Monday, November 16, 2015

A New England Painted Lady

We spotted this imaginative hip-roofed Queen Anne during a blustery walk in Newburyport on Saturday. My photos aren't great but I hope you'll get the idea. It was as if someone picked up a house from San Francisco and plopped it into this otherwise typical, mostly Colonial Revival North Shore neighborhood.

While I'm no architectural expert, this house strikes me as having unusual Moorish aspects — the arches decorating the front porch and the exotic shape of turret's roof. (I'd call it a witch's hat married to an ogee base, sort of.) There's so much whimsy and variety to admire in this house's ornaments, which you don't often find in a staid old New England seaport. (Martha's Vineyard is another story.)


If we owned a house this fancy, we'd be tempted to pick a complicated paint scheme with a few harmonious colors, a couple of contrasting accent colors, and touches of metallic gold. The owners here sensibly limited themselves to just three shades: deep, grayish eggplant (which blends with the roof), lime green, and a buttery cream color — tasteful but still eye-catching and lively.


It's easier to see some of the details in the photo above. That green is a very contemporary choice, I think, but I also think it's charming and personal. The owners clearly love that color, so good for them for using it so nicely. I'd have been tempted to use an orange-red with the purple and cream, a more predictable choice. 

Don't miss the different treatments of the porch railings on the two levels, and the way the green arch was widened and "translated" to the shape of the upper porch.


The house doesn't have as many decorative elements along the sides but it's by no means plain. I like the way the detailing on the porch railing continues all the way around the house as an applied decoration. There's also some stained glass on some of the windows, and fancy ironwork trim on the roof, including a weathervane.

Next to the house, there's a matching building, which may have originally been a carriage house or garage but now seems to be more living space. With those big front windows, perhaps it was meant to be a workshop or store.


I wonder what the inside looks like.... sigh.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you do not have to go to San Francisco to see painted ladies... (not that I dislike resaons to go west.)

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