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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: https://casacara.wordpress.com/recent-articles/
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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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