Centers And Squares
I love old wallpaper. In fact, I’ve bought three houses because of – at least in part – their vintage wallpaper. It’s one of those features that rings bells for me.
When houses that haven’t been updated for years change hands it’s only a matter of time before the vintage wallpaper is no more.
20 Vincent Street in Cambridge is a beautiful multi-family that was on the market for a few days recently before receiving multiple offers. The house had fabulous vintage wallpaper in almost every room.
Chances are that wallpaper is not long for this world. So let’s memorialize it here with this slideshow.
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to thermostats – I love my classic round Honeywell thermostat. Designed by Henry Dreyfuss in 1953 it’s non-programmable and works perfectly for my needs.
Perhaps it was the similar size and shape of the Nest thermostat that clicked with me when we were touring a house in Cambridge. The very cool display that came on when we walked by certainly caught my eye. I liked it enough to snap the photo at right.
The New York Times had an article about the Nest thermostat today – in the Business section, not the Home section. Turns out the thermostat is even cooler than it looks.
It’s the ultimate in smart programming – the thermostat can determine when nobody is home and turn itself down. It also “learns” your patterns over the course of a week and adjusts accordingly.
Best of all, for people like me with very unpredictable schedules that don’t jibe with regular programmable thermostats, there are apps to allow for remote control of the Nest thermostat. Aaah – to come home to a warm house this winter – that’s living!
The Nest thermostat sells for $250 and can be purchased online at nest.com.
Heart be still – these have to be the best cutout shutters I ever did see! I spotted them this afternoon on a colonial in Melrose.
Cut-out shutters do something to me – they produce that internal “click” that makes any house instantly appealing. Cutout shutters come in all sorts of varieties – diamonds, initials, squirrels, shamrocks, etc.
But scotty dogs? Never did see these before. Scotty dog cutout shutters are a twofer for me. This house isn’t for sale but if it were I’d be in line.
I’m a cat person but years ago on ebay I discovered the enormous popularity of scotty dogs and scotty dog ephemera. Though I’ll never have a real live scotty dog my house now has its share of scotty dog collectibles – I’ve got drinking glasses, vintage cards, framed mottos, books and more adorned with these endearing little black dogs.
Here’s more info about cutout shutters in an earlier House Parts post I wrote. Sadly, the squirrel shutters pictured on the Cambridge house have since been removed.
And here’s the charming Melrose colonial adorned with scotty dog cutout shutters.
Best Doorknobs Cambridge real estate agents see so many renovated properties that we become mighty particular about the details.
After viewing renovation after renovation, it’s almost inevitable that you develop as sense for what works and what doesn’t – what looks right and what just doesn’t – what buyers tend to appreciate and what they don’t.
Relatively minor details – like hardware selection – can really separate the humdrum from the Wow! properties.
Getting the style right, the finish, the choice of metals – it’s not easy to pull it all together. Here’s an example from a house where the homeowner got every detail in the renovation just right.
These are the best doorknobs I’ve come across. The little flipper over the keyhole – not sure of its proper name – is reminiscent of antique doorplates but the overall style is crisp, classic – even contemporary. They’re the perfect choice for the older homes that make up most of our housing stock in Cambridge.
Not sure where these are from but I’ll add the info if I find out.
Antique Boot Scrapers One of my favorite things to find outside an older house is a vintage bootscraper.
Many a New England front porch or granite threshold has a wrought iron or cast iron boot scraper or two.
Older boot scrapers were simply designed like the pair at right at the Emerson House in Concord.
Victorian versions are more ornate and eventually figural versions such as a Scotty Dog or Dachshund were produced.
But give me the simple lines of an early bootscraper outside an old New England house.
More House Parts We Love
Rose Covered Arbor It’s been a long time since I’ve done a House Parts We Love entry – cripes it’s been too long since I’ve posted anything for that matter – the Cambridge real estate market has been humming and I’ve fallen off the blogging bandwagon. Time to get back on track and start filling in all those empty days (it’s one of my guilty secrets – blog posts are dated but I have complete control of the dates). So don’t be surprised if multiple posts show up in your email.
Back to today’s favorite feature – Rose Covered Arbors. There’s a bumper crop of roses out and about in Cambridge and Somerville and nothing’s prettier than a arbor gate covered with roses. This pretty arbor is next door to a house I sold on Hammond Street in Cambridge.
I’m a bit of a wimp about bees so I’m not sure if I could walk the gauntlet every time I come and go but these sure are a pretty sight – from a safe distance!
Here are some more house features we fall for:
How cool is this?
I spotted this vintage electrical wiring box / gizmo in a carriage house in Somerville during our weekly tour of new real estate listings.
Yes – that’s knob and tube wiring visible at the top of the photo. But what I really love is the original “Edison Service Cut-Out” box. Never have seen one of these before!
I can’t remember when Boston Edison turned into Nstar but this piece of equipment clearly predates that by many a decade.
Decorative Window Trim
Window crowns – curved trim, bracketed or pedimented window tops – became popular on houses during the Italianate period. Second Empire mansards often had trimmed window tops like the one at right and window-top ornamentation can be found on Queen Anne Victorians as well.
Here are some of my favorites spotted on houses in Cambridge. For the life of me I can’t get larger versions of the photos to show in the slideshow. If you click on it you’ll get the larger views.
It’s often a certain special feature that makes us fall for a house. Here are some more house parts we love:
And for more favorites, click on the House Parts tag link below.