The Real Colonial Thing

ONE DAY A COUPLE OF MONTHS BACK, a friend and I were walking on Main Street in East Hampton, N.Y., and decided to look into the Osborn Jackson House, because it was there, and because I’d never taken the time to investigate it. The village of East Hampton, settled by English people from Kent in the early 17th century,  is justifiably proud of its historic houses, some of the oldest in the country.

Before we knew it, we were swept up in a detailed tour of the house — just the two of us — in the way that often happens in under-visited historic house museums. The docents are so pleased to have takers that they tell you everything there is to know, from the way the chair seats are woven to the provenance of each teacup. I busied myself taking photos and barely remember a thing the man said, except that the house is furnished not with its own original pieces, but with material appropriate for the time and place.

Our visit happened to come at a time when my columns for the Brooklyn real estate site Brownstoner were all about modern design, and there was some back-and-forth in the comments about modern vs. traditional, so I’d been giving the matter some thought. There couldn’t be decor more ‘traditional’ than the Osborn Jackson house, and if ever I thought I was a straight-up modernist, a look into this house dispelled that notion. With a couple of exceptions (e.g. wing chairs — for some reason, I can’t stand them), I think this house, and almost everything in it, is absolutely beautiful.

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/
This entry was posted in HAMPTONS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, LONG ISLAND and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Real Colonial Thing

  1. gap916 says:

    A double-header today! Anyway, I agree with you about this house. Love that green, which looks soft in the photos, in the living room. The print on the ding room curtains is ravishing too.

  2. claiborne ray says:

    I may have to make a special trip out there to visit this! Authenticity often equals elegance. Thank you.

  3. Amanda says:

    I once saw a very simple black tea set from Wedgewood from 1799 and now think that modernism may have started much earlier than is generally accepted.
    I even see ties between modernism and early American decorative arts which which were never quite as fancy as their European counterparts.

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