Old House Links

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

13 Comment

  • daveinbedstuy

    I bought all my sconces and reproduction chandeliers from JF Pegan through ebay. I just searched for him and found that he died of cancer. His remaining inventory is available….

    http://members.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=jfpegan

  • daveinbedstuy

    I bought all my sconces and reproduction chandeliers from JF Pegan through ebay. I just searched for him and found that he died of cancer. His remaining inventory is available….

    http://members.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=jfpegan

  • Cate

    I was sad when I saw that, and sad they’re closing the business.

  • Cate

    I was sad when I saw that, and sad they’re closing the business.

  • Love those floor tiles in the first pic of the home in London. Can’t get over how many times I search online for something specific – like radiator covers, or bathroom storage furniture – but also for other furniture, and I find out it is only available in England. Makes me nuts when I see exactly what I want, but isn’t available here. Sometimes I think I was born on the wrong continent, or the wrong century, for my design tastes, which is likely why I live in old buildings. Or maybe my taste was partly formed, in a way I’m usually completely unaware of, by having a parent who emigrated from Europe.

  • Love those floor tiles in the first pic of the home in London. Can’t get over how many times I search online for something specific – like radiator covers, or bathroom storage furniture – but also for other furniture, and I find out it is only available in England. Makes me nuts when I see exactly what I want, but isn’t available here. Sometimes I think I was born on the wrong continent, or the wrong century, for my design tastes, which is likely why I live in old buildings. Or maybe my taste was partly formed, in a way I’m usually completely unaware of, by having a parent who emigrated from Europe.

  • Cate

    I’m crazy for those tiles too. I did once see a house in Bushwick that had them in the entry and hall like that. It looked like a pretty ordinary brick house outside, but inside was a riot of Neo-Grec ornamentation. But yeah, they’re a lot more common in England. I’m looking for a 19th-century wood towel rail, which is apparently also something known only to the Brits. Our bathroom, strangely, has no good place to locate a hook or towel bar, but there is a tiny space at the end of the tub that could fit one of these freestanding things.

  • Cate

    I’m crazy for those tiles too. I did once see a house in Bushwick that had them in the entry and hall like that. It looked like a pretty ordinary brick house outside, but inside was a riot of Neo-Grec ornamentation. But yeah, they’re a lot more common in England. I’m looking for a 19th-century wood towel rail, which is apparently also something known only to the Brits. Our bathroom, strangely, has no good place to locate a hook or towel bar, but there is a tiny space at the end of the tub that could fit one of these freestanding things.

  • NeoGrec

    Love that London house! I believe Tile Source in South Carolina sell encaustic tiles.

  • Your sconce is actually a combination of early electric with a more recently added gas fitter to accommodate the gas shade. It is what lighting people call a marriage.

  • Your sconce is actually a combination of early electric with a more recently added gas fitter to accommodate the gas shade. It is what lighting people call a marriage.

  • Cate – I think I’ve seen those freestanding towel bars in chrome, if not in wood. Good luck hunting. I currently also have a old bath with no place to hang towels. My solution, which has worked quite well, is to hang a chrome rack with 5 hooks with white-ceramic-knob ends on it over the top back of the bathroom door. These over the door racks come in a variety of styles – I just happened to have this one, which held coats on the back of my apartment door in my last place. It looks good in my bath, which was last renovated in the 1940s. Luckily, the door was loose enough in its frame that I didn’t need to plane it on top to be able to close the door with the hook rack in place.