Monday, February 20, 2012

My Home: Forty Four

Let me take a moment to introduce you to Forty Four, a 1971 Royal Barry Wills Cape that is my home, and the inspiration behind my blog.

Her quaint features speak of a time long ago, yet she is 41 years young. Her design was created by a man named Royal Barry Wills. Royal was an MIT architecture graduate from the 1920's whose career focused on the forgotten residential design, which he felt was a "missing piece" in the architectural world. His homes were designed for the post-war, budget-conscious home owner. He was best known for his design of the Cape Codder, although he also designed Colonials, Saltboxes and Ranches. He used reclaimed materials, which were less expensive at the time. Boy, have things have changed. You could say that Royal was ahead of his time, in that he was designing green years before it was in-vogue. His homes boasted large center chimneys with used brick, appropriately sized dormers to create proper scale, graduated clapboards, beautiful reclaimed beams for interior spaces, over-sized fireplaces with huge iron screens and rooms that flowed with a natural ease. All of which was in keeping with homes that were appropriately sized, with the best possible use of space.

step one: paint over brown stain

My husband and I acquired Forty Four in 1998 after falling in love with her rustic charm.  A classic design with so much potential both inside and out. She was just in need of a little cosmetic updating, but we knew her bones were good. Step one would be to address her exterior color. She was dark chocolate brown and appeared hidden in her treed surroundings. Although "colonial" brown may have been popular during the Brady Bunch era, it would not be considered attractive by current taste. The brown must go.

step two: wait for warmer weather to paint the (red) doors and (green) shutters
With Cabot's solid storm stain, an attempt was made to cover her brown coat with a lighter stain. Some questioned whether you could successfully cover a dark stain with a lighter colored stain, but, in my personal experience, it is possible. It has held up well for the last 15 years, except for a bit of fading which is to be expected. I chose to keep her doors red but selected a more cherry shade vs. the existing orange shade. I also wanted to add shutters for the purpose of creating dimension and sophistication. Shutters painted in hunter green would add weight to her exterior appearance. The combination of three colors (gray, green and red) would add additional interest to her facade. After reading in Country Living Magazine (one of my bibles) about a place in Kennebunk Maine called Old House Parts, I scheduled a visit. They had just what I was looking for: shutters in all shapes and sizes. It is an amazing place if you are looking for reclaimed materials, and if you are the adventurous DIY type.

Forty Four is like an old friend, and is the inspiration behind much of my design experience. She has a familiar warmth, and I have thoroughly enjoyed raising my children within her walls. I feel lucky to have been her keeper.

Until next time... L

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