Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mystic Commune 3 and Last

My American Dream of living in a special space with great friends and fellow artists

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

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Okay, last visit to my future Mystic artists' commune.

The front door has a stained glass panel of pineapples, the symbol of welcome.

Here's Paul McMasters, master carpenter and leader of this project, trying not to be photographed (I know, I'm an awful pest).

I can't get over the wainscoting.

Or the fireplaces...

Or the banister.

Here's the backdoor, looking through the center hall to the front, with a selfie of yours truly.

These men are scraping the eaves and architectural details, a brutal job.

The lovely front porch.

Call Paul for any woodworking you need.  What do you think? Would you join me in this house for an artists' commune? Comment below.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

American Dreams: Scene of a Mystic Artists' Commune?

American Dreams of Living and Working Together

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

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I'm continuing my series on the Spicer House, a fabulous historic home in Mystic that I'd love to live in with artist friends.

Here's Paul McMasters, telling me about the glories, and the difficulties, in restoring this marvelous old home.

On the second floor, a mysterious, more plain staircase leading to...

…that uppermost room I showed you in the last post. It's going to be a party room for whoever lives  or stays here. If it were the artists' commune I'd rather see, it would be a room for creativity, which can be (not always) a different kind of party.

It has a view out over the town and harbor of Mystic. The orange building front and center was built is the Mystic & Noank Library. It was built by the same man who built the house we're in, Captain Spicer, who started out as a midshipman (age 9 or 10) on the seas and came back a wealthy philanthropist.

Another view of the uppermost room.

The ceiling is beautiful, too.

Here's a view from the uppermost stairs down through the stairwell to the parquet floor in the entry hall.

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Comment below! Why are you crazy about historic homes, like I am?

Monday, September 1, 2014

American Dreams of an Artists' Commune

Grand Old House--The American Dream of a Commune

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

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Here's a house I've always loved in Mystic.  When I first saw it in January, it was broken into apartments. I wanted to live here with my friends and have our own commune, with each room an artist's studio and living space. As long as people did their own dishes...

Notice the room at the very top of the house, notice the architectural details under the eaves, the bay window to the right and the porte cochere behind it.

Here's the house from the other side. It has neat rooms, like the one bulging from the side, and I've always wanted to go inside and look around this grand old house.

One day recently I saw construction going on. The house was sold. It's no longer apartments, it's being carefully restored into a hotel, or wedding destination, or possibly being returned to being a single family home. The buyer hasn't decided yet.

But look up, through the staircases. What a grand place! The man avoiding my camera is Paul McMasters, an historic restoration expert.

Look at the parquet flooring! The turquoise paint has to go!

Look at the carving of the mantel!

More inlays on the floor.

What a gorgeous newel post!

More parquet flooring.

That neat room that bulges out of the side.  What a fantastic place!

Another incredible mantel and floor.

This wainscoting goes throughout the house.

Next time, we'll see the view from that glass room at the top.