Saturday, August 4, 2012

Three Heirlooms

It's hot here (is it where you are?), which is why it's fortunate I'm still in Nantucket talking about island breezes and island houses.  Today's two Nantucket homes are very early American, very heirloom.  You know that this early American antique design is just one of the designs that I love.  Today, I will wallow in this heirloom-ness and not be conflicted about any other loved design aesthetics.  Come wallow with me.

Heirloom house #1 appeared in the New York Times Magazine in 2011.  As a child of ten, Sherry Lefevre once spent a summer in a rental house on Nantucket and vowed she would once own a home there someday.  When she came into an inheritance, she held true to her vow, bought the following house there...

and filled it with antiques.

Today, as an assistant  professor of writing at the University of Art in Philadelphia, she's immersed herself in the writings of Bronte, Hawthorne and Emerson, and somehow this literature is reflected in her home.  It has the feel of a seafarer's home filled with treasures from afar.

Still, it has all the comforts of today.

It's a matter of taste, I know, but the draperies seem too warm.  I so prefer Jacobsen's use of inside shutters, especially when it's as hot as today.

Draperies or shutters, it's a charmer.

The guest room.

Whereas Ms Lefevre bought an heirloom house, an earlier article from Colonial Homes featured the following new home but a new home filled with antiques.  Nantucketers love their antiques, and that can't be a bad thing.

The new house outside of town.

Great collection of antique lightship baskets and walking sticks in the foyer.

Newly designed table and chairs and antique china in the dining room.

Had to show the other part of dining room table for all the topiary lovers out there (like Loi and Phyllis).  Love the fireplace here.

Kitchen half of great room.

Other half.

Is it the interior shutters in the library that make me love this room so much, or is it just the comfortable furnishings and books on the shelves??  Whatever - it's a great room.

Airy bedroom with door leading to second floor balcony.

Nautical antique collection,

Hope you enjoyed these two homes.  I always have.  Now onto something very different thatI have always enjoyed and hope you might also - a short story by Dixie Lee Clifford, entitled Summertime on Laurel Lake which appeared in the July, 1984 Gourmet - the story is today's third heirloomThe setting is not Nantucket but New Hampshire, and it describes the summer vacation we all had once upon a time or should have had.  (I'm even including some of Gourmet's recipes at the end.)

My daughter and I read this story every summer, and as I was putting away my July Gourmets, thought you might like it as much as we do. (You are going to have to enlarge it, I think.)

I heartily recommend the blueberry cake and popovers, but, more importantly, did you like the short story itself?  The imagery is sooo lovely.  I was trying to just link it for you, but could not find the story on the internet.  So if you didn't like it or it was too long, I apologize.  You can take the English teacher out of the classroom, or the foodie out of the kitchen, but before long she pops up anyway.

Next time friends and dear readers (you are only "dear" if you actually read the story), I'll still be in Nantucket and soon Martha's Vineyard and then the Hamptons.
All in good time.


  1. Billie -
    Thanks for the photos of the topiaries :-) I always notice tops! I, too, love interior shutters and would replace the chintz and floral curtains with shutters. Beautiful antiques and collections.

  2. Hi Billie,

    These are two very charming houses. A well loved house filled with the things one loves always seems to sing. And what a lovely story from Gourmet. (I miss the magazine!) A New England summer is special indeed, and I will be trying out the recipes - so many things I love...baked beans included. As for my topiaries, they have become like pets - I adore them. Oh, dear.

    Hope you are staying cool!

  3. Hi Billie, I love the first house and the way it reflects the owner, she is a professor who teaches Bronte, Emerson, and Hawthorne. How perfect that house is for her! And my dear Gourmet magazine, how I miss it. I loved the old format, before they changed things around to make it look like every other food magazine. Thanks for all these reminders of favorite old magazines. I wish I had kept them!

  4. Billie, I just read Dixie Lee Clifford's article again today. What a talented writer. You see, I have a collection of Gourmet magazines going back to the 1970's that I treasure. I pull them out at random to read again. I was so happy too revisit that particular issue because it had my favorite chocolate zucchini cake recipe in it. I have been looking for it for ages. Ms. Clifford's reminiscence of living on the lake is so meaningful to me as I grew up that way and now live on a lake full time.