Annie’s Porch


SOMETIMES YOU DON’T NOTICE A HOUSE, however interesting, until your attention is forcibly called to it. That was the case for me with the Annie Cooper Boyd House, owned by the Sag Harbor Historical Society. I only visited it last Friday because I happened to see an ad in a local paper for an event called ‘Annie’s Porch,’ which promised a) blog material and b) free wine.

Turns out Annie Cooper Boyd (1864-1941) spent an idyllic childhood in Sag Harbor as the daughter of a whaleboat builder. Her family lived in the fine Main Street house, below.


She grew up boating, fishing, collecting shells and seaweed (there’s a display of magnificently pressed and catalogued seaweed samples), and riding her horse to the ocean in Sagaponack. On reaching marriageable age, she turned into a proper Victorian young lady, got dressed up in white finery, and spent time with relatives in New York City, where she found a spouse.


She married John Boyd in 1894. Their primary residence was on Lincoln Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Her father bequeathed her the old house next door to his, set back from the street, where some of his workers had been housed. That became her own family’s summer home.


Now open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4PM, the house was built originally as a simple saltbox around 1790; the Boyds added the porch and dormer in 1906.


Annie Cooper Boyd became a watercolor artist, covering the interior walls of the house with painted decoration.


Her paintings of local scenes provide a valuable historical record. Many are stored  in an upstairs room, recently fitted with racks to properly preserve them.


Her diaries have been published as a book called Anchor to Windward (her name for the cottage). Along with hundreds of paintings, they were given to the historical society by Annie’s daughter, Nancy Willey, who died in 1998. The diaries cover the period 1880-1935, from the waning days of the whaling industry to the Great Depression, when she augmented the family income by setting up a tea room in the house and selling her artwork and handmade holiday cards.


It all comes to life in the house itself — which, incidentally, is only one of 37 sites on a self-guided walking tour of Sag Harbor’s historic district. For more info, call 631/725-5092, or go here.

1812 Catskills Saltbox on 310 Acres 749K


IT’S KNOWN LOCALLY AS “THE BLACK COTTAGE,” for obvious reasons. It’s been owned by only two families since it was built two centuries ago, and still retains its 9-over-6 windows, wideboard floors, and original iron hardware.

Do you like “very secluded”? This is.


The 5-bedroom saltbox, in Delaware County, N.Y., has been in the current owner’s family since 1913. And all that acreage! 310, to be exact, of which 250 comprise a working tree farm with income that pretty much supports the property’s operating cost and taxes.


For 80 photos and a more fulsome description, go here. Or contact Lynne Resch of Two Stones Realty, 607/832-4404.


Springs Saltbox 399K


DON’T GET TOO EXCITED;- There’s said to be an accepted offer on this contemporary saltbox, though it hasn’t even gone to contract yet. But I wanted to show you an example of what’s available and selling quickly here in this sluggish market, and for how much.

This strikes me as a good deal for the Town of East Hampton. It’s 2 BR, 2 bath, on 1/2 acre, in a very quiet, wooded neighborhood of ’70s/’80s houses, many of them variations on the saltbox shape. It’s a mile from bay beaches, 4 miles from the ocean.


There’s not much to it, and in other parts of the country, 399K would be laughable for such a simple house. But I find its plainness appealing. Utterly simple shape, white bathrooms and kitchen, lots of light, large screened porch. Unobjectionable, certainly, which is more than can be said for many houses of that era.

For the listing, with more pictures, go here.

No Place Like Home

ANY WEEKEND GUEST OF MINE has to be prepared to walk on the beach, go to yard sales, and visit a historic house or two. So on Saturday, when I said to my friend Marilyn Fish, “Oh, let’s just pop in to the Home Sweet Home Museum,” she was game. A few years back, Marilyn and I were editors-in-chief of sister publications, Style 1900 and Modernism. She now works at the Jason Jacques gallery of European art pottery, so she knows a thing or two about the decorative arts.

The house is a cedar-shingled saltbox built around 1720. Disconcertingly, it turns out that many of the furnishings within are High Victorian, and there’s an extensive collection of Lustreware.

Hugh King, above, East Hampton’s village historian, dispelled some of the myths about the house. Chief among them is that actor/playwright John Howard Payne, who wrote the treacly song “Home Sweet Home” in 1823 for his play “Clari, Maid of Milan,” which was produced first in London and then in Philadelphia, was born there. Although Payne’s parents lived in East Hampton for a time, it wasn’t in that house, and Payne was born in lower Manhattan in 1791.

The house came to be decorated in mid-19th century mode because the last private owners, Gustav and Hannah Buek, who were there from 1907-1927, collected the material as an homage to Payne, intending the house to look as it might have when he lived there (though he didn’t).

In 1928, the Village of East Hampton raised $60,000 to buy the place from the Bueks; it has been a museum since.

I was a bit disappointed to find the architecture (which I love) and the furnishings (which I don’t) so out of sync. My favorite aspect of the house is the high-gloss white painted paneling, above, which was added, King told us, around 1750. It made me wonder if some of the dark woodwork in, say, Park Slope, which people often feel duty-bound to keep, couldn’t benefit from a treatment like this.

Driving the Backroads Just to See What’s There

IT’S FIVE WEEKS since I moved to Springs, and I’m still discovering the area. My sister is visiting; as we drove around today so I could show her my favorite beaches at Gerard Drive and Louse Point, I saw lots of houses, old and not-so-old, I hadn’t seen before.

This glass-fronted chalet, overlooking Gardiner’s Bay, is on the market for less than I would have guessed: $990K. I’ll bet it would have been $1.2 or $1.3M not long ago.


Side view

Now if I had my druthers, I would own THIS cedar-shingled saltbox, left and below. It’s on quiet Barnes Hole Road — built around 1820, I’m guessing. There’s something so charming and harmonious about it. I love the open storm door, more like a shutter. You know I’ll be driving by frequently just to say hello.


Then again, I can also appreciate a good ’70s modernist house (though not as much as the true antiques), like this one on the cliffs at Barnes Landing. I especially like the steps ‘carved’ into the lawn.