Sunday, March 21, 2010

Color in Cambridgeport

We took advantage of yesterday's unseasonably warm weather to stroll around Cambridgeport. We came across a cluster of colorful, quirky houses on Franklin Street that seemed to have once been renovated as  student projects for the local architecture schools.

Or maybe the owner of this black-and-aqua-trimmed house just had very few clues about how to add new windows:

We passed so many brilliant purple, pumpkin, ochre, red, and screaming-yellow houses that we didn't bother to photograph them. I was looking for a standout. And, of course, I found one. But because someone was in the driveway, I felt nervous trying to capture all the happy, crayon-box details of this house, with its coordinating red sports car:

For example, I wanted you to see the bright red edging that accents most of the yellow trim. Check out how the foundation is painted bright blue to match the storm door. I wish you could also see that multicolored Christmas lights were twinkling on that yew bush next to the fence, in front of a flourishing patch of crocuses — a juxtaposition you don't often find in broad daylight in March. With a house this colorful, why not keep the Christmas lights on 365 days a year? Even that striped construction drum in front adds to its appeal.

This clapboard Victorian, which seems to be a school or daycare center, makes interesting use of industrial materials for its staircase and railing. It wouldn't have been my choice, since I tend to be a purist, but it's clever and cheerful, and was probably more affordable then recreating 19th-century details:

Heading to Harvard Square, we fell in love with this old brick house on Putnam Street, which was built and occupied by a few generations of a family of bricklayers. Harvard must have kept their business booming. It's a shame there aren't more brick houses around. If the Big Bad Wolf ever shows up in Cambridgeport, he can have a field day.

We especially admire this house's beautiful proportions, as well as those two "telescoping" additions on the left.

But the highlight of my afternoon was discovering the Petsi Pies is actually over on this side of Putnam, at No. 31 — not across Mass. Ave. No wonder we could never find it and have been pie-deprived all these years.

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