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.