Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunday Meander - House of Seven Gables

I have been super busy this summer with my huge house project (check out my sneak peak here).  Working my full time gig during the week and painting (as well as attempting to keep up some semblance of a social life) on weekends has kept me hopping. 
To keep me entertained while painting I have been downloading audio books to my IPhone from my local library.  It’s been a great opportunity to catch up on the classics while multitasking.  One local author classic that was on my list was Nathanial Hawthorn's The House of Seven Gables …living just a couple of miles from the actual house in Salem MA makes this a must read…I love that I live in an area with such a rich history!
So, a beautiful Sunday meander has definitely been overdue and a couple of weeks ago I decided to visit The House of Seven Gables and wow what a beautifully cool place.  It has the most magnificent front vista (being right on the ocean). 
Beautiful vista on a beautiful summer day.
photo courtesy of Coastal Home Magazine

Beautiful vista on the day I visited...not so sunny but
magnificent none-the-less

The house itself is not unusual for 1600’s New England – parts original to 1600’s and parts from centuries since.  There were many renovations and reconstructions between 1655 and 1908 but the last renovation in 1908 was done with the sole purpose of turning it into a museum that honored both the original property as well as the fictional House of Seven Gables from Nathaniel Hawthorn’s novel.

Street view of The House of Seven Gables..there are 3
of the seven in this shot (peaks that don't join at the
top of the roof line are considered dormers...not gables).
Can you imagine this loveliness in your back yard?? I can
(but of course not the work required)

One of the original features is the verdigris greenish gray paint treatment that was on much of the woodwork.  There is very little question with the quality of detail put into the construction (can you say carved moldings & gorgeous paneling anyone) and the number of rooms in this home it was built (and rebuilt in many times) by families with extensive budgets.

Verdigris Green Paint original to 1655.
Looks pretty fab for almost 400 years
photo courtesy of Landry & Acari

The wallpapers are all period reproductions...true to the era
but recently produced.  If you're a wallpaper person
(I am) you will love the gorgeous papers in this house.
photo courtesy of Landry & Acari

Fabrics are also period reproductions.  Most of the furniture
is not 17th century design but pulled from the Federalist
era of the house.
photo courtesy of Landry & Acari
One odd little thing though, many of the ceilings were very low (maybe 6’ or a few inches more).  Our tour guide told us that contrary to popular belief ceilings were not lower because people were shorter 400 years ago but more in an effort to save the cost of heating.  Totally makes sense here in New England….now I’m actually kind of appreciating that I don’t have any vaulted ceilings in my home.
Very soon on a beautiful day this fall you will find me having
a lovely relaxing lunch at one of these tables in that are set
 up for visitors at the ocean front edge of the property.

PS:  If you haven't read Nathanial Hawthorn's classic book "The House of Seven Gables" (find book review/excerpts here), you should.  It really was a great read!

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