Several years ago, the opportunity arrived to purchase the little house and grounds which intersected the L-shaped property of what is now known as, The House at Rooster Ridge. After the purchase we eagerly began to discover what would lead us to the renovation of this over-100-year-old building. Our first indication of the potential for this little structure was hidden behind a tiny door. Under the carpeted and narrow staircase which led to the second floor was a sheet rock wall and in it a small painted door, approximately 18″ tall by 15″ wide. As we peered behind the door, we found the first clue to the depth of the possibility of how amazingly quaint this little structure could become!
When the little door was opened we found a small space which had previously been used as a storage area for a vacuum cleaner. With flashlights in our hands the initial discovery was made—and the rest, as they say, is history! The floor of this tiny space was dusty and dingy—and constructed of very worn wide plank flooring. Peering inside and now with the assistance of light fully illuminating the floor we realized, what we were seeing between the several small separations between the planks, which lay side-by-side, was the stone-walled basement. This meant only one thing to us—as self-proclaimed-forensic-building-historians—that we were looking at the original flooring of this building!
The first action we took (excitedly, hurriedly) was to rip out the door and sheet rock wall which had been built to create this storage space. As the sheet rock was removed we also made our second wonderful discovery—the staircase was solid old wood. As we continued our inspection and through the enthusiastic discussions which followed, we came to understand that this wide plank floor ran beneath the existing and relatively new strip-oak flooring. This was the moment when we fully realized the little treasure we had found! And to think this precious gem was sitting right next door for—oh, over a hundred years!
One of the design themes at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge is the intention to create vignettes, small illustrated stories which are told in a visual language. The small and precious space, beneath the stairs in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge, is one of those tales.
Due to the small stature of this space the inspiration for this design-story unfolded as I pondered who would comfortably fill this space. I allowed my thoughts to meander, to carry me loftily to a lovely vision and as I did so, I imagined a young child sitting in this little room beneath the stairs. I watched an imagined tea-party with a brown furry bear and later, a quiet and special space to look upon a picture book.
And so it became, The Small & Precious Space—Beneath the Stairs. A table was added and upon it was placed a charming rooster lamp—complete with an amusing fabric shade depicting roosters and farm scenes and finished with a cheerful red pom-pom trim. The underside of the stairs were exposed by removing the angled wall—adding interesting geometric shapes and dimension then painted a warm vintage barn red.
A shelf followed—the top could hold little books and the shelf was adorned with wooden pegs to hang a little sweater or bag. During a recent antique excursion a French Iron Painters’ Chair was found and brought to The Cottage at Rooster Ridge adding the finishing touch. On the shelf hangs a Vintage Wreath Form, which was used to create fresh wreaths of greens and flowers, now the form awaits—to be filled at a moments notice should an announcement of a tea-party occur!
The Small & Precious Space—Beneath the Stairs came to be—as structured thoughts were invited to float away—leaving a small and precious space—within our thoughts, for a day-dream vision to arrive. We offer to you the same invitation, let go of what it is you actually see and welcome the ability to dream and design in your cottage!
Juxtaposed to yesterday’s article; Linear Thinking…Prohibited! with the fullest intent of irony at it’s core, we wish to share the ultimate in linear thought…The Art of the Collection: Vintage Plummets!
A plumb-bob or a plummet is a weight, usually with a pointed tip on the bottom, that is suspended from a string and used as a vertical reference line, or plumb-line. Truly…it doesn’t get any more linear than that!
In our first article discussing collecting; The Art of the Collection: Vintage Soda Bottles we spoke of the myriad of reasons that one begins to collect. Artistic appreciation—the lines (pun intended,) shape, form or material. Historical perspective—it’s original function, history and the rich stories as we attempt to answer the who, what, when and where. Other times it is the simple beauty of something or what it evokes in us—at times, it is our memories that becomes the fuel that propels us.
A memory was the key-note in the collection of Vintage Plumb-bobs at Rooster Ridge. With Steven’s original brass plummet that once had belonged to his Dad having spent decades in a toolbox it was at long last brought indoors. The comfort and warm emotions had created the stir to collect more, and so it began—A Collection of Vintage Plummets. Who would have guessed?
Research ensued and the hunt began! It is interesting to see the various shapes and sizes of the multitude of plummets. The variations seem to be dependent upon different factors; the particular use, the age and the country of origin. We have recently added a retro-top-style plummet which came to us from England. Another plummet came from Greece; in order to increase its’ weight while limiting additional expensive brass, lead bearings had been placed inside. We were able to unscrew the top to discover the source of the metallic rattling noise. Yes, they spilled out everywhere…along with some antique Greek dust!
How elaborate the design is, the uniqueness of the shape and the level of sophistication of engineering all became part of our education and discovery.
Some collectors choose to display their collections behind glass, in a fixed and stationary presentation. At Rooster Ridge most of our collections are out, sitting on shelves—and yes, often rolling off them as well! The plummet was held in the hand—cupped by the craftsman and in the case of vintage plummets they have been used for decades. We have found, quite charmingly, our visitors are compelled to do the same, often asking if they can hold them! While experiencing the solid weight one cannot help imagine the particular task at hand when the plummet was utilized. I would venture to guess if one were so inclined, a story could be written for each and every one of them…if only plummets could speak!
Our collections are also used! They have survived to current day and we see no reason to retire them! At times, they carry on in the tradition of their original function. Other times they are used in decorative displays; on mantles and in table settings. Discreetly nestling a row of plumb-bobs amidst beautiful ceramic dishes, flowers and cloth napkins can be an interesting conversation starter! Questions often begin meekly with the obvious direction, as to the beginning of the collection—we have found the transgression to personal stories and memories of people and wonderful things being built follow shortly thereafter.
At Rooster Ridge we find the richness of life often comes in the depth of character of what surrounds us—and always from the beauty that comes to our door—through the hearts and stories of our visitors…or from the stories of those, who at one time, visited us—we miss you Sid!