Revolutionary Decor

I PITY THE POOR COLONISTS (or anyone who lived in the pre-modern era, really). Their homes were so devoid of comfort. No rugs on the hard wood floors, nothing to sit on but stiff-backed chairs, thin mattresses stuffed with straw. Even when they did get those fireplaces cranked up in winter, I’ll bet it wasn’t up to 70 degrees.


Still, their interiors were beautiful in a Puritan sort of way, to judge by the rooms at Mulford House in East Hampton, one of the finest English-style buildings of its era on this continent.


Built in 1680, the house is furnished today as it might have been in 1790, when Daniel and Rachel Mulford lived there with their children and household help.


As recently as 1949, descendants of the family lived in the house, foregoing such luxuries as plumbing and electricity so the house could remain in a state of near-perfect preservation.


One section of wall is stripped to reveal layers of paint colors through the centuries, and a bit of an upper wall has been left open to show dried seaweed packed between the beams for insulation.

The Mulford House doesn’t feel like a museum. It feels like a sparsely decorated Early American house , very evocative and very real.


About cara

I blog for fun here at casaCARA, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here:
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5 Responses to Revolutionary Decor

  1. Astor C. says:

    Ever notice that in all of these restorations/recreations/renovations of historic properties there’s never anything hanging from the walls (With the notable exception of Olana-but then he was a painter)? Did they have a fear of pictures????

  2. I’m going to have dreams about that painted cabinet.

    Seaweed as insulation pretty darn brilliant. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  3. Nancy says:

    I found it fascinating that the original colors were very strong blues and greens. Much more interesting than the current off white.

  4. BrooklynGreene says:

    Yes, I’m up late.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the summer…What shakes with the house (rental)?
    To be honest, I kind of like the sparse, hard chair, no rug sort of interior. I also like to lounge but tire of it easily and find myself too impatient…in movement…to sit for too long “wasting time”…and then I end up sitting in a chair again before I know it. Of course, there are some surprisingly comfortable hard chairs…probably better for you than soft couches.

    PS Don’t knock straw ’til you’ve tried it! :-)

  5. Wow this place is so cool. I can’t believe the descendants have lived in the house so many years with out upgrades. I kind of reminds me of the Bethpage Restoration (I think it’s called) grounds. They really lived with the minimum those times. Not even a chair to fall asleep in.

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