Behind My Red Door

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some colonial New England and the answers you have been waiting for!

Good evening friends! But before we get to the answers, I wanted to share with you where my dear friend Chris and I enjoyed a delicious lunch today. We traveled a short distance east to Longfellow's Wayside Inn —a nationally significant historic landmark—is the oldest operating Inn and tavern in the country, offering comfort and hospitality to travelers along the Boston Post Road since 1716. What began as an extension of David Howe's family home in 1716, the Inn has thrived through years of growth and expansion and survived because of its important history and beautiful setting. From its Colonial roots to Henry Ford's historic preservation of the property as a living museum of American history, the Wayside Inn offers a unique experience of history—a step back in time in a warm and hospitable setting.

(I am using pictures from the website because they are better than mine.)


We parked across the street and walked in this way right up to that door. Longfellows Wayside inn Once inside the front door, there are several smaller rooms off the central hallway and this is the first on the right. See the tavern bar? dining room

Below is the Martha Mary Chapel and is a short distance down the road from the Inn and many wedding are performed here and then the reception is at the Inn. The Martha-Mary Chapel was built by boys from the Wayside Inn Boys' School operated by Henry Ford on the Wayside Inn property. Wood for the building came from trees felled by the historic hurricane of 1938. The Chapel celebrated its first wedding in 1941. The Martha- Mary Chapel is one of six non-denominational chapels built around the country as a tribute to Henry and Clara Ford's mothers, Martha Bryant and Mary Litogot Ford.


After the wedding, the bride and groom often have their pictures taken at the Grist Mill across the

Built in 1929 by renowned hydraulic engineer J.B. Campbell, the Wayside Inn Grist Mill produces approximately 5 tons of flour per year. The Grist Mill was used by Pepperidge Farm as a full-time production facility from 1952-1967 and is the basis for their company logo. Pepperidge Farm paid for a restoration of the wheel a few years ago.

grst mill

Whether it be for a weekend getaway, a special retreat or simply a quiet evening away, the Wayside Inn offers a classic New England stay any time of year. There are 10 guest rooms.lodging

The ice house is one of the small utility buildings Henry Ford moved on to the property during the 1920s and 1930s.


Henry Ford moved the Barn onto the property in the 1920s to add to the agricultural buildings for the historic village he envisioned.


Isn’t it quaint? And to think this historic landmark is just 30 minutes from my home. I am so blessed to live in such an historical part of New England.


Now on to the questions and answers!!

What is your favorite season to decorate for at “Behind the Red Door" and why? Okay all my longtime followers are probably answering this right along with me – ready now – FALL!! Why?? Because I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE FALL!! As for decorating in the fall, I love the lighting in the early evenings in the fall. I love the warm colors of the pumpkins, gourds and bittersweet. I love everything about fall ~ except it’s short duration.







I just love how your home is so neat and organized! Do you have any storage tips? Especially for seasonal decoration? First of all, it’s so much easier to keep a home organized and neat when it’s just two people living where a family once lived.And another thing that I think is REALLY important to organization is that I regularly purge our home of things we don’t need or don’t use. For a modest home built in 1975, we have a good amount of closet space. We don’t have a basement or a storage room so other than closets, the attic is our only storage space and I don’t want to have to go to the attic all the time. So I have forced myself to keep up with what comes in and goes out so I only use the attic for seasonal storage. I store my off season décor is in plastic tubs and I store other seasonal things like heaters and fans up there. We put plywood down on the rafters when we bought the house and we put some of those inexpensive metal shelves up there too. Also, if you look at my furniture, except for a few pieces, it is all closed with storage. Even the daybed in my office has a drawer under the bed that pulls out that a twin mattress would fit it. I don’t have a twin mattress in it so it is a huge storage space for me. Under our king size bed are 4 plastic drawers. We have now taken over closets that were once the kids. All our closets have organizers in them. Some we installed and in some cases it is something portable, like drawers on wheels. Between the closets, under bed, the garage and the attic, I should have bought stock in The Container Store! If you have tools to organize your spaces and you only keep what it is really important, it saves a lot of space and time in the long run.

My question for you is where did you get your kitchen drawer pulls? I'm looking to change mine out and I'd love to know about yours. Well this is kind of a long story but I am asked it often so here goes. When we bought the house, there were very ornate handles. Back in 1986 the options were just not there and I could NOT find anything I liked to fit the spacing of the holes of the old handles. So at first I bought oatmeal colored porcelain knobs from Yield House. The two holes from the original handles needed to be covered so I bought brass back plates to over them. Then in the 90’s when I wanted black handles, I still had to deal with the spacing of the original two holes and then the single hole we had drilled for the oatmeal knobs. NOTHING I could find was spaced correctly. So I spray painted the brass back plates and at a hardware store I bought black knobs to replace the oatmeal ones. They are not what I would have by choice, but the work for now. If Mr. Red Door ever let me paint the cabinets, I would use automotive fillers to fill in all three holes and get something more colonial.k1

Linda, I would like to know if Mr. Red Door ever let's you paint those kitchen cabinets, what color will you choose? I would choose something in a warm tan that would go with the some of the colors in the counter.k4

Maybe Tyler Taupe from Benjamin Moore’s Historical Collection. As much as I would love a dark colonial red, at this point in out lives, we need to think about resale and I would not want to have to cover that red! For those new followers, I have wanted to paint them for about 20 of the 23, almost 24 years we have lived here. It is one of the few things Mr. Red Door has asked me to not paint and because I love and respect him, I am respecting his wishes. But I haven’t given up trying to persuade him! LOL

About the cupboard that you turned into your buttery. It is a double door cabinet, but can you tell me what size (width) it is? I am (still) thinking about trying the same with mine, but yours looks bigger than mine... It is 36” wide. k5

Hmmmmm, will you come decorate my home? LOL, hey, it doesn't hurt to ask!! I think I know that answer so I will post another....are any rooms in your home off limits to sweet Lili? And from another blogger… What are some of the things you find yourself running around childproofing for your adorable granddaughter? Well since she isn’t even crawling yet that is not a concern. But when the time comes, this room, the kitchen and the family room downstairs with be thoroughly baby proofed as if she lived here. I will have gates for the stairs and locks on cabinets etc. Other rooms I will wait and see but I certainly won’t leave anything breakable or hazardous within reach anywhere. She is more important than my décor.

I love the idea of having a red door but my house is yellow (a little lighter than Rue's) with green shutters and a brown roof. If I were to paint the front door red, what shade should I use and should I also paint the shutters to match? I think that depends on a lot of things – the style of your home, what look you want and personal taste. I would say get swatches of reds you think you’d like and go from there.




My front door is Cottage Red from the Benjamin Moore Historical Collection


What is your most favorite room in your home? Our dining room. It is where our family and friends gather to share a meal. It is where all important events are celebrated. I love the new table that Mr. Red Door and I worked so hard on. I love the light from the windows and the view of the brook. I love my mustard bucket cupboard and the painted cupboard on the wall above it. I love my fowl rack. I love my pewter tea set that my hubby and kids gave me many years ago. And my favorite piece of furniture is in there ~ my red stepback cupboard. dr1


My question is out of all your furniture pieces which one is your favorite and why? My red stepback cupboard is my favorite. I think it is my favorite because I had wanted one for a long time. I had seen one in Early American Life Magazine and many years ago and I fell in love with it. Our kids were still young and buying new furniture was not something we did every day. I used to save my teeny salary from working just a few hours a week at the nursery school and when a really good juried craft show would come to the area every October, I would buy something special. At first it was something much smaller and eventually I started to buy some furniture there. That was the first big piece I bought that way. It was the first piece that really helped me to start to define the dining room in the style I have now. And it was and is perfect to show case some of my redware collection.


Why do you think you're connected to this particular era of decorating? Are you like me and think that it might have something to do with a past life or is it because you just love it? And a related question … Where did you get your decorating talent! Everything in your Well if you think it is perfect, I am doing a good job taking pictures! LOL - My friends know about the worn hardwood floors, cracks in the plaster, dinged up woodwork etc. As far as my style and where it came from - I think it is a combo of things. First, I don’t like glitzy shiny stuff in my home (unless it gold or platinum and diamonds and I am wearing them!) Even when we got married and I got silver and crystal as gifts – I never used them. They are too fussy for me. I enjoy them in other homes though, just not in mine. My mom’s decorating style definitely influenced me a great deal. She was colonial in the 60’s decorating with Ethan Allen’s Early American pieces. She refinished old pieces as well. She make punched copper panels and aged then with egg yolks. Living in this area and growing up a short distance from places like the Wayside Inn, Concord, Lexington, and Boston,where Paul Revere took his infamous ride and so much more Early American history was an influence too. My parents took us to those places as well as others like Gettysburg and Washington to see the historic sites. And this style is easy to live with. Again, no high polished surfaces. No crystal to clean. No silk to dry clean. And if something gets another ding or scratch, it’s usually no big deal. I also like old utilitarian pieces and knowing they were used by generations of people – that they have a history.

Have you always decorated is this style? Or did it evolve over the years? Both- I have always decorated with an Early American/Colonial influence though it evolved from the dark pine pieces of furniture I got when we got married in 1975 to the things I have now. Even some of those dark pine pieces have the right shape and style so they are still in use in my home, just in a painted version. I always had wing back chairs. Our first bed was a cannonball bed – a very colonial style. I went through more “country style” decorating but still had my pewter and first crocks and red ware and yellow ware back then as well.

My question is what kind of camera do you use? Just a small Sony Cyber Shot 6.0megapixel. I love it. I had a bigger and more expensive top of the line Ricoh, but I like this better!

my camera

I do have a never listed what you received for Christmas! I was wondering if you were given that hooked rug of the cornucopia. (I loved it, too!) Nope, I didn’t get that hooked rug. At this point in our lives, we don’t exchange big gifts – just stocking stuffers. Mr. Red Door never wants anything materialistic. He isn’t into all the boy toys most men are into. And he gets what he needs on his birthday in December. If I want something, I save for it and buy it or tell him it is my gift and we go get it together. This year we put money into our retirement account and helped others in need instead.

My question is what is the best way to achieve a prim bedroom and a budget? I find it hard to answer decorating questions like this because I have no idea what pieces you would bring to your room or the size of your budget. So hypothetically speaking, if I were starting from scratch, I would pick a colonial color for the trim and a soft cream/ivory for the walls to start the look. Then find primitive bedding and curtains you like. (I don’t shop for them often so I don’t know a lot of resources for those.) Those are the bones of a bedroom. Then you would add wall art and accessories and other textiles over time. My friend Sarah (All Roads Lead Home) over at the APP Forum put together a long list of prim stores online. If you don’t already belong to the forum, that’s a great reason to join!! For members, to get to that thread directly, click HERE!

What I'm wondering is where everyone puts their televisions. My husband and I planning to move to a condo at some point and most are wired for a flat screen above the fireplace. Any suggestions? We don’t have flat screen TV’s so I have never addressed this issue. I might suggest you join the forum on A Primitive Place and ask the question there. Right now, the TV in my office and in hubby’s are on prim cabinets, but not hidden. Yet.


You are always mentioning A Primitive Place and I know you also write for them. Do you get paid to advertise the website or for your column? ABSOLUTELY not! No one at APP is paid. I mention it because I love it and it really truly is a great resource for so many things primitive. And I enjoy the kind, caring and talented people that share their ideas and homes.

My question is this: could you or someone else at APP please make a page of prim glossary? Oh! And if had pictures too... I know, not a small task or question –Whoa – you are correct~ that is no small task and I just don’t have the time for that. I am sure if you get some copies of Country Sampler and Mercantile Gatherings, join the forum and participate and look at other prim blogs, then you will start to learn the names of things over time like we all did. If you join the forum, you can post a picture and ask what it is as well and you’ll get help that way too. If any of my readers knows of an existing prim glossary please let me know and I’ll publish the info! And if anyone reading this wants to start a glossary, let me know and maybe we can collectively help out and then I will publish that info.

You often talk about being financially good in these uncertain times thanks to your hubby and I was wondering if you could share some tips or ideas to help us to get on a better financial road. Yikes, I am no financial adviser or expert. In fact, left to my own devices, I’d probably be dirt poor! But I’ll do my best to explain some of things we have done the last 34 + years because we didn’t get to this point all of a sudden. It has been our lifestyle since day one of marriage – actually before that even. We both went to college out of high school and we both went back to college at night when the kids were young. It enabled me to first work as an RN before we had our kids and then later I earned the qualifications to work in the preschool part time and be home with our children when they were young and eventually be the Director of the school. College enabled Mr. Red Door to be promoted and advance further in his career over the years. And as importantly as our education was, we have always saved part of our income and lived on less and made do with less. Gone without even. When we were first married and I worked as a nurse we saved my entire paycheck and lived on his. That gave us a really good start to our retirement savings and there was money for emergencies so we didn’t need to charge things – for instance if an appliance broke, we had the money in a special savings account. Now that meant doing without extras and saving for what we wanted. I have always packed our lunches and we make coffee at home and take in a travel mug. We had a black and white TV for years and didn’t run out and get a color TV until the black and white died. I sewed and made all our curtains for many years. I swapped clothing for the kids with a friend. We also always save until we have cash to buy our brand new cars so we never pay any interest on car loans. That wasn’t easy. We always lived in a smaller home than we could afford – that is how we could save. We still do. And as soon as we were able to, every month we paid extra on the principal on our mortgage thereby greatly reducing the amount of interest we paid. Now we do use credit cards but ONLY charge what we can pay off that month and we use credit cards with rewards so they pay us instead of the other way around. Mr. Red Door shops around for the best interest rates on savings and checking accounts and closely monitors them online. When we got a tax refund – we save it. We rarely eat out, get take out, eat fast food, and I cook from scratch most of the time and often make enough to freeze or have another meal another night that week. I make use of all leftovers. Every bone gets saved for soup in this house. I use coupons and shop on sale. Even when we travel, I pack lunches for the first day and if we are going to be a long road trip, we use the cooler that plugs into an outlet in the back of the car and pack lunch foods for several days. We signed up for hotel rewards and we get free nights for a later vacation. I could go on and on but those are some of the things we did and still do even though we are now in the position that we no longer have to. One thing I need to stress is that Mr. Red Door taught me is that EVERY PENNY does count so saving in even small ways does add up over time. It sure has for us!

What is you most favorite food ever? I love food too much to have one favorite!!

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? Even though I have been all over this beautiful country we live in, there is more to see right here in the USA! An Alaskan Cruise, a Mississippi Riverboat Cruise, and the American Orient Express train through the rockiest all sound great to me!

How do you get/keep your energy?? I don’t think I have any more energy than the next person. In fact, at my age with my creaky knees, hips and back, I am sure I have less than many of you reading this! I just push myself to get things done because I never want to have regrets. And I am blessed to be a stay at home Keeper of the Home so I have time to do that - Keep my Home and then fit in the other things I truly enjoy like entertaining family and friends and Lili sitting. To me, part of my role as Keeper of the Home is also in decorating it. Sure I may be slightly, okay a little more than slightly, obsessed but isn’t your home a good place to put your energy?

Can we see photo's or tell us what you thought of for the gifts from Circa Home? Sorry I can’t show the gifts cuz ~ they are gifts! But I can tell you that they were like every single thing I have ever ordered from Circa Home – just wonderful. It is one of my favorite places online to shop! If I ever won the lottery, I’d do some serious damage there!!

I got a question about the exterior color of Linda Harris’ home and if I would ask them. I don’t talk to her on the phone very often but I think someone asked this before. I believe it was a custom color. If I talk to her again soon, I will ask.

I also got a rather involved question about staining furniture after painting it so if that person would leave their email address, I’ll get back to you.

I was wondering if you could put together a list of all the shops you visit and blog about? That would take some time so I will do that in another post. Almost all of them are listed in the MA Country Register which you can see HERE. Also, what is your favorite prim store? I don’t have one favorite – there are many I really enjoy going to or ordering from. I’ll include them when I make that post I just mentioned.

And also you talked about your dream home. Can you describe what it would look like? Now that would be fun but it will take more time than I have now so I’ll save that for another post. Stay tuned!

dream red

Well that’s it for this time folks! Those are all the questions that came in by the Sunday deadline.

Thank you as always for stopping by and making Behind My Red Door part of your day!

Until next time – hugs, Grammy Linda