THE NEW ENGLAND HOME
"When you’re moving into a place think about the history and who was there before. How are you going to preserve the integrity of the place? How do you highlight that and what was originally here as you make it your own?"
A documentary filmmaker and lover of all things Cape Cod, this house is a testament to Nicole's taste in clean lines and nautical themes. Perhaps there could be no better tenant to this New England design than someone so dedicated to preserving not just her own familial integrity but that of her wonderful home.
This particular structure is called an antique Colonial Farmhouse. Built in the 1830's it is set in front of a 400-year-old cemetery in which the oldest grave dates to 1638. The parcel of land was owned by Henry Hitchings, also known as the "Father of the Evening Drawing Class." Hitchings actually lived in the house directly in front of the Farmhouse, and according to Dedham Historical Society Research this home was believed to be his studio before it became a house. When Hitchings passed away it was built upon, including a 1990 addition, and turned into a home.
Upon moving into the house there were a number of things to keep and a number of things that had to be adjusted for modern living. Originally the kitchen had a low ceiling with a crawl space and dark, frosty track lighting. Much has been done in this room including knocking out half of a large, exposed brick wall that originally separated the kitchen from neighboring rooms. The ceiling containing the crawl space was knocked out to open up the area and recess lights were added to brighten things up. After the brick was minimized it was capped with a salvage piece of hickory from Cambridge. Nicole's husband Ryan sanded and stained the wood and with the leftover elements created the shelves seen above. Nicole knew she wanted an anchor to cap off the seashore aesthetic and happened by one in a walk around Provincetown. The Aprons seen above arrived from friends and rest on a set of iron hooks dating back to the 1700's.
THE DINING ROOM
The Dining Room is Nicole's favorite room in the house and a testament to her grandmother. Nicole and her husband were in charge of her estate upon her passing, not knowing at the time that her tastes would influence their future home. A beautiful antique chair rests in the corner and also featured in a bevy of photos from Nicole's childhood, usually seated with her grandfather and reading a children's book. Above the chair is a very unique, vintage fire extinguisher with the original chemicals intact.
The beautiful tea cart helps illuminate smaller porcelain pieces and adds an old-world aesthetic to the room. When complemented with the open layout there is an overall feeling that you have walked back in time.
Seashells gathered from Stratford, Connecticut fill a bowl that was a gift from Simon Pierce in Vermont, its simple elegance blending right in with the understated charm of the room. The entry wall houses a built-in cabinet creating the perfect home for a collection of antique China and helping to augment the room's off-whites.
The Statement Table in the center of the room was handmade by Nicole's father as a wedding present and took over a year to create.
"When I first got engaged, I asked for a table. Not even having a house. It went beyond what I ever would have expected and comes with matching benches large enough to serve as individual coffee tables."
On the far wall is a cutom-framed poster of Cape Cod. Inspired by Edward Gorey, Nicole and Ryan went to the Edward Gorey Museum of Yarmouth, Massachusetts and found the perfect frame for the piece in a suburb close to home.
"We're big fans of him. This was drawn by his friend. For our wedding we got a gift card to a custom framing place in Brookline Village, and if you go and are willing to learn you can do a custom frame for a lot less money."
THE LIVING ROOM
An addition was put on the house prior to purchasing in the 1990's and it included the Living Room as well as a finished basement.
One of the elements of the room that Nicole is most proud of is her DIY Storm Window project, visible over the fireplace. Using found storm windows in the basement of the house located in an old coal pit, nautical rope was added and the window hung horizontally. The piece launched the overall aesthetic of the room. And old family trunk was subsequently brought down to serve as a rustic coffee table and porcelain glasses and vases also found near the coal pit were cleaned and placed around the room, helping to maintain the house's original integrity.
The mantle showcases both older items from Nicole's grandmother's glass collection as well as seashells from her and Ryan's wedding at Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, Cape Cod.
A Crosley Stereo plays not just records but MP3's, CD's and Cassettes (my own heart), with the cassette capability actually being the overall selling point of the item.
By the couch is a nautical knot from Hyannis, which complements the Japanese pillow- a family heirloom passed down through several generations. Nearby a hammary table site beneath a lamp that arrived from the MIT Endicott House estate sale. The sale takes place every year and attracts a sizable number of buyers.
Upon the renovation of the kithen, the nearby entryway also received some love. Knocking down the brick wall opened up the entire area and let light from nearby windows illuminate the home.
A long mirror hangs over a small breakfast table and is unique in its origination in the home as a sheet of glass. A custom in state driftwood frame was glued over top to complete the look.
All new wainscoting lines the walls to maintain the overall old-time aesthetic but small modern pieces add pops of color. Seen here is the Anthropologie yellow strainer resting in a wonderful breakfast tray from the amazing Winsmith Mill Market. The market is a huge antique hall in Norwood, Massachusetts that will keep you occupied for hours with all of its unique finds.
Very special to this space is an umbrella holder found in the house's cole pit in the original basement. It is an old canister that housed a fire extinguisher from the early 1900's. A look at its inscription reveals it arrived from The Old Manville Company.
And so we leave Nicole and Ryan to their storied and interesting abode. A huge thank you to both of them for letting use come in, explore and ask questions!