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Old-school formality.

Posted by palimpsest (My Page) on
Wed, May 2, 12 at 19:13

I am assuming these people are in their 80s.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1975-80s museum assisted renovation.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Old-school formality.

It reminds me of my mother and father-in-law's home, and if they were alive, they would be in their 80s. I find it very comforting, but I don't think I could live there.


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hmmm...

actually, I think I could live there. It's pretty nice.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Why do you say that, pal? I can never tell when you're being sarcastic.

I don't see anything in the house that looks at all dated, though I could picture a soapstone or wooden countertop in the kitchen. It is certainly quite common to decorate this way in New England, especially on the coast and among people who live in antique houses.


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I like it too, it's reminiscent of how I grew up but also clean, neat and comforting- not that our house wasn't,
I was just into beanbags and being groovy and hated my mother's traditionalism.


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I'm not in my 80s and maybe it's because I was an American History major, but if I had the money I'd move in tomorrow. The renovation is great, decorated traditionally befitting the home's history, and the only thing I'd change is to move the laundry out of the basement.


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RE: Old-school formality.

I love it, I am not being sarcastic at all--people rarely do things this way anymore and I think it's really an appropriate way to do it.


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RE: Old-school formality.

I would quibble with a few of the furnishings and the hideous bathroom wallpaper/curtain combo. Other than that, I'd be quite comfortable in that home.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Definitely would need to update, but I'd live there for the area alone. That's a great pary of Philly to live in.


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RE: Old-school formality.

It may be regional. As I say, there is nothing odd about it from a New Englander's perspective, and without knowing firsthand I think analogous styles remain in common use in the South.


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RE: Old-school formality.

With all those big windows, hardwood floor, woodwork detail and high ceilings - I'd live there. That house is 254 years old - Whoah! - the oldest house where I live is probably 125 years old and it probably isn't being used as a personal dwelling.


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RE: Old-school formality.

The only thing that really bothers me are the matchy, matchy window treatment, comforter, wallpaper combos. Break some of that up and I could easily live there.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Fabulous!! Beautifully done!
Updated???? Really???


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RE: Old-school formality.

I could so EASILY live there! I know the drapes suit the formal traditional style but I would have to change them - not so much the fabric, but the "stuffy" style.

What I really would like to know is what size is the bed on slide #13 - it appears much larger than a king.


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RE: Old-school formality.

It's probably a king that is distorted by the stretchy Realtor camera. I could pretty much move in, I don't think anything needs to be changed. Notice the Ikat curtains? They have probably been there for quite some time.


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RE: Old-school formality.

I like it too. I feel like you wouldnt have to change all that much inside to update the look (at least IMO, I definitely skew toward trad decorating :-). Whenever i see these houses though, I always have to think of the schools ( I know, buzz-kill). Would i have to factor in private school to the cost of living there?


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RE: Old-school formality.

I LOVE it, it feels very familiar! Our house and all my friends'' houses looked just like that. My bedroom had wallpaper that was the same pattern as the curtains and some of the others rooms did, too. People still do that with toile and it looks great.

About changing and updating.... It'd be tricky to preserve that 70s vibe if you changed any of the key components. The completeness of it is what makes it appealing to me. It's sort of an all or nothing proposition to pay homage to the mid 70s, isn't it?


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RE: Old-school formality.

Awesome house, wonderfully decorated and perfectly up to date.

The only 70s vibe it's communicating to me is the one from the 1770's....and that is good!


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Wonderful location, I love the courtyard, it feels very european, although I would redecorate with as much respect to the building as I could but I would definitely lighten/liven it up, I find it stiff/stale looking , although it may be the staging for sale that stripped it of signs of anyone living there or as Pal says,
people in their 80's who decorated at least over 30 years ago and maintained it impeccably.


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RE: Old-school formality.

I like it because it doesn't conform to the new design elements. I'm so tired of everyone doing granite countertops! Years from now those countertops will be like the harvest gold or avacado green appliances.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Wow. First, I'm decades away from my 80s and I can totally see that house. It is decorated very well for the period. The color selections are pleasant and appropriate. The quality of the pieces chosen is very good. And for a house that old it is in great condition. The woodwork and cabinetry are lovely. It is very northeast formal colonial which is a timeless design. About the only thing I'd change is the backsplash in the kitchen. As far as the bath, well, we have an authentic colonial bathroom....it's about 20' away from the house!

For authentic 1970s design, try this one on, fake wood paneling and all!


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RE: Old-school formality.

Beautifully decorated. Even if I wouldn't want to live with all of the furniture or decorating choices (or at least not all the time), I think it looks so gracious and so perfect for the house.


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RE: Old-school formality.

It makes me sad and bored.
No good period casework pieces or tables. They had no money left for proper furniture.
Monochrome pain scheme. The blue accent/trim color becomes oveused by the second room.
It looks like a gut job. It could be a good recreation, because there is nothing to tell me I'm seeing 240 year old floors, walls, and mouldings.
I'd hate to see the museum installations that inspired this, they'd be the ones to avoid, not emulate.
Casey


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RE: Old-school formality.

Casey

I don't think it was meant to be a period house, the furniture and decor are clearly interpretations and 1970-80s in spirit.

The museum assisted in determining the original paint colors, which we know by Modern technology may not be accurate. That dark buff may have been very much whiter for example.

So this is more of a mid 20th century time capsule in its decor, and that is what I was commenting on.

As for the lack of variety in paint colors, that was Very common here. Some important houses have been shown be be almost top to bottom one color, with everything from walls to woodwork painted the same color.

I think this probably is mostly original. Many of these houses were closed up or used as warehouses on the upper floors with a commercial venture on the first, in this neighborhood. If this was one of those compared to one that was a boarding house, the upstairs could be almost all original in terms of millwork since it was just neglected. If they replastered or drywalled, they would often cut out the old walls and leave the woodwork and cornices in place and plaster and drywall around them.

So, as an 18th century 'period' house it gets a fail, perhaps, but as an intact midcentury save of a period house, I like it.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Plimpest- This is exactly what I was saying in the post where Therese was asking about her white and gray cabinets. For me the painted trim in muted colors and white walls is the early 80's version of colonial revival, that era's version of the current "timeless" style. I do like the house that you presented, it is very well done.


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I think it's lovely. Obviously, personal artifacts/mementos have been removed for selling purposes, but add those back into the mix, and it's close to perfection.


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Houses like that are a dime a dozen around here, right down to the paint/color schemes. In fact, authentic ones are a dime a dozen. I don't care for this type of decoration/decor, but I think this one is very well done. And to whomever praised the kitchen for not having granite -- bravo! How refreshing not to see granite!


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RE: Old-school formality.

I don't know that they are quite dime a dozen if you take things into account that this house doesn't have weird soffits and chases and dozens of recessed cans punched into the ceilings.

And just because it has survived this long doesn't mean that someone won't come in and do it now, just to get better systems in place. These owners were somewhat careful, it appears.

I offered on a house that had had one owner from 1810-192x, passed through a few hands until 1931, and I would have been buying from the owner since 1931. The house was built in 1810 on part of the old Cadwalader property that came from Wm Penn. (It is a stone's throw from the house at the top of the thread).

Anyway it had had radiator heat and knob and tube wiring done, and that was it. No plumbing in the historic house at all, it was in a tiny addition.

It was a somewhat boring house because it was a worker's house, but it was all original except the flooring on the second floor and a few interior doors.

Anyway, its being gutted or near gutted, after 200 years of relative peace and quiet. Why? No air conditioning, small bathroom, small kitchen. It was actually marketed as a gut. And that is unfortunate, because there was really nothing wrong that couldn't have been solved discretely.

Anyway, I digress.

The featured house is much more furnished and less "boring" than it probably was when it was new (to modern eyes), unless the homeowners were extremely wealthy.

This was the period where, if you went to someone's house, the best bed was in the parlor and if you were an honored guest you may have sat on the bed (The very end of this , anyway).

When one of the Fairmont Park houses needed a full exterior restoration and they took out all the period furniture that the house contained, much of which had been donated over the years, they decided to take a hard look at the furniture, the interior of the house itself and the inventories.

Some of the house is now kept empty so you can examine the house itself, which is beautiful, the rooms are painted exactly how records and current research indicates. And some of the rooms are furnished as they were.

One of the main rooms has a few pieces of furniture, the walls are a brown mustardy color (with coral inside the cupboards), and there is a brown border painted all the way around the perimeter of the room near the floor.

This is historically accurate. Furniture against the walls, raw floor, no rug, Strange paint color. And the brown stripe around the floor was to disguise splatters from scrubbing the floor or sweeping the room out with sand. Minimalism in the context of nice woodwork.

So the above house is clearly revival which is partly the manner in which some things such as paint colors would have been done (or how they were interpreted 35 years ago) but much more furnished and "done". I said the owners are probably eighty because I assume they were about 35-45 when they bought and did the house.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Well it looks quite comfortable and practical, for the most part nothing jumps out at you, it looks to me like there are no real distinct focal points like designers like now, more of a blending of all the elements. They definately liked pattern.


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paint schemes

I should have added that Everything was the mustardy brown, all walls, cornice, trim, doors and windows. The brown line was also painted on everything straight across on a level line no matter where it intersected a particular piece of trim or door.


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RE: Old-school formality.

interesting article on colonial revival. I do believe that emotional comfort is what many of us look for in our choice of design styles for our house. Off the colonial topic but I think that some of the reactions in the thread about the jewelry designers eclectic house style can be explained by this article as well. Personally, I am always amazed to tour accurately restored historic houses and see some of the details that may be considered jarring as I tend to envision the simplified and muted version as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: was the colonial revival for real?


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RE: Old-school formality.

Revival styles are as "real" as the originals. Many authentic colonial forms were after all a revival of Roman ones, especially after the 18th century rediscovery of Pompeii.


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RE: Old-school formality.

I do not care for the name of the article as it makes a strong statement that is a bit off the actual point. The differences discussed accentuate the point that Colonial Revivalism is it's own, real, stylistic movement.


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duh

Dang, my intelligence is showing. Ok the article is obviously a question, not a statement but what I mean is the title is strongly written compared to the actual article.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Yes, it is discussing accuracy, really. And I think most revival movements are romanticized versions of the original. Colonial revival was, particularly the Centennial period --> turn of the 20th century, that corresponded with Victorianism (which it at once "rejected" and took stylistic clues from).


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RE: Old-school formality.

I love the house - especially all the painted woodwork. I live in New England, so maybe that has something to do with the attraction. The kitchen is gorgeous, although obviously not authentic to the original period! I could move right in, changing only some of the furniture (mostly the very formal looking living room), and maybe some of the window treatments. Anyone want to give me a $1.7 million loan?


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RE: Old-school formality.

I think the New England connection is a huge reason for appreciating this style. I am originally from NY, but spent a great deal of my childhood in NEng and still do. There is just an inborn appreciation of this style. I also am a huge fan of colonial Williamsburg and most of my home is decorated with furniture and accessories from there, which of course is the same style as the Philly townhouse. The rest of the country is not quite as steeped in the 18th century as those of us who are from NEng and the Middle Atlantic states.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Very New England...I have that eagle mirror and the patio set~


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RE: Old-school formality.

I just did a quick search and here are 4 interesting MLS listings for "Antique Homes" (1695 -1740) in my neck of the woods -- North Central MA. The decorating is also interesting. From bristling with "authentic-ish" stuff to very contemporary.

The disparity of pricing somewhat reflects the distance from commuter rail. 3 out of 4 are probably very motivated sellers, can you guess which 3 houses have been off and on the market for several years and which is newly listed?

Please cut and paste the listings . . .

MLS # 71359219
Lovely house, beautifully restored, but only 1.5 bathrooms. The only bathroom is on the first floor. It is sweet and it does have a barn for possible expansion.

MLS # 71219480
I love it and know it well. Small rooms but 4 bathrooms. However, in reality this house's rear end is exposed in an unattractive way (doesn't show in the realtor pictures). From the road it looks as though its skirt is tucked into the back of its panty hose. The side yard is glorious though.

MLS # 71345240
Big. Beautiful. Acres of beautiful land. But, ouch! So remuddled and badly overexpanded! Why did these people not just buy a McMansion instead?

MLS # 71301848
They made a daring decision, but somehow the modern furnishings and new master bedroom work in this old house. Not my taste, but it really does work!


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This could be in Louisburg Square on Beacon Hill in Boston, but at double the price. It's timeless and I'd move in tomorrow if I could.


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I think the first has the most appeal, visually. The second MLS comes up as a condo. The third looks like the expansion was mostly done long ago, but it really has stripped it of any sense of scale. The fourth would need a particular buyer.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Palimpsest thanks for your response -- I actually covet the first house, but it is too bug a commute for me..

The second house should not have come up as a condo. Can you google 195 Harvard Road, Littleton MA 01460

The Samuel Davies House, circa 1695 (the oldest bits) but with modern additions. It also has a wood shingle roof which probably puts buyers off. So expensive to maintain, but it would be a sin to replace the roof with asphalt tile.

And it has its skirt tucked into its panty house. The sellers are asking too much.IMO.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Bannie, I was hoping that you would see this house! :)
Don't you love it??


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RE: Old-school formality.

Someone mentioned it being monochromatic. No, today homes are really monochromatic. Thanks for this post, pal. It's a beautiful home, and this thread has made me stop and think (which is a good thing). ot - My family has been settling the estate of a relative, who had many antiques and things, some from 1700's. It's been a strange process, let's just say that. His things would look great in this house for sure.


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RE: Old-school formality.

"I don't know that they are quite dime a dozen if you take things into account that this house doesn't have weird soffits and chases and dozens of recessed cans punched into the ceilings."

Sorry -- to be more precise, I meant they're a dime a dozen, or at least, a nickel a dozen, in this part of PA/NJ, not just in Philly. I've been on house/garden tours and have seen your house's counterparts here numbers of times.

"The rest of the country is not quite as steeped in the 18th century as those of us who are from NEng and the Middle Atlantic states."

Patty0315, maybe you're correct. I've been in houses similar to the Philadelphia one in Vermont, in NY, here of course, and on down into western Virginia.

And, when I commented that I don't care for the style's decoration/decor, I was thinking of the furniture, curtains, and paint/color scheme etc., particularly the painted trim and white walls. The rest...the floors, ceiling height, windows, etc., that stuff I love. Too much authenticity when it comes to decor isn't for me, not with that style, not with Victorian, not with MCM for that matter.


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RE: Old-school formality.

I like the house, but the decor is too stiff and unified. It looks like they shopped from the "Colonial Revival R Us" store.

A house that old, had it stayed in the same family, would have furniture from several eras as each generation replaced some things and bought new stuff.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Hey Lori,
I do love it. Today I was on buisness in Connecticut and I was thinking how you'd find a gem like this is Greenwich or Darien (or anywhere on the "gold coast" of CT). The other place that comes to mind is a B&B in Newport, Kennebunkport or on the Cape. Sigh!

The only difference would be that it would be a single family home vs. a townhouse.

Check out this:
http://realestate.boston.com/sales/detail/268-l-4893-71267324/51-chestnut-st-beacon-hill-boston-ma-02108

Thanks Pal for posting this eye candy!


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RE: Old-school formality.

Love the Boston home~~~

Yes, Pal...thanks for sharing. Your New England friends enjoy it. :)


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RE: Old-school formality.

As far as some of the stiffness of the house, it seems a bit staged and cleaned out, to me. It probably looks more alive (or did) when the couple fully live(d) there. As the furniture being "colonial revival R us" eh, maybe. But some of it is probably real, it's on the market here enough. And it's better quality furniture than I'll ever be likely to own. These are people that don't get "bored" with things and have to "change up", there is something to be said for that. They probably have neighbors that have had 5 cheap sofas to their one in 40 years. They like what they have always liked, obviously. And I admire that.


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RE: Old-school formality.

What's most fascinating about this thread is how well that look apparently wears. On viewing the slideshow I never expected so many positive responses--beyond my own. And, yes, I would have made changes here and there over the decades anyway, but happily, knowing that the sunshine yellow walls of the 70s, dark moss green glaze of the 80s, Chinese red and golds of the 90s, or pastel blue-greens of the turn of the century could always be as transient as their fashions.


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RE: Old-school formality.

I think it comes pretty close to "classic" and "timeless" with nary a scrap of marble or subway that i recall seeing. This is particularly true because it is so true to its setting.

The exterior reminds me of my first place at 10th and Pine; we had an alley with a metal gate just like it!

And I went to camp with a Cadwalader. Time to google her!


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RE: Old-school formality.

I can appreciate the work that the owners put into making this home in a particular way.

With that said, it's not my style at all and appears much too busy. Nothing relaxing about the decor at all.


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RE: Old-school formality.

Classic and lovely. I'd move in tomorrow.


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RE: Old-school formality.

My idea of perfection! The house and the decor exemplify gracious, timeless style. Delightful!

I have similar furnishings (similar in style, but surely not in quality...my things are not museum worthy by a long stretch!)

What a great house!


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RE: Old-school formality.

Pal,

I was looking at this again, and reminded of the one off Rittenhouse Sq that was what, 4mn? I think it was bigger, but this seems like a relative bargain. I don't really know Philly anymore, but I guess even though Society Hill was always desirable, Rittenhouse Sq may have a lot more amenties...


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RE: Old-school formality.

Rittenhouse Square seems to have less amenities, actually. No supermarket for one. There are a couple of independent grocers that are really pricey and very few corner convenience stores. I don't care how much money you have, it's nice to be able to walk to a store and pick some things up. I ruled out a couple of houses up there because of their lack of proximity to a number of things (I was also looking at a much lower price point, but those things are all mixed together here).


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