterior, the windows were grouped symmetrically about it, the same on each side. There were few of them at first, and they were[Pg 74] of rather small size. Casement windows were the earliest kind used, and the small, diamond panes were sunk in lead, as were those made in the mother country. It is probable that most of these windows were brought over from England and not constructed here. After 1700, the sliding sash was introduced, dividing the windows horizontally, and these had wooden muntins. It must have been considered a more elegant type of window, for it was used in the front of the house for a long time, while the leaded casement was still put in rear windows for many years. The early wooden muntins were quite heavy but later became nearly as delicate as the leaden ones. They divided the sash horizontally and vertically into squares.

The window casings, like the door frames, were at first entirely plain and then had a heavier band across the top which developed into a molded cap or cornice, as at the entrance. When sliding sashes were introduced, the walls of the houses were not thick enough to contain them, so the frames and the sashes were built on to the outside, frequently projecting quite a distance. The necessity for constructing them in this way led to the deep jambs and sills which are such a charming characteristic of the Colonial style.[Pg 75]

Shutters were used on the outside of the house as a means of protection from the Indians, when the country was being settled, and these were made of heavy, battened wood three or four inches thick, like the doors. Subsequently a small diamond was cut in the top to admit some light when the shutter was closed. Then a shutter with a solid upper and lower panel was used, and finally these panels were replaced with slats.

There was one other part of the exterior which developed interesting characteristics to be observed in the remodeling: that is, the cornice of the roof. This was merely the overhang in the early buildings and sometimes consisted of the framing beam actually exposed. In the Georgian houses, this was boxed and later elaborated with splendid carvings that deserve perpetuation in more lasting material than wood. There was no gutter for rain-water, and the drip from the eaves was caught on flagstones on the ground at the corners of the house. This detail, although not needed with modern gutters and rain pipes, gives a charming old-time touch when retained in the remodeled home.

It is by attention to such seemingly insignificant points that the atmosphere of the original[Pg 76] buildings has been consistently retained in so many cases. An excellent instance of how this has been done may be seen in a late Georgian type of farmhouse that stands somewhat back from the old Londonderry turnpike on an estate at Hopkinton, New Hampshire. Although it is not very old, having been built in 1820, it is typical of the better class of simple home in the early days of the Republic.

Boulder Farm—Front View Boulder Farm—Front View

The history of the building of this old house is rather interesting. In the days when lotteries were still in flourishing condition, and some of the best men in the community were interesting themselves in the various schemes, a member of one of the churches induced Deacon Philip Brown's hired man to purchase a ticket for a paltry sum. Repenting his investment, he afterwards sold it to his employer, who was a clever silversmith and clock-maker, much respected and well known in the community through his yearly rounds about Hopkinton to repair the clocks of the farmers. The ticket proved to be the winning one, that drew a great prize. With part of this money, Deacon Brown purchased the old "Boulder Farm," as it was called from a great rock that still stands in an open field just south of the house.[Pg 77] Here he erected the Georgian farmhouse that is standing to-day. The rest of the money, so the legend runs, he buried somewhere in the field, but he probably removed it later, as it has never been found.

He placed the house on rising land, a short distance from the broad highway, built in the same year and for a long time the straight thoroughfare from Londonderry to Concord and Boston. Deacon Brown lived on the estate until 1846, with the exception of the year 1830, when it was occupied by Governor Matthew Harvey of New Hampshire. The property, placed on the market, then fell into the hands of a man named Kelly, brother-in-law to Grace Fletcher, the first wife of Daniel Webster. During his life, the great American statesman often visited there. What happened during the period between this occupancy and the time of its purchase by Mr. Harry Dudley of Concord, New Hampshire, is not recorded, but we can be confident that the house had careful treatment from its state of preservation.

It was while Mr. Dudley was looking around for a home with ample grounds, and near enough to his business to allow him to go back and forth[Pg 78] every day, that he discovered this historic place. Its attractiveness and the healthfulness of the surroundings appealed to him. Very little was needed to bring the house back to good condition and make it habitable. The land was attractive and could be improved. In front of the house was a wide stretch of meadow that was easily terraced to meet the boundary line. To the many old trees shading the house and lawn were added young trees to replace some of the ancient ones that were dying.

The Front Doorway The Front Doorway

Although the house was a model type of the architecture of its day, and there had been abundant room for the old-time residents, modern ways of living demanded additional space. A long ell, built at the rear for the service department, and a wide veranda in dignified Colonial style along one side were the two main exterior alterations. The appearance of the windows was changed by putting in larger panes in order to admit more light, but they were still in keeping with the old-time atmosphere. The reshingling and repainting of the house and the addition of the trellises at one side completed the exterior improvements. The splendid front entrance porch with its graceful fanlight, Doric columns,[Pg 79] and straight cornice, and the equally interesting though less imposing side porch were left practically unchanged. The old blinds were restored, to give the stately, old-time atmosphere to the mansion.

The new veranda is wide and extends along the whole side of the house. Its flat roof rests on coupled Doric columns that carry out the classical Georgian detail of the entrance porch; the second story is finished with a simple balustrade, in keeping with the fine simplicity of the main lines. During the summer months this broad piazza is a delightful out-of-door living-room, from which there is a splendid view over the green country; and one can, in imagination, picture the old stage-coaches of former days lumbering by on the highroad. The upper part of the veranda opening from the chambers on that side of the house is used as a sleeping-porch.

The path that leads to the main entrance passes through a wicket gate and ascends the terrace over stone steps to the granite block before the door. The pleasant formality of this porch is accentuated by two close-clipped bay trees, one on either side of the step.

The Hall The Hall

This door opens directly into the hall and faces[Pg 80] the long, straight flight of stairs which reaches the second floor without a turn. The woodwork of these stairs is particularly nice in proportion and line; and the carving under the ends of the steps, in a simple but beautiful scroll design, is most interesting. The hand-rail is mahogany, and the molding which follows it on the wall side above the wainscoting is also mahogany.

The Parlor The Parlor

In the parlor at the left no innovation has been introduced, and it remains almost as when the house was built. There we find the old white wainscoting unpaneled, with a fine carved molding defining the top. The windows, recessed in the Colonial style, retain their original inside shutters that are still used. It is unusual to find these to-day, for in remodeling houses the shutters are almost always removed in favor of more modern conveniences. Shutters were formerly used as we now employ curtains, to be closed at night-fall or to shut out light and cold. The fireplace in this room is a fine example of Colonial work. It shows a central medallion of a plentifully filled fruit basket and wheat sheaves over the fluted side columns; the edge of the mantel shelf has an unusual ball and string ornamentation finely carved. The wall-paper dates back to the time[Pg 81] of the fireplace. It shows a Grecian pastoral design in shades of brown, yellow, and old rose and was hand-printed from blocks made in England. Through all these years it has retained its brightness, escaping the hands of time, and lends a charming and quaint atmosphere to this room. All of the movable furnishings are equally well in keeping; the slat-back chairs and tables conform to the spirit of the period, as does the fine old Empire mirror, resting on its rosettes.

On the opposite side of the hall from the parlor is the living-room. This is similar in character, with a fireplace only slightly less interesting. It has the same old white wainscoting, but the upper walls have been covered with a modern foliage paper which, strangely enough, blends harmoniously with the setting of the room. It is furnished with eighteenth-century pieces corresponding to those in the other parts of the house.

Two Views of the Dining Room Two Views of the Dining Room

At the end of the hall is the dining-room, reached through an open arch. The old wall and door here were cut away in the remodeling to produce an impression of spaciousness and give a vista from the entrance clear through the house and into the garden at the rear. The arch was added to finish the opening, but it conforms carefully[Pg 82] to the details found in the architecture of that day. This room was originally divided, and one part used as a kitchen, but the partition was removed and the two thrown into one, making a long dining-room which occupies the greater part of the rear of the house. At the end, the old single window was enlarged, and two smaller ones cut through on either side to make a delightful sunny group which adds materially to the charm of the room. In the fireplace, which was the original old kitchen one, used for cooking and baking, the brick oven was removed to admit the introduction of a door opening into the living-room. Otherwise it was left unchanged, and the white painted woodwork about it, although simple and unpretentious, is beautifully proportioned. The old flint-lock and warming-pan which hang there pleasantly emphasize the Colonial idea. The wall-paper is a reproduction of a Colonial block pattern in soft shades of gray and green. The floors in this room, as all over the house, are covered with matting laid over the original boards, which were found to be in too bad a condition to restore; entirely new ones would have been necessitated had bare, polished floors been demanded.

The Den The Den

At the end of the dining-room, opposite the[Pg 83] triple window, a door leads into a small room which is used as a den. This retains the old fireplace opening from the same chimney and directly back of that in the parlor. The walls have been papered in a plain green and are sparingly decorated with sporting prints and trophies suggestive of the hunt and the master's particular domain. Doors lead from this room not only into the dining-room, but to the parlor and the veranda at the side.

The ell of the house, opening from the dining-room, is devoted to butler's pantry, kitchen, servants' dining-room, and servants' chambers on the second floor.

The upper story of the main part of the house has been kept almost as when it was built, and the large square chambers are well-lighted and airy. The open fireplaces and the Colonial furniture, four-posters and highboys and chests, give to the rooms a delightfully old-fashioned atmosphere.

The whole house is a fine example of late Georgian architecture, preserved in all its interesting detail.[Pg 84]



Few people realize how much thought should be put into the remodeling of a farmhouse, and many fail to keep the simple country atmosphere; they endeavor to establish in suburban surroundings a home that is better suited to city life. A house reclaimed in this way is necessarily a misfit and must always seem inharmonious in its setting. It never carries out the idea for which we are striving: that a house should be typical of the life of the people who live in it. It should express individuality, be a house to live in, to grow in, to become identified with your life; this is a most important fact that cannot be too carefully observed, and it becomes all the more essential if the home is to be an all-the-year-round one and not merely a summer residence where but a few months are passed.

To-day it is a far more difficult matter to select an old farmhouse of sufficient distinction to remodel than it was even ten years ago. The[Pg 85] most desirable ones have already been bought, since the pleasures of living in the country have been realized by so many former dwellers in the city. There are many personal matters to be thought of in the selection of a house for remodeling; one must consider his individual needs in its relation to his daily pursuits. The business man must select a house near enough to the city to allow traveling back and forth every day; but the man whose occupation does not require city life during the time he wishes to be in the country can establish himself wherever he chooses. There is no doubt that the latter is able to find a far better farmhouse, for he can go farther away, where the best types have not been reclaimed, owing to their distances from the large cities.

It is to be taken for granted that a person has a definite purpose when he leaves the city for a country existence, and it is necessary that he educate himself to the point where he makes his ideas practical. This cannot be done without study beforehand. In making a house suit individual requirements, one must follow along its own lines. Do not attempt to transplant into it features from some other house you admire. An Elizabethan gable or a craftsman living-room[Pg 86] may have been very interesting in the friends' houses in which you saw them, but they would be quite out of place thrust into a Colonial farmhouse. If you have a real need for the features that you find in some other house, you should adapt them to the spirit of the building you are remodeling.

If it cannot be made to harmonize with the other motives, it is possible that you are attempting to make a home out of a building that is not suited to your style of life. But it is because these Colonial farmhouses meet the requirements of the average American families so adequately that they are so interesting to remodel. Each house owner must decide for himself what is the main element in his existence and reclaim the house accordingly. In one family, the interests will be entirely domestic; another household will live in the open, occupied with sports; another devotes much time to music; and there are still others who are absorbed in some special craft or work that will require definite accommodations. In many cases the house can readily be adapted to these particular requirements without any essential change in its atmosphere. The success that is achieved by working with these[Pg 87] old-time elements is due to their sincerity and honesty in solving the problems of their own day and age; they are the results of actual and real experience, and we know no better ways to meet the same conditions. So that when we have the same problems confronting us, we cannot do better than accept the successful results of others' experiments.

This does not mean a slavish copying of the old in restoration; to simply imitate old elements would be neither interesting nor commendable, except for the purposes of a museum. Each style is based upon some fundamental principle, and it should be our aim to work with the underlying idea of creating that which will best meet our special needs, not merely to reproduce the old in imitation of itself.

Nature lends itself to the remodeling and suggests many ideas that help to identify the house with the personality of its owner. Everything attempted in the way of improvements can be broad and expansive and not congested, as would be necessary in the city. You should in every particular make the house grow to fit the surroundings and do it in such a way that it will seem to have been so always. Often the[Pg 88] house has to be moved on its foundations to meet this need, but that is not a difficult matter to accomplish, if the timbers are stanch and the underpinning steady.

If the owner's ideas are carried out, the house in its finished condition will be but an expression of his taste and understanding. In it we will be able to read his likes and dislikes. Unity should be the keynote of it all and should permeate not only the house itself in all its details, but its gardens, lawns, stables, and every aspect of the estate.

Three Acres, from the Main Road Three Acres, from the Main Road

There is a house that has been given rare individuality in this way at Duxbury, Massachusetts. As one drives along the picturesque country road, he comes to a winding lane that leads by graceful turns to a little brown farmhouse situated on the crest of a hill about three hundred yards from the main road. If the farmhouse alone is attractive, how much more so is it made by the entrance, for on either side are graceful elms that form an archway, disclosing the house beyond like a picture set in a rustic frame. On either side of the roadway one finds meadow lands and flower and vegetable gardens, everywhere dotted with graceful trees and the picturesque sumach. Vines clamber[Pg 89] over the stone walls, partly hiding their roughness and giving their homelike atmosphere to the grounds. There are just three acres in this little property, bounded on two sides by delightful woodlands and on the others by rolling farmland and pastures; but there is room in even these small confines for a garden to supply the table all the year round and a bit of orchard where the gnarled old apple-trees are still fruitful.

Originally the old farmhouse was in a most unprepossessing condition. It had been inhabited for many years by farmer folk who took little pains with its appearance either without or within. When Mrs. Josephine Hartwell Shaw, of Boston, was searching for a country seat where she could pursue her occupation away from the bustle of city life and unmolested by chance guests, she was attracted first of all to the quiet little town by the name of Duxbury. As she looked about for a suitable house, she was charmed with the location of this weather-beaten old building, and closer examination proved it well worth reclaiming, both from an artist's point of view and from that of her own individual requirements.

Three Acres—Front View Three Acres—Front View

Like many of the farmhouses in eastern Massachusetts, it had that peculiar beauty which[Pg 90] consisted largely in its simple and straightforward solution of the problems at hand. It was not the creation of a master architect but of ordinary builders and craftsmen following the traditions of their fathers, varied by the restrictions of local material and newer requirements. It is this rugged and sturdy simplicity that gives to it an enduring charm; it was the very lack of a set style that gave to the remodeling of it an unfailing zest, increased by the very difficulty of the experiment that might result in a woeful failure or a great success. In dealing with houses such as this, it is impossible for the architect to rely on any formula or book of rules to direct him in a correct restoration. It requires a much deeper study and an understanding of the problems that confronted the builder in erecting the structure and the conditions under which he worked. It is then that the spirit of the old house will be manifest, and its adaptation to modern requirements will be but the thought of former years revised to meet present needs.

Three Acres—Side View Three Acres—Side View

There are few buildings that can claim a more sympathetic handling in their restoration than this early, pre-Georgian farmhouse, which is called Three Acres. The excellent line of the[Pg 91] wide, gabled roof, broken by a succession of outbuildings, forms an unusually attractive picture, with the weather-stained shingles softened against a background of oak and pine trees. The house now faces away from the main road and fronts upon a wooded slope that falls sharply down to the shores of a picturesque little pond. This is partly hidden by dense woods that form a background and a windbreak for the house. Formerly the public road went along here within a few yards of the front of the house, but it has been abandoned for the broader highway in the rear, and only the vaguest traces of it remain to-day.

The building was a two-story, shingled structure with an uncompromising squareness about it. The wide, gable roof sloped down to the stud of the first floor, giving but little room in the chambers above. It was of the central chimney type. In the rear, a small, gable-roofed ell had been added, and later still a flat-roofed shed at right angles to the ell, or parallel to the main house, was built. In still a third addition, a well was incorporated in the rear, under a continuation of the roof of the shed, and another small outhouse in an extension to the side. This seeming conglomeration of roofs in reality made a rather interesting[Pg 92] and graceful play of line that lifted the little house from commonplaceness.

It was found to be in such good condition on the exterior that little repairing was needed, but several alterations were made, adding both to the character of the building and the comfort of the occupants. The original front door opened very abruptly upon the stairs, leaving only enough hall space to open the door. This was remedied by the addition of a small, flat-roofed bay at the front, increasing the space in the hall by just that much. The old door with its bull's-eyes was used in the new position. The step before it was protected under the same roof, supported on two, small, square posts and a trellis at the sides, giving somewhat the effect of an old-time Colonial porch and serving not only the material purpose of adding room to the interior but of relieving the abrupt and uninteresting severity of the front lines. In the second story, unusually successful dormers were cut in both the back and front pitch of the roof. The plan of these dormers deserves especial study, as each group is in reality composed of three separate dormers, enlarging three rooms in the interior, but confined under the one flat roof. Note, too, how each end of the dormer[Pg 93] extends beyond the middle portion, and how the shape of the windows accents the design.

A new entrance was cut at the side toward the lane, and a screened veranda added, with a flat roof corresponding to that at the front. Several new windows were made necessary by the rearrangements in the interior, but they were placed with careful regard to the exterior proportion and balance. The glass used in the old windows when the house was bought was all the full size of the sashes, doubtless having been put there by some recent owner and seeming quite out of harmony with the details of the house; consequently they were replaced with small panes, twenty-four to a window, and the new windows were all of the casement type.

The interior of the house with its ugly paint and paper, presented a rather hopeless appearance, that only a vivid imagination and an unwavering enthusiasm could have transformed into the attractive home that it is to-day. Beginning at the front, the cramped little hall was enlarged as has already been explained. This made a trifle more stair room, and the first seven steps reaching to the little landing were rebuilt with lower risers and broader treads that made ascent to the second floor a less arduous matter.[Pg 94]

On the left of the hall was the living-room, on the right a bedroom, and in the rear of the house the room originally designed for the kitchen; in each of these was a fireplace opening out of the one central chimney.

The first step in the restoration consisted of tearing off the many layers of hideous wall-paper, removing the plaster where it was crumbling, and scraping the woodwork free from its dingy paint. In these operations a number of unexpected discoveries were made concerning the fine old paneling and great, hand-hewn beams that had been entirely covered up.

A Corner of the Living Room A Corner of the Living Room

The only change made in the plan of this floor was in the corner beyond the living-room and at the end of the kitchen. This was originally divided into a tiny chamber opening from the living-room, and a pantry off the kitchen. These were thrown into one, and the openings to living-room and kitchen enlarged. The former bedroom window was changed to a door leading on to the screened veranda, and an attractive group of three casement windows replaced the one in the rear wall, overlooking the charming vista of winding lane and old apple-trees and meadows beyond. This little apartment has been treated[Pg 95] as a sort of anteroom or really a wing of the living-room, and wall finish, paint, and furnishings all harmonize.

The Living Room The Living Room

In the living-room the fireplace holds the center of attention. It is faced with queer old Spanish tiles inserted at intervals in plain cement, the rich colorings of which give a quaintly exotic air to the fine white woodwork. The moldings about the frame and over the mantel are unusually fine for this type of house; the support of the heavy mantel shelf and the carved dentils in the ceiling cornice are especially interesting. At the right of the fireplace is a cupboard with an upper and lower door, in the old-time fashion; the upper one has small, square, mullioned panes of glass which disclose some attractive pieces of old china and silver.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

In the kitchen, which was turned into the dining-room, the old fireplace had been bricked up to receive a stovepipe, and the woodwork had been plastered over and papered. The fireplace was opened up to its original size, large enough to accommodate a six-foot log, and in refacing it, the old, blackened, fire-burned bricks were used with delightful effect. The paneling about it is very simple, but the proportions are interesting, and[Pg 96] the quaint, double-panel cupboards on each side lend the whole an insistent charm. The two, great, hand-hewn beams in the ceiling have been left exposed, and the fact that they have settled a little on their supports, sagging toward one end, only adds to the effect, just as the unevenness of a hand-drawn line is more beautiful than the accuracy of one ruled.

These three rooms opening so closely into each other have been treated so that there is a harmonious and striking vista from every point. The walls are covered with a soft, creamy gray, and the hangings of Russian crash are of the same tone. The color is supplied in fireplaces, rugs, books, pictures, and such ornaments. In the dining-room, there has been a slight accent of blue and rose in rug and table runner and candle-shades. In the living-room the deep green of the upholstery carries the strongest note. The characteristically old-time furniture, with a pleasant mingling of Dutch and English and American motifs of the eighteenth century, has been arranged with studied care to preserve the possibilities of the open vistas from room to room.

The entrance hall completes a delightful picture from the living-room; the soft gray colors of a[Pg 97] lovely Japanese paper blend strikingly with tiny curtains of a wonderfully fresh old blue at the casement windows. The rag carpet carries this same blue up the white stairs to the second floor.

The rooms on the right of the lower hallway have been kept nearly in their original state with the addition of fresh paint and attractive papers. They form a small suite of a study and bedroom, seeming quite apart from the rest of the house.

On the second floor, a refreshing simplicity has been observed in the bedrooms. The dormers that have been cut in the roof add not only to their comfort but provide charming little bays and alcoves, giving unexpected opportunities for interesting furnishings. Quaint, old-time papers and hangings and coverlets on the four-poster beds, matched in rugs and cushions and candle-shades, contrast gaily with the spotless white paint. Considerable ingenuity has been necessary in planning this floor, as the original rooms were so tiny and space so very limited under the long slopes of the roof. The dormers gave the much needed increase in the size of the chambers, and part of the rear one was converted into the bathroom.[Pg 98]

In the ell and shed at the rear of the house, perhaps the most interesting feature of all is situated. A step lower than the dining-room and reached through swinging French doors of glass, is the little kitchen which has been fitted up in a most compact way. An additional window has been cut at the side to provide both light and air, and an outside door gives access to the small court on the far side of the house between the main building and the rear shed. This has been turned into a miniature old-fashioned garden, where it is pleasant to sit among the flowers.

Back of the kitchen is the laundry and an old well, which has been drained and is now used as a cooling cellar, and the wire basket containing meats and milk and butter is drawn up and down on the old crank. Beyond this, the old wood and coal shed has been transformed into the studio. Here Mrs. Shaw designs all her beautiful jewelry work at the long work-table across the rear under the four long windows. Opening from it is a tiny little apartment used as an office, and here at a quaint desk, the designs for the metal work are sketched out, and the correspondence connected with the business end transacted.[Pg 99]

In the adaptation of the outbuildings to the special and unusual requirements of the owner, an excellent example is given to others who have individual hobbies such as this to accommodate. But throughout the building the needs and the personality of the owner have been as carefully if not as ostensibly expressed. There has been no thought of comfort or of service sacrificed in the effort to revive the atmosphere of the past, but rather has that very simplicity and straight-forwardness been utilized to banish all that might complicate entire convenience. The personality of the owner has been interwoven into every detail, and shows nowhere more strongly than in the preservation of all the delightful vagaries and unevenness of hand work played upon and mellowed by time.[Pg 100]



The prospective house owner generally has little or no idea of how to go about designing his own home. If he chances to see some other house that strikes his fancy, he realizes that it approaches, at least in part, what he has in mind. How to accomplish his desire, however, he has no definite knowledge. He hesitates to call in an architect who is a stranger to him and knows nothing of his needs and habits and preferences; he fears that an attempt to combine his own ideas with those of the architect will result unsatisfactorily to both of them. To such a man as this, the remodeled farmhouse comes as a boon. From the old house he is able to determine what type his home will be; no matter how battered and worn it is to start with, he can get some impression of the possible room space and arrangement by studying other old interiors and their relation to each other. That is one of the reasons why the movement sweeping through the country to-day has become[Pg 101] so extensive. It gives a substantial foundation upon which to develop an artistic home under one's own supervision.

When a man purchases a weather-beaten farmhouse, it is evident that he is up against a real problem in remodeling, and the task demands plenty of time and a wide-awake, ingenious brain. If he consults his friends and neighbors across the way, doubtless their opinions differ so materially from his own that the result is worse than if he had solved the questions in his own way. We all have ideals, but it is not always easy to express them; they need to be developed in order to be made practical and require thought and diligent research if they are to be concretely embodied in the altered home. Paper and pencil are good friends at this stage of the game, and even a rough sketch drawn carelessly on the back of an old envelope, as an idea occurs, gives subject matter for larger schemes and more realistic results.

Few people who are planning to spend the summer months in a new house realize how much their comfort depends upon light and space. It would be foolish for you to buy an old farmhouse and make the rooms small and cramped in size. You would lose a great part of the advantage[Pg 102] of coming to the country to live, the pleasure of being as nearly out of doors as possible. Most of the old houses were cut up into small rooms, for, owing to the limited heating facilities in olden days, large rooms would have been freezing in winter; accordingly one or two bedrooms were invariably crowded into the first floor to receive the warmth from the kitchen. But it is almost always possible to tear out the partitions between some of the rooms and make them into one large apartment which can be used for living purposes. This can usually be done without weakening the structure; the floor above will be found to rest upon a great beam, or a new girder can be put across.

If the stud is low, do not change it, or you will spoil the whole atmosphere of the place. A low stud and large rooms are good developments, so try to achieve them when you are making over the house. Have plenty of windows; in the old days, many windows meant a cold house in the winter, but if the farmhouse is to be used only as a summer home, the cooler the better. If for a winter residence also, modern systems of heating will counteract the difficulty. Windows of the long French type are especially desirable; they[Pg 103] are more adapted to the requirements of country life, as they admit abundant light and air and are entirely in keeping with the style of the farmhouse.

The house should represent a unit; the porch should be planned so that it leads into the living-room, and by throwing open the windows, will seem to become part of a large airy room. The dining-room should either be part of the living-room or open conveniently near. The service quarters must immediately adjoin the dining-room. If there is other space on the floor which cannot be used to increase the comfort of the two main rooms, well and good; it may then be devoted to whatever purpose you desire. But when the removal of partitions will make a place more pleasant to live in, it is always wise to make such a change.

We know that there are few of these old houses that have not been cut up and divided; but the conditions which made that necessary in the earlier days have been changed, and for a simple country house one large living and dining-room is far better than divisions which shut out light and air. Many people look at these propositions from a limited view-point and do not stop to consider the complete idea. We all learn[Pg 104] from houses that we visit what is right and what is wrong to do. If we look deeper into the subject and go farther afield, we find it pays to carefully develop the plan before commencing to rebuild. The requirements of elaborate modes of life, liveried servants and much entertaining, demand, of course, many apartments; reception-room and drawing-room, library and den seem essential in the house plan, but for those who come to the country to simplify existence, these are not needed. In remodeling your house, let three things be uppermost in your mind: convenience, comfort, and light; if you follow these, you will not go far astray.

Even a very small house need not be devoid of these qualities. It may be very tiny and yet most attractive and complete in every detail. With careful thought and a broad conception of the whole, it is quite possible to make a place where it is a pleasure to visit and where even the casual guest realizes the application of small and interesting details in making a harmonious whole.

Do not let your mind wander from the fact that the interior is of as much importance, and even more, than the exterior, for it is there that we live much of the time during the season, and it should[Pg 105] therefore be harmonious and in good taste. The development of one room for common family use, and the elimination of the shut-up parlor for company, have brought about an atmosphere of simplicity that goes to make a perfect and livable house.

The Robert Spencer House on Cape Cod The Robert Spencer House on Cape Cod

This one-room idea has been charmingly carried out in a small house that has been remodeled for a summer home by Mr. Robert Spencer of New York and South Yarmouth. It is most attractively situated, standing far back from the road, with a background of pine trees that give a picturesque touch to the little cottage. Originally it stood on the opposite side of the bay, on the shores of Cape Cod at South Dennis, Massachusetts. Its possibilities seemed to the present owner worth developing, and he had it "flecked" and brought over the water to its present site. This was not a hard task to accomplish, as the timbers were stanch and in a good state of preservation.

The Robert Spencer House—Front View The Robert Spencer House—Front View

It was a typical fisherman's cottage, with a wide gable roof sloping down to the first story and four small rooms about a central chimney. To meet the needs of the new owner, it required considerable enlargement. A two-story building[Pg 106] was added at the rear and side, meeting the main house only along the corner. Little attempt was made to have the two harmonize, for not only are the roof lines of widely different types, but the frame of one is of white clapboarding and of the other weathered shingle. At the angle where they join, the roof of the old building has been raised to accommodate the higher stud in the new, thus making a break in it near the ridge.

Two dormers have been cut in the main roof to give extra room in the second floor; these are flat-roofed and well spaced, with two windows occupying the entire front of each. A porch has been added across the whole front of the house and half of it is roofed over. This breaks with the slope of the main roof, but follows that of the dormers. A detail which adds much to the appearance of the exterior is the simple, square-posted fence that surrounds the porch and encloses a quaint little garden in the square formed by the angle of the two buildings. This same detail has been adopted at the side of the porch roof in an effective way. This fence, and the clapboards and trim of the house, are white, and the shutters and shingles are green.

Two Views of the Living Room Two Views of the Living Room

The front door opens immediately into the living[Pg 107] and dining-room which occupies the whole right side of the house and opens at the rear on to a grassy terrace. A triple window has been cut along the side to allow ample light and air. Small panes are used in these windows, and the French doors have glass of corresponding size. The feature of this room is the fine old fireplace at the center of the inside wall. It is very simple, with slight attempt at ornamentation, but the proportions are good, and the lines rather unusual. Over the fireplace is an old cupboard that used to be called a "nightcap closet" from the hospitable bottle which was kept there to be passed around among the men just before retiring. At the left is a cupboard with upper and lower doors; in the panels of the former, panes of glass have been inserted. This end of the room has been treated as the living-room and the opposite end as the dining-room. The woodwork is all white, and the roughly finished plaster is tinted a deep cream.

Straight stairs lead to the second story along the wall at the dining end of the room. Here, about the walls, a wide molding has been carried over doors and windows, which serves as a plate-rail for numerous interesting old family plates[Pg 108] and jugs. Beneath it, in several places, shelves have been bracketed to the wall to hold other pieces of china. The glass door at the end opens on to the terrace, and the paneled door beside it communicates with the kitchen and servants' quarters in the addition.

The furnishings in this room admirably accord with the building in both age and simplicity. The older furniture has been supplemented with modern pieces of straightest and most unpretentious line and character. Clocks, mirrors, pictures, andirons, and fire-set are family heirlooms. The coverings on the floor are large and plain rag carpets; at the windows are simple muslin curtains, with overhangings of Colonial chintz in soft colors harmonizing with the cheerful and sunny atmosphere of the room.

At the left of this room, occupying the other side of the house, are two bedrooms. One of them is the children's own room and has been furnished very attractively; fresh white tables and chairs harmonize with the older mahogany pieces and lend an air of distinctive charm to the apartment.

The Attic Chambers The Attic Chambers

The space up-stairs is divided into large and small rooms under the eaves. The slope of the roof allows room for many built-in drawers and[Pg 109] closets, and every inch has been utilized. The white paint and the simple white furniture arranged with a care and precision that is worthy of emulation contribute to make the effect of these rooms light and airy and inviting. The Japanese crêpe or gay cretonne curtains at the windows add just the necessary touch of color.

The lighting fixtures in the house demand especial notice, as it is so difficult a matter to attain a distinction in them when a house has not been wired but must depend upon older methods of illumination than electricity or gas. A number of simple candle brackets attaching to the wall have been purchased, and these are placed symmetrically in pairs, balancing each other on either side of a fireplace or mirror or window. The candlesticks for shelf or table have been arranged with equal precision, and some are given all the more importance by attractive hand-made shades. An occasional simple, square, candle lantern hangs from the ceiling to contribute to the effect. The table and reading lamps have been chosen with equal success.[Pg 110]



In planning the remodeling of a farmhouse, has it ever occurred to you how much of the appearance of the exterior depends upon the architecture of verandas and porches? Not only must we give much thought to the alteration of the lines of the house which may be required by the interior plan, but we must be equally careful when it comes to the addition of entirely exterior features.

Modern country life demands plenty of veranda room and, whenever possible, sleeping-porches. One does not go to the country to sit indoors, even if the windows are all thrown open. There is nothing that will so materially improve the health as outdoor life; tired and jaded nerves are soon restored by use of a sleeping-porch, where the fresh air can soothe and induce restful slumber. In the early days, the porch or veranda did not exist; it may be supposed that our pioneer ancestors were too busy to enjoy any[Pg 111] leisurely hours out of doors; at least, they made no provision in connection with their houses for such relaxation.

As the details of the exterior became more elaborate, the entrance porch was developed with free-standing columns. In time, this assumed greater importance, especially in the south, where columns the height of the whole building supported a roof across its entire front. In the north, the veranda was less frequently used, but there is occasional authority for both the front and the less pretentious back piazza. It is one of the additions which are imperative in remodeling the house, however, and it becomes something of a problem because there is no more definite authority for it.

If there is to be simply an entrance porch, offering a bit of shelter at the front door for stranger or friend, it may have much precedent in the porches of Georgian houses. In planning this, take into consideration that it should be an index of what one will find in the interior; it should be the keynote, as it were, of the entire house. Here we may have the same details and the same proportions as in the cornice of the roof, or the fireplace within. We find many porches that[Pg 112] are sadly out of keeping with the rest of the house and seem very carelessly designed. It is far better to have none at all than one which is insignificant and out of scale; yet it must not be more elaborate than the house itself and tend to dwarf the main structure. Few people realize how important this feature is and how necessary that it should be a satisfactory adjunct to the architecture of the whole. It is almost the first thing we notice as we approach the house. Whether it is well placed and rightly proportioned, whether it has a proper overhang, good roof lines, and adequately supported cornice, affects to a very great extent the style and character of the house.

There were a great many different types of porch in the Georgian houses: the simple hood with a high-backed settle on either side that was commonly used at a side entrance; the gable-roofed and flat-roofed, square porch and circular, open and partly enclosed, with round and oval windows at the sides, were all developed to high perfection. The simple, Doric column, plain or fluted, with corresponding pilasters or three-fourths round against the house, was used on many of the porches; but the Ionic and Corinthian[Pg 113] capitals are more elaborate than is appropriate for the simplicity of a farmhouse. From the infinite number of models which can be found, it should be a comparatively easy matter to construct an entrance porch, utilizing the details found in the house.

A veranda demands somewhat different manner of procedure. First it is necessary to decide where it shall be put. Where will it receive the best air and the least sun? It must, presumably, open from or adjacent to the living-room and yet be so placed that its roof will not cut off too much light. If the house is uncomfortably near the highway or neighbors, the matter of privacy cannot be neglected, and a thought may well be given to the outlook from the piazza. Let it enjoy any advantage of a fine view or a picturesque garden that may be compatible with its other requirements. Thus it may be at the front, at either or both sides, or in the rear. At the side of the ordinary, gable-roofed house, the roof of the veranda should as a rule be flat. If it is possible to continue the roof line of the house to include that of the porch, by all means let it be done; the unbroken sweep will usually be found excellent. At some angles it may seem too long[Pg 114] and severe; then it is often possible to put a slight "kick" in it, especially if there is anything of the Dutch type about the building.

The floor of the porch in farmhouses should be low; it may be on a level with that of the house, or a step below it. It is well to let the underpinning be a continuation of that of the house, and it may then be covered with brick or tile, or the conventional boards. The columns or posts which support the roof are a stumbling block for many remodelers. These should closely copy the entrance porch, if there is one; even if it be no more than a flat semblance of a pilaster about the frame of the door, it will supply the correct motive. Lacking this, there will undoubtedly be some detail in the interior which can be magnified to the right proportion for the exterior,—the upright of a mantel or the frame of a door. For a house which can boast no such source of suggestion, a straight, square post with a simple molding would be the solution. The cornice should follow the detail of the entrance door or the house cornice; and it is effective and increases the apparent unity to repeat the decoration of the one on the other.

The rails and balusters of old houses were[Pg 115] extremely simple and should be kept so in the remodeling. In the very early examples, the balusters were square and spaced far apart; later both square and turned balusters were used, and they were spaced twice their width. The design for these can often be taken from the stairs in the interior of the house. It is the modern tendency to use no railing about verandas, particularly when they are low or when they are screened in. Some of the flat-roofed type had a railing around the roof, and an open-air porch was thus made for the second story.

Sometimes this porch can be utilized as a sleeping-porch on the second floor. This feature, while of course entirely foreign to the farmhouse, has become as much a necessity in many families as the open-air living-room, and it is therefore logical to introduce it where possible to do so without destroying the lines of the building. It is better, however, to do without it than to add it in such a way that it will seem an afterthought and not really incorporated in the structure. Often it can be placed in a wide dormer cut in the slope of the roof; sometimes the roof line can be extended over the roof of the sleeping-porch, or again it may be merely a room with the walls[Pg 116] largely cut away. Each remodeler will have his own problem in connection with this, and by ingenuity and careful study must work it out to his own satisfaction. Remember always that the integral simplicity of the building must not be disturbed, and that whether it be sleeping-porch, veranda, or entrance portico, it must seem always a part of the original building, as if it were the conception of the master craftsman who erected the first timbers.

The Davenport Brown House The Davenport Brown House

Most gratifying results along this line are shown in an old farmhouse at Medfield, Massachusetts, which was built in 1755. Like many other old houses, this had fallen into decay and stood neglected and unoccupied by the side of the road while the extensive grounds lay unkempt and desolate. But Mr. Davenport Brown recognized in it a house that could be made to serve most acceptably as the foundation of his summer home.

It is of the Georgian type, built with the hall and straight flight of stairs as the axis. There are two main chimneys opening into four fireplaces on the first floor. A service wing has been added at the left, parallel with the main building, and half its width. Back of that, an ell of equal size extends at right angles. Both of these are two[Pg 117] storied, but the upper stud is somewhat lower than in the main building, thus allowing it to retain its predominance in the design.

The main part is given further importance by the dignified entrance porch. Two three-fourths round and two free-standing, fluted, Doric columns are used, supporting a cornice and a gabled roof, the details of which repeat those in the cornice of the house. A rather unusual type of scalloped dentation lends additional interest. The frame about the door is arched over, and there are side lights and an overhead fanlight in a simple style that carries out the Colonial tradition.

The Hallway The Hallway

The hall leads past the stairs and through an open doorway to the rear of the house, where there is another entrance, repeating the design of the front one. This is some distance from the rear wall of the house, and consequently there is a small, arched-over portico formed within the lines of the building. The walls of this are paneled, and on each side is a built-in seat. The floor is tiled, and the woodwork painted white.

At each end of the main part of the building is a flat-roofed veranda carrying out the details of the entrance porch in column and cornice. The[Pg 118] same dentil ornamentation that appears on the cornice of the house is used here in smaller size, as on the entrance porch. Around the edges of the flat roofs, boxes filled with blooming plants and vines form an original and most attractive method of softening the sharp lines and finish of the house. The veranda on the right side overlooking the wide lawns and gardens is used largely as the outdoor living-room and is screened in. The spacing of the bars and framework of the screening is well proportioned and adds not a little to the decoration. The floor of the veranda is edged with brick and paved in the center with square tiles which slope toward a drain at one side. This wing of the living-room has been comfortably furnished with canvas hammocks and Chinese grass chairs and stools, and even a sand-box for the children finds room here.

In the central hall, the details carry out the character of the old period carefully. There is a white unpaneled wainscot carved around the walls and up the stairs, with a similar treatment in the second-floor hall. The stairs are wide, with white risers and mahogany treads, and the hand-rail is mahogany supported on white, turned balusters and a mahogany newel post. The[Pg 119] upper walls are papered in a gray landscape paper, and the furnishings consist of a pair of Sheraton card tables.

The Sun-Parlor or Out-door Nursery The Sun-Parlor or Out-door Nursery
The Library The Library

At the right of the hall, the two rooms have been combined into a living-room by cutting double arches on either side of the fireplaces which open from the back and front of the chimney. The furnishings are especially interesting here, as there are a number of rare and beautiful pieces. The mantel mirror over the front fireplace is a fine example of American workmanship. The mahogany frame divides its length into three sections, and it is ornamented with carved and gilded husk festoons; the scroll top is surmounted with a gilt spread eagle. In front of the fire there is a beautiful little Sheraton fire-screen. Chairs and tables are equally interesting; there is an old "comb-back" chair and an upholstered "Martha Washington" chair, as well as more modern easy chairs and davenports. The upholstery and curtains are of small-patterned, Colonial fabrics that carry out the spirit of the room. In the back part of this room, a large double window has been cut, looking out over the gardens and the grounds. Underneath it is a most attractive window-seat suggestive of an old-time settle, and[Pg 120] on each side low book-shelves extend around the whole end of the room.

The dining-room is situated at the left of the hallway. The fireplace and paneling hold the attention in this room. The woodwork is very simple but well proportioned, and on either side of the mantel are narrow, built-in, china closets with small, leaded, diamond panes in both upper and lower parts of the door and even in a transom over it. The walls above the unpaneled wainscot are painted white and divided into simple, large panels with narrow moldings. The furniture in this room is suggestive of the early part of the nineteenth century, with the exception of the Queen Anne type of chair. Over the heavy and massive sideboard is a long gilt mirror of the Empire "banister" type; between the two side windows is a gilt, convex girandole with three branching candlesticks on each side. On the mantel is a fine example of a Willard shelf clock, and on each side of it are tall mahogany candlesticks with the old-fashioned wind glasses. The over-curtains at the windows are a soft rose damask; they hang from gilded cornices and are caught back on gilded rosettes,—the style of draping which is carried out in all the main rooms of the house.[Pg 121]

The Service Wing The Service Wing

The service wing opens from the left of the dining-room, and the den, which is back of it, with a fireplace on the opposite side of the same chimney, is reached from the rear of the hall.

The Nursery The Nursery

At the head of the stairs at the right, one enters the bright and sunny nursery. Here the fireplace is very simple and has no over-mantel. The woodwork is white, and a broad molding divides the upper part of the wall. Below is a quaint paper picturing Mother Goose scenes which the children never tire of studying. The furniture is mainly white, and the little chairs and tables in child's size are decorated in peasant fashion with painted flowers and lines of color.

Two of the Chambers Two of the Chambers

There are two other bedrooms in the main part of the house and each has an open fireplace. The furnishings are simple and old-fashioned in character, retaining the Colonial atmosphere admirably. In one room there is a Field bedstead of English make, dating about 1780, showing reeded posts and a curved canopy top. The chairs and the little night stand at the side of the bed are in close harmony with the period of its design. In the other chamber are twin beds which are modern reproductions of four-posters, but other furnishings retain the distinctive atmosphere of age.[Pg 122] Over one bureau there is a fine mirror with the Georgian eagle ornamentation; in keeping with it are the old fireside wing chair and a side chair of Sheraton type.

The most interesting bedroom, perhaps, is in the wing of the house, where Hannah Adams, the first American authoress, was born. This is reached by a cross hall which leads from the main one, and gives access to baths and rear stairs and another tiny bedroom. Although the old fireplace has been remodeled, the aspect of the room is much the same as when the house was built. The woodwork here is all dark, and the hand-hewn rafters and cross beams are exposed in the ceiling. An unusual wall-paper in black and gay colors forms an interesting background for the four-poster and other old furnishings. An old batten door with a quaint little window in the center strip leads from this room to the chambers in the service ell.

Much of the house has been restored under the direction of the architect, Mr. John Pickering Putnam of Boston, and to him the credit for its successful remodeling must be largely given. The planning and laying out of the grounds about the house, however, are the work of the owner,[Pg 123] who has spared no pains to make a harmonious setting for his home.

Between the house and the road is a row of great overshadowing elms that make a delightful setting for the red and white of the house. The drive sweeps around these trees to the stable on the left and is separated from the house and the lawns by white palings in a simple Colonial pattern, having fine, carved posts surmounted by balls. The fence stops at either side of the front to allow wide space for a heavy embankment of conifers. Somewhat back of this fence, along the whole length of the lawn, is a second lower one, with posts of the same height. This marks the boundary of the wide lawn and forms a charming background for an old-fashioned hardy border that extends all the way to a swimming-pool and pergolas at the far end. Immediately behind the house is the flower garden, from which all the blossoms used to decorate the house are cut; this is screened by a white trellis and pergola, carrying out some of the details of the entrance porches and verandas.[Pg 124]



A very interesting feature in an old farmhouse is the fireplace, which varies in size with the age of the house; the oldest ones are large, with cavernous mouths, since they were the only means of heating the house. These are capable of holding a ten-foot log, for it must be remembered that at that period of our country's history the woods grew at the very door.

A few of these old fireplaces are found to-day, principally in the old kitchens or living-rooms, although occasionally we see an old house which has them in almost every room. There is a great variety in their design as well as size, some being very simple and framed in wood, while others show tiling; occasionally we find elaborate carving, but this is in the better class building rather than in the simple little farmhouse. These details denote the different periods and also the wealth of the former owner.

With the introduction of stoves, many fireplaces[Pg 125] were bricked in to accommodate an air-tight stove which gave more heat and saved fuel. One unaccustomed to the features of an old farmhouse would infer a lack of fireplaces. The removal of brick and mortar, however, reveals the large, cavernous hearth which was often three feet deep and sometimes showed a second bricking in, to make it smaller. Often in the narrowing of the fireplace, tiles are used, generally Dutch, which are blue and white in coloring. Occasionally in opening up these fireplaces, one comes across rare old andirons that were considered of too little value to be removed; old cranes and kettles are also found, of the type common in the days of our early ancestors.

It must be remembered that the chimneys of these old houses were often six feet square and had many fireplaces opening from them. It was the central feature of the house, around which the rooms were built. The earliest chimneys were daubed in clay, and in the masonry oak timbers were often used. In remodeling a house many people tear down these old chimneys for the space which may be converted into closet use and alcoves, making a smaller chimney do service.

In the olden times, when the first chimneys[Pg 126] were erected, they were so carefully built that they were less liable to smoke than the smaller ones, so that it is better to let the old one remain if possible. Brick was generally used in the construction, although sometimes we find stone. It was not the finished brick of to-day but rough and unfaced. This was not true, however, of those which formed a part of cargoes from abroad, more especially those brought from Holland. The use of stone was not popular, as it was apt to chip when brought in contact with the heat; this is also true of the hearthstones, where the flagging became rough and most unsatisfactory.

The fireback was a feature of some of the old fireplaces. The earliest of these made in our country were cast in Saugus, Massachusetts, and some were most elaborate in design. Often coats-of-arms and initials were worked out in their construction. In addition to the brick and stone, soapstone facings were sometimes shown, but seldom do we come across good carving.

The crane was a feature of the fireplace, and on it were hung the pothooks from which depended the iron and brass pots in which food was cooked. In one side of the bricks, just at the left of the[Pg 127] fireplace, was often a large brick oven with an iron door, and here on baking days roaring wood fires were kindled to heat the bricks before the weekly baking was placed within. Examination of these old ovens will be very apt to reveal the age of the house.

In the remodeling it is well to leave the fireplaces much as they stand, with the exception of bricking them in, for the old ones allowed too much air to come down the chimney, and at the present high price of wood, we are not able to indulge in the ten-foot logs that were in evidence in our grandmothers' time.

A house with many fireplaces that stands back from the winding country road on the border line between Medfield and Walpole in Massachusetts was chosen for a summer home by Charles E. Inches. It is shaded now as it was long ago by large, old elms whose widespreading branches seem to add a note of hospitality to this most attractive estate. Possibly there are better examples of the restored farmhouse than this one found at Medfield, but it is very picturesque, not only in type but in surroundings. It stands near a turn of the road, where it was erected, in 1652, situated in a sheltered glen and protected from cold winds.[Pg 128]

Front View showing the Old Well Front View showing the Old Well

At that time it was a small and unpretentious building about twenty feet long and showing in the interior fine examples of hand-hewn timbers. Even in its dilapidated state it was most attractive, with its many fireplaces and old woodwork. This particular house has two values, the one relating to its historical record and the other to its old-time construction. Through two centuries this little farmhouse had been the home of the Adams family, a branch that was near in kin to the presidential line of Adams who lived at Quincy, Massachusetts.

Before Remodeling Before Remodeling

At the time of its building, a stream wound in and out through the meadow land that was a part of the property. It was such a large stream that it afforded sufficient power to run an old mill that originally stood on the estate and which for many years ground the neighbors' grain. On a ridge opposite the house, worn stone steps lead up through pastures to a sturdy oak which stands nearly opposite the front of the house and is known in history as the "whipping tree." Here, in Colonial days, wrong-doers were tied to be whipped. Just before we reach the stone wall, which was laid probably by the slaves held by the landowner of that period, we find an old[Pg 129] mounting-block. On the side of one of the stones are the figures 1652; and it was from this block that many a Colonial dame mounted to her pillion to ride in slow and dignified style behind her worthy squire. Even in those days the grounds were very extensive and reached for many acres. These to-day have been reclaimed and laid down to grass land and garden.

Across the Lawn Across the Lawn

Half way between the house and the tennis court which defines the estate is a wonderful old garden which has been designed not so much for show purposes as to supply flowers all through the season. This is not the only garden on the place, for back of it is the vegetable garden and the old-fashioned one. The dividing line between the two is a row of stately trees which hide the former from view at the front of the house. Rows of apple-trees, many of which were on the estate when it was first purchased, remnants of the original orchard, surround in part the tennis court, behind which is a swimming pool which is in frequent use. This is about twenty-five feet long and twelve wide, cemented to a depth of seven feet; with its background of tall poplars it is very artistic and lends itself to all sorts of water contests.[Pg 130]

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, new life came to the old house. It had stood for years, weather-beaten and old, guarding the family name. While the outside was very attractive and in tolerably good repair, it was the interior that appealed especially. There was beautiful old wainscoting and paneling of wide boards, some of which was split from logs at least thirty inches in width. Great reverence was paid by the owner to the original structure, particularly to the old kitchen with its large, brick fireplace and chimney which was restored to its early beauty.

Sagging plaster was removed, and underneath were found well-preserved, hand-hewn beams and rafters. These were carefully cleaned and considered of such great beauty that they were left exposed as far as possible, more especially those which showed the sign of the adze. The walls, which had been previously neglected, were stripped of wall-papers which were in some places ten thicknesses deep. In removing one of these, a wonderfully fine landscape paper was discovered, and although every attempt was made to save it, it was too far defaced. Under the paper was a wide paneling of white pine, so good that it needed[Pg 131] only a slight restoration. In the opening of the fireplace the crane, pothook, and hangers were found to be intact, while many pieces of ancestral pewter and copper were polished and placed in proper position on the wide, receding chimney. This was to give it the look of the olden days, when pewter was used for the table. There was no bricking in of this old fireplace, for it was considered such a wonderful example that it was left in its original state. The old flint-lock that did service in the early war was hung over the fireplace, while from the chimney hook the old-time kettles were swung much as they did in the days when they were used for cooking purposes. The old brick oven used by the Adams family was not removed, and at one side of the fireplace a long braid of corn was hung in conformity with the custom of that period. The hand-hewn rafters and beams have been left intact in this room, as has the old woodwork, so that the kitchen, now used as a den, is an exact reproduction of the original room. It is the most interesting apartment in the house, being situated at the right of the entrance and furnished with old family heirlooms, including five rare slat-back chairs, a rush-bottomed rocking-chair, and a settle of the same[Pg 132] period. Even the wide boards that were used in the original flooring have been retained, and the old brick hearth, showing wide bricks such as are never found in modern residences. To meet present requirements, the cellar was cemented, and a furnace added, in order that the occupants need not depend entirely on the fireplaces for heat.

The Hall and Stairway The Hall and Stairway

In the hallway, the stairway, following the lines of many Colonial houses, rises at one side. Here the wall-paper is wonderfully preserved, being in the old colors of yellow and white and of a very old design. It was made in England over a century ago and gives an appropriate atmosphere to the entrance of the attractive old home.

The Living Room The Living Room

The living-room, which is spacious and comfortable, is at the right just before you enter the den. The woodwork has been painted white, following the Colonial idea, while old-fashioned, diamond-paned windows have been substituted for the original ones. Here, as throughout all the house, one comes unexpectedly upon groups of shelves filled with books. There are built-in cupboards that provide places for the wonderful collection of books, many of which are rare editions, owned by the present occupants. Like every room in the house, this shows several tables of[Pg 133] unusually fine design, a handsome side-wing chair, and a few other choice pieces. The great open fireplace with its Colonial accessories lends much to the hominess of this room.

At the left of the hallway is the large and spacious dining-room, which is in reality three rooms opened into one, the partitions showing in the beamed ceilings. The walls are finished in green textile and are left unornamented with the exception of one or two choice pictures. There was a method in the construction of this room which was planned for unbroken spaces to bring out to advantage the lines of the beautiful old sideboard. Then, too, the space shows off the lines of the rush-bottomed chairs that are used for dining-chairs. The mantel, framed in white wood, is hung with rare porringers, ranging from large to baby size. There is a restful atmosphere about this room, that, combined with its perfect setting, is most refreshing. At the farther end of the room, French doors open upon the sun parlor which is used during the summer months for a breakfast-room. This overlooks the garden.

The bedrooms up-stairs are large and airy, each one of them being carefully furnished with Colonial pieces which include four-posters, high and lowboys[Pg 134] as well as quaint, old-time chests of drawers that can do service as bureaus, or as storage space for extra blankets, hangings, or rugs.

The floors throughout the entire house are of hard wood, many of them being the original ones that were laid when the house was built. Rare old Chippendale, Sheraton, and Hepplewhite chairs are used in the furnishings, while hand-woven rugs cover the floors. The windows are screened by chintz hangings of bright colors and gay designs, and the whole house presents a sunny, restful atmosphere.

At the rear of the house an ell has been added where the new kitchen with all modern conveniences, pantries, servants' dining and sitting rooms are found. Thus while the exterior features of the old house have been carefully preserved, the addition of the ell gives comfort and convenience to the new building.

Shrubbery has been planted around the house, and a veranda thrown out; window-boxes filled with brilliantly blossoming plants add a bit of color to the remodeled farmhouse which is painted red with white trim. Velvety lawns have replaced the old-time farming lands, and the planting of trees has done much to add to the picturesqueness[Pg 135] of this estate. The grounds themselves are extensive, covering forty-five acres, and the natural beauties are unusually varied. Broad stretches of fields and hills intersected with trees make a most appropriate setting for the old Adams homestead.[Pg 136]



It was a staircase that was responsible for the remodeling of one house which had no other unusual feature. It was designed by a village carpenter whose object was four walls and a shelter rather than architectural beauty. The structure was so simple and unobtrusive that it did not arouse any enthusiasm in the heart of the architect who examined it, for it presented no chance to show his ability in its remodeling. It was the kind of a farmhouse that one would find in almost any suburban town, built without any pretensions, its only good feature being the staircase which saved it from passing into oblivion and caused it to be remodeled into a charming, all-the-year-round home.

It had been unoccupied for a long period and with exterior weather-beaten and interior uninhabitable, it presented a forlorn appearance, repelling to most would-be purchasers. It stood by the side of a traveled road and in its best days[Pg 137] was occupied by a farmer and his family who cared more for the barn adjoining the house than they did for the farmhouse itself.

The estate was a large one that had been neglected and allowed to run down until weeds and rank grass were so intermingled that it seemed a discouraging task to bring it back into a good state of cultivation. Adjoining the house, and connected with it by a shed, was a large barn with sagging roof and so dilapidated that it seemed past restoring. Across the front, defining the estate, was once a neat paling fence that had been torn down until only a small portion remained.

Many acres of the estate were meadow-land which swept to the horizon of trees, yet the once fine apple orchard, though sadly in need of pruning, showed promise, and there were possibilities in the whole estate that needed only attention and development to make them profitable. There had been no one to care for the old house, and it stood discouraged by the roadside awaiting a sympathetic owner.

Before Remodeling Before Remodeling

It was in this condition when first seen by Mr. Charles Martin Loeffler, whose experienced eye discerned its possibilities. It is the wise man who fits his house to his grounds and who in the[Pg 138] general scheme considers its surroundings. The grass land, the garden, the orchards, the fencing of the estate, each one of which demands separate treatment, should be so arranged that they will be profitable in the end. The new owner realized this and also that he could not be too careful in combining house and garden so that they would make a harmonious whole.

The location was ideal, quiet and retired and exactly what had been most desired, so the remodeling was placed in the hands of a careful architect, who, after thoroughly considering the situation, decided it could not be done. It was then that Mr. Loeffler took the matter into his own hands, drawing exact plans of what was necessary to achieve the desired result, and it was under his personal direction that the workmen began to remodel the unattractive little cottage. It was borne in mind that even the addition of a porch or veranda must be carefully considered to avoid confusion of architecture so that the house itself, when finished, should follow a single idea and not a composite mass of details that were entirely out of place and in bad taste. It was realized that no house, no matter how situated, should have discordant surroundings. Out-buildings[Pg 139] should not be allowed to mar the symmetry of the house and should be removed so that they would not be an eyesore but in keeping with the general plan.

The house itself, however, demanded attention first; it was very small, with a pitched roof in the upper story and a long ell connecting it with the farm buildings. The exterior was left practically as when first purchased, with the exception of a small and well-planned porch at the front, a long ell for servants' quarters, and a wide veranda at the rear that extended the entire length of the house. In the porch settles were added on either side which help to give the house an air of dignity and invite the guest to rest and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

As Remodeled As Remodeled

The screened-in veranda at the back is used as an out-of-doors living-room. It is wide, carpeted with rugs, and furnished with simple but substantial pieces. It is a most comfortable place, where charming views and wonderful vistas can be enjoyed, for beyond lie the old orchard with the meadows between and a background of finger-pointed pines that seemingly melt into the blue of the sky. Trellises were built on the garden side of the house to carry vines, but this was[Pg 140] after the house had been given a coat of white paint and the blinds painted green. Over the veranda a balcony was built which can be used for outdoor sleeping purposes if desired. The picket fence was restored and painted white to match the coloring of the house, and a stone wall was built at the farther end to enclose the garden; on the outside wild shrubs were planted to give a note of color to the gray stone. The old trees, pruned, took on a new life and are now in a most nourishing condition; across the entire front, as a partial screening, silver-leafed poplars were planted. The farm lands were reclaimed, new trees planted in the old apple orchard, and at the side of the house an attractive garden was laid out with a background of apple-trees. It was a small garden, only about an eighth of an acre in size, and filled with old-fashioned flowers to make it harmonize with the period in which the house was built. A single path divides it in two, and its color schemes have been given careful study.

At one side of the garden a rustic pergola has been built with a central path of grass, and over this a grapevine has been trained which makes it a restful, shady place in summer, while in early[Pg 141] fall the vines are loaded with great clusters of purple grapes. Everywhere surrounding the garden are stretches of green lawns that prove a fitting setting to the bright blossoms in the trim and well-kept beds. The fields beyond have been brought back to a good state of cultivation and present a beautiful green tract beyond which stretch rich meadows with waving grass where flit the bobolink and the red-winged blackbird. In the trees around the house orioles and robins nest, while everywhere the old apple-trees grow, many of them gnarled and twisted with age. In the early fall, loaded with fruit, they form an attractive color note of red and yellow in the landscape. Great care has been taken to remove the branches of the old trees in order to afford attractive vistas. This gives a landscape picture carefully planned and creates a delightful feeling of restfulness and a sense of relief from the bustle of city life.

Over the porch has been built a lattice to be covered eventually with rambler roses, and in order to obtain more light, clusters of windows have been let in on either side of the front door.

The interior as well as the exterior has been carefully planned with a regard to light and views. One enters the house through the little[Pg 142] porch and finds himself in a spacious hallway which extends to the living-room. The staircase is at the right of the' entrance. It is not a primitive affair of the ladder type which is the earliest on record; neither is it steep with flat treads, high risers and molded box stringers, but the kind that shows simple posts and rail with plain balusters. It is of the box stringer type and has no carving in either post or balusters; it is perfectly straight and leads by easy treads to the second-story floor.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

The dining-room is at the left of the hallway and is a room built for comfort and for everyday life, showing plenty of windows. A feature is the great, open fireplace and the bricked chimney-breast, with small closets at one side. The woodwork in this room is the same that was in the house when it was discovered by Mr. Loeffler and, cleaned and treated to a coat of paint, is most attractive. The wide board floor has been retained and stained dark to bring out the color schemes of the rugs.

Two Views of the Living Room Two Views of the Living Room

This room leads directly into the living-room which extends entirely across the house and is also entered from the hallway. Its windows face the green fields studded with trees and also[Pg 143] overlook the old-fashioned garden which is near enough to the house so that every summer breeze wafts the perfume of its flowers to the occupants. A central feature is a bricked-in fireplace that has been built into the room. Instead of plastering, the old oaken cross-beams have been left in their original state, and the room is finished with a wainscot painted white, above which is a wall covering of Japanese grass-cloth. Bookcases form an important furnishing of this room which also contains many pieces of antique furniture. It is a cheerful, homelike apartment, into which the sun shines practically all day long. Through large French windows one steps from the living-room on to the veranda. The second story is devoted to chambers and bath.

Its location has a distinctive charm, as it is not too near the city or too far away from neighbors. It is well adapted for outdoor living, with its wide, inviting veranda and the side garden where bloom the stately phlox, the gaudy poppies, and the bright-hued marigold.

The Studio Opposite the Charles M. Loeffler House The Studio Opposite the Charles M. Loeffler House
The Music Room in the Studio Building The Music Room in the Studio Building

As time went on, the house grew too small for the owner's needs, and so another house just across the way that had passed its prime and stood desolate and deserted was also purchased[Pg 144] and remodeled into a studio, one room expressly designed for Mr. Loeffler's work,—large and commodious with high, vaulted ceiling. Here, too, a veranda was built across one end that can be used if need be for an outdoor living-room. It is shaded by many trees, more especially some fine old elms whose graceful branches shadow the house, while a stretch of lawn extends to the street. Across the front a paling fence corresponding in style to that across the street was built, entrance being through a swinging gate that leads directly to the outside porch. This house shows less remodeling than the first one; it is principally in the interior that changes have been made. The whole front of the house is made into a music-room of unusual type, being hung with pictures of the old masters. Here the second-story flooring has been removed, and the ceiling vaulted and sheathed, in order to secure acoustic properties.

A large chimney has been introduced into the inner wall, with brick mantel and chimney breast, and big enough to hold a six-foot log. The floors are of polished hardwood, and the ornamentation shows Chinese ships hung upon the walls,—an interesting feature for interior decoration.[Pg 145] The room is entered through French windows that lead on to the outside porch.

In addition to the music-room, this house is also used for the caretaker and week-end guests. The long ell at one side is used for the former, while at the back of the music-room several rooms are fitted up for the use of guests, thus solving a problem that is to-day vexing the minds of many a house owner, more especially in suburban towns.

There is about the whole place a restfulness that has been achieved by careful planning and attention to details. There is no part of the estate where one may wander without coming upon picturesque bits of landscape, that while apparently in their natural state, yet are restored and preserved with a true appreciation of nature. This estate is a lesson in reclaiming and remodeling that cannot fail to be instructive to all home builders. It goes to show that forethought and ingenuity can create a comfortable and inviting home in the midst of desolation, and transform an old dilapidated cottage into a charming and picturesque abode.[Pg 146]



The old farmhouse can well be copied as a type for the modern summer home, for its lines are excellent, and its design is often so striking that it lends itself to easy reproduction. To the house owner of to-day it may seem a little strange that, with the trend of modern improvements, the old houses should be used for this purpose, and the architecture of the master builders of long ago shown preference over that of modern architects who have given their life to this subject.

The builders and designers of old houses had to depend on their own ideas or possibly on a few designs that were sent over in the cumbersome ships that plied between England and the new country,—the work of Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most celebrated architects of his day.

There are no more satisfactory details of house construction than we find in these old houses, where fireplaces, doors, porches, and carving show individuality. These ideas, modified and[Pg 147] improved upon, are found in many a twentieth-century home, lending a dignity and charm that would otherwise be lacking.

If you are remodeling an old house and wish to change a fireplace that is unsatisfactory or a stairway that is not artistic in design, do not introduce modern ideas, but rather seek for an old house that is being torn down and from it take bits that will satisfactorily fit into the work of remodeling. It is not a hard matter to find details of this kind, for many an old farmhouse has been neglected so long that it is past redemption, and it is the blending of the old with the old that does much to keep distinctive the period that you are seeking to preserve.

Sometimes the house has been badly mutilated, often to such an extent that its best features are disguised, and it is a serious problem to eliminate the wrong ideas and duplicate the original. The old craftsmen before Colonial times were apt to build houses along certain lines which often failed to bring proper results; details varied and sometimes were incongruous with the type of the house. The first houses were generally one-roomed; later, other rooms like units were gathered around it, and the result in some cases was the appearance[Pg 148] of a lean-to. Later on came the ell, and, to save steps, chambers were designed on the lower floor, leading off the main rooms of the houses. Naturally in houses of this kind the largest room was the kitchen, for this was the family-living-room, more especially during the cold weather.

We will find as we examine an old farmhouse that the dominant portion of the building was the first floor, and that the chambers were adapted to the lower-story plan. These were not always satisfactory, as little or no care was given to the arrangement of the rooms, and in many houses closets were little considered. The partitions between these rooms were not double, like those found to-day, but were made of matched board and accommodated themselves to the framework. Later on plastering came into vogue and this made the rooms warmer and much more habitable.

The windows were generally spaced carefully and were in harmony with the front door, making an attractive exterior. The walls were of wood, often with a layer of brick to keep out the cold and also to form a better protection. The roofs, more especially in the early houses, were very[Pg 149] steep, since they were planned for thatching; later on, when shingles came into use, they grew lower and wider. It was not until 1700 that the gambrel roof came into style. In considering the evolution of the house we must look backward, and thus we come to realize the progression of architecture. We then discover that every old house shows interesting features, and it is the house with a history that makes its greatest appeal to the antiquarian; while the revival of Colonial architecture brings a renewed interest in the history of that period.

There is no more attractive remodeled farmhouse than that of Mr. Roland C. Lincoln, which is a charming, rambling, summer home situated on the Gloucester road half way between Manchester-by-the-Sea and Magnolia. It is a low, yellow cottage, picturesquely placed against a background of trees and nestled on the side of a hill seemingly as if it had been there for centuries. At the front is the ocean, while surrounding it is well-placed shrubbery and artistically trained vines.

The House from the Driveway The House from the Driveway

The grounds are just at the left of the main road and separated from it by a low stone wall; the entrance is by a driveway at one side that[Pg 150] winds to an entrance porch. All around the house are carefully trimmed lawns and gardens gay with flowers, while the soft expanse of green sward extends to the shadowing trees and the background of forest and rock. The house was built two hundred and fifteen years ago. At that time it stood on the road and was overshadowed by the very oldest house there was in the town, which stood on the crest of an adjoining hill. It then contained four rooms only, each one of which was thirteen and a half feet square. Surrounding the old farmhouse was an orchard of apple-trees that even in the early days gave to it its present name of Little Orchard.

The Angle of the Ell The Angle of the Ell

The possibilities of the little cottage, as it stood forlorn by the side of the road, attracted the attention of the present owner, who purchased it, moved it back from the road to its present location, and remodeled it, adding a wing at the left. The old front door was improved by the addition of a semicircular porch which is an exact reproduction of the porch on the White house at Salem, Massachusetts. The side porch was unique and most picturesque in its design. Ivy has been trained to cover the veranda and outline many of the windows.[Pg 151]

At the rear, facing the garden with its frontage of gnarled apple-trees, we find the veranda or out-of-doors living-room. This is used during the summer months and commands one of the most picturesque views on the estate, overlooking lawns and forest.

The Entrance Porch The Entrance Porch
The Stairway The Stairway

Entrance to the old house is through the porch, and one finds himself in a most charming hallway, at one side of which is an alcoved recess. This is hung in blue and white Morris paper. Near the front door at the right is the staircase which leads with low treads and broad landing to the second-story floor; it has a hand-carved balustrade with a mahogany rail, while its newel post shows fine carving. Half way up between two huge beams have been placed some wonderful old pieces of china of the Colonial period, and under them is the quaint inscription, a welcome to the home, "In God's hands stands this house, may good luck come to it and bad luck go out of it." The staircase is reproduced from a particularly fine model found in a house in Boston that was originally the home of one of America's greatest statesmen, Edward Everett. It fits into its new surroundings as if it had always been there and is exactly the type one would expect[Pg 152] to find in such a house as this. There is a fine old cabinet near the staircase that is considered one of the best pieces in the country. Inside is an entire tea-set of Lowestoft originally brought to Manchester by one of the old sea captains as a commercial venture and placed on sale. It was purchased by the present owner and holds a prominent place in her collection.

At the foot of the stairs, inside the front door, the name of the house has been done in burnt wood. Mrs. Lincoln arranged to have this executed while she was traveling abroad and when talking with the workman she told him the story of her remodeled farmhouse and why it was named Little Orchard. He was very much interested in her description, and when the inscription was finished, it bore not only the name, but decorations in each corner of tiny little apples.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

At the end of the entrance hall is the dining-room which is long and well lighted by many windows on two sides. This was a part of the original house, enlarged and added to. Here we find the low stud and the beamed ceiling so prevalent in houses of that day. It is hung with a most interesting Morris paper done in pink and blue, and at one end is a recessed sideboard.[Pg 153] The upper part of this is used as a china cupboard, while on either side bookcases have been inserted. The furnishing of this room is all of the Colonial period; the chairs are Sheraton, as is also the sideboard. The fireplace is unusually good, being handsomely carved with a basket of fruit as the central decoration.

Opening from the dining-room is the living-room, a large, square room with beamed ceiling, a feature being a built-in bookcase at the farther end. On the walls are many original paintings including one by the late William H. Hunt, "Tired of Work." An interesting inglenook is a space-saving device that has been introduced. Underneath the window-seat, studded in brass nails, is the name of the house again, Little Orchard.

The reception-room is back of the living-room and shows the staircase of old Colonial design at the farther end. The fireplace was taken from a house which once sheltered General Lafayette. When the house was torn down, the beauty of the carving and the graceful design attracted the attention of the present owner, who purchased it for his remodeled house. When it was brought home, it was found to be almost impracticable,[Pg 154] through being so badly worm-eaten; under the hands of skilful workmen, however, it has been thoroughly renovated and is now a prominent feature of the room. The apartment is well lighted by many windows, each one of which is of a different design. These have been perfectly planned, and there is no discordant note.

The second story has been so arranged that all the rooms open into each other and also into the hallway. They are of low stud and contain dormer windows. The Colonial atmosphere has been carefully observed, so that new pieces which have been introduced fit in harmoniously with the old ones. Each room has a large, open fireplace with a crane, suggestive of good cheer.

The success of this house has been attained through the careful thought of the owners, and it is an example of a charmingly remodeled farmhouse of a type such as one seldom finds.[Pg 155]



Should you chance to run across an old farmhouse that shows good interior woodwork, do not carelessly pass it by, for such houses are not easy to discover. You must realize that when restored it will be much more attractive than one with a plain mopboard and narrow cornice.

Woodwork was not of the Colonial type in the earliest houses; it was used merely as a wall covering and was called wainscot, the same as it is to-day. This was because the paneling was originally made from wainscot oak which was well grained and without knots. Differing from that in nineteenth-century houses, it was put on the walls vertically, the boards being rough and wide. It must be remembered that in those days trees had not been felled to any extent, and the giants of the forest provided the best of lumber for this purpose. These boards were either lapped or put together with tongue-strips. Later on, we find interiors where they were laid horizontally,[Pg 156] like those of a century or more ago, and instead of being plain boards, were well finished.

Wainscot is an inheritance from our early ancestors, for in the manor houses in the mother country there is wonderful woodwork, used not only for wainscot, but for other parts of the interior finish. White pine, which at that time grew abundantly in our native woods, was employed for interior as well as exterior purposes, this being more especially true in the northern and eastern parts of the country, where it was more plentiful. It has generally been conceded that this wood was the best on account of its wearing properties, and as it did not show figure in either the grain or markings. It was often called "cheese-like" and for this reason was preferred by wood-carvers and cabinetmakers for their art.

The wainscot was used until about the time of the Revolution and not until a later period were the walls plastered. It has never lost its popularity and is found in many twentieth-century houses. It is generally shown in paneled effects which came into vogue much later than the plain board period. This woodwork was generally in the lower story, where more time and thought were given to interior finish; very[Pg 157] rarely is it found in the chambers and then only in the better class of houses. Wainscot is not the only interior woodwork used; we often find whole walls finished in paneled wood, and fireplaces with a simple frame in paneled effects. Many of these old fireplaces showed a wooden shelf only, while later on, in the early part of the nineteenth century, fine carvings were included. Occasionally we run across a mantel of this kind in an old farmhouse, but it is very rare.

It would be out of place for the house owner to introduce a mantel of this kind, no matter how attractive, in some types of old farmhouses. It would not be in keeping with the style and, while handsome and graceful in design, would be incongruous even in remodeled surroundings.

Door-frames as well as the wainscot betoken the age of the house, for in the earlier ones doors are perfectly plain in finish, elaboration in design of paneling and wood-carving coming into play at a little later period. Cornices widened and also became more elaborate as house building progressed, and a century after the first wainscot was used, we find them sometimes several inches in width and showing different motives, such as the egg and dart. These also are rarely found in[Pg 158] an old farmhouse, for it must be remembered that our early ancestors had little time to think out elaboration in the interior finish of their homes which were built solely as shelters.

In the reproductions of to-day the wide boards are not easy to find, unless they are taken from some old house. One of the most valuable boards is the pumpkin pine which is now rarely found, having disappeared from the New England forest long ago. Fortunate is the house owner who discovers this wood in his old farmhouse, for it is found only in the very oldest buildings. The softness of the wood and the great width of the boards distinguish it from the white pine.

In 1695, on the shores of Cape Cod, not far from Cataumet, a small farmhouse was built, with four rooms down-stairs and two rooms and an unfinished attic above. It was the home of one of the early settlers and stood facing the highway, a simple, unpretentious dwelling of no particular design and incongruous architecture. Although it had been substantially built, it had been abandoned for many years and was in a most dilapidated condition. Originally the water came nearly to its door, but the shore line gradually had receded, so when first discovered, the little building[Pg 159] stood with its back to the road, and its face to the bare meadows.

Before Remodeling Before Remodeling

Like other houses of this early period, it was guiltless of paint, and its weather-beaten sides showed the wear and exposure of many years' conflict with the elements. To transform this house into a summer home equipped with accommodations adequate for a modern family, was a difficult problem. The proportions of the exterior were good but so simple that in order to extend the original quaint outline of the house without marring it, the additions had to be made with unusual care.

The Front View The Front View

The first step was to carefully study the period for correct remodeling and to lay out the five acres of grounds to balance the house and preserve symmetry of detail. A driveway starts at the entrance, where on a high pole swings a shield-like sign with a red background and showing the name of the house, Willowdale, in white. The estate is defined by a fence, and the house in its remodeled state is attractively located on rising land, many feet back from the main highway.

The House from the Garden The House from the Garden

A hundred years after the house was built, a new highway was opened at the rear; thus the front or south side was wholly screened from[Pg 160] observation, and it was here that the new owner decided to lay out his garden. It is enclosed by a high fence painted white, with latticed panels stained green; at the end a summer-house was erected, whose axis is the central path of flat stepping-stones that leads to the quaint porch entrance. Its three outer sides extend beyond the fence and command a broad view of the picturesque shore territory. The garden proper is of the old-fashioned type, in conformity with the old-time atmosphere of the estate, and the same sorts of flowers thrive in the trim beds that bloomed no doubt in the first owner's garden. Trailing vines conceal the fence outlining this plot from view. The only distinctive modern touch and yet one quite in harmony with the quaintness of the grounds is a large crystal gazing-bowl. This reflects in its luminous surface the nodding heads of the flowers, the floating clouds, the children dashing past, or the still loveliness of the summer sunset which preludes the night.

A Rear View A Rear View

The original house had been substantially built, and while appearing dilapidated, few of the shingles needed replacing even after two hundred years' wear. In the interior comparatively few repairs were necessary, paint and paper being the principal[Pg 161] requisites. Additions had to be made to secure the needed room, and the first problem was to arrange these to conform with the original quaint outline. The old part was of the old farmhouse type, low of build. To the right a wing was built to contain three bedrooms and a bathroom, and to balance this a broad, covered veranda was added at the left; behind this, at the rear, quarters for the kitchen, servants' hall, and chambers were thrown out. There was need of more light for the second-floor rooms in the old building, so dormers were inserted in the deep pitched roof at the front.

The exterior was then painted dark red with a white trim, following the style of the first painted houses. Whether the red was used for economy's sake or not is a question, but it probably was, and proved most appropriate. Yellow was the next coloring used, which is shown by the fact that it is sometimes found with red underneath; the white paint came into vogue still later.

Over the front door a small porch was built which was in strict keeping with the period. Trellises were erected at one side of the house for rambler roses and vines that would break the plain, solid effect of the shingled surface. An[Pg 162] old-fashioned well was boxed in, at the rear of the kitchen entrance, and furnishes drinking-water for the family. The old chimney was retained, so that the fireplaces could be used.

When the house was first built, there were two rooms at the front and at the rear a kitchen, kitchen-bedroom, and a dairy. The three small rooms were thrown into one large room which is now used as a dining-room. When the plaster was scraped off from the ceiling, it was found that there were hand-hewn beams underneath in such a good state of preservation that they were left uncovered, giving to the new apartment a distinctive touch. It was then discovered that the house had been built around a tree, for a substantial oak, with its roots deep in the ground and its large trunk still shouldering the roof beam, was disclosed. Underneath the old paper was found fine wood paneling which was scraped and painted white; next the fireplace was opened, and proved to be eight feet wide with a swinging crane at the back. This was restored to its original size, and a square, brick hearth was laid. The old floors were replaced by new ones, and the entire room was given the tone of the period. Rag rugs are laid on the floor, and[Pg 163] all the furniture represents seventeenth-century pieces. At one end of the room is the dining-table, and at the farther side, large French windows hung with chintz open on to a vine-clad veranda.

The Living Room The Living Room

The parlor, which opened from the dining-room, was covered with many layers of dirty wall-paper. When these were removed, it was discovered that there was a very fine wainscoting. In one corner was a three-cornered cupboard with a paneled door underneath. The fireplace was opened up, and when the room was painted it developed into one of the most charming rooms in the house. The paneling was painted just off the white, and the walls were hung with soft, gray paper with tiny pink flowers, making the color scheme of the room gray and pink. This was carried out in all the furnishings,—the chintz used for cushions and the hangings harmonizing with these tones. Instead of having all the furniture of the Colonial period, comfortable willow chairs were introduced, in order to give the light, airy touch that makes a summer home distinctive. This is a large, livable room, well-lighted by many windows and looking out upon the lawn and the garden.

The hallway is of the plain, simple type which was so common in the oldest houses. The walls[Pg 164] are covered with a reproduction of an old-time landscape paper, and the passage forms the division line between the old sitting-room and the dining-room. This dining-room is now used as a chamber; it is large and sunny with a wide-open fireplace. It is furnished with an Empire bed and shows everything that would have been found in the early days in a chamber of this kind, even to the spirit lamp that stands on the high mantel, the warming-pan beside the generous fireplace, the oval mirror, and the wooden cradle with its hand-woven blanket, where now sleeps a twentieth-century baby.

Two of the Chambers Two of the Chambers

On the second story the rooms have been remodeled and show the same good taste which prevails all through the house. The unfinished attic has been plastered, papered, and converted into two bedrooms which are equipped with the old-time furnishings and are used primarily as guest rooms. The gable windows make them light and airy and at the same time afford a charming glimpse of the garden, heavy with the fragrance of the sweet-smelling blossoms, much as it was two centuries ago.

Willowdale is one of the most comfortable and well appointed of the many remodeled houses[Pg 165] that are found in New England. It is the possession of such a quantity of fine old woodwork that has given the house its distinctive atmosphere, though this has been preserved and heightened by the good taste of the present residents, who have succeeded in making it a most livable dwelling. Every room is well lighted and well ventilated, yet the house maintains in its renovated state all the quaintness and charm of a seventeenth-century home. It is a fine example of how an old house can be remodeled with little trouble and expense, and how the old and new can be combined harmoniously.[Pg 166]



In remodeling a farmhouse, one should plan to build wide verandas, overlooking pleasing views. These can be glass-enclosed, so that during inclement weather one need not stay indoors. Out-door life is a part of the essentials in planning a summer home, and it means so much to the house owner that every possible means should be devised to secure it. With this object in view, why not lay out around the house attractive flower beds? Just a plain lawn does not mean much, but planted with trees, effective shrubbery, and well-planned gardens, it furnishes an inducement to sit on the porch and watch the ever changing views.

In attempting this work, plan for vistas, well-selected spaces through which one can get glimpses of the world beyond. Have an objective point in view, so that the beauty of the setting sun and the clouds clothed in rainbow hues make it more attractive. Panorama effects are always interesting[Pg 167] and are obtained through judicious planting, for one must remember that a plain level lawn in itself has few features that attract. Let the units be carefully spaced, and if there are walks or drives near the house, lay them out where they will not detract from the picturesque effect that you desire. An exception can be made with the English or flag treads, which make a charming adjunct to the grounds when grass grown.

In the early days, the first settlers had their flower beds close to the house, probably because they did not then interfere with garden space. The effect was pleasing, for it added to the simple attraction of the early building. It is a good plan, after remodeling a house, to carry out this scheme of our forebears and have a narrow bed following the line of the house. Trees also are always effective; they break the roof line and shut off objectionable views. If you have no trees, by all means plant some. Screens can be devised by planting shrubbery, which makes unnecessary a latticed enclosure and is all the more interesting if the shrubs bear flowers, adding a bright spot to the color scheme. They are very practical as well, since they serve many purposes besides shutting off objectionable portions[Pg 168] of the grounds. If rightly planted, they serve as windbreaks and can be arranged to frame a vista. While evergreen is often used for this scheme, yet shrubs such as the lilac, forsythia, bridal wreath, flowering almond, and many others are suitable. Plant these so that there will be a continuation in bloom, and also with reference to a definite color scheme.

A remodeled farmhouse set back from the road without any surrounding decoration of garden or hedge cannot be picturesque, for merely a stretch of green lawn leaves it bare and uninviting, no matter how much you cover the house with vines. The composition of house and garden should be carefully planned, all the more if the estate is extensive, with plenty of land that can be used for this purpose. It is not much trouble to plant shrubs, and they need little cultivation. In the woods near at hand you can usually find plenty that will serve the purpose, if economy has to be considered.

In planting the garden there are many things to be regarded; one of the most important is the sequence of bloom. This should be arranged with a view to color effects, for nowhere will one's taste be more conspicuous than in the garden[Pg 169] plot which surrounds the house. There is no doubt that the harmony of color is a vital question, and complementary ones should be grouped together. Yellow should never be left out of the garden unless one wishes a very quiet effect; red is a favorite color and contrasts well with white. It must be remembered that quiet colors can be used in greater profusion than glaring ones; and if the exterior of the house is white, it permits one a much wider latitude in the choice of colors and in the arrangement of pleasing effects.

The combination of house and garden that is found on the George E. Barnard estate of Ipswich, Massachusetts, is ideal and the result of many years of careful thought. The house was originally a small and unattractive farmhouse which contained only four rooms; it was dilapidated and forlorn in appearance and situated in the midst of uncultivated grounds. It was the location which attracted the present owner, for he saw here great possibilities for development; so he purchased the estate with a view of surrounding the house with gardens.

Before Remodeling Before Remodeling

The house has been added to, a little at a time, by throwing out here a room and there a veranda,[Pg 170] instead of completing the whole work at once. Vine-covered verandas now surround three sides of the house; the shrubbery has been well planted.

From the time the garden was first started, it was the desire of the owner to paint in flowers what other people have painted on canvas. Steep hills that obstructed the view at the side of the house have been converted into gentle slopes; bare spots have been thickly planted, and colors have been combined so that there is no inharmonious note in the finished garden. Careful planning eliminated straight lines, but not even the slightest curve in a flower bed was made until after due consideration. The flowers were planted to fulfill, as near as possible, the scheme of a landscape picture, and each plant not in perfect harmony was removed. The effect as one sits on the veranda is like looking at an immense canvas, where the pictures change with every move, for the estate is a masterpiece of color and bloom, depicting a different phase of landscape on every side.

In remodeling the house, so many changes have been made that it is almost impossible to tell the manner in which the improvements were effected. There is not a room in the house but has been thoroughly changed, nor one[Pg 171] that has not been enlarged. The service quarters are all new; they have been placed in the rear, where they do not intrude on the scheme that has been carried out in remodeling—that of making an attractive house in keeping with the setting of the grounds. The main house is at the front and has been kept in practically the same general style as when purchased. The entire rear portion of the house has been added a little at a time, until now it is most complete in each and every detail.

The Front of the House The Front of the House
The House from the Terrace The House from the Terrace

Dormer windows have been let into the roof in order to give better lighting, and the wide verandas have been railed in, to provide an up-stairs living-room, from which one gets the best views of the garden. The lower veranda is furnished with well-chosen willow furniture, each piece being carefully selected so that there are no two alike. It has been given a setting of ornamental bay-trees in green tubs and huge pottery vases filled with masses of bloom. The most attractive part of the veranda is at one side of the house, where it is paved with brick and lined on the one side with evergreen trees and on the other with scarlet geraniums.

The Pergola-Porch The Pergola-Porch
The Hall The Hall

The hall or morning-room was a part of the[Pg 172] original house. It is entered directly from the veranda and has been so treated as to present a different series of pictures from the time one enters the door until one leaves, each room which opens out of it being carefully designed for harmonious effects.

The Alcove in the Living Room The Alcove in the Living Room

At the left of the room is the staircase which leads to the second-story floor. The low mahogany risers and treads contrast with the white balusters which are topped with a highly polished mahogany rail. Doors have been removed so that the adjoining rooms are glimpsed as one enters from the veranda. This room is hung with a Colonial paper showing delicately tinted red flowers against a gray background, and its beauty is heightened by the leaded glass windows of the china closet at the right and the simple fireplace with its brass accessories. Every bit of furniture here is old Colonial and is upholstered in green to match the color of the hangings. A long French window opens on to the veranda and gives glimpses of the beautiful gardens. The upper portions of the old cupboards that were in the house have been glassed in. The floors have had to be re-laid.

The Den The Den

Particularly noticeable is the den which is at the left of the hallway. Here the color scheme[Pg 173] is green, the walls being covered with textile; the wainscot is painted white, and the hangings at the window brighten the plain effect of the wall treatment. There is no crowding of furniture, but a dignified atmosphere pervades the entire room. It is an apartment such as one loves to find—quiet and restful. These two rooms occupy the entire front of the house.

Opening from the hall is a long reception-room which was originally a part of the old house and which shows two rooms thrown into one, with an addition at the end nearest the avenue. This is done in old blue velour and is furnished in mahogany. The plain tint of the wall gives an admirable background to the fine old pictures which hang here and there. Every piece of furniture in this room is Colonial. Ionic columns outline the wide double windows. Light and air have been carefully considered in the remodeling of the entire house and have particularly been sought in designing this room, as is shown by the many windows on either side. At the farther end, to one side, a French window leads to a glassed-in veranda which is used for a breakfast-room.

This room is a feature of the house, for it has been set in the middle of the terraced grounds[Pg 174] that lie at the side of the house, so that one can get the full benefit of the picture garden with the slope of the hill beyond rising to meet the blue of the horizon.

In the reception-room, as in every room in the house, wooden doors have been removed and replaced by glass ones which act as windows to reveal the room beyond. It is a most unusual treatment,—this picture idea carried out inside as well as outside of the house,—for there is no spot in the whole interior where you do not get a vista of some kind.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

Beyond the reception-room is the dining-room. This, too, is a long, narrow room and has been added, since the house was purchased, but so fitted in that it is seemingly a part of the old house. This room is divided into a dining and a breakfast-room and is used during inclement weather. Heavy draperies make it possible to shut the rooms off from each other if desired. The entire end of the breakfast-room has been given up to groups of long French windows which are repeated on either side, making a wide bay window. Here again has the picture effect been carried out, for the windows act as a frame to the mass of harmonious blossoms beyond, with their setting of green.[Pg 175] The dining-room proper has a paneled Colonial landscape paper; the furniture is of the Empire period, while at the farther end of the room have been let in on either side of the long windows an attractive china closet. Here, as in every room in the house, we find wainscot and the same use of white paint.

At the rear of this dining-room are the service quarters which consist of a large, sanitary, and well-equipped kitchen, butlers' pantries, servants' dining-room and sitting-room. The chambers in the second story are entirely separate from the rest of the house.

The second floor shows at the right of the staircase a most delightful morning-room which is large and square with an open fireplace. This is a particularly attractive room, for it commands magnificent views. The rest of the house is given over to chambers which are laid out in suites and furnished with old-time furniture.

There is an atmosphere about this remodeled farmhouse that is refreshing and most unusual. It has taken years to satisfactorily develop the owner's idea of combining house and garden in one harmonious color scheme. In the exterior this is changed each year, the favorite combination[Pg 176] being lavender and white. This is attained by the use of heliotrope and sweet alyssum which outline the terraced wall and which show a carpet of green for central effect.

The veranda is a harmony of green and white which is carried out in the awnings, the foliage, the willow furniture, and the white of the exterior and the balustrade. In the interior there is not a jumble of different colorings, and the rooms have been so arranged that they present a series of pictures brought about by the use of plain colors that perfectly blend. This has not been the work of a day or a year, but of ten years of careful study and is one of the most instructive lessons for those who are planning to remodel an old farmhouse and to introduce into its interior finish harmonious, restful, color schemes.[Pg 177]



Many of the old houses still contain some fine specimens of old hardware that were used when they were built, more especially the H and L hinges and the old latches which have not been removed. The knockers have often disappeared, being more conspicuous and therefore eagerly sought, not only by collectors but by builders of new houses into which Colonial ideas have been introduced.

If you are looking for this particular feature in the farmhouse, you will probably find it widely varied, as the different owners of the house each had his own special ideas and changed the hardware to suit his tastes. Many did not realize the importance of these fixtures in retaining the sixteenth and seventeenth-century interiors.

It is absolutely necessary that the hardware should correspond in material to period. Too little thought has been given to this subject and has led to an incongruous use of hardware, leaving an impression of lack of information concerning[Pg 178] the correct architectural details of the house. There is a decided difference between the hardware that was used in the latter part of the sixteenth century and the early seventeenth and that we employ to-day. The twentieth-century "builders' hardware" covers a great variety of objects included in every part of the house. In Colonial times the term was applied to few, such as latches, locks, knockers, and hinges, some of which were very ornamental in design, for they ranged from small pieces to large ones.

The evolution of this special feature of the house is of interest to the house builder; it originated in the Dark Ages, at which period we find used Romanesque, Renaissance, and Gothic types in so many different forms that it is little wonder the architect turns to them for copy. The best examples are seen in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth-century houses, when the decoration of the entrance door was a very serious subject and received great attention, especially during the Colonial period. Then the knockers were of the most importance and were either of cast-iron or brass. The former were often very beautiful in design and were used on the earlier houses, for brass did not come into favor until[Pg 179] later. Unfortunately the waning vogue of this piece of hardware led to many rare pieces being destroyed or thrown into the melting pot. It is fortunate that some house owners realized their worth and that collectors felt they would become a fad later on and so stored them away, which accounts for many old knockers found on the market to-day.

The latch, lock, knob, and hinge are also interesting. The former is made from either iron or brass but rarely of any other metal. Before the appearance of the latch, the door-ring was used, but this it would be most difficult to locate. The thumb-latch is occasionally fanciful in design but is generally very plain and is rarely seen even in old-time houses, having been replaced by the door-knob. The most common feature, and one which we are quite apt to discover, is the long strap-hinge which was designed for a special purpose, for we must remember that in the early days wooden pins were used to fasten the door; and while they kept it compact, yet it demanded the strap-hinge also for protection. This hinge will be found in many different patterns and makes, sometimes running almost the entire width of the door, and often constructed in three sections,—the[Pg 180] upper, lower, and central, although frequently only two were used. The ornamental ones are rarely if ever seen in farmhouses, being confined to the wealthier class. The plain iron ones were more often found, and these are of two types,—the one known as the H hinge and the other as the H and L.

Closet doors often are equipped with the H hinge which takes its name from its formation. Because of the fact that the home builders of to-day are turning their attention more and more to the use of decorative hardware, one should be very careful to retain this feature as an effective detail in the interior finish of a remodeled farmhouse.

In the town of Reading, Massachusetts, is a most attractive remodeled farmhouse that has been carefully worked out by W. P. Adden with such a regard for the preservation of old-time atmosphere that it can be considered as a fine type to copy. Not only has the exterior been carefully planned, but the owner has gone farther and made a special study of the hardware, so that the house to-day contains many wonderful examples that are correct in their treatment and add much to the atmosphere of the home.[Pg 181]

The W. P. Adden House The W. P. Adden House

This old farmhouse was originally a gambrel-roofed cottage built about 1760 and was probably a four-roomed house, as is indicated by the partitions filled with brick that were found in the center of the present house, and also by an old brick oven and fireplace which were buried up and covered over by the portion of an old brick chimney evidently added later. The additions to this dwelling, even when purchased by the present owner, had been carefully planned, so that there were no awkward joinings or incongruous jogs discernible in the outline. There is no doubt that here, as in other old farmhouses, the early builders had displayed an inherent sense of proper proportion, and the additions which were made from time to time might be said to be after-expressions of first thoughts.

When this house was first purchased, it was in an excellent state of preservation, with the exception of the ell which was past repairing. It faced directly south and had evidently been set by a compass regardless of street boundary, though the location was only a short distance from the main road. The design of the house contained all the characteristics of early construction,—the small-paned windows, closely cropped eaves,[Pg 182] and long, unrelieved, roof line. At the time of the purchase of the estate, which had originally included hundreds of acres, it was surrounded by a low wall of field stone which had evidently been taken from the grounds to make tillage possible. The house stood on a slope and was surrounded by grass land; the same idea is carried out to-day, in that little attempt has been made at garden culture, the owner preferring to keep the estate as near as possible to the farm lands of centuries ago.

After the remodeling was commenced, many interesting facts of construction were brought to light. The north side of the house, which was originally the rear, was changed by the present owner into the main front, with entrance and staircase hall. The hall was necessarily small, and in order to make it practical, five feet of the large central chimney had to be removed, including three fireplaces and two brick ovens. It was then found that this portion had evidently been added to the house after the original chimney had been built, as an old fireplace and brick oven were found on the line of a partition on the south side of the hall. It was also discovered that in all probability the original house had a lean-to[Pg 183] at the north which was used for a kitchen, and that this fireplace and brick oven were a part of the old room. The original chimney was found by actual measurement to be sixteen feet by seven and a half feet, and the stone foundation was the largest ever seen, being ample enough to accommodate the wide hearths as well as the chimney. In fact, to-day it takes all the central portion of the basement, leaving two small spaces on either side. In the remodeling, it was found that the original work was laid up with clay, meadow clay being taken as a binder.

The exterior required little alteration, save on the north side, where it was necessary to remove a portion of the wall in order to run the hall out under the roof of the house so that it might be two stories in height. The front of the house, which faced directly south, was left unaltered, with the exception that on the opposite side from the ell a glass-enclosed piazza was built of like width, length, and height. This afforded a ballast, as it were, to the main building and made a comfortable playroom for the children.

A new porch, arched with Colonial pillars, was built at the front of the house in keeping with the type. In the ell a second one of less formal proportions[Pg 184] was designed which was reached by a flagging of rough stones. A third porch of entirely different character was a finish to the rear of the house and shows lattice work, being quite ornamental in design.

The angle formed by the main building and the new ell gave space for a flower plot, and here is located a small rose garden. This is outlined by broad paths of stone; surrounding the whole are wide borders of old-fashioned flowers which lend a touch of color that is very attractive.

The Stairway The Stairway

Entering through the front porch, one comes to a new hall, and with the exception of this, there has been little change in interior. This hall is most interesting; here are found the H and L hinges, a yellow and white Colonial wall-paper, and a staircase that divides at the landing and by easy treads leads on either side to chambers above. An old grandfather's clock is an appropriate furnishing for this part of the house. All through the lower story the old woodwork has been carefully preserved, and where it was destroyed it has been replaced.

The living-room is practically as it was when purchased. Here we find the H hinges and the old-time latches, while through the center of the[Pg 185] room runs a beam which had to be cased in and which has been painted white to match the trim. At one side a built-in bookcase has followed the architectural lines so perfectly that it seems as if it had been there ever since the house was built. The simple Colonial fireplace shows more ornamentation than is generally found in old farmhouses, which indicates that it was of a better type dwelling. With its new wall hangings and white trim, this room is most attractive. It connects with the sun-parlor at one end and is well-lighted and most homelike in atmosphere.

The dining-room, facing east, has had a new group of windows added and contains the largest fireplace in the house. The china closet above the fireplace was discovered when the plaster was removed for the purpose of building in a similar one. This room is fitted with H and L hinges and the old-time iron latch. It was originally a portion of the old kitchen, the remainder of it being taken for a lavatory and passageway.

All through the house we find that careful attention has been paid not only to hardware but to furnishings. No new-fashioned pieces have been used in any room in the house, and this careful attention to details has been carried out even[Pg 186] in the lighting fixtures, which are all of the Colonial type.

The second-story floor has undergone changes to meet the requirements of the present owner. One half of this story is devoted to the nursery; it is equipped with a large fireplace, deep closets, bath, and nurse's room, while the remainder provides a large bedroom, bath, and dressing-room. It has been so arranged that each part is distinct by itself, and convenience has been looked after in every particular.

The original attic was entirely unfinished, and when new stairs were erected in the second-story hall, there was great difficulty in finding room enough to enter the attic by the side of the large chimney.

In the remodeling of this house, comfort, a careful following of Colonial details, and an especial attention to the hardware are the salient features.[Pg 187]



There is one thing that should be carefully considered in buying an old farmhouse,—that is, character. In order to obtain this, distinct points should be sought after and brought out. These can be accentuated not only in the house but also in its surroundings,—the garden, the trees, and the shrubbery; even the defining wall or fence does its part in making a good or bad impression on the casual passer-by.

One must remember, in dealing with subjects of this sort, that the term "farmhouses" is a varying one. These range from small, insignificant little dwellings to the more elaborate houses that were built primarily for comfort as well as shelter. There are many large, substantial dwellings, not of the earlier type, for they were erected much later, but which illustrate the progression of the farmhouse design. One looks in houses such as these for larger rooms, higher stud, and more up-to-date ideas.[Pg 188]

The fireplaces are smaller and more ornate, for it must be remembered that as time passed on, money circulated more freely through the colonies, allowing for more extensive work and better finished details. While it is not necessary to copy the Colonial wall hangings, yet in the older houses it is much more satisfactory; still one can depart from this custom in a more elaborate house and use his own taste in selecting an attractive modern paper. Many people consider that houses restored, no matter of what period, should invariably have carefully consistent interior finish, without realization that it is sometimes better to look for character than type.

The old-time wall-papers, more especially the picturesque ones, were generally used in more expensive houses, although we find them here and there in the more simple ones. Often this feature of the interior decoration is not well carried out, the wall hangings being chosen for cheapness rather than merit.

To-day there is on the market such a great variety of papers that it is a very easy matter to get one suitable for any certain room and suggesting good taste. Many of them are reproductions of old motives, while others are plain and simple[Pg 189] in character, giving to the room a quiet effect and providing a good background for pictures and hangings. There is nothing more restful in character than the soft grays; they are effective as a setting for stronger colors that can be used in the curtains, for this part of a room finish is as important as the wall hangings themselves. There is an indescribable charm to a room that has been carefully planned and shows good taste and restful surroundings.

In many houses, some decorative scheme has been introduced which necessitates a particular kind of wall hanging, and even though it may be most unusual in type, it illustrates a motive that has been in the mind of the owner. Houses would lack character if the same line of interior decoration were carried out in all of them. With a high wainscot and cornice painted ivory white, comparatively little paper is needed, which reduces the cost and permits a better paper than if the room had a simple mopboard and a tiny molding.

Papers that are garish and discordant in themselves, if skilfully handled, can produce harmonious effects, for it is often the unusual wall hangings that attract most. In curtaining these rooms let the same main tone be reproduced;[Pg 190] this need not apply to every detail but to the general tone. Many people are timid in the use of odd wall-papers or curtains; they are afraid that they may look bizarre, but they should remember that color is in reality a very powerful agent in making an artistic home.

It is sometimes effective to treat a house as a whole, and then again it is better that each room should have its own individuality. Very few houses but have at least one corner that offers interesting opportunities, and it is the artistic treatment of this that helps out the harmony of the room.

There is a charming atmosphere surrounding "Quillcote," the home of Kate Douglas Wiggin, at Hollis, Maine, where Mrs. Riggs spends three months of the year. It may be that the quietness of the place lends to it additional charm, and then again it may possibly be the result of its environment.

Mrs. Kate Douglas Wiggin's Summer House Mrs. Kate Douglas Wiggin's Summer House

The house itself is typical of the better class of New England farmhouses, and since it has come into Mrs. Riggs' possession, many alterations have been made, until to-day it is one of the most attractive farmhouses to be found anywhere. Two stories and a half in height, with a slant[Pg 191] to the roof, it stands back from the road on a slight elevation, with a surrounding of lawns and overshadowed by century-old elms. To-day its weather-beaten sides have been renovated by a coat of white paint, while the blinds have been painted green. A touch of picturesqueness has been secured through the introduction of a window-box over the porch, bright all through the season with blossoming flowers. There is no attempt at floriculture, the owner preferring to maintain the rural simplicity of a farmhouse devoid of flowers and only relieved by the shrubbery planted around the building.

When the house was first purchased, it was not in a dilapidated condition, having been lived in by townspeople and kept in good repair. The work of remodeling has been done by the people of the village, and it has been superintended by the owner of the house, in order that her own ideas, not only in remodeling, but in decorating, should be exactly carried out. The old shed is now used as the service department, a wide veranda having been built at one side for a servants' outdoor sitting-room. At the rear of the house is the old barn, which to-day is used for a study and for entertainment purposes.[Pg 192]

The Hall The Hall

Entrance to the house is through a Colonial door with a fanlight on either side. The owner has preferred to keep this in its original state, rather than add a porch of the Colonial type. The only porch that has been added to the house is a latticed, circular one at the side door. The entrance hall is long and narrow, the staircase also being narrow and built at one side in order to save space. The Colonial idea has been carried out here in the wainscot, and the ornamentation of hand-carving on the stairs shows it was done by a stair-builder and not by an ordinary mechanic. The lighting is from a lantern which carries out the general effect. The wall-hanging is in Colonial colors,—yellow and white,—while the rugs are the old, woven rag carpets which are repeated for stair covering. The balusters are very simple in design, while the balustrade has been painted white, thus showing it is not of mahogany.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

At the right is the dining-room, a bright, sunny room that has been uniquely planned to occupy the front of the house instead of the rear, as is more usual. It is a large, square room, in which little or no alteration has been made and which has been treated so as to make an effective setting[Pg 193] to the rare old Colonial furniture. The size of the dining-room has been considered in reference to the furniture, this being one reason why Mrs. Riggs has chosen this large, square room—in order to correctly place her old mahogany pieces. The decorations are very simple and follow out the idea of Colonial days, there being no pieces that are not in actual use. The walls are hung in shades of yellow and brown, and she has been most successful in carrying out her color scheme.

The Den The Den

The home study, or den, leads from the dining-room and has been carefully planned with an idea of restfulness. A chamber at one end has been converted into an alcove, and additional light is obtained by cutting a group of casement windows over the writing-table. The room is very simply furnished and shows marked originality. The walls are papered with woodland scenes, for it was a fad of the occupant to bring into the house by wall hangings suggestions of the outside world. While it is unique, it has a distinctly restful influence and is in tone with the fireplace, which has been decorated with unusual features and which bears the name "Quillcote." The draperies in this room are original in treatment, being decorated to order by a noted artist who has introduced[Pg 194] his signature in some part of the work. They are ornamented with original designs suggestive of farm life, with such subjects as wheat, apples, or corn and are covered with delicate traceries of rushes or climbing vines. The fireplace has for andirons black owls, and on either side stand altar candles. In the furnishing of the room everything has been chosen with an eye to restful effects; the owner has done away with the pure Colonial idea, using the mission type and considering comfort more than conventionality.

Two Views of the Living Room Two Views of the Living Room

Opposite the dining-room at the front of the house is the living-room, where further originality is found in furnishings and in scenes from nature introduced in the unique wall hangings. This room is in blue and white, the wall-paper being delft blue with a rush design over which hover gulls. Singularly enough, the idea is very pleasing. The hangings are of white muslin with blue over-curtains, while the furniture is a mixture of Colonial and modern pieces. An inglenook has been obtained through the introduction of a built-in window-seat which is covered with blue to match the tone of the paper. The furniture is all painted white, and the white fur rugs laid[Pg 195] upon the blue floor covering give a charming effect. The decoration and furnishing of this room is quiet and restful, for those two ideas form the basis of the owner's scheme which she had in mind long before she took this house and while she lived in the old family mansion that stands just across the way. It is a comfortable, livable room and not used for state occasions alone, but for everyday needs.

Just beyond is the sitting-room in which an entirely different idea is presented. Here the china fad is evidenced in the ornamentation of priceless old plates that have been collected by the owner's sister, Miss Nora Smith, and arranged according to her taste. This room is a typical Colonial room, and the furniture shown is all of that period, even to a spinning-wheel which gives an old-time effect. From this room one passes through a door on to the rear porch, from which fine views are obtained of the little, old-fashioned garden, the pine grove opposite the house, and the winding road.

Two of the Chambers Two of the Chambers

The second story shows large, square chambers which have been carefully planned, each following out a distinct color scheme. In one of these rooms there is a combination of lavender, white,[Pg 196] and green, shown in wall hangings, curtains, and furnishings. The canopied Field bed, with its lavender and white spread, has been painted white. Over it has been draped a white muslin canopy. The walls are in light green and show no pictures save that of a Madonna and Child, suggestive of the author's love of children. On the mantel are several very rare pieces of Staffordshire, many of which can not be duplicated. The furniture has been painted white, with the exception of two chairs which have been treated to a coat of green.

Another room, showing wainscot and a quiet yellow and white Colonial paper, has a Field bed with white spread and white muslin canopy. Here the Colonial idea in furnishing has been strictly carried out.

An original and yet artistic room has its walls entirely covered with a dainty cretonne, the bed-covering and hangings being of the same material.

The most interesting idea in remodeling is presented by the old barn, which has been converted into a large music-room or hall, with a rustic platform at one end. Here a new floor has been laid, many windows inserted, and a few old-time settles placed, constructed of weathered wood toned by time to an almost silvery hue.[Pg 197] Nothing else has been changed; the ancient rafters and walls remain as they were a century ago. The hall is lighted by many lanterns hanging from ceiling and harness pegs, also by curious Japanese lanterns painted especially for Mrs. Wiggin and bearing the name of the artist. The lanterns, hung from overhead, greatly relieve the somber effect of the heavy beams. At the rear of the hall a broad door space makes a frame for a pretty picture,—a field of buttercups and daisies, a distant house, and two arching elms. A large closet, once the harness-room, is fitted up with shelves and contains all the necessary china for a "spread" such as is given to the village folk several times a year, when dances are held in the old barn.[Pg 198]



Floors are an important detail in the remodeled house. Sometimes the original building has many that are in fairly good condition so that they can be saved. There is a great advantage in keeping these old floors if possible, for they were made with plain edge, of strong timber and laid close together. The earliest floors were not double in treatment, therefore the edges had to be either lapped or rabbited.

These wide boards that were used in the early construction stand the test of furnaces and modern heating a great deal better than do modern ones of the same width. The latter are much more apt to shrink and open joints. It will be found that the better floors are in the second story in almost every house.

It is probable, however, that if you are remodeling your house, you will have to lay at least one or more floors, and in such cases, matched hemlock is the most advisable for the under floor;[Pg 199] but the boards should be laid diagonally and close together. The usual method is to lay them matching the upper floor. It is a great mistake, even if advised to do so by an architect, to lay only one floor, for with shrinkage come cracks through which cold air and dust can rise; even a carpet does not remedy the trouble.

Hardwood boards make the most popular floors and come in varying thicknesses, the oak being generally three eighths of an inch thick and the North Carolina pine averaging seven eighths of an inch. Both are employed for new floors and for re-covering old, soft-wood ones. The narrow width of oak is more satisfactory, as the narrower the stock the smaller the space between the strips and the less danger of unsightly appearance. They may be a little more expensive than the wider ones, but they make a much better showing. Then, too, the shading and figure blend more harmoniously than when the broader strips are employed.

Narrow widths also obviate any danger of the flooring strips cupping, as they are laid and stay absolutely flat. One should be careful not to lay oak flooring while the walls and plaster are damp; in fact, if you have to do much remodeling,[Pg 200] the floor should be the last thing attended to, as it is a better plan to get everything else done and thoroughly dried—even to painting, wall hangings, and decorating.

Hard pine is best for the kitchen, as it does not splinter, is more reasonable in price, and has fine wearing qualities. It must be taken into consideration that oak flooring is cheaper in the end than carpet. A yard of carpet is twenty-seven inches wide by three feet in length and contains six and three quarters square feet. Clear quartered-oak flooring can be bought, laid, and polished for one dollar per carpet yard, and when you consider the lasting qualities of the wood and the beauty of a polished floor, you will make no mistake to put in one of the better quality, more sanitary, and the best background for rugs, instead of laying a floor of cheap wood.

Carpets, with the exception of straw matting, are inadvisable for a home like this. They are unsanitary, hold the dust, and are not nearly as attractive as rugs. These may vary in price with the purse of the owner, and can range from Oriental rugs, costing hundreds of dollars, to the simple rag rug which is always appropriate and in good taste.[Pg 201]

The absolute carrying out of the Colonial idea is not necessary, for it would not be appropriate to have old-fashioned rag mats in every room of the house. They can be used, however, in the dining-room or in the chambers, and to-day the woven rag carpets and mats are so attractive in their weave and so lasting that they are satisfactory adjuncts to the house furnishings. In the parlor and living-room, while they can be used if desired, there are so many attractive low-priced rugs, both Oriental and domestic, that it is an easy matter to get something both suitable and in good taste.

The Franklin Brett House—Front View The Franklin Brett House—Front View

This attention to floors and their covering is nowhere better shown than in the Franklin Brett House at North Duxbury, Massachusetts. This house, which is over two hundred and fifty years old, was put up at auction several years ago, at just the time when the present owner was looking for an old farmhouse to remodel. It was a double house that had been occupied by two families. The frame, excepting certain parts of the first floor joints and also portions of the sills, was in very good condition, but the first-floor boarding was badly worn and was not fit to be retained for use. It was replaced by a new one of narrow boards.[Pg 202]

The second story, however, was in much better condition, and the floors, with the exception of the one in the bathroom, could all be used. The house was particularly ugly, displaying a combination of bright yellow paint and dark red trim, and the exterior was wholly devoid of any artistic design.

Before Remodeling Before Remodeling

At the front of the house there was a wide porch;—just a simple flooring and two doors that stood side by side. The old place was so forlorn that it was bid in during the excitement of the auction partly out of sympathy. It showed so little possibilities that at first the owner was doubtful whether it had been a good purchase, for the building did not in any way fit his ideal of what was desired in order to make a suitable summer home.

As Remodeled As Remodeled

After careful examination, however, various possibilities were discovered indicating that there was a very good chance to make it attractive. Originally the house was built for one family only; in architecture it was square-framed, containing two stories and an attic, with ells at the rear and one side and a deep, sloping roof broken by two chimneys. In the old house there were nine rooms on the first floor and five rooms and a hallway on the second. Some of these on the first floor[Pg 203] have been combined by removing partitions to make a living-room and dining-room, together with a hallway.

The Pergola-Porch The Pergola-Porch

In the living-room were found some hand-hewn, second-floor joists, and it was decided to leave these exposed and plaster in between them, instead of bringing the ceiling down to its original level. In practically every room the plaster was in good condition and needed only to be treated in places. The chimneys were touched up wherever needed, but on the whole very few repairs were necessary. In the lower story to-day there are four rooms and a good-sized hall, while the second story is divided into six rooms and a bathroom. Five additional windows were added down-stairs and two in the second story, in order to secure proper light. Very little new material was put into the house, the work consisting chiefly of tearing out old material and patching woodwork and plaster. At the rear of the house, on a line with the larger ell,—the smaller kitchen ell having been torn down,—a rustic pergola was constructed and a covered veranda, over which grape-vines were trained for shade. The roof was partially reshingled, and the house was painted light gray with white trim, with green for[Pg 204] the blinds. At the front a Colonial porch was added with latticed sides and a settle, which is in direct keeping with the architecture of the house. In its remodeled condition, with its setting of closely cropped lawn, it bears little resemblance to the ugly farmhouse of a few years ago.

There was no plumbing in the old house, so a single bathroom was put in, a hot-water boiler was added in the kitchen, and a hot-air engine and pump were installed in the cellar which furnish water under pressure from a thousand-gallon supply tank. Later on, a hot-water heater was installed, so that with the modern improvements the house was made very comfortable for habitation all the year round if desired.

A First-floor Vista A First-floor Vista

The original parlor on the left has been utilized for a morning-room; the bedroom, dining-room, and pantry have been combined into a living-room. The partitions between the old hallways have been removed, converting them into one good-sized hall. The remaining portion of the old dining-room has been made into a large pantry. The kitchen in the main ell has been left practically unchanged as to size and shape, although the shed opening from it, as well as the kitchen itself, have been entirely renovated and equipped[Pg 205] with up-to-date improvements. Paint and paper and rugs have effected an interior transformation that is most attractive. There are no doors in the house, wide openings making it appear as though it were one large room.

The hallway is entered from the Colonial porch and is unique because of its spaciousness. The stairs are at the further end, opposite the door. The Colonial atmosphere has been maintained in the wall hangings, the braided rag mats, and the old furniture.

At the left of the hall is the morning-room with its wide, open fireplace, its Colonial paper, and Oriental rugs which are in color tones to correspond with the paper.

The Living Room The Living Room

Opening from this room is the living-room, where the same kind of rugs are laid on the hardwood floor. In this room, after the house was purchased, a fireplace was discovered hidden away behind the partition. It was opened up and restored to its original size. At one side a closet was glassed in, while in either corner cosy, built-in settles give an inglenook effect that is very interesting. The furnishings are wholly Colonial and in keeping with the general character of the apartment. Here the low stud, the beamed[Pg 206] ceiling, the depth and lightness of the room, are most attractive. From the long French window one steps out on grass land which commands a most attractive vista of shrubbery and trees.

In the planting around the house, great care has been taken to secure shade and picturesqueness, so that in its new life the remodeled farmhouse is surrounded by charming effects.

On the opposite side of the hallway one enters the long dining-room. It is finished in red and white, with one-toned hangings; at the farther end is a quaint corner cupboard; a handsome fireplace has been introduced at one side. Many of the pieces in this room are very rare, especially the Hepplewhite sideboard, the chair-table that was once owned by Governor Bradford, and the rush-bottomed chairs. Long glass windows open on the side veranda and combine with attractively grouped windows to make this room light and cheerful.

Opening out of this is the pantry, conveniently equipped with cupboards and shelves, and beyond is the kitchen and shed which have been made entirely modern in their appointments.

The chambers up-stairs are large, square, and fitted up with furniture of the period. In taking[Pg 207] a "secret" cupboard out of a closet, there was discovered some paneling that had been plastered and papered over. On removing the plaster, it was found that the whole side of the room was paneled. By the restoration of this old-time finish, the chamber became even more indicative of the period in which it was built. Here the wall hangings are all Colonial in design.

Few houses, even among the many that are being restored, have retained the old-time atmosphere throughout as completely as has this farmhouse. Each room has been made comfortable and given an air of space, and consistency has been shown in the furnishing, thus securing a result that is perfectly harmonious and in the best of taste. By comparing the appearance of the old house at the time of its purchase with the results that have been obtained, one realizes how much thought and care have been put into its every part. The lines remain the same but have been extended by the introduction of the pergola at one side and a porch which are very attractive features in themselves. The combination of old and new, correctly treated, has done much to make a harmonious whole.[Pg 208]



Fortunate is he who, on opening up the old fireplace in the house he intends to remodel, finds hidden away behind plaster and paper a pair of old andirons and possibly a shovel and tongs, indispensable furnishings for the fireplace. No old farmhouse but what has in almost every room some kind of an open hearth, and these are useless for the burning of wood without fire-dogs or andirons, as they are commonly known.

To the inexperienced house owner who is looking for economy in his house furnishing, reproductions are tempting, and most attractive sets of fire-dogs are to be found in almost every store. In choosing a set, however, one must exercise judgment. Many of the reproductions are low in cost but are really merely lengths of brass piping, showing brass balls that are lacquered and strung together on invisible wire frames. They are in reality the cheapest kind of spun-brass andirons. If one with a knowledge of the weight[Pg 209] of brass handles them, he will realize their flimsiness, but thousands of people do not recognize the difference. Poor fireplace accessories such as these detract greatly from the charm that surrounds a good hearth and mantel.

It is no longer easy to pick up original, cut-brass andirons at the antique and junk shops,—that is, at a reasonable price. It is in the country places, old farmhouses, and from people who have not yet learned to gage their worth, that one can get a good bargain, bringing often only three or four dollars a pair, and being of the best material. In reproduction there are on the market to-day plenty of good, cast-brass andirons, but they are expensive and cannot be purchased at less than seven dollars, ranging from that to a hundred dollars a pair, while the spun-brass kind may be purchased for two dollars and a half a pair.

Andirons come in a great many heights, and in the olden times two sets were used, the one holding the forestick, and the other the backlog. In addition to that, in the earliest American houses, creepers were used; they were, in reality, of iron, small enough to be placed between the andirons, and they helped out in holding the sticks. The first material used for andirons was iron, and[Pg 210] we find to-day occasional specimens of this kind, many of them not particularly graceful, while others are very ornamental in design. There are the Hessian andirons which are found either in plain iron or decorated with bright paint; these came into use about 1776 and were used to caricature the British soldiers who were very unpopular in our country.

The most interesting of these old andirons show unusual shapes, a great many of them having artistic ornamentation; occasionally we find them with brass tops. It was fitting to use this metal, on account of the fire frame, which was of cast-iron as well, and while many of these were of foreign manufacture, yet not a few were fashioned by the village blacksmith. In the choice of andirons, the size of the fireplace should be considered; the small ones should not have the steeple tops but small, ball pattern or some other design that is low enough not to crowd the fireplace and thus give the impression of bad taste. The large fireplaces need the high andirons, of which there are so many different kinds. The modern adaptation of the Colonial has brought these furnishings into vogue, so that to-day it would be almost impossible to tell the old from the new.[Pg 211]

Shovel and tongs were much used during the early period, but a poker never accompanied the set. These appeared after the introduction of coal and are found among the reproductions on the market to-day. Another bit of the furnishings is the fender, of which there are many designs, some being of simple wire painted black with brass top and balls, while others are entirely of brass. The warming-pan is an appropriate accessory for this part of the room; it should be hung on a peg at one side of the hearth. In addition to that, we find the bellows, some of which are most decorative in their design. The proper selection of this furniture gives an air of refinement to the room.

There is a most attractive farmhouse situated in Dover, Massachusetts. It is owned by Mr. George D. Hall, and shows a series of remodelings, rather than a complete work, for each year an addition has been made which has bettered the initial scheme. The original farmhouse, for instance, which was built in 1729, was a small, unpretentious building that was very dilapidated in condition, but whose situation appealed to its present owner. It was his desire to obtain an old house that could be used if need be for an[Pg 212] all-the-year-round home; plenty of land, picturesque views, good landscape effects, and ample elbow room were what he especially desired.

Lone Tree Farm Lone Tree Farm

The house stands back from a winding country road in one of the most picturesque situations it would be possible to find. An old stone wall, built over a century ago by the original owner, still forms a boundary line to protect the grounds. Few estates show so many beautiful trees; they add greatly to the pictorial effect of the place. Graceful elms with swaying branches are on every side, while on the opposite side of the road pine trees are in evidence, and on either side of the stone wall wild shrubs have been planted. There has been no attempt at formal arrangement of the grounds, not even with the garden which is at the side of the house. There has been built simply a picturesque lattice that separates house from barn and over which have been trained attractive vines.

As Finally Remodeled As Finally Remodeled

In 1907 a wing was thrown out to the south, with an enclosed, tiled porch and a sitting-room above. A small eyebrow window was placed in the roof to light the stairway, while the original porch on the west and south was carefully retained. Two years later this porch was removed, and a[Pg 213] smaller entrance one was substituted. This showed a brick walk extending from carriage block to covered loggia at the south. Again in 1914 the eyebrow window was removed, and dormers inserted in the roof. An open, tiled platform was built outside the enclosed loggia, and a sleeping-porch was added to the east sitting-room. A garden and pond were laid out to the south of the loggia, with a vista framed by two huge elms that were some thirty feet south of the house. These improvements have converted the old farmhouse into one of the most interesting and beautiful houses that can be found.

Within the last few years the planting and garden effects have been more carefully considered; the grounds have been enlarged, and at the left of the house an old-fashioned garden has been laid out with a gazing-globe for the central feature. The name "Lone Tree Farm" was given at the time of purchase from the fact that a single tree guarded the house at the front. This tree still stands but has been enhanced by the careful planting of shrubbery on either side the driveway, which has now grown until it has become a partial screen for the lower floor of the farmhouse. Other trees have been added, and in order to[Pg 214] obtain the seclusion desired, extensive grounds have been purchased on the opposite side of the road, so that no neighbors may come near enough to detract from the quiet.

In remodeling this house, an ell has been added at the rear for the service department, and a sun-parlor has been thrown out at one side. This makes a most attractive living-room in winter and, with windows removed, a cool sleeping-porch in the summer. The Colonial porch which has been added at the front is much more attractive than the former long veranda which is replaced by the sun-parlor. In painting the house, white has been used with green blinds, so that it is in reality a symphony of green and white, and as it stands in the center of the lot, surrounded on three sides by pasture land, gardens, and meadows, and on the front by hundreds of acres of woodland, it is one of the most interesting studies in house remodeling to be found.

The small hallway is simply an entrance with narrow, winding staircase that leads by easy treads to the second-story floor. In 1914, in ripping out these front stairs to secure the space above them for a small room, it was discovered that the old smoke-house, where in olden days[Pg 215] hams were cured, and the back of the bake oven behind it had not been torn out. The former consisted of two Gothic arches, the taller of which was twenty feet in height; the shape was dependent on the two fireplaces in adjoining rooms. The smoke-house is about five feet deep and when discovered was enclosed with an inch of greasy soot. An oak cross-beam with hand-wrought nails indicated where the hogs were hung. It had been left in its natural state after being cleaned out, and as it looked crude to one entering the front door, it was shut off with an old, paneled door, so that the hall, with stairs removed, is now shaped like six sides of a hexagon, the front door remaining where it originally was placed.

The Living Room The Living Room

The living-room, which is at the right of the hallway, has been made from two rooms. In this the old woodwork has been carefully retained, and the walls have been hung with a soft green that is a fine background for the many pictures and which brings out the beauty of the white woodwork. The furniture here does not follow the Colonial lines, for comfort has been the first consideration. It is shown in the large, roomy davenport piled with sofa pillows and the comfortable armchair at one side of the open fireplace.[Pg 216] Here the owner has supplied the correct fireplace accessories, the andirons being low with brass ball tops, and the shovel and tongs having the same finish. The mantel, while not elaborate, shows hand-carving and paneling. Bookcases are a feature of this room and are found everywhere.

The Sun Parlor The Sun Parlor

Opening from the living-room is the glass-enclosed sun-parlor which has been tiled, and in which is a modern fireplace of bricks laid in white mortar. Over it is a bas-relief. The andirons are high, of modern type, showing fleur-de-lis design, and are in keeping with the fireplace. Willow furniture is used in order to give the sun-parlor a light touch which could not have been done if the Colonial idea had been carried out. It is an ideal summer living-room, being sunny most of the day. Then, too, its location is well chosen, as it overlooks the old-fashioned garden and commands vistas cut in trees and shrubbery.

The Den The Den

The den, used extensively by the owner, is a typical man's room. Built-in bookcases and window-seats give it a most livable look, while pictures of the hunt line the wall, and a hunting scene is used as a frieze. It is placed in a sunny part of the house so as to catch as much light as possible.[Pg 217]

A Corner in the Dining Room A Corner in the Dining Room

The dining-room was made from a part of the old kitchen and strangely enough shows fine paneling of white pine, which has been carefully preserved and makes a background for the mantel ornaments. The mantel shelf is narrow and extends around the whole fireplace; the old chimney has been partly built in for modern use, while the andirons are very unique reproductions. The old crane has been retained, as have the pothooks and iron kettle, while the old brick oven, now never used, is a memento of the days when our grandmothers cooked with great logs of wood, heating the oven once a week in order to do the family baking. The furniture is of the Colonial type, while the rugs are modern but blend with the scheme color of the room. It is large, well-lighted by many windows, and divided by an alcove only from the living-room which adjoins it.

Every room in this house has been carefully considered with regard to view, and one can stand at any window and look out upon a different phase of country life, for trees and shrubbery are so arranged that the grounds lend themselves admirably to pictorial effects upon which no neighboring house intrudes.

The Sewing Room The Sewing Room

Up-stairs in the ell of the house, over the sun-parlor,[Pg 218] is a large sitting-room. It has been so designed that it faces three different directions and is lighted by a group of long windows at one side. In this room the sunlight lays practically all day, making it a bright, livable room, where Colonial features have not been considered. To be sure there are several pieces, such as the old-time work-table, but modern ideas mainly have been introduced. On either side of the cluster of windows are built-in bookcases which have been painted white to match the trim and are filled with well-read books. Between these bookcases is a long window-seat, beneath which drawers have been built which are very convenient for holding unfinished work. The hangings are of muslin with blue over-drapery, harmonizing with the color scheme of the room. A large, open fireplace on the opposite side provides for a cheery wood fire, more especially on stormy days, for this house is one that is lived in all the year round, so that heating and lighting had to be taken into consideration.

In addition to this room there are three chambers, two bathrooms, and a closet on the floor. Each one of these chambers has been given a different treatment. One of the most interesting[Pg 219] shows fine woodwork in the paneled doors and also in the small closet that is over the fireplace, a favorite place for a closet to be introduced in the early days. The fireplace is not a large one, and the andirons are small-sized steeple tops. The bed is an old slat bed, while every piece of furniture is in keeping with the period.

Take it all in all, one rarely finds a farmhouse that shows more attractive features than this one, where comfort, light, and view have all been carefully considered. It is perfectly available for an all-the-year-round home, as it is not too far from the station to allow its occupants to go back and forth to business every day.[Pg 220]



When you plan to remodel your house, there is nothing that should receive much more careful attention than the closets. It is doubtful, that is, if the house is of the earliest period, if you will find many. Our emigrant ancestors did not have as many clothes or table appointments as we require to-day. The few of the former they possessed were hung on pegs or disposed of in chests; the dishes were placed on racks, thus eliminating the necessity for closet room in houses where every available bit of space was utilized for living purposes.

In all probability you will find corner cupboards which will be more or less elaborate in design. The best examples show a shell treatment. The earliest corner cupboards were clumsy affairs, being movable; later on they were built into the house and employed to hold family china and glassware. There was a great variety in these closets, some being fitted up with shelves only,[Pg 221] while others were divided in two, the underneath part being used for books and odds and ends.

Fortunate is the house owner who finds in his old house one or more of these old corner cupboards. To be sure they can be reproduced; but how much better are the originals. Dig out the old plaster, rip open the sides of the partitions, if you think there is any chance of odd closets being hidden away between, and remember that in many old houses there are secret closets, and it will pay you to tap the wall space to discover their whereabouts. Sometimes they are hidden under the flooring, and again the space between the windows is used for this purpose. It is always well to open them, for who knows what valuable heirlooms may be hidden inside.

There are plenty of spaces where new closets can be introduced as, for instance, the end of the dining-room, where a glassed-in china closet with an arched top and half-domed interior makes an excellent place to display the old china and glass. Panels in the wainscot can be utilized, more especially when they are under the first step of the staircase. These are most convenient for filing newspapers or any magazines that are kept for reference.[Pg 222]

If the hallway is paneled, it is a very easy matter to put an invisible door into one of the panels. This can be used for the coat closet, with a low shelf underneath to hold hats; and on the floor partitions can be made to hold rubbers. On each side of the chimney a great deal of waste space can be converted into bookcases, with little, leaded, glass doors. Above the mantel, set in the chimney-breast, will be found spaces which even in the early days were devoted to closets. They are cut in a panel and were used to protect china or old pewter from the dust. Sometimes three of these closets have been found built into the fireplaces, all of which were used to hold the household china.

In the upper part of the house, under the attic stairs, can generally be found places that can be made into linen closets, but it must be remembered that if no ventilation is allowed, cloth will become yellowed, so by all means have brass ventilators in the doors. Whatever the purpose of the closet, its location should be carefully considered,—the shape, the place, and the cost,—so that as many as possible can be introduced.

There is no doubt that the majority of old-time farmhouses readily adapt themselves to modern[Pg 223] requirements and show possibilities that allow of most attractive development. The result of working out certain possibilities is shown in the Walter Scott Hopkins house at Reading, Massachusetts. It is a long, rambling house that seemed when first purchased wholly lacking in artistic qualities, and it was not until after careful deliberation that the owner realized that the old farmhouse, beneath its coating of accumulated dust, possessed a wealth of fine features that were well worth developing.

Before Remodeling Before Remodeling

The house had been used for two families, and each section was separate and distinct, although under the same roof. It was built in the latter part of the eighteenth century and contains fine woodwork,—better than that found in most houses of that day. All the distinctive features of the Colonial architecture were evident in this old farmhouse, where unbroken roof-line, close-cropped eaves, and small-paned windows were placed with mathematical precision, and the severely simple exterior was in strict conformity with the period.

In remodeling the house, the original outlines were carefully preserved, and the additions were made to conform. The small, ugly entrances[Pg 224] which had marred the exterior of the house were torn down and replaced by windows, so that only a single entrance was left. A very attractive porch with sloping roof-line was supported by solid but unornamented columns. In the roof dormer windows were cut, both at the front and rear. This was to make the attic practical for living purposes by affording sufficient light and air. At one side of the house, in place of the woodshed, an out-of-door living-room was added, broad and low of build, with a sloping roof that harmonized in outline with the main roof. At the rear a small addition of the deep, bay-window type was added; this was to secure extra space for the newly arranged dining-room and the remodeled kitchen. Two small porches were built in addition to the new trellised entrance, giving a simple dignity to the old house, which has been painted white with green blinds.

As Remodeled As Remodeled

The grounds, rough and unkempt, with a stone wall defining a part of them, were beautified to afford a fitting environment for the new home, and to-day smooth sweeps of lawn and judicious groupings of shrubbery add in no small degree to the exterior attractiveness of the old homestead. A path of rough, irregular flagstones leads[Pg 225] to the main entrance, and a similar path winds from the street to a gateway in the outlying wall and opens into a charming garden plot that has been laid out just beyond the outdoor living-room. Planting has been judiciously carried out, and the estate has been brought to a fine state of cultivation, with the result that it has become an attractive setting for the remodeled house, which stands on the slope of a hill.

The interior required a great deal of altering, including much tearing down of partitions to suit present-day needs and to make broad, spacious rooms out of the tiny spaces which sufficed a century or more ago. There was installation of plumbing, lighting and heating devices, in order to meet the demands of modern life, and the New England attic was made over into servants' quarters that were sufficiently ample for a large country house.

A leaded glass door that shows fanlight above opens into a broad, low-ceilinged hall. At one side is a large fireplace, and a heavy beam crosses the ceiling. To the right is the new dining-room, to the left the living-room, and from the end of the hall opens the den, a passageway connecting this with the servants' department. In all the[Pg 226] rooms every detail of the old-fashioned construction has been retained. The fine woodwork shows the original paneling; the great fireplaces with their chimney closets have been preserved intact, and even the old, hand-made hardware has been retained for present-day use. Cupboards were discovered, when the coating of plaster and paper were removed, and are serving the same purpose in the twentieth-century home that they did years ago in the Colonial one; and the new cupboards that have been added seem to fit in as if they had always been there. The house in its entirety shows many points that are of unusual interest. The arrangement of the windows is particularly good, as are the chimneys, while the sweeping roof-line at the rear carries out the old contour and yet has been slightly changed to afford light and air to chambers inside. The semblance of the original farmhouse has been left unaltered, while the really radical changes have been tempered with a regard for the preservation of the old-time atmosphere.

The Living Room The Living Room

The living-room shows a typical old farmhouse room. The woodwork here is particularly good; there is a wainscot three feet high that comes above the lower sill of the window frame, and which is[Pg 227] paneled in doors and over the mantel. The fireplace has remained unchanged, being a Colonial one of huge size. The early period is evidenced in the absence of a mantel, which brings out the lines of the wonderful old woodwork to the greatest advantage. The andirons, instead of following the sixteenth or seventeenth-century type, represent griffins. A nightcap closet, introduced in the middle panel over the fireplace, shows the original H hinges of iron. When the house was first purchased, these were hidden away, and only when the original woodwork was reached were they discovered, restored, treated to a coat of white paint, and adapted to present use. This is a feature that is rarely found in the remodeled farmhouse of to-day. The walls are hung with a one-toned paper of soft coloring, while plain muslin curtains shade the windows. The old floor was re-laid with narrow boards over which are laid Daghestan rugs; Mission furniture is used. The lighting fixtures are of the Colonial type and placed at the sides only. The room contains many well-placed windows which give to it light and air.

Two Views of the Dining Room Two Views of the Dining Room

The dining-room is at the rear of the living-room and opens into it, being connected with a wide[Pg 228] opening so that, if need be, the rooms can be used as one, giving plenty of space for large dinner parties. Here the woodwork has been restored to its original charming simplicity and painted white to match that of the living-room. The walls have been covered with a dark-toned paper, and at one end, opposite the living-room, an alcoved recess has been added in order that its group of windows may give better lighting to the dining-room which is exposed to the outside on two sides only. The floors of this room, too, have been re-laid and handsomely polished, and are an effective foil to the domestic rug which is used. Here, also, the furniture follows the Mission style, in order to be in keeping with that of the living-room. The lighting fixtures are of the same type found in the adjoining room and are also side lights, considered more effective because softer than a ceiling light.

In order to let the light in from the hallway, windows were inserted which follow the early window casing in their plain style and contain small panes, there being no elaboration. They are placed on either side of the entrance door, which is glassed in the upper portion. Here, as all through the house, the early style of small-paned[Pg 229] windows has been retained. There are many reasons why these are advantageous: not only do they follow the period in which the house was built, carrying out details correctly, but when broken they are more easily replaced, though much harder to keep clean. These windows are usually placed near the ceiling, being designed for light and ornamentation, rather than as outlooks. The ornamental design which has been carried out in the arrangement of windows and door is unusual even in Colonial houses, where the low stud and the beamed ceiling helped much towards effectiveness.

This room was originally the kitchen and bedroom combined. The old fireplace has been preserved, as has the brick oven, and over it is a series of small closets such as are rarely found. There is a central closet and a smaller one on either side. Here the H hinges have been retained and also the old-time latches.

On the opposite side of the hall is the parlor, which corresponds in size to the living-room and shows equally fine woodwork. This was originally the parlor in the farther side of the double house and has been left practically its original shape and size, for in this part of the house very[Pg 230] little remodeling has been done. The old fireplace has been retained at the farther end of the room.

At the rear of this, what was once the sitting-room has been converted into an office. Beyond this room, the original kitchen on that side of the house and the shed have been thrown into a most attractive summer room.

In the story above there were formerly two large bedrooms on either side. These remain practically as they were and are furnished with Colonial pieces. The old attic, which originally was used for clutter, is now remodeled into servants' quarters and by the addition of the dormer windows has been made into comfortable rooms which can be kept cool during the warm weather by the cross draughts.

The architects were very wise in remodeling this house so as to show its extremely simple lines, for they give it individuality and character and accentuate certain features that were necessary to create of it a home for one family. There is no doubt that the alterations have been planned and executed with rare taste and discrimination.[Pg 231]


Henry W. Wright's House

People who possess old pieces of furniture often have very erroneous ideas as to their real age and call everything "Colonial" for want of a better name. They assume, that is, if they have not made a careful study of the subject, that anything belonging to their great grandmother must be at least two hundred years old. But, for instance, sideboards were not made two hundred years ago, and Chippendale never designed one; the nearest he came to it was a serving-table. People get an impression that he included this piece of furniture in his productions, but they are wrong in their assumption.

The revival of interest in "antiques" has caused many an heirloom that has been relegated to attic or storehouse to be brought out, renovated, and given a prominent place. Can we assign to each ancient article an approximate date or maker, it becomes much more valuable than the daintiest piece of up-to-date furniture. Worm-holes are a[Pg 232] sign of age and a proof of guarantee, that is, if the pieces are family possessions. There is so much cunning workmanship in remodeled furniture that this does not apply to every bit, though apparently original. It must be remembered that very few furnishings were brought over by the colonists, and the early houses were very scantily supplied.

The oldest furniture was made of oak; it was very heavy and showed more or less elaboration in carving. Chests made at this early period are often found in families where they have been carefully treasured since they were brought over the sea packed with clothing.

The three leading cabinetmakers were Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton. Chippendale was the earliest but was not appreciated until after his death. His masterpieces, which combined the Chinese, French, and Dutch models with ideas originated in his own brain, were so perfectly constructed that we find them in a fine state of preservation even to-day.

Lighter and more dainty in character were the designs of Hepplewhite, who cultivated a freedom of line such as was adopted by his predecessor, but who banished the Chippendale heaviness.[Pg 233] The Prince of Wales feather was a favorite design of his. Carved drapery, the belle-flower, and wheat were often used by him. A distinguishing mark was usually given to the backs of his chairs, which are either oval, heart, or shield-shaped. They were finished in japanned work and often inlaid in light and dark wood. The legs were generally much more slender than the Chippendale and often ended in what is known as a spade-foot.

Sheraton, who succeeded him, took advantage of the ideas of his forerunners and revealed a still more delicate touch, although he retained many of Hepplewhite's ideas which he strengthened and improved. The shield is rarely if ever found in a chair of his make, which can be distinguished by its rectangular back and its slender uprights, ranging in number from four to seven. The legs show a great many different styles, the best being straight, while carved, fluted, and twisted ones are also found. The general trend of fancy in those days was towards light, elegant designs and showy decorations. Sheraton indulged his fancy for brilliant coloring in the most gorgeously painted decorations, combining them with inlay and carving. Next he[Pg 234] introduced white and gold, following the French style, and still later the brass inlay so fashionable in Napoleon's day. Caned work was used for seats and was varied by coverings of needlework, morocco, striped and variegated horsehair, damasks, and fine printed silks. The curved piece which Sheraton introduced about 1800 remained the favorite chair pattern for a century, although it lost the brass mounts which he at first used. There is not much danger of confounding the three great masters, for each produced an entirely different style of furniture.

After the French Revolution, the furniture became markedly different in style; Greek models were once more popular, and the tripod became a favorite support. Coarse woods and mahogany were freely used and were carved and profusely gilded.

The Empire furniture which is so popular to-day was heavy and stiff in its early period, particularly so when of English make, but under American manipulation the beauty of the wood showed to the best advantage. Yet there is a certain appeal in its solidity and massiveness. When the darkened mahogany came into fashion an opportunity arose for the revival of brass and[Pg 235] wood that lent charm to the court of the Empress Josephine. Few good examples of the Empire style are found in remodeled farmhouses.

Old furniture is most interesting, and if you intend to furnish your remodeled farmhouse with it, do not fail to make a careful study of the subject before attempting it. It covers a wide field of makers, styles, and decorations, but the modern home affords ample scope for the employment of these old pieces, many of which have been brought down from the attic.

When Salem was in her highest and proudest days of mercantile prosperity, when her wharves were bustling scenes of unlading and shipping, when her harbor was a gathering place of quaintly rigged vessels, and great East-Indiamen labored under clouds of canvas, then from the holds of these cumbersome ships were discharged cargoes of rich furniture, teakwood, and sandalwood brought from every land. The wealth of these incoming treasures has made the quiet city prominent even until to-day. Here may be found many old heirlooms, and in the homes of the descendants of old shipmasters we frequently find rare pieces. These show to advantage in various remodeled farmhouses that have been[Pg 236] adopted as all-the-year-round homes by the last generation.

The Henry W. Wright House The Henry W. Wright House

Many fine old pieces are found in the home of Mr. Henry W. Wright at Danvers, Massachusetts. Some of them are of exceptional value and rare examples such as are seldom seen even in the homes of collectors. The farmhouse itself stands close to the road, a simple, plain, unostentatious building, yet showing good lines and careful treatment. The soft gray of the exterior and the white trim blend harmoniously with the green of the grass and the bright-colored flowers of the little garden. At the front of the house at each side stand tall elms that cast a grateful shade over the old farmhouse.

The entrance porch has been made square, its lattice, designed for the support of vines, taking away the plain look of the exterior. The windows are well spaced, and the small panes have been retained. At the side of the house a porch has been thrown out which can be glassed in as a living-room or sun-parlor during the winter and used as an out-of-door veranda during the summer months. It is so situated that it commands a picturesque view of the rolling country which is on every side.[Pg 237]

The big chimney, that was formerly the central feature of the house, has given way to two smaller ones, one on either end. The sloping roof has been treated to new shingles, while the exterior has been left practically as it was when built. The addition of green blinds has done much to soften what would otherwise be a rather bare exterior. The house is of the type that shows four rooms in each story.

The hallway has a castellated paper in gray and white and a winding staircase with box stairs and simple balusters and posts painted white and a mahogany rail. It is a simple little hall, small, compact, and truly Colonial in its type, with its Dutch armchair showing pierced slats of Chippendale influence. This chair was probably made about the time the house was built which was in the early part of the eighteenth century, the date not being definitely known.

The Living Room The Living Room

At the left of the hallway is the living-room, which is of the simple farmhouse type, lacking a wainscot but containing a simple mopboard and paneled door. The wide boards in the flooring have been retained here as well as in the dining-room,—plain-edged boards that, while laid close together, still show a crack between. This living-room[Pg 238] was in the early days used as living-room and bedroom; the space at the farther end, which was used as a closet into which the bed folded during the daytime, is now utilized as a bookcase and makes an interesting feature. The slat-back chair beside the bookcase is the most valuable type of its period, being made about 1750. It shows a turned knob. In chairs of this kind, which were more commonly used during the first part of the eighteenth century, the number of slats varied, the most common having three, while the rarest have five.

The gate-legged table is a good example, while the Chippendale chair is unusual, showing very graceful effect, with wonderfully delicate carving, and being of the best design. An equally rare example of a Hepplewhite chair, which is beautifully carved, is contained in the same room. In addition to these are banister and Sheraton chairs, as well as a fine example of girandole, uncommon from the fact that there is a pair exactly alike, and they are seen one on either side of the room.

The Dining Room The Dining Room

Opposite the living-room is the dining-room, and here the same correct furnishing has been used. The plain wainscot is of the early type, the lighting has Colonial fixtures, while the chairs[Pg 239] are painted Sheraton, being most unusual in that there is a whole set of the same pattern which are all originals. A wonderfully fine example of a mahogany dining-table has been utilized as a serving-table, and the silver is all of the Colonial pattern. Here one finds the low stud, but none of the exposed beams often found in old houses.

At the rear of the dining-room is the kitchen which is equipped with modern appliances. Leading from the dining-room at the left is a small room which has been fitted up as a music-room and den combined. It is a most livable room, there being no stiffness or formality in the arrangement of the furniture, and each piece of furniture proves a fitting foil for its mate. The wall hangings are not of the Colonial type; they are plain gray and bring out to advantage the setting of furniture, pictures, and ornaments in the room.

In the upper hall is found a fine old carved chest of the Jacobean period. This is considered one of the best examples of chests in existence, being wonderfully carved, of solid oak, and probably used originally as a dower chest. Leading off from the hallway are four large, square chambers, each one correctly furnished with Colonial pieces, many of which are family heirlooms.[Pg 240] Here, where modern lighting has been introduced, the Colonial type of fixtures has been carefully maintained. In all the house there is no central light, all the lights being at the side. In the upper story as well as the lower, the wide flooring has been retained, as it was found in such excellent condition it could easily be used.

Two Noteworthy Chambers Two Noteworthy Chambers

The steeple-topped andirons in the simple fireplace, the painted mirror, and the old brass candlesticks of one chamber are most appropriately chosen. The Field bed has a canopy of white with ball fringe which is an exact replica of the old-time draping. Rag mats have been used for the floor; they are not the common braided ones but woven rugs which are more suitable. Alcoved recesses are shown on either side of the fireplace; in one of them a six-legged, high chest of drawers with china steps, designed about 1720, shows drop handles, and is ornamented with rare old family china. On the opposite side is a wing or Martha Washington chair of the Sheraton type. The bureau, 1815, is a fine example of the period, while the swell-front, Hepplewhite bureau with the oval, pressed-brass handles and the painted mirror above are in conformity with the general scheme. A banister-backed[Pg 241] chair with a rush bottom stands at one side of the bed.

Very unusual is the Colonial wall-paper which is found in a second chamber, while eighteenth-century andirons are used in the fireplace which is still of the original size and which shows a plain Colonial mantel. In this chamber, as in the other, there is a very plain wainscot of boards placed horizontally. An Empire bed which has wonderfully beautiful carving is shown in this room, and also a very unusual chair known as a comb-back rocker and dating about 1750. The rugs here are of the Arts and Crafts style, while the bureau and writing-table have cabriole legs and secret drawers, the central one with rising sun or fan carving.

Every piece in this house is genuine, for they all are heirlooms or pieces that have been carefully chosen, since the owner is an expert in determining period and correct types. It is a well-known fact that to-day one has to be a careful student of furniture not to be deceived. The popularity of the Colonial period, more especially since the vogue of the modified Colonial house, has led many a fakir to reproduce the lines of the genuine antique. Skilful workmen are employed[Pg 242] to manufacture these pieces, and they are able, by imitating worm-holes, dentation, and other distinguishing marks, to put on the market pieces whose genuineness even the antique dealer is puzzled to decide.

All through the country the value of antiques is becoming better and better known, so that it is far more difficult to obtain bargains than it was even five years ago. To-day, so great has grown the demand, people who before were unaware of the worth of their heirlooms have been led to overestimate their value and they now ask fabulous sums for pieces hitherto neglected and ignored.[Pg 243]



When your house is remodeled, be careful what kind of paint you use for both outside and inside finish. A variation from the right tone will mar the whole effect. So much depends on this that one should not copy from houses of to-day but turn back to the style of a century ago, so that in this particular, at least, the house shall correspond with the old Colonial idea.

Few, if any, care to use a weathered exterior, that is, unless the scientifically treated shingles that will soon turn a silver gray are employed. There are two reasons why your house should be painted: one is that it preserves the wood and if rightly treated is fireproof; the second is that it gives the finish a far better appearance than it would have without paint. Every house needs paint of some kind to improve its appearance, whether it be oil paint or stain.

There are many different brands found to-day, and they are of every conceivable color, so that[Pg 244] you have a wide range of choice. It is always safe to use one made by a reliable concern or one hand-mixed, if both white lead and linseed oil are absolutely pure. There is nothing more variable in quality than paint, and even experts are puzzled at times and it is necessary to have a chemical analysis in order to determine between good and bad.

For exterior use the proper kind should be a mixture of pure white lead and linseed oil or pure zinc white and linseed oil. Manufacturers, more especially those of white lead paints, will insist that theirs is the only kind to use, and the zinc paint producers will do likewise, but a reliable dealer or architect will inform you correctly. One of the first colors to be used on any house is white,—in all probability there is nothing as durable as this. The reason for it is that the ingredients used have greater wearing qualities than any of the other pigments. There is a complaint that it is apt to yellow with age and become discolored, but in reality it remains unchanged longer than almost any other color. Green blinds secure the best effect, or trellises that relieve the monotony of the white. This the old farmers realized, and it is one of the reasons why[Pg 245] it was so much used. If your house is shingled, there are a great many shades of gray that need a white trim, and there is no color that harmonizes with every other as well as this.

There are a great many reliable stains for shingles; do not let the painter mix the stain himself, because that carefully prepared by a manufacturer is generally superior both in color and durability. In mixing these stains, both Creosote and oil are used, there being on the market to-day excellent brands of both kinds.

The repainting of the country house is a necessary evil that recurs periodically. We tire of one color as we weary of an old dress, and this leads to a different tone of coloring each time. For instance, the white house is changed possibly to a Colonial yellow or a gray, and with its new coat it seems to take on a new lease of life. The fall of the year is the best time for the painting, as the dry October weather is especially suited for good results. During the summer months there are insects flying about and too much dust. By October the outside has had time to cool after the heat and is in good condition for treatment.

The time to paint is before the house gets shabby, when the paint is powdery or porous. It can be[Pg 246] tested with either a knife or the finger, and if the old paint chips off, soaks up water, or can be rubbed off like a powder with the finger, it no longer protects the wood and needs another coat. With this covering of paint, wood will last practically forever, and as lumber is expensive, it is greater economy to keep your house properly painted.

The cost of painting is a serious problem to many house owners and is never alluded to by an agent when selling a house; to the novice it does not occur, so eager is he to secure for himself a new home. At the end of the second year, its freshness is dimmed through exposure to wind and storm, and at the end of the third season, it is shabby and needs a new covering. In attempting to figure the cost, it is necessary to ascertain the square feet on the outside. Any painter has a rule for this, making allowances for errors. Windows and doors are considered as plain surfaces that are to be treated to paint even though only the sills and sides are in need of it.

Good exterior paint costs from three to five dollars a gallon, and a painter can put on one hundred square yards in a day for the first coat and seventy-five for the second. This gives the[Pg 247] house owner a little idea of what it will cost, although it is best to make a regular bargain with the architect to cover this expense.

For interior finish, white is always preferable. It seems to be the proper treatment for any Colonial home. To be sure, if you are planning for a den, a dark color can be used and also a stain for the kitchen part of the house.

In searching for a farmhouse to be converted into a country home, Mr. Howland S. Chandler of Boston chanced upon an old house at Needham, Massachusetts, that seemed to meet his requirements. It was a square-framed house, two stories and a half in height, with a kitchen ell at the rear. It was not handsome but quite ordinary in appearance and without any unusual exterior features. It was not even a seventeenth-century house but was built in 1801, and it was in such good condition and the frame was so sound that it hardly deserved the term "old."

The Howland S. Chandler House The Howland S. Chandler House

The farmhouse fronted the southwest, so that its main rooms were dark, with little sunlight, while the rear was flooded with light and very cheerful. There were delightful views from this part of the house which overlooked a merry, gurgling brook, the mill-pond, and the distant[Pg 248] hills. But this idea had not entered the minds of the former owners, who had given little consideration to the subject and with no forethought had inserted only two small windows, one in the kitchen and the other in a bedroom. Evidently their idea was to sacrifice view to arrangement, for to their minds, houses should be built parallel to the street and with the "best room" at the front.

The Howland S. Chandler House—End View The Howland S. Chandler House—End View

The grounds showed little care, but in remodeling a brick-paved terrace was arranged at the left just outside the original parlor. An old-fashioned garden was planted near the kitchen end, and a trellis enclosed the clothes-yard. The grounds in front of the house have been laid out in well-trimmed lawns, while a brick walk now leads from the sidewalk to the house. A feature of the house is a large, overhanging elm which affords shade and picturesqueness; fresh shrubbery has been attractively planted, and vines trained to clamber over latticed work and the trellised porch which is at the front of the house. Dormer windows have been added to the roof, and the simple little farmhouse has been converted into a most attractive all-the-year-round home.

In the process of remodeling, the original house[Pg 249] was left unchanged, and additions were depended upon for development. A good-sized porch with brick floor and high-backed settles at the side replaced the unattractive, old-time entrance, while the dormers relieved the long, monotonous roof-line and afforded light to the apartment constructed from the formerly unfinished attic space. Just outside the original parlor, beside the shed space, an addition has been built that runs midway of the shed to the line of the chimney in the parlor, and without a large covered veranda is added. To the kitchen ell an addition of about four feet was made to provide space for a vestibule within the new back door and also to secure extra space at one side of the room so that a window might be inserted.

Due attention was paid to the rear, in the matter of windows, and here were laid out the rooms which would be most frequently used. In consequence of the rearrangement, the interior is practically wholly changed. The shed was remodeled into a charming sewing-room that opens at one side on to a veranda, and the new addition was combined with the little bedroom and a small portion from the parlor to secure space for a library. This made possible a doorway to the[Pg 250] dining-room and sewing-room, and a broad open space to the living-room.

The Sun-Parlor The Sun-Parlor

The old-time parlor showed two deep closets beside the fireplace. One of these was torn out, a window was inserted in the outer wall, and a seat was built beneath it. The other was made into an opening into the library. This arrangement secured additional light and at the same time permitted a glimpse of the picturesque rear view.

In the dining-room several alterations were made, resulting in a complete change in shape and size. Oblique walls replace the two rear corners, one containing the doorway leading to the library, and the other affording entrance and furnishing some space for the china closet which was inserted between the dining-room and the kitchen. The single window on the southeast was replaced by a semi-octagonal bow recess. This was fitted with small lights of glass and affords space for the grouping of many plants and incidentally adds a touch of distinct picturesqueness.

The kitchen received its share of consideration during the process of remodeling, resulting in the substitution of a pleasant, convenient apartment in place of the conspicuous, ill-lighted,[Pg 251] original one. There was added at the right of the vestibule a built-in refrigerator, and about the side walls of the room newly built-in cupboards were grouped.

Two important changes in the body of the house consisted in the enlargement of the cellar, made necessary by the greater space required for the modern heating apparatus, and in the substitution of the original, small-paned type of window for the two panes which had been inserted to take the place of the old ones.

The Hall The Hall

The entrance hall at the front of the house is a small apartment hung with landscape paper of the Colonial period; a staircase with one landing and a half turn in its flight, showing white balusters and mahogany top, leads to the second story. In the lighting, the Colonial idea is attained by the use of a lantern, while under the stairs is a closet opened by a brass door-pull.

The Living Room The Living Room

At the left is the living-room, with dull red hangings and a white wainscot that provides a fitting background for the wonderful old mahogany found in this room. There are some rare Dutch chairs sometimes known as Queen Anne from the opening that is found on either side of the central slat, designed about 1710, and the[Pg 252] earliest of that design. There is a refreshing simplicity and a dignified air to this room, brought about in part by the simple Colonial fireplace with its steeple-topped andirons, and the well-spaced windows that let plenty of sunlight into the apartment.

On the opposite side of the room is the dining-room which is finished with tapestry hanging in dark green, brown, and yellow, with a design of pine cones and needles that contrasts prettily with the white wainscot. A slight reduction in the height of the window casing affords an opportunity to carry the wall-paper and moldings across the windows and doors, thus avoiding the cramped effect of too high window arrangement. The original floor has been replaced by a new one, and a cheerful atmosphere has been given to the room by opening a semicircular bay up for a small conservatory which can be closed or opened at pleasure by the use of glass doors.

The Den The Den

The library has been finished in dark brown with low bookcases extending around part of the room, corresponding in color with the woodwork. The hangings are tan color, and the furniture is partly Colonial and partly modern, to meet the demands of a den. This is one of the pleasantest[Pg 253] rooms in the house, having a delightful outlook; combined with the sewing-room and living-room opening from it, it makes a charming and conveniently arranged interior.

The Kitchen The Kitchen

The kitchen at the rear of the house has been altered with the idea of saving steps. This is shown in the numberless closets at the right, for flour barrel and other supplies. At the left is the kitchen cupboard, while the china is in the built-in closet above and the groceries in the drawers below. The sink has a shelf underneath to hold the dishpan and drainer. The whole color tone, including the beamed ceiling, is a dark stain with lighter wall finish.

This house is an interesting example of successful and artistic remodeling, the interior and exterior being in harmony and giving the result of a comfortable and attractive home which was secured at much less cost than if an entirely new house had been built.

The houses described in this book cover but the merest fraction of the homes and summer places evolved from old-fashioned farmhouses. They are scattered broadcast through New England, sometimes isolated on roads which still[Pg 254] retain their country atmosphere, sometimes surrounded by the town which has outgrown its early limits, and sometimes the center of a large estate. Each has its individual charm, its special beauties, but wherever found these remodeled farmhouses testify to the stanchness of early American workmanship and to the appreciation of modern Americans for their forefathers' handiwork. Certainly many a one of the latter "builded better than he knew."[Pg 255]


Adams family, 128.
Hannah, 122.

Adden, W. P., 180.

Adden house, W. P., 180-186.
age, 181.
chimney, 182-183.
hardware, 184, 185.
location, 180.
porches, 183-184.
remodeling, 182-186.
type, 181.

Andirons, 11, 12, 68, 125, 194, 208-210, 216, 217, 219, 227, 240, 241, 252.
Hessian, 210.

Arches, 81, 119.

Attics, 6, 164, 186, 224, 225, 230.

Balusters, 114-115.

Barns, 2, 25, 65-70, 137, 191, 196-197.

Barnard house, George E., 169-176.
breakfast-room, 173.
color scheme, 175.
den, 172.
dining-room, 174.
location, 169.
picture effect, 170, 174.
remodeling, 170-174.

Bathrooms, 14, 25, 35, 47, 97, 202, 204, 218.

Beams, 7, 20, 29, 34, 36, 46, 47, 55, 58, 66, 75, 94, 102, 122, 130, 131, 151, 185, 197, 203, 215.

Bedrooms, 13, 24, 25, 26, 36, 47, 59, 83, 108, 121, 122, 133, 148, 164, 175, 195, 206, 218, 230, 239.

Billiard-room, 68.

Blinds, 79, 237.
inside, 80.
paneled, 75.
slat, 45, 75.
solid, 45, 75.
Venetian, 56.

Boston, Massachusetts, 18, 42, 77, 122, 151.

Boulder Farm, 76-83.
arch, 81.
history, 76-77.
improvements, 78-79.
location, 76, 78.
parlor, 80.

Bradford, Governor, 206.

Breakfast-rooms, 44, 47, 133, 173-174.

Brett house, Franklin, 201-207.
age, 201.
dining-room, 206.
floors, 202.
heating, 204.
living-room, 205.
location, 201.
paneling, 207.
repairs, 203.
type, 202.

Bricks, 126, 132.

Brown, Doctor, 7.

Brown, Davenport, 116.

Brown house, Davenport, 116-123.
age, 116.
bedroom, 122.
dining-room, 120.
furnishings, 119, 120, 121, 122.
grounds, 122-123.
living-room, 119.
location, 116.
nursery, 121.
porches, 116, 117, 118.
remodeling, 116-122.
type, 116.

Brown, Deacon Philip, 76, 77.

Burroughs, George, 53.

Cape Cod, 33, 105.

Cataumet, Massachusetts, 158.

Ceilings, beamed, 12, 21, 25, 45, 55, 96, 152, 153, 162, 205-206, 225, 253.
vaulted, 144.

Cellars, 7, 30, 98, 251.

Chambers, see Bedrooms.

Chandler house, Howard S., 247-253.
age, 247.
dining-room, 250, 252.
grounds, 248.
kitchen, 253.
library, 252.
living-room, 251.
location, 247.
remodeling, 247-253.
type, 247.
views, 247, 249, 250.

Charles River, Massachusetts, 41.

Chimneys, 7, 9, 18, 19, 31, 43, 50, 53, 69-70, 105, 116, 125, 144, 182-183, 203, 217, 237, 249.

Clapboards, 7, 40-41, 106.

Closets, 10, 23, 52, 55, 95, 96, 109, 132, 142, 148, 205, 218, 220-222, 226, 229, 250, 251, 253.
chimney, 57, 218, 222, 226.
china, 35, 46, 57, 68, 120, 153, 172, 185, 197, 220, 221, 250.
corner, 23, 46, 163, 206, 220-221.
linen, 222.
nightcap, 23, 107.
secret, 23, 207, 221.
wainscot, 221, 222.

Concord, New Hampshire, 77.

Cottages, fishermen's, 28.
"flecked," 33, 105.

Cupboards, see Closets.

Curtis, Frederick H., 42.

Curtis house, Frederick H., 42-48.
age, 42.
furnishings, 48.
hardware, 48.
heating, 48.
lighting, 48.
lines of, 43-44.
location, 41-42.
new wing, 44.
remodeling, 43-48.
stairway, 45.
veranda, 47.

Danvers, Massachusetts, 236.

Dens, 12, 46, 58, 83, 104, 121, 131, 173, 193, 216.

Dining-rooms, 10, 11, 23, 34, 46, 56-57, 68, 81-82, 95, 96, 103, 107, 120, 133, 142, 152, 162, 174, 185, 206, 217, 227, 238, 250, 252.

Doors, 6, 10, 32, 45, 71-73, 180.
batten, 72, 122.
French, 98, 107, 133.
front, 18, 54, 71, 92, 106, 150, 161, 178, 192, 202.
glass, 12, 34, 47, 58, 68, 225, 252.
panel, 72.
secret, 45.

Door-frames, 54, 73, 117, 157.

Door lights, bull's-eye, 72, 92.
fanlight, 117, 192, 225.
side, 73, 117.
top, 73.
transom, 72.

Dover, Massachusetts, 42, 65, 211.

Drainage, 17.

Drawing-room, 104.

Dudley, Harry, 77.

Duxbury, Massachusetts, 88, 89.

Ells, 8, 9, 43, 44, 51, 53, 66, 78, 83, 91, 98, 116, 134, 139, 145, 148, 150, 161, 181, 212, 217, 249.
brick, 58.

Everett, Edward, 151.

Farmhouses, architectural treatment, 71, 100, 138, 146.
axis, 50-51, 116.
Colonial, 49, 223.
construction, 49-51, 116, 147, 148.
cottages, 28, 29.
examination, 29-33.
frame, 7, 106.
Georgian, 51, 75, 76, 83, 116.
heating, 48, 59, 62-65, 102, 204.
individuality, 84-88, 146, 187.
lighting, 48, 102, 103, 109, 192, 196, 251.
lines, 2, 3, 8, 15, 28, 29, 38, 147.
location, 8, 16, 17, 18, 33, 41-42, 53, 62, 65, 66, 76, 78, 88-89, 105, 116, 127, 136, 138, 143, 149, 158, 169, 180, 190, 201, 212, 223, 236, 247.
painting, 242-247.
remodeling, 8, 9-14, 19-26, 34-36, 43-48, 52, 54-60, 66-70, 78-83, 90-99, 101-104, 105-108, 111-123, 130-134, 139-145, 147, 150-154, 159-164, 170-174, 182-186, 201-207, 214-219, 223-230, 236-240, 247-253.

Fireback, 126.

Fireplace fittings, 68, 82, 125, 126, 131, 208, 209, 210-211, 216, 217.

Fireplaces, 3, 11, 13, 22, 24, 31, 35, 46, 50, 55, 56, 58, 62, 67, 68, 80, 82, 95, 107, 120, 121, 122, 124-127, 130, 142, 143, 144, 153, 157, 162, 175, 185, 188, 193, 205, 218, 227, 230, 240, 250, 252.

Fences, 106, 123, 137, 140, 144, 159, 160.

Flagstones, 75, 167, 224.

Fletcher, Grace, 77.

Floors, 21, 30, 32, 35, 46, 55, 82, 114, 132, 134, 142, 144, 198-200, 228, 237, 240, 252.
brick, 44, 118.
tiled, 117, 212, 216.

Flower-boxes, 118, 134, 191.

French and Indian War, 23.

Frieze, 22, 24, 25, 216.

Fuller, Mrs. Genevieve, 65.

Furnaces, 65.

Furniture, 22, 56, 59, 80, 81, 83, 108, 118, 119, 120, 121, 132, 133, 139, 152, 163, 184, 194, 196, 205, 206, 215, 219, 231-235, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 251, 252.
Adams, 56.
Chippendale, 13, 134, 232, 238.
Empire, 80, 120, 164, 175, 234, 235, 241.
Field, 121, 196, 240.
Hepplewhite, 57, 134, 206, 232, 238, 240.
home-made, 26.
Jacobean, 239.
Mission, 227, 228.
old-fashioned, 26, 37, 46, 59, 68, 96, 108, 121, 131, 143, 153, 172, 173, 193, 195, 230, 235, 239.
Queen Anne, 120, 251.
Sheraton, 11, 47, 48, 119, 122, 134, 153, 233, 238, 239, 240.
white enamel, 48.
willow, 9, 46, 163, 171, 176.

Gables, 38, 40, 41, 66.

Gage, Doctor Homer, 5.

Gardens, 106, 123, 129, 166-168, 170.
old-fashioned, 6, 19, 98, 140, 143, 160, 184, 195, 213, 248.
water, 9, 19, 213.

Georgetown, Massachusetts, 18.

Girandoles, 120, 238.

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 149.

Green Meadows, 53-60.
age, 53.
alterations, 54-60.
dining-room, 57.
door, 54.
heating, 59.
living-room, 55.
location, 53.
reception-room, 56.
type, 53.
wing, 58.

Grills, 60, 64.

Grounds, 9, 18, 89, 118, 122, 123, 129, 134, 135, 137, 138, 140, 141, 150, 159, 167-168, 182, 206, 213, 214, 224, 248.

Hall, George D., 211.
house, see Lone Tree Farm.

Hallways, 10, 23, 45, 50, 51, 54, 92, 96, 97, 118, 151, 163, 171, 184, 192, 204, 205, 215, 237, 251.

Hangings, 13, 22, 55, 56, 96, 97, 108, 109, 119, 120, 134, 163, 172, 173, 189, 190, 192, 193, 194, 205, 207, 218, 227, 239, 251, 252.

Hardware, 12, 48, 55, 177-180.

Harvey, Governor Matthew, 77.

Heating, by fireplaces, 62.
hot-air, 48, 59, 64.
hot-water, 63, 64, 204.
steam, 63, 64.
stoves, 63.

Hinges, H, 180, 184, 227.
H and L, 55, 177, 179, 180, 184, 185.
strap, 12.

Hollis, Maine, 190.

Hopkins house, Walter Scott, 223-230.
age, 223.
attic, 230.
closets, 226, 227, 229.
dining-room, 227, 228.
grounds, 224, 225.
hardware, 227, 229.
lighting, 227.
living-rooms, 224, 226, 227.
location, 223
parlor, 229.
remodeling, 223-230.
type, 223.

Hopkinton, New Hampshire, 76.

Howard, Philip B., 42.

Hunt, William H., 153.

Ingraham, George Hunt, 8.

Inches, Doctor Charles E., 127.

Inches house, Charles E., 127-135.
age, 127.
den, 131.
dining-room, 133.
furnishings, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135.
gardens, 129.
grounds, 129, 134, 135.
living-room, 132.
location, 127.
remodeling, 130-134.
swimming-pool, 129.
value, 128.
whipping-tree, 128.

Ipswich, Massachusetts, 169.

Iristhorpe, 6-14.
age, 6.
architectural treatment, 13.
guest house, 14.
iris motive, 9.
lines, 8, 14.
location, 6.
remodeling, 8-13.

Jewett house, see Limovody.

Josephine, Empress, 235.

Kelly, William, 77.

Killam and Hopkins (Architects), 64.

Kimball, Mrs. William Otis, 20.

Kitchens, 10, 36, 44, 50, 95, 98, 108, 130, 148, 204, 239, 250, 253.

Kittredge, Mabel L., 33.

Kittredge house, 33-37.
chimney, 36, 37.
furnishings, 37.
lines, 34.
location, 33.
remodeling, 34-36.
size, 33.

Knockers, 178.

Lafayette, General, 153.

Latches, 12, 48, 55, 177, 179, 184, 185.

Lavatories, 10, 185.

Lean-to, Dutch, 18.

Libraries, 10, 12, 22, 46, 104, 252.

Lighting, 103.
candles, 48, 109.
electric, 48.
lamps, 48, 109.
lanterns, 192, 196, 251.

Limovady, 18-27.
age, 18.
bedrooms, 25, 26.
lines, 20.
location, 18.
lounge room, 25.
Missionary room, 24.
"priest hole," 23.
remodeling, 19-26.
studio, 24.

Lincoln, Roland C., 149.
Mrs. Roland C., 152.

Little Orchard, 149-154.
age, 150.
china, 152.
fireplace, 153.
furnishings, 152, 153.
location, 149.
name, 152.
remodeling, 150-154.
staircase, 151.

Living-rooms, 10, 11, 21, 22, 34, 45, 55, 58, 67, 81, 94, 95, 103, 107, 119, 132, 153, 184, 194, 203, 204, 205, 214, 215, 226, 237, 251.
outdoor, 8, 9, 12, 21, 44, 68, 79, 118, 139, 142, 144, 151, 171, 224.

Loeffler, Charles Martin, 137, 138, 142, 144.

Loeffler house, 136-146.
atmosphere, 141, 145.
grounds, 140, 141.
location, 136, 138, 143.
music room, 144.
remodeling, 139-144.

Loggia, 213.

Londonderry, New Hampshire, 76, 77.

Lone Tree Farm, 211-219.
age, 211.
dining-room, 217.
furnishings, 215-219.
grounds, 214.
living-room, 215.
location, 212.
sitting-room, 218.
smoke-house, 214, 215.
remodeling, 214-219.
vistas, 216, 217.
wing, 212.

Magnolia, Massachusetts, 149.

Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, 149.

Mantels, 157, 216, 217, 241.

Medfield, Massachusetts, 116, 127.

Morning-rooms, 10, 12, 44, 175, 204, 205.

Music-rooms, 144, 196, 239.

Nawn Farm, 65-70.
alterations, 66-70.
chimney, 70.
dining-room, 68.
living-room, 67.
location, 65, 66.
windows, 66, 70.

Needham, Massachusetts, 247.

Newburyport, Massachusetts, 21.

New York City, 105.

North Duxbury, Massachusetts, 201.

Nurseries, 121, 186.

Office, 230.

Out-buildings, 7, 91, 99, 138.

Ovens, brick, 11, 12, 82, 127, 131, 181, 217, 229.
Dutch, 24.

Overmantel, 22.

Paint, 9, 21, 42, 45, 134, 140, 161, 191, 202, 203, 214, 224, 243-247.

Paneling, 12, 23, 55, 58, 94, 95, 120, 130, 154, 162, 207, 217, 219, 221, 222, 226.
Japanese, 13.

Parlors, 50, 80, 105, 163, 229, 250.
sun, 216, 236.

Partitions, 148.
removal of, 20, 34, 46, 52, 54, 82, 102, 103, 203, 204.

Pergolas, 123, 140, 203, 207.

Pewter, 46, 57, 131.

Piazza, see Porches.

Plate-rail, 107.

Porch columns, 44, 73, 78, 79, 92, 111, 112, 114, 117, 224.

Porches, 3, 34, 40, 42, 47, 79, 93, 103, 106, 111-116, 117, 138, 139, 150, 161, 170, 183, 184, 192, 202, 212, 213, 224, 236, 249.
Colonial, 8, 44, 92, 204, 214.
Georgian, 73, 78, 111, 112.
sleeping, 40, 44, 47, 59, 67, 79, 110, 115, 117, 140, 213, 214.
types of, 112.

Porch railings, 114.

Portico, 117.

Putnam, John Pickering, 122.

Quillcote, 190-197.
barn, 196, 197.
china, 195, 196.
furnishings, 193, 194, 196.
location, 190.
type, 190.
wall-papers, 193, 194.

Quincy, Massachusetts, 128.

Radiators, 64.

Reading, Massachusetts, 180, 223.

Reception-rooms, 56, 104, 153, 173, 174.

Registers, 59.

Revolution, American, 6, 29, 50, 156.
French, 234.

Roofs, 19, 29, 31, 34, 38-40, 43, 44, 66, 91, 113, 148, 190, 224, 226.
flat, 44.
gambrel, 38, 149, 181.
hipped, 39.
overhang, 41, 75.
pitched (gable), 6, 38, 44, 91, 105, 139, 202, 237.

Rugs, Arts and Crafts, 24.
fur, 194.
modern, 217.
Oriental, 55, 200, 201, 205, 227.
rag, 46, 48, 59, 108, 134, 162, 192, 200, 201, 205, 240.

Salem, Massachusetts, 150, 235.

Saugus, Massachusetts, 126.

Screen, Japanese, 13.

Servants' rooms, 11, 43, 47, 83, 108, 134, 225.

Service departments, 10, 11, 43, 59, 69, 78, 103, 116, 121, 171, 175, 191, 206.

Serving-room, 249.

Shaw, Mrs. Josephine Hartwell, 89, 98.

Shingles, 41, 91, 106, 149, 243, 245.

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, 6, 134, 149.

Shrubbery, 167, 168, 213, 224, 248.

Shutters, see Blinds.

Sill, 30.

Sitting-room, 218.

Sleeping-porches, see Porches.

Smith, Nora, 195.

South Dennis, Massachusetts, 105.

South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, 33, 105.

Spencer, Robert, 105.

Spencer house, 105-109.
fence, 106.
furniture, 108, 109.
lighting, 109.
location, 105.
new wing, 105, 106.
windows, 106.

Staircases, 4, 10, 23, 45, 50, 51, 68, 80, 93, 107, 118, 132, 136, 142, 151, 153, 184, 192, 214, 251.

Stoves, 63.

Stud, 30, 66, 106, 117.
low, 13, 44, 52, 56, 102, 152, 154, 205, 239.

Three Acres, 88-99.
living-room, 95.
location, 88, 89.
restoration, 90-99.
studio, 98.
type, 91.
vistas, 96.
windows, 92, 97.

Tiles, 125.

"Tired of Work" (picture), 153.

Trees, 4, 15, 18, 19, 42, 78, 88, 91, 105, 123, 127, 128, 129, 134, 140, 141, 144, 150, 167, 212, 213, 236, 248.

Verandas, see Porches.

Wainscot, 22, 35, 46, 55, 57, 80, 81, 118, 120, 130, 143, 155-157, 163,173, 192, 221, 226, 238, 241, 251, 252.

Wakefield, F. M., 42.

Walls, 29, 41, 46, 47, 67, 69, 83, 96, 130, 133, 148, 155-157, 173, 215.
burlap, 23, 45.
exterior, 40, 41.
grass-cloth, 47, 67, 143.
painted, 21, 24, 25, 35, 68.
papered, 23, 45, 48, 55, 56,
57, 59, 69, 81, 83, 119,
122, 163, 227, 228.
plastered, 36, 107, 156.
sheathed, 144, 155.
stone, 128, 140, 149, 182, 212, 224.
tapestry, 252.

Wall-papers, 3, 20, 23, 48, 80, 97, 132, 188-190.
castellated, 237.
Colonial, 46, 82, 172, 184, 188, 196, 241.
foliage, 81.
Georgian, 55.
Japanese, 97.
landscape, 21, 57, 59, 119, 164, 175, 193, 194, 251.
Morris, 151, 152.

Wall-papers, Mother Goose, 121.

Walpole, Massachusetts, 127.

Water supply, 17, 204.

Webster, Daniel, 77.

White house (Salem), 150.

Wiggin, Kate Douglas, 190, 197.

Willowdale, 158-165.
additions, 161.
age, 158.
dining-room, 162.
garden, 160.
lines, 159.
location, 158.
parlor, 163.
tree, 162.
woodwork, 165.

Window casings, 74.
muntins, 73, 74.

Windows, 6, 9, 34, 35, 52, 58, 66, 73, 78, 102, 119, 141, 148, 154, 218, 226.
bay, 92, 224, 250, 252.
casement, 74, 93, 94, 97, 193.
dormer, 8, 34, 36, 40, 54, 92, 97, 106, 115, 154, 161, 171, 213, 224, 248.
eyebrow, 212.
French, 102, 143, 145, 163, 172, 174, 206.
gable, 104.
oval, 44, 112.
small-paned, 24, 34, 74, 132, 228, 236, 251.
triple, 45, 69, 82, 107.

Window-seats, 36, 58, 67, 119, 153, 194, 216, 218, 250.

Wings, see Ells.

Wood, cypress, 41.
gum, 67.
hemlock, 98.
oak, 155, 199, 200.
fumed, 68.
swamp, 21, 125.
pine, hard, 200.
North Carolina, 68, 199.
pumpkin, 4, 158.
swamp, 23.
white, 2, 7, 41, 156.

Woodwork, 3, 4, 7, 11, 12, 13,
22, 23, 24, 25, 35, 45, 46,
48, 55, 56, 58, 59, 68, 80,
82, 95, 107, 120, 121, 122,
131, 142, 155-158, 165, 184,
192, 215, 219, 226, 227, 228.

Worcester, Massachusetts, 5.

Wren, Sir Christopher, 146.

Wright, Henry W., 236.

Wright house, 236-241.
furniture, 237-241.
lighting, 238, 240.
location, 236.
remodeling, 236-240.
type, 236, 237.

End of Project Gutenberg's Remodeled Farmhouses, by Mary H. Northend


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