Eventually, when I create posts about my house, I will go room-by-room and share each room’s story, whether it’s about what I’ve already done, what I’m working on now, or what inspires me for future projects. Today though, I’ve decided to focus on some of the original details that still grace the old girl after many years. The little things that give her charm and make her special.
To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.
– Giorgio Armani
As a lover of vintage clothing and accessories, I swoon over the details. It’s probably the thing that draws me to vintage most. I constantly marvel at how the littlest detail on a dress or a shoe can make the whole piece so much more special. Some pieces have so much beautiful detailing, it can take your breath away. So, as someone with an “eye for detail”, I share with you a few details original to my 1840’s farmhouse.
There are five fireplaces in my house, but only one that works. The one in my bedroom has made for some tricky furniture maneuvering, until I decided to make the mantel my bed’s headboard. I hated the idea of taking away any feature original to the house, so I put it to good use. The simple lines are understated but pretty, and the mantel top serves as a great little shelf.
My kitchen has lots of doors, but this one is the most mysterious. It opens to a narrow back staircase that leads to an upstairs room. These were commonly called servant staircases – for the maids and cooks of the house to access the kitchen separately. That seems a little posh for my simple farmhouse, but you never know. The previous family raised 14 kids in the house so maybe traffic was too heavy on the main staircase and they needed another way upstairs. The staircase today leads to one of my work rooms, and up until recently, it was filled with stacked hat boxes. Perhaps it’s time to bring this little quiet corner of the house back to life (after all, I am basically the maid and cook of the house!)
I love this feature in my kitchen (and dining room!). It’s a two-way cupboard that can open from either the kitchen side or the dining room side. What a clever and functional detail! Why this isn’t standard, I’ll never know. I’ve thought about putting glass doors on to make it more transparent, but again, I have a hard time taking away anything original to the house, like the doors that are there now. Maybe I could put glass in the existing doors? Hmmmm.
The front door to my house is classically Federal style. With the elliptical fan-light top window and flanking side-light windows, it does give this sweet old house a slight air of elegance. Clearly it needs some restoration with all the cracks and missing chunks and… a bullet hole? After having to replace all the original windows in the house, I’m happy to say, the warbley antique glass side windows will remain untouched. They are in good condition, maybe not the greatest insulation, but a detail I can’t replace.
I just adore the woodwork on this lovely old door. It’s not the main door, or the door we use daily off the kitchen, but what we’ve come to call the “Christmas Tree” door. Twice a year we turn the old skeleton key to unlock this door – once to drag the Christmas tree in and again to drag it out. Which is probably just as well, because babying her means she’ll stay intact with all her pretty details for years to come.
Finally, I decided to include a photo of my sturdy yet elegant 115 year old upright piano that was left in the house when we moved in. There were a lot of odds and ends left in the house, but this had the feeling of “I live here and I’m not goin’ anywhere”, and so she stayed. She truly feels like part of the house. Another precious detail, even though on the larger side, that gives the house its charm and makes it special.