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.