What we are reading this week about decorating and renovating old houses:
There’s a Brooklyn connection to this London house. It’s the home of Esther Boulton, one half of the business consulting firm Benson & Boulton; her partner Belle lived in New York for a few years and helped open Brooklyn’s Bird boutique. Formerly an SRO, this house required a lot of work and was missing all but one of its mantels when Boulton and her family bought it. She was so tired of renovating that she simply painted the interior all white, and then added color over four years. But you would never know any of that now. We envy the beautiful historic detail in the rooms, from the Victorian tiled hall to the new mantels, which look like they’ve always been there. We also like the casual interior decor, particularly the green-painted cupboard in the kitchen and the tailored menswear look of the stair carpet, carefully chosen to harmonize with the encaustic tile.
Sneak Peek: Esther Boulton of Benson & Boulton [Design*Sponge]
Photo by Tina Maas
This truly eccentric national historic landmark in Gloucester, Mass., was the home of Henry Davis Sleeper, a collector and interior decorator, and it served as a calling card for his services. Built in the teens and twenties, it may be one of the earliest houses to make use of architectural salvage. A passageway displays a collection of amethyst glass next to leather-bound books and chintz and leads into a room with Early American detailing, tiger-maple furniture and a Chinoiserie screen.
Home Tour: A Design Pioneer’s House [Martha Stewart]
While we certainly mine Craigslist, eBay, Etsy and salvage, over the years we have found Ruby Lane to be a good alternative for reasonably priced 19th-century items. We have bought several lighting fixtures and a pair of candlesticks there, and are eyeing antique embroidered linens to make into a cover for an interior window. For a couple years now, we have been searching for a small “builder’s grade” electrified gas sconce from the 1890s for our first floor toilet off the mudroom. This week we purchased the sconce you see above. The listing says it’s early electric, not originally gas — not to mention it is probably a tad later, circa 1900 — but the style and size fit our house and budget, so we bought it. We’ll save it up along with some other fixtures for a visit from the electrician next year, after we add a floor and walls to the aforementioned quarter bath.
Antique Investments Store [Ruby Lane]
Photo by Antique Investments