it’s porch season: seven inspiring porches

onthresholds_front porch Edgartown

Who doesn’t love a porch? Their long history dates back to ancient Greece and Rome—I suppose we needed a place to stop and catch our breath before crossing the threshold. Now, there are so many shapes and sizes (I don’t mean decks, which began to replace porches during the 70s and 80s, but honestly always seemed like an afterthought to me). The porches that I have in mind are the kind that correspond with the architecture of the house, blend in with the rhythm of the household, and more or less, steal our hearts.

Here are seven porches that caught our attention over the past year, and might inspire you as well. Read more

a Sunday drive

black-door-new-market_onthresholds

Sometimes you just need a distraction. Anything will do. A Sunday drive might work…and then we are off to New Market, Maryland, a small historic Federal style town (founded in 1793 beside the rough wagon trail, also known as the Baltimore Turnpike) that we haven’t been to for a very long time, but now all of a sudden I am curious to see what we have missed over the years. Read more

window with wisteria, Edgartown

cropped-wisteria-window-edgartown_onthresholds.jpg

On this day I was hoping for pictures of window boxes because the houses in Edgartown always have such lovely window boxes in summertime and I wanted to see them and write about them (the whole idea of window boxes intrigues me—these little gardens underneath windows and the fascinating planting combinations that people come up with and how it really changes the whole impression one has of the house and of the person who thought to put them there…) but the pictures were not working out (I don’t remember exactly why). Read more

wallpaper story: part 2

wallpapering in progress_onthresholds

I’m absolutely obliged to revisit the wallpaper story that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago… (see “Wallpaper Ladies” July 28) because some things have changed. I still love wallpaper, and now, my foyer, stairwell, and upstairs hallway are almost finished being papered in a lovely toile and we are quite pleased. What I need to say is that I might have given (and gotten) the wrong impression of the lady in the wallpaper store (although I still think I wasn’t entirely off the mark). Read more

backyard cookout 1972

backyard bbq 1975_onthresholds

This scene, at first glance, may seem a bit dismal…plastic chairs, sod and dirt, no landscaping or curtains at the window. Is that even a grill? But, the thing is, my mother would never have let anything be dismal. We moved a lot and every place we moved, for however short a time we stayed, she made it home. She loved summer (always had summer feet) and parties (always a reason to celebrate) and she had great style (so did my grandparents). And I’m pretty sure my brother is wearing madras pants.

morning light on porch

morning light on porch

We are morning people. My sister, my brothers, my mother was. Not much of a nightlife per se. My grandfather used to get up at 5 a.m., even on weekends. He would be in his tiny row house kitchen frying an egg and some scrapple, the newspaper folded on the table and sometimes a portable radio playing quietly in the background. Often I found him there before anyone else. He would fry an egg for me. I don’t know if he found joy in the morning light, but I do and I think of him and all the other morning people on days like this…

Oxford mantel

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Once upon a time this apartment in Oxford, Maryland (a sleepy old town on the Chesapeake Bay of white picket fences and church bells ringing and huge magnolia trees with satiny blossoms) had style—all yellow and cream and blue in the French country way. Plenty of toile. It is called the “parlor apartment” because it was actually the parlor (when such a thing existed) of a large Victorian house. And here is the lovely mantel—still holding its own after all this time.