9.29.2009

Warren, II: the Larder

My friend and I looked at this house the same day we checked out the house I reported on a few weeks ago. We were told it was already under contract, and thus off limits -- but the door was mysteriously unlocked ...



It was so unassuming, looking on the outside like ersatz colonial, but the interior revealed a different story. The larder had only a dry sink, and incredibly old milk paint on the ceiling ...



The real estate agent told us this was a "tear down," which almost makes me cry. It was built in 1760, and has been lived in continuously since, apparently by people who thought plumbing was a fad that would pass. It's so out of step with the modern world that it doesn't even line up with the grid of the city, and is oriented toward the water, rather than the street it sits on.

Another view of the larder, and yes, that counter and its supports are made of massively thick slabs of slate, with 19th century oil cloth on the walls:



The one concession to modernity, the bath on the second floor was endlessly charming and diminutive. I'm like 5'8" or 9", and I'm certain I would have to stoop if I stood in the tub (which, notice, has glass feet ... fear of electrocution?):



And all the wonderfully faded papers. I'm betting these are older than my grandmother, and she turned 95 on Tuesday:



Do trees grow this big anymore?



My companion that day, who's at least 6,' hated this house. But I loved its scale, which did not mock, but rather embraced my height. Here, a hallway with a regular size radiator that looks like a giant:



The ceiling was about 6,' maybe. Most poignant to me were the shadows on the floor where furniture had been for centuries, but is now missing.

How sad and beautiful ... I want it. This house is not tear down.

"...a new house standing empty, with staring windows and door,
Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in a store.
But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life,
That has but its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like it needs a bit of work but once you put the work in it should be a beautiful place to live.

-Zane of ontario honey

Tony Lovell said...

This place has become like a work of art - it actually succeeds in doing many things art strives to do but fails.
What a beautiful glimpse into the mechanics of time.

Anonymous said...

From a neighbor around the corner, happy to say it was restored, and not torn down.

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