Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Postcards from Maine: Inside the Searsport House, Part 1

Let's finally go inside the house in Searsport. You know, this house:

The staircase, walls, and floors were far safer and more intact than you might expect, given the decrepitude outside. But the inside wasn't exactly in the "fixer-upper" class, either.

My husband and I both took photos. His are good, whereas many of mine are blurry. I was rattled because we were actually in the house.

Parts of walls were gone, so the house is more open to the elements than ever:

It still holds many of the previous owner's possessions. The lady died in the 1990s, I believe, and had lived there for a long time, "deferring maintenance," as they say. Vagrants and vandals have since invaded the house, treating it badly.

It was difficult, if not impossible, to enter the rooms so we stood in doorways and took pictures.

Even though it is a wreck, I could still see the graceful proportions of those rooms. The windows let in plenty of light; in summer it must have been airy and cool, open to the breezes. In winter . . . oddly, we didn't see a single fireplace mantel. The house must have had central heating: oil or coal. And perhaps the mantels were removed or stolen long ago.

Below is part of the chimney wall and what I think is the brick hearth, jutting up from the floor. My husband reminds me that Mr. Brown told us that he had just finished dismantling it. (Maybe there were some lovely mantels in the truck container parked outside.)

This is the central hall; you can see some of the original woodwork still framing the doorways to the two main, bay-windowed rooms on either side. (The ceiling is no longer with us.) Straight ahead is the front door, which once had glass sidelights:

Carved, beaded detailing:

The central staircase is still intact. It was, and still is, the most impressive and elegant feature of the interior. Mr. Brown said it was made from cypress, a rare, expensive, wood in New England. It was probably imported from Georgia or somewhere else in the South. It was still sturdy — we took many photos as we ascended. 

Fine cypress paneling, still in lovely condition, covered the underside, too:

A handsome newel post:

The ancient carpet runner might be original:

The staircase is for sale, as is everything in the house.

I love the dramatic, "ski jump" curve of the railing. Our photos didn't do it justice:

This empty window frame on the landing may once have held a stained-glass window:

Almost all of the balusters were still intact; I think only one was missing:

From the landing, looking down toward the front door, you can see more  cypress wainscoting in the hall. Note that swoopy, curved railing on the right:

I'll show photos of more of the rooms, upstairs, and down, in the next post.

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