When we leave this house for others to enjoy, I hope that something of ours will remain and blend with the new owners things. These law books have remained in the house well over 100 years and belonged to Leonard Harstone, Barrister at Law, second owner of the Dusty Victorian.
The first room our guests usually are welcome to is the library. It also serves as Brian's office and our family room. The biggest in the house, after the kitchen, it's the most used. We had bookcases built to Brian's specific requirements. His collection amounts to almost 4,000 books and he did not want any wasted space. Unfortunately, the library can only contain half of his collection, therefore more bookcases will have to be built elsewhere in the house. The previous owner had this room decorated using high quality wall paper, Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wall Paper. The Victorian esthetics are very present in this room, emphasizing hight, texture, rich and dark colours and patterns. The green marble effect is a "faux finish" and the lower brown part is embossed wall paper painted and glazed. I think William Morris would be very pleased.
Walking the dogs around town, Brian and I enjoy looking at the other homes. Some have been so beautifully maintained or restored, while others have been terribly defaced. There is a lot to talk about in a historic town. While Brian sees primarily "bone structure" and balance, I go further and focus on details, such as functioning shutters versus ones that are screwed in place. I'm proud to say that the shutters on our house can still open and close thanks to those clever hinges and locks. But the louvres are just too caked with decades of paint to be functional. Though I would rather see "fake" shutters than none at all, shutters are nothing much without the hardware that give them their true purpose. Call me a purist. I will let these before and after shots of shutter hardware speak for themselves.
Most of the time, previous owners will leave behind unwanted things, also known as junk. But we discovered in the shed this beautiful stove. Note the intricate decorative details and elegant proportions - very Victorian. Jewett & Root's of Buffalo, New York were obviously very proud of their folding door concept, casting the words right under their names. Once refinished, it will make for a stunning outdoor fireplace.
Coming from a design background, the selection of a colour palette is a very long, subjective process. But selecting colours for a house was an even harder task than expected. Natural light, which affects the appearance of colours throughout the day and the bleaching effects of the sun need to be taken into serious consideration. The previous owner had selected aubergine/taupe/dark green/cream. A very sophisticated selection I highly respect, but from a distance and with time, the aubergine now appears brown and the dark green appeared black, making this colour palette too neutral, sombre and giving the house a foreboding look. I'm in the beginning process of trying out different colour combinations. Sage green/burnt red/sage cream, is my first attempt. This particular green was one of the house's original colours, discovered while stripping the storm doors. I thought I would give it a try and see how it reacts to the different lights of the day, and to see if I still like it come Spring. I also think that this burnt red would make for a beautiful entrance door.
50 shutters to scrape, putty, sand, prime and paint - lots of nooks and crannies. Most of them are original to the house, but the "new" ones were perfectly replicated.