Greek Revival touches add some grace

The dour severity of the Eastport’s four-window-fronted Cape-style house soon softened as its popularity spread and each builder added some new touches.

 

Some are sited, Greek Revival style, with the gable and entry door facing the street, creating variety on the block. And then there are individual touches, like a bay window.
As well as a mudroom, which helps keep the heat in when people come and go.
Modest ornamentation often serves a function, too.

It’s a Cape, of sorts, but quite popular here

Maybe it’s a reflection of the town’s fishing village nature, but the most common house style seems to be Cape Cod.

The traditional Full Cape stands 1½ stories with a central door on the front, flanked by two windows on each side. Eastport has a fair number of those, including the one where I dwell.

But for whatever reasons, a distinctive variation proliferated here. Gone is the doorway from under the roofline, along with the central hall, staircase, and chimney. The result is a shorter front and an overall smaller house, commonly two rooms with two in the attic above, rather than the customary four-over-four.

The design does create a smaller frontage, which may have been a tax advantage, as well as allowing more homes to cluster closer to the harbor.

Here’s a sampling.

The front’s symmetric.
While the door has moved to the gable-roofed side.
Curtains add a personal touch.
This one, with shutters, plays to New England severity.
And some even have two chimneys.

 

In the comfort of my own home

Oh, the joys of online streaming! In my case, music, classical and jazz. Or when everyone else is up visiting, what we’re watching on the big screen. The one I call the wall of death, when it’s black with nothing on, or even when it’s blazing action blood, aliens, car crashes, and meaningless gore.

Yeah, I love having my beloved circle spending time in this place that’s ultimately theirs. For now, it’s like our extraordinary tides. Hopefully, I can roll with it.

Call me a fuddy-duddy, one living in a remote fishing village with a lively arts scene on an island in Maine, but that doesn’t mean I’m isolated from what I might be dialing in on the radio in Boston or New York, much less attending live. I have an ear on weekly orchestral concerts or Metropolitan Opera, for starters. And we do have some incredible live performances here, musical and theatrical, just less frequently. Oh, my, do we! Many of them are only eight blocks from home, an easy stroll.

Well, the opportunities for ethic food deliveries are another matter – even pizza. Things you might take for granted. But that’s offset by things like fresh scallops, which you’ll never eat anyplace else.

I’m not so sure how I’d feel about all this if I were exiled to some small place in North Dakota or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, by the way. But this really feels like home.

One thing for sure. I had no idea this was my destination, back when I was in college back in Indiana. But I really have no complaints, other than trying to keep warm through deep winter.

Whatever happened to my silk scarves?

The first college I attended had an excellent writing program, and somehow most of the kids in it began wearing scarves as a kind of identity badge. I posted on that back in 2013, but am now reflecting on a later incarnation, once I had relocated to New England.

In the intervening years, I had discovered the glories of silk, a fabric I had been taught was expensive and somehow beyond our means. What I found instead was how marvelous it felt to the touch and how warm its lightness could be in winter here or how well it breathed in warmer weather. And then I picked up a few brightly patterned ones that were scarves. They were a stylish touch to my otherwise nearly Plain wardrobe and made a definite impression, often eliciting favorable comments.

But then, when I remarried, they vanished into my stepdaughters’ collections. Fine enough.

The other day, though, I flashed on the thought I could really use those again – they do hold the heat in cold weather – or cold rooms, especially.

So I’m on the lookout. This should be fun, picking up a couple or more.

Now, as for my necktie collection? When’s the last time I’ve even worn one? Will I ever wear one again?

 

A big comfy place for reading?

As we anticipate the renovations to our new old house, one of the big touches I realize I’m missing is a really comfy place to sit while reading. I’m admitting I never really had that in our old place, not until we got the lights above the pillows in bed, but even those were too hot for comfort and the lack of back support took a toll.

So here are the specifications:

  • The seating has to be comfy, for starters. A puffy chair with good backing heads the list, likely with an ottoman.
  • It has to have a small table or other service to hold a cup of coffee or glass of refreshment, plus pencils and maybe a notebook.
  • Lighting is crucial – my wife hates table lamps, at least the ones with lampshades, as well as floor lamps. I hate overhead lighting, in general. So I want something that brightens the page while making the space intimate. We’ll see what we come up with.

I’m assuming it will be in the parlor where the wood-fired stove will sit. The big question now is just, where, exactly they’ll fit.

~*~

I do wonder, by the way, why nobody sells dental chairs as home furniture. These days, they’re quite cozy and seem to contort themselves to everyone’s fit. Any ideas? I’m not sure they’re exactly what I envision for reading, but in front of that giant home screen? Or just for a snooze?