Friday, February 16, 2007
A Country House
In many of the old movies set in New York City, part of the action actually takes place at the Connecticut or Long Island retreat of one of the main characters. The country retreats in these movies are always long low sprawling farmhouses, where the front door opens into a big living/dining room with an open stairwell and door leading off to the kitchen. The room was always furnished with colonial antiques grouped into little conversation centers and reading nooks. I thought these charming spaces existed only on Hollywood backlots, but twice now I have had the pleasure of actually staying in one.
You enter this farmhouse through a lovely courtyard (above) with its outdoor fireplace, through a screen porch and into the kitchen, where the owners know how to rock the open shelving. They have a wonderful collection of painted pottery, which is one of several wonderful collections. The mantelpiece in the kitchen, for example, features an antique Delft tile in a gold frame topped by a navy ribbon, a china (eighteenth century?) clock, blue amulets, silver cups, and seashells.
French doors lead directly from the kitchen to this charming family room with a lofted study above. That English-style sofa is incredibly comfortable. When you sit on it facing the doors to the kitchen, you see the white armoir on the left. On the wall beside it are some lovely illustrations of jewelery. To the right of the french doors is that fabulous large mirror and cubby-hole bookcase.
Back through the kitchen we come to the sprawling living room. This colonial fireplace matches the one in the kitchen. When there are guests a dining table is quickly set up in front of it. One of the treasures in the living room is this window seat, a symphony of blue and green fabrics. Another treasure is the opium bed, from the owners' days in Indonesia. Through those corner windows you have a wonderful view of the pond.