Monday, August 24, 2009

Cottage Home

Wow, a Pink home! What a lovely thing to drive up and come home too! This home was on an antique home site and was described as follows:

Ivy Cottage with Delaware River View, Oldest Brewery in U.S.

This is the brew house built in the late 1600s as part of a complex of outbuildings behind the first governor of west Jersey's mansion. The back yard is adjacent to Collins' print shop, where a young Benjamin Franklin printed money for the Colony of New Jersey while Ivy Cottage was still an active brew house. Built up and over about 1770 and turned into a symmetrical Georgian home, the high pitched roof still reflects the shape of the brew house. The actual brew house structure was uncovered and exposed recently within the larger home... all heavy beams, accordion lath and extra long, hand made nails.

Identified by a thoroughly researched site plan prepared in the late 1970s, early 80s, the research never went beyond a xeroxed local history newsletter. Recently, in an effort to explain the completely different construction methods and materials inside, we found all the research, as well as all the documented local lore about the brewery, some verifiable, some simply delightful local legends.

This is a river view home, with all the foot traffic along the Promenade and all the boat traffic on the Delaware River visible from the bedrooms and the front porch. Located on Pearl Street, where historic High Street meets the river.

Known on all the oldest maps as Ivy Cottage, the home has 3 extant paneled room ends with fireplaces, one more elaborate fireplace with original Pennsylvania blue marble inserts, original stairwell and front door surrounds, all very close to 1770 according to Francis Purcell, the authority on Colonial fireplaces.

The house has been opened up inside, and all structure is open to view, and very solid. This is a total restoration project, though much easier than restoring an elaborate Victorian!

Located just half an hour up from Old City, Philadelphia, and a comfortable distance from Princeton.


People are always trying to improve their homes. Remodeling, new carpet, new floors. Today's homes have little or no character to them at all. The material we use to improve our homes comes right from stores like Home Depot or Lowes. What about reusing materials from older homes or remodeling homes from a different Era where quality mattered and things were meant to last? Thinking outside the box, our homes can be improved or styled in different ways. We can re-use materials or recycle. Older style homes possess a certain character and imagination and uniqueness about them.

I have always loved unique homes and vintage homes. we don't see as many of them on the market these days when searching for homes for sale or rent. It is like they have disappeared. Banks shy away from lending on them, townships shove off restoration projects because of the strict building requirement laws. I feel we should be looking at an alternative way to live. A way to buy and restore these older beauties of bygones ago. I picked a few of my favorites that have been listed for sale. Most of them are in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. There are a lot of older homes in Virginia but they are hard to come by. They aren't always listed for sale, but are empty and abandoned with no interest in reviving them. Although the structures are amazingly still standing tall, they just slowly die and dilapitate.

If you are lucky enough to own an older vintage home, then I hope you are also successful at decorating it to its purposeful state. Old wood floors should look old and worn. Plaster walls chip and crunble and expose their vulnerability of time. Old windows are wavy and often unclear with bubbles in the glass. There is a certain design in older homes that help with insulation and air flow. We have modernized our lives so much with electronics and gadgets. I hope we can keep some things intact, like authentic old age beauty in our vintage cottage homes.
Old homes are no more work than new homes. You can save money and preserve the integrity of the home. Some building materials are easily accessible at local salvage yards and old barns.
Exposed walls and beams are very vitnage chic and primitive and can be very attractive. Painting old trim can give it a new look. Old sinks may just need some different hardware or a new mosaic tile top.

I didn't like the carpet in my bedroom in my house so I tore it up and painted the floor underneath. It was a very inexpensive style change.

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