You can access this room either through the pocket doors in the entrance hall, or from a single door opposite the staircase. Like most of the other rooms in the house, the parlor is equipped to provide comfort in winter even when the power goes out (which is an all-too frequent occurrence in my neck o’ the woods).
The most important feature in the parlor is the fireplace. This warms the room so efficiently — just as all Federal-era fireplaces did — that the “modern” radiator in the room is kept permanently turned off. I’ve even cooked entire dinners on the fireplace hearth.
Over the mantel is a very large mirror, with an ebony frame, and a gilt-bamboo motif. We frankly did not like this mirror for we thought it too contemporary for the house. In fact, we intended to replace it with a 19th century oil portrait or landscape. That is, until Janis, the 95-year-old great, great granddaughter of the house’s original owner, sent us this picture…
The picture, taken in the 1890s, is quite warn. But you can clearly see the mirror existed over the mantel even then. And get a load of the large, gas chandelier! If only this had remained in the house.
The wood floor is definitely original to the house, dating back to 1826. It is composed of wide planks of heart pine. How do I clean this 185-year-old wood? On my hands and knees. Now that’s a labor of love!
The sofa which faces the fireplace is quite old too. It was built in Boston around 1820. It entered our lives through an auction house in NYC. If you want good deals on antique furniture, auctions are definitely the way to go.
If you’d like to see other rooms we’ve restored in this house, just let me know. As always, I love hearing from you.
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