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Provincetown :: Sunday, April 23rd 2017

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A Sense of History

@Home, Provincetown

November 15th, 2011

Recently, I visited a lovely home nestled in the hills of the very far east end of town. As one enters the house, the immediate reaction is that it has been here awhile. Greeting you at the front door of this center-hall classically designed space is a very old wooden staircase, which goes up and up and up through the center of the house. The ancient-looking and beautifully hewn wood looks as if it had been here for ages. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it had been built in the not too distant past.

This small and very comfortable room would be just right on a chilly winter’s day when you want to curl up and read a good book.

The central post and beam construction of this house, which gives one a sense of history, had been culled from the pilings that were replaced when MacMillan Pier was rebuilt. In fact, the original builder of this home built other houses in the neighborhood, using as many of these pilings as could be gotten. I stood there a bit amused by all of this. As I wandered inside, to my delight, I found the main floor open space to be filled with light, beautiful antiques and amazing heirloom silver. It made me so happy that I had ridden my old boneshaker up this steep hill.

Center hall construction, long a favorite of mine, with its classical sense of proportion and balance, has been updated in this house to create a space for entertaining. To the right of the stairs, is a dining room, ready for leisurely dinners, which leads into a kitchen, a marvel of up-to-date design.

Often this seems cool and antiseptic to these vintage eyes; but in this case, the styling and selection of materials is done with such an assured hand that you see all of the modern elements in their classical form. This assures me that one day some of what we live with and create today will endure the test of time. Beyond the kitchen is one of the home’s loveliest features, an enclosed porch, which in summer provides additional dining and seating and year-round a view of the town’s crooked chimneys and the scenic harbor beyond. Back around to the living room, a two-story high space that soars gloriously is furnished with comfortably opulent, classically designed antiques and contemporary furniture. This makes the visitor feel right at home. The focal point of the living space is the beautiful slab of a stone hearth, held to the wall with hand wrought iron supports, evoking an English Cottage, in its rustic elegance

Up the stairs one finds a cozy sitting area on the first landing in front of the library, which houses the book collection of these avid readers. This small and very comfortable room would be just right on a chilly winter’s day when you want to curl up and read a good book. Further up the ancient wood stairs, we find the guest ensuite bedroom, which has all the touches of the rest of the house and would be the perfect place to spend a long weekend as a guest of these two hospitable men. It has its own deck with an unencumbered view of the harbor and points beyond. Further up at the topmost part of the house, there is the master suite with its own bath and sitting room. The decoration follows the design principals of the overall space.

This aerie is secluded enough to make it feel like you are removed from everything, yet the three-story open staircase connects all of the spaces and unifies it. The deck outside these rooms seems to float over the tree line, giving another staggering view of the shoreline and points beyond.

So often as I traverse this old town, I am still amazed at the architectural differences of this place, and too often my toes curl as I see something new being built or something being renovated and the past of this place being corrupted in the name of progress.

When I find a place like this home, I am sensorially ecstatic! My tweed cap is off, in homage to these two fellow travelers, who hold up the standard of quality and elegance in the game of trying to keep a bit of this old town’s character intact, while living in the present day. And, this is what makes us ALL feel @home in Provincetown.


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