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Friday, July 11, 2008

(You Need A) Benefit Plan

Well, I've still got some pixels I need to flush out of my camera, so here they are. It's Benefit Street in Providence, Rhode Island again, of course. That lovely creme yellow number above is on the high side of the street, heading up College Hill, and makes the most of its site. There's a beautiful little garden gate right next to this plot, too, for the neighbor's compound.

Living right on the street is tricky. You get goobers and gawkers like me all day long, so privacy is always a concern. There's a common answer to this malady on display here and there in Providence; the house is raised on a foundation about 3 or 4 feet, and has a stairs set sideways outside the front entry leading down to the sidewalk in both directions. This allows you to look down on your neighbors both literally and figuratively when they pass by, which is the ambition of most people of substance. So I hear; how would I know? Interior shutters on the lower half of the downstairs windows are de rigeur as well.

Here's another Georgian/Adam lovely. It's not plain, exactly; or if it is it's because we've lost our perspective -- we see Grace Kelly in an evening gown in a place where we're used to seeing Pamela Andersen in a amateur porn video, and wonder where all the action is.

Here's a very rare thing indeed in our world. That spindlework, coupled with the pierced screen balustrade and the paneled base, infill sticks set on an angle inside a stop-chamfered frame, is pure Victorian, and the first thing pulled off old houses and replaced with much simpler stuff because the upkeep is a bear.

I live in a town where the locals pride themselves on not letting anything go without shingles all over it. They built a gargantuan dirigible hangar-sized sportspalast at the hoity-toity private high school, and the town made them skin the whole thing over shingles. It looks ridiculous.

Shingles good! goes the chant. I guess. But for the most part, I walk around in the village in downtown Marion and see one house after another that used to look as exotic and exuberant as that little porch right there, and all the gingerbread is long gone and the siding is replaced with shingles. The spindlework Gilded Age ghosts call out to me.

Everybody seems to think they're still looking at a shingled Grace Kelly. All I see is Pamela Andersen, after too many botox treatments and three more husbands down the line.

1 comment:

Thud said...

just had my first day house hunting in Napa....nothing comes close as to these beauties....a new build or major refurb beckons I feel.