Saturday, August 11, 2018

"Old, Comfortable, Not Posh"




New Englanders are inclined to differentiate between good and bad by determining whether it's old or new. Frugality, reluctance to change, reliance on the "tried and true", abhorrence of things showy or gaudy, pride in the past, a strong need for tradition and continuity – all these natural inclinations in our personalities result, not surprisingly, in our wearing slightly threadbare old clothes, joining old, comfortable not-posh social clubs, owning old boats, attending old schools and colleges, living in old houses, marrying into old families, and so forth.

- Judson Hale, Inside New England, 1982

18 comments:

  1. This reminds me a lot of what life was like growing up in my grandparents' restored field stone farmhouse in SE Pennsylvania during the 1970s-1990s. Lived in and comfortable but neither threadbare, nor cluttered. Certainly never messy. Quite a few actual colonial pieces that were actually used by the family rather than considered 'don't touch' museum pieces. Possibly 'fancy' to some, but just part of the every day to us. Of course, there was also a generous dose of southern gentility mixed in given the family roots in North Carolina. None of this was anything I really thought about at the time, but how I miss it now, and how fortunate we were to be in the midst of it as children, teenagers, and early 20-somethings.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  2. I bought a used copy of this book after I heard about it here. It is delightful.

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    1. I did exactly the same thing! And I agree--delightful.

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  3. Love the photo and will check out the book. Thanks!

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  4. My 326-year-old Essex County, MA saltbox farmhouse is certainly old, pretty comfortable, but would NEVER EVER be called "posh"!

    It's always dusty and crumbly --- so hard to keep up with the cleaning, but it's worth the extra effort to preserve and maintain its original features.

    I love Judson Hale's INSIDE NEW ENGLAND --- keep re-reading it!

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  5. Every generation or two there is an Uncle Harry or Aunt Katie that takes a walk on the wild side. Moves to another country and goes native - sends back the Sudanese mask, stuffed Bolivian caiman and Siamese bronze that now adorn the front hallway.

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    1. Nothing like a good Alligatoridea to keep the family pet outta that room...

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  6. Hate to admit ( Or not) at first glance, I thought it was my house.....Wrong color dog. ;)

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  7. I was wondering how you got my dog in the photo! He also loves lounging under the dining room table and shedding long white fur!

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    1. I always thought the dogs were hiding from my kids under the dining room table. Kids are grown and new dogs still hide there. Maybe it's me.

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    2. Dogs don't hide from the kids. They hide from everything. They are hard wired to find a "den" and go into it. Under the bed, table, a chair, anything that makes a little covered space for them to cozy up in. Dogs just being dogs.

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    3. This reminds of that time Martha Stewart devised a "cat hammock" which was suspended from the underpinnings of a dining room table!

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  8. This reminds one of the long-standing English expression that “ bought their furniture”, meaning the person was “new money”. Old money were presumed to have inherited their furniture.

    My house has some inherited furniture and some new, but all of the new is good quality and made in either the US or Canada, and is largely made from solid maple. Much is Queen Anne style, which is a timeless classic, though reportedly not in vogue with new money or millenials.

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    1. Anything not in vogue with new money or millenials, I would consider to be of possible value.

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  9. I'd put a tiny bit of boiled linseed oil on a piece of an old T shirt and rub that table top down real good with it, rubbing it in. I'd do it again in a couple weeks, and again a couple weeks after that. Leave the rag outdoors in the open so it doesn't burst into flames.

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  10. Beautiful dining room, and I just adore that gorgeous Maremma. Ever see the dining and living rooms depicted in certain catalogs? Who lives like that, I mean really? I prefer old, handmade, furniture with a story to tell. Nothing like it. --Holly in PA

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  11. Most of our furniture is named for the ancestor that it came from. We have pieces going back to the mid 19th century named after Gen. Dibrell. My Nananna's (Great Grandmother) dining room set, etc.

    There is also assorted coin silver and other such items going back to the 18th century. My wife has been brilliant in making it all work together= with some new to us items.

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