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Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas from our house…

It has been 13 years since we moved into our house here in Fredericksburg,Virginia. We loved the house early on even before the addition of a new kitchen with a fireplace and a backyard pool. Built in 1930, the Dutch Colonial has had many reincarnations since the first family lived within.
I was not so jazzed about the house at first, it faced a parking lot , the only one on our otherwise quiet street. It was in semi-restored state the previous owners had decided to start from the top down so even though the attic had been wonderfully converted into two charming bedrooms complete with eaves and built-in bookshelves. The rooms on the first floor however were in a sad state. No kitchen to speak of and roughly plastered walls ( I laughed to myself a couple of years later as more than one client paid a great deal money for craftsmen to replicate an effect that I was so eager to get rid of) the floors in very bad shape and a really hideous living room fireplace mantel.
Through the years we have slowly made it our own, from our “Aubergine” ( designer-speak for purple) painted dining room to the new mantle in the living room, the house has slowly become something that feels “right”. Having married a public servant, all projects had to be done on long slow schedules, and my patience and design vision sometimes did not fall in step with the reality of our meager purse-strings.
. However, this wonderfully quirky house had become our home and with two children we have had many wonderful memories here. Some of our best times in this home have been during the Christmas season and we have been honored to have been on the local Historic Homes Christmas tour as our home is one block from the famous “Sunken Road “ of Civil War fame. I have long been teased by friends and family for the 15 plus boxes of decorations in the basement. However once they have been brought upstairs on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving , the tissue papers are unwrapped, boxes emptied and as everyone sees beloved decorations that have been a part of our Christmas memories for the 29 years of our marriage the grumbling soon stops . As the decorating progresses and ideas flow, I must confess usually after I get my hands on the newest issue of “Southern Living Christmas”, the house takes on the glow and shimmer that only Christmas reflected by candlelight can achieve. I usually take a moment at some point during the month of dinner parties, cookie baking and manic gift wrapping, and walk quietly through and savor the beauty of this wonderful house that has been such a blessed home.
Remember, your house should take many layers of memories and life in order to create the perfect home for you and your family. Patience does truly rule the day when decorating your home whether it is a historic home or your first house. Hopefully life is long and the story of your family and your own traditions need time to develop and take hold within the walls of your home .Whether you are the first family to live there or one of many families that have hung stocking s from your home’s mantle, your story is but one more chapter in your homes history.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Historic Civil War Thanksgiving

A Historic Civil War Thanksgiving

With the 1864 proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln making a day in late November as a day of national thanksgiving, he gave the nation a unique holiday found only in America. One that is based on a nation that though in bitter conflict , wanted to celebrate the blessings of the gift of America that most felt was a gift from God.
We are a nation that is hemmed in prayer and hospitality. This day which is so truly American is one that gives us a glimpse of the true American spirit. One that is , no matter what side a soldier of the war found himself on, celebrated the same taking a brief moment in time to bow his head and give thanks for the gift from God that is AMERICA!
Giving Thanks in Wartime November 24, 2004, 8:51 a.m. James S. Robbins/The National Review
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Thanksgiving of 1864.
When we sit down to our Thanksgiving meals this year, we should take some time to remember the men and women in uniform who are unable to spend the holiday with their own families. We might also remember that Thanksgiving became a national holiday in time of war, and largely due to an effort 140 years ago to ensure that our soldiers and sailors in the field enjoyed some of the comforts of home.

Thanksgiving originated in Massachusetts and on the eve of the Civil War was still not observed nationally. In the 1850s, Thanksgiving was celebrated in about ten states in New England and the midwest. It was a time both of feasting and of charity, acknowledging the blessings of plenty while remembering those who had little. "Eat the fat, and drink the sweet," counseled a New York Times editorial in 1851, "and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared." When war broke out the observance became more widespread, and in 1861 the number of states celebrating Thanksgiving doubled. Troops took their traditions with them to the front, and the soldiers of Massachusetts regiments in particular held grand feasts in their field commands. Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew decreed such a celebration during the first November of the war, hoping that "military duties may not be inconsistent with their observation, in some fitting manner, of the day annually set apart for the renewal and enlivening of the domestic affections."
President Lincoln declared a number of thanksgivings, for example in April 1862, and July 1863 after Gettysburg. Two months later Lady's Book magazine editor Sarah Hale wrote a letter to Lincoln urging him to proclaim a national day of Thanksgiving reflecting the traditional holiday. Lincoln soon issued a declaration asking that the blessings bestowed upon the country "be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people" and inviting Americans at home and abroad "to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens." This was the first general Thanksgiving observance, but the following year the holiday became the occasion for a national show of unity and support.
In October 1864, the president again decreed that the last Thursday of November be set aside to offer up prayers "for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations." Shortly thereafter, on October 27, a citizen of New York City known first only by the initials GWB (belonging to noted editor George W. Blunt), used the occasion of the holiday to propose a great national endeavor. Blunt suggested that "something be done for the Army and Navy" for Thanksgiving, "not only to aid them in keeping the day properly, but to show them they are remembered at home." He proposed to send the troops "poultry and pies, or puddings, all cooked, ready for use." He estimated it would take 50,000 turkeys and a like number of pies to feed the 220,000 men of the Army and Navy in Virginia then besieging Richmond. "This seems to be a big undertaking," he wrote, "but I do not see any difficulty in carrying it out." The food could be prepared and boxed up by those who could afford it, and shipped from New York a few days in advance, in time to be distributed the day before. If the idea has merit, he wrote, "I am ready to do my best with others to put it through."
A committee was set up to organize the effort, their goal being that on Thanksgiving Day there would be no soldier or sailor in the eastern theater "who does not receive tangible evidence that those for whom he is periling his life remember him." They felt it was particularly important to reach men who had no families back home. Blunt served as the committee's executive director, and the treasurer was Theodore Roosevelt, father of the future president (then six years old). "Will not all who feel that we have a country worth defending and preserving," the committee wrote in the Times, "do something to show those who are fighting our battles that they are remembered and honored?" The appeal was reprinted in many papers and the proposal caught on immediately. Contributions began to come in from all over the country. Within three weeks, with little publicity and no direct solicitation, the committee had collected $50,000 (almost $600,000 in today's dollars). The Times reprinted some of the letters sent accompanying the contributions. One contributor, signing "Little Mac" in homage to recently defeated Democratic presidential candidate and former Union General George McClellan, noted in verse,
Although I voted a Democrat,
But it has nothing to do with that.
It only shows a man can be
A Democrat and love sweet liberty.
Public stores were made available for the turkeys and "other good things for the soldiers and sailors on the James." Goods were to be cooked, wrapped in white paper, packed in straw in boxes or barrels, and marked "Our Defenders, City Point." Private transport companies volunteered to ship the materials by rail and steamship. The food drive was emulated in other cities. Ladies of Jersey City contributed $1,500 for the purchase of cigars and tobacco for the troops. The citizens of Orange, New Jersey, sent bags of tomatoes for sauces. There was a proposal to send 1,000 barrels of apples to soldiers, and the Army Apple Fund was born. The governor of Ohio suggested that the Saturday following Thanksgiving be devoted to helping the families of servicemen, especially those suffering privations by the absence of their men. It was called "a day of gladness for the wives and children of our brave defenders," and is an idea that still has merit.
As the day neared, the foodstuffs were collected and shipped out. Steamers took meals to sailors and Marines in the blockade forces, and in the ports and fortifications along the eastern seaboard. Trains headed south to predetermined distribution points. Blunt believed the effect of the outpouring of public support would inspire the troops to "hit the rebels a harder lick than ever." Meanwhile Jefferson Davis also declared a Thanksgiving day, for November 16, 1864, a day "specially devoted to the worship of Almighty God," that the people of the Confederacy would join together in prayer that God would, inter alia, "restore peace to our beloved country, healing its bleeding wounds and securing to us the continued enjoyment of our right of self-government and independence." But when the day arrived, Atlanta was in flames, Sherman started his march to the sea, and Lee's men huddled in their trenches around Richmond. Confederate War Department clerk J. B. Jones dryly noted in his diary that the Confederate Thanksgiving was "like Sunday, with an occasional report of cannon down the river."
November 24 dawned cold, bright, and brilliant on the eastern seaboard. General George G. Meade reported to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, "Nothing new or important this morning except the arrival of deserters, who report the occupation of Macon by Sherman." Sherman's Army continued its march, sadly unable to be reached with the Thanksgiving turkeys, but not having time to pause. In Virginia and North Carolina, Union troops were "relieved from all duty not essential to the safety of the command." Turkey feasts were enjoyed by Union troops in camps, on the siege lines, and in the rear areas. Seventeen thousand meals were served in Washington, DC, to troops defending the city and convalescing in hospitals. A large banquet was held in Alexandria, Virginia, followed by a grand ball. In Baltimore, the Union Ladies' Committee distributed meals to Union soldiers and rebel prisoners alike. At Camp Parole, in Annapolis, roast turkey had been the primary topic of conversation for days. That morning "every face wore a joyous aspect, in anticipation of the good things in preparation for the dinner." Orderlies set long tables of turkey, pies, bread, butter, tea and cider. Fourteen hundred men sat down, Federal soldiers and paroled Confederates, men from every state in the Union, probably the first such all-American Thanksgiving meal ever.
Shipments sent to the Shenandoah Valley were coordinated with the city of Philadelphia. When transportation arrangements broke down at the last minute, Reverend George F. Noyes personally undertook the mission to get the food delivered. "The want of proper appliances compelled most of the men to broil or stew their turkeys," he wrote, "but everyone seemed fully satisfied, and appreciated the significance of this sympathetic thank-offering from the loyal North. One soldier said to me, 'It isn't the turkey, but the idea that we care for,' and he thus struck the key-note of the whole festival." Fearing shortages, General Sheridan ordered the food first be distributed to enlisted men, but some officers had made independent arrangements for their units guaranteeing there was plenty for all. "Joy and festivity were the order of the day," a correspondent wrote, "and you may depend upon it that our brave fellows in the field knew how to do justice to the occasion." Near New Town, Virginia, the officers and men of the Ninetieth New York regiment sat down to a feast of turkeys, chickens, cakes and fruits, "more evidence that we are not forgotten, nor can we ever forget those who, while they are enjoying all the comforts of home and plenty, still think of, and by their noble deeds testify that they remember the soldiers."
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Thanksgiving united the country in the spirit of giving, gratitude, and patriotism. It showed the troops at the front that the country was behind them, and solidified Thanksgiving as a national observance. So please take a minute to remember those who are giving so much for us, or better yet find a way to let them know that you care — is a good place to start. Let's give our service people all the support we can, so they will be able to say, in the words of a Union soldier, "When we are asked, 'Do they think of us at home?' our own hearts can willingly and gladly respond, 'They do.'"
* * *

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Famous Ghost Story

As many of you who follow my musings know, I am from a small town in West Virginia. Shepherdstown has been my family’s home for years, ever since I was ten. We moved there when our little house in “Clippe” (a small village also in Jefferson County) burned and my parents decided to move to the town where my father was employed as a history professor at the local college, Shepherd.

But back to “Clippe” (odd name for a place and, in truth, that is not this village’s true map name), now known as Middleway, which definitely has an 18th century air about it. When I was little we were not allowed to celebrate Halloween as most of the children we knew--- oh no--- we were brought up by a father that thought “Trick or Treat” was a form of blackmail. Instead, on Halloween night he would form his band of raiders from the slim pickings of his five children. He would take us on raids throughout the terrified village as the word spread that the dreaded Hafer children were out! From flour thrown on Mr. Wyncoops (yes that is his real name) car, blowing out jack o’lantern candles and running through the ancient old church graveyard with its upturned crypts and leaning gravestones, we thought that no one was more terrifying---not to mention more terrified than we were.
In the handmade costumes that my dear mother had fashioned from old clothes (I always wondered how she came up with pink tulle at the drop of a hat) and things about the house, we have Halloween memories that most of our generation do not have---truly homemade memories filled with excitement and fun and more than a hint of DANGER. Mostly our “raids” ended with our Dad or older brother carrying a little pink princess or cowboy home on his shoulders and the rest of us trooping behind.

The name of our little village that I knew at the time was known by locals as “Wizard Clippe” or just “Clippe” if you lived there. The site of a very famous 18th century ghost story, “The Legend of Wizards Clippe” was one that we were brought up with. The sites in the story we passed on our way to school every day (yes we walked to school and it had TWO rooms not one) and there is still an air about the place that is “other worldly” not somewhere that you have to stretch your imagination to see the events of the story before you.
I’ll close with the famous story as told to me as a child and documented in the papers of the time.

The Legend of Wizard Clippe
In the Southern part of historic Jefferson County, West Virginia, nestled among the foothills of the Blue Ridge, lies the ancient village of Wizard Clippe. The land upon which the village is located was included in the grants made to Mr. William Smith in 1729 by Sir William Gooche who was proprietor of that part of Virginia at that time. In 1732 the pioneer home of Mr. Smith was built. Surrounded by majestic hills, this, the first home of Wizard Clippe, was placed in a gloomy hollow, near a bottomless lake.
Among those who obtained land grants from Mr. Smith was a man named Livingstone. Mr. Livingstone selected land lying along the Opequon Creek, but also adjoining the village.
One night when the sky was inky black, the rain descended in torrents, and the winds rushed through the desolate pines with a wild bellow, a weary stranger presented himself at Mr. Livingstone’s door. With genial hospitality the traveler was welcomed.
In a few hours after retiring, the Stranger sent for Mr. Livingstone, and told him he was ill unto death. He requested that a Catholic priest might be sent for at once. Now, Mr. Livingstone was a bigoted man who hated the Catholic Church, and he swore no priest should enter his house. The Stranger (to whom no name has been given), begged again and again that a priest should be brought, but his host was obdurate. At the weird hour of midnight, while the elements fought their terrible battle, the soul of the Stranger, unblest and unshriven, took its flight. The next day his body was buried in unconsecrated ground. For many years his grave was pointed out to the curious.

Then a curse seemed to rest upon Mr. Livingstone and his possessions. A murrain seized his cattle, strange and mysterious sounds were heard about the house, and things were as though ruled by a demon. More dreadful than ought else was a clear, distinct, insistent clipping, clipping, clipping which went on day and night. The bed-linen, the clothing of the family and of visitors, the saddles, bridles, and harness were all clipped, and always in crescent or half-moon shape. Nothing was sacred from the terrible shears. The witches and wizards were now holding high revels. Mr. Livingstone, pursued by the horror of all this, dreamed a vivid dream in which he saw a man who promised to help him. On Sunday his wife, a devoted Catholic, persuaded him to go with her to a Catholic service at Shepherdstown. The instant Mr. Livingstone saw the priest, he cried out with streaming eyes, “That is the man who can rid me of the witches.”

The priest was told the story and the next day he visited the home of Mr. Livingstone at Smithfield (Middleway), sprinkled holy water on the threshold of the house, prayed fervently, and consecrated the ground wherein the Stranger lay buried. He declared deliverance had come. Sure enough the clippings ceased, “the witches were laid,” and Mr. Livingstone was free.
Moved by gratitude he gave to the Catholic Church forty acres of land lying along the Opequon. The Church still owns this land and receives rent from it. It is known as the Priest’s Place. For four or five generations it was in the care of the Minghini family. Recently, however, the Church assumed control. A chapel has been erected on the site, and outdoor meetings are held frequently. It is an ideal spot for camping, and the Church has extended the use as such to all.
The “spell” cast upon the old village of Clippe still lingers upon it, and the bottomless lake through which the witches are said to have rushed when the priest exorcised them is still here; and the Opequon flows on, now calmly, now wildly, by the lonely grave of the Stranger.

Is it any wonder having spent my first years in this village that Halloween is my all time favorite holiday? I have copied verbatim from the text written by R. Helen Bates and printed in 1936 by the Middleway Historical Conservancy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Artisans and Farmers, the "Green" Industry of the Past

I was recently struck by the thought that the majority of the artisans listed on my website,, are practicing a “green” industry.
The commercials and ads that are everywhere about “natural” and “organic” hale the principals and properties of a past world where the main energy used was the physical effort of the farmer or craftsman and the “good ole” elements of nature. By its very definition, the ability to produce a beautiful and useful product with a near zero carbon footprint is worthwhile and beneficial to our environment.
As is usually true, we have a lot to learn from our ancestors. No matter whether they are many generations behind us, their knowledge stands ahead of us much of the time. I have often smiled at the newest kitchen gadget that really does the job no better (and sometimes worse) than the old tool that our grandmothers used (now I will concede that the dishwasher, stove and refrigerator are blessings our grandparents would be beaming over). But it is true, particularly in today’s political climate, that “artisans” perhaps deserve an outright grant or at least a tax break for these businesses that bring so much to our modern world by producing worthy and authentic “green” products.
I have an old hometown friend who has a farm that his family has owned for more than 200 years. He had the foresight to start organic farming years ago before “it was cool” and his farm produces the best beef and organic meat I have ever tasted (his vegetables are also a delight). Now knowing this family as I have all my life, he probably was farming as his family always did (nothing new); it’s just that the trends finally caught up with him.
His cousin owns a natural trout farm down the lane from the family farm and is equally innovative. Whenever I go home I find the ”Grantham boys,” as my grandmother called them, at the local Farmer’s Mkt and try to find my way to their stand. My point in mentioning this is that pure effort, no matter what you are doing—be it cabinetmaking or farming—is a nod to the original “green” artisans – our forefathers.
Aqua Green Trout FarmRte 51, Kearneysville, WV, 25430304-725-6518
Tudor Hall Farm Market6280 Middleway Pike, Kearneysville, WV, 25430304-725-3149

The Colors of Fall and the Arts and Crafts Period

For some reason when the scent and sights of fall begin I often notice how the beautiful lines and colors associated with the Arts and Crafts style are all around me.
The Arts and Crafts movement celebrated and used icons taken from nature such as the pine spray, thistle, and acorn as their recurrent themes. Arts and Crafts colors mirror the natural world with their rich palette of muted greens, golds and rusts.
Through historic interior design you can see how much the world around them influenced designers and architects. From all periods this is true, with the brilliant blues, reds and golds of the very patriotic Federal period, to the rich jewel colors of the Victorian period so influenced by the industrial machine age and the great wealth that came with it.
Color is a powerful emotional indicator of what was going on during a particular period so it is no wonder that at the beginning and throughout the Arts and Crafts movement you find the soothing hues taken from nature by the designers. With the world increasingly in turmoil and a World War looming, these colors gave our ancestors a calm and nurturing environment in which to live. Nature, the true constant, gave them the center of their design.
In historic design you become a sleuth that would rival Sherlock, clues to a house’s past life are everywhere, especially that of its past color palette. I urge you to acquire a great book that is the relative bible of anyone who is working in this field or just starting on a personal project.
Recreating the Historic House Interior by William Seale is so good at taking you through the steps from research to restoration for any historic interior. The author is a legend in this field and the very first book I read as a young Park interpreter working on my first design project for the National Park Service. Many tried and true rules for recreating the period perfect interior can be found within its pages and you will find a veritable road map for how to find the resources you need to complete your project.
One thing about history, the old adage “everything new is old again” is particularly true when it comes to design, be it architecture or color, and luckily with our website,, you have access to all the resources particular to your specific period.

Victorian Gothic Interiors

Victorian Gothic Revival Period Furniture

This period stretching roughly thirty years from 1830-1870 was heavily influenced by the romantic ideals from the medieval period which at the time was featured in many of the novels and poetry of the time. Thus the icons of the medieval period are very prevalent in not only the architecture of the time but also the furniture.
The furniture is more than substantial and more often than naught made of oak with details of rosettes, tracery, trefoils and quatrefoils. The reintroduction of medieval styles include the reprisal of Elizabethan chairs, chests and other ‘cottage furniture”. These pieces definitely had the air of “Hansel and Gretel’ about them.
With the recent popularity of the books and the movie “Twilight’ this style has once again been recognized as the look most associated with the vampire fashion. Because of the medieval church icons used within the style it is a natural pairing for a fad that is centered on many symbols of Christianity be they an alter or a chair with iconic Gothic turnings. This is the style you are most often seeing in the set decoration of many of the TV. shows and movies that celebrate the vampire myth.
You can often still find a great Gothic period style chair perfect for your hall or a table with the telltale Gothic turreted apron. Many small antique shops have a piece or two and they are for the most part reasonably priced, mostly because they were all made by machine and had little or no craftsman’s personal touch. Remember, the less a human hand touched it in its making the less is its commercial value.
As is true with all design, it is cyclical having taken from what was popular in the past as a path to the design of the present.

Where do I begin?

You have finally settled on the home of your dreams. You knew from the moment you walked into the front parlor that you had to buy it. After weeks of stress you finally walk into the home. The walls are bare, the furniture is gone, and all of a sudden you realize what a leap you just made. Where do you start?
First let’s talk research. Those of you who have just purchased a house with “history” may already be lucky enough to have the homes past already documented. Most of us though are not so fortunate. You must think in the broadest of terms. Think of all context concerning the house i.e its physical, social, and historical presence at the time your house was built. You need to see your home through the eyes of the people who lived there in order to see how they lived there. What was going on in their world both historically and socially at the time?
You will need to make a list of all the names, ages, and dates of the people who lived in the house. Then list them chronologically into a historical framework. Your county clerk will be your new best friend for they hold the key to the records and public papers that will document the history of the home you now own. You will then want to visit the local Historical Society to research further. They will no doubt have knowledge and documentation of not only your home and neighborhood but also the people who have lived there in the past. Many times the members of the society are more than willing to pass on the names of reputable tradesmen, in the area, who can help you in the restoration of your home.

Tribute to Small Museums

When I was a little girl, my mother took me to our local small museum which was in the basement of the local library. We walked down the aisles filled with the odd assortment of objets and memorabilia that are often displayed in such museums. We stopped in front of a large case, that had a woven coverlet draped in such a way, so the viewer would have the best look at it they could in the the small space it was consigned to. I remember my mom saying something like ” President Van Buren gave your Great,great, great grandfather this as a present, they were very good friends”. Now, this sparked two reactions in my young mind. That’s a lot of GREATS, and he must not have liked him that much cause that is one UGLY spread. The point of this little story is that had it not been for that small museum in that little town in West Virginia, I would have never gotten to see something that was a real link to the past, to MY past. I have, as do my ancestors, a small museum to thank for that.
There are people all over this country that have visited like museums and seen the proof of their ancestry on display , conserved , at various levels of expertise I’ll give you, but saved nonetheless . They walk through the doors and there is Uncle Joe’s WWI helmet and the letters filled with longing he sent home to his wife. Or the glove and parasol of someone you vaguely knew you are related too and as soon as you see it you are again determined to call your Great Aunt and not only ask those questions about the family you always wanted but you are also going to WRITE IT down. Thus a family written history is born.
We have the small museum director , its board, or if really lucky a curator to thank for this…They are dedicated professionals who work with little or no budjets and constantly fiight to preserve the tangible bits of our history that otherwise would just slip away. I recently attended the annual Small Museum Conference and observed some of the most talented and educated people in this profession grapple with the new challenges this economy has given them. Luckily for all of us, I heard enthusiasm and excitement from most, if not all of them that I spoke to. They remain focused, dedicated and determined to recommit, rethink and even redesign the small museums that we as the public entrust to their care. Please support you local small museum or local historical society, they are supporting you everyday in preserving our shared history.
Visit the Culpeper Museum of History.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Early Colonial American Period

Early Colonial American-1620-1790

The Early Colonial American style originated around 1620 and endured until the 1790's. With the settling of Jamestown, Virginia (1607), and Plymouth Massachusetts (1620), these settlers sought to create reminders of the homes and comforts that they had left behind. Because this "New World" hadn't been settled, there was no established trade, limited tools, and very little skilled craftsmen, styles became inventive and original. The peasant looking homes eventually developed into the saltbox shapes which came to be known as the Cape Cod house.
The interiors of this period showed how the settler’s attention was first centered on survival not on the decoration of their living spaces. As they became more prosperous and secure in their environment, trade was established and the class structure settled in, the homes then reflected each occupants situation. A plan for instituting this period's style in your home would be to keep the lines of your furniture very angular and simple, some of the furniture of this period had folk painting but most furniture was very plain. Wall color was not often used as pigment was very costly at this time so most homes were without paint and only a coat of whitewash was applied to the walls. The windows were usually deep set and if they had glass, it was thick and really not very good at reflecting light into the interior of the room. Textiles were also simple and made of flax which was sometimes embroidered with images of animals or flowers. Flooring was wood with rugs rarely used to trod on, instead they often were displayed on tables as a valuable and prized possession. For resources for your Early American interior or for Historic House Museums of this period please go to
The American Historic Interior is a blog site that is devoted to all things relating to the American Historic Interior from 1680-1930. I hope that all of the postings will be informative and help you in your search for information about YOUR historic interior. I will be posting one a month starting with the Early American Colonial period which was roughly from 1680-1710. Please visit again to read about the interiors from this period as well as suggestions on recreating this period of interior in your home.