Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sweet Historic Cape in Yarmouth Port, Worth a Look


We were told it was not a drive by and they were right.  There is so much more to this antique than you would imagine just looking at from the road.  We Just previewed this 1820 Cape, listed by Team Tom Dillon at eXp Realty, situated on over an acre on historic 6A in Yarmouth Port and wanted to let our old house enthusiasts know about this nicely renovated antique. 
First, the house. Walking into the mudroom from the back door we looked right and saw the most charming laundry room. From the hallway we entered the kitchen. It has a bit of an industrial vibe with 6’ wide built-in Viking refrigerator, stainless steel open shelves, restaurant style center island and stove. One of the best features is that while you are waiting for your “pot to boil” you can relax in the sitting room portion of the kitchen that includes a wall of bookshelves for all your cookbooks.



Who doesn’t want their dining room off the kitchen? This house has a spacious dining room with fireplace that flows from the kitchen.  Although the fireplace is non-working now, the ambience is there and you may be able to convert it to gas if you choose.  After a fabulous meal in the dining room, we  imagined relaxing in the adjacent living room.  If hosting a large family gathering, both rooms could easily accommodate the relatives.
Upstairs was another pleasant surprise--3 spacious bedrooms and full bath with walk-in shower.  All the bedrooms are accessed off the hall. No old house quirk here, where you go through one bedroom to get to another. Yet, there was a door that connected two bedrooms, so if you have kids who like to be together, this house is perfect.  There is a fourth bedroom on the first floor with full bath including a tub if you prefer to be away from the kids or for all your guests who will want to visit you on Cape Cod.


The biggest surprise was the barn.  All we can say is wow! We walked into a huge room downstairs and then into a light filled shed roof addition behind it with sliding doors.  The doors led outside to a beautiful patio overlooking a large luxurious grass area and remaining acreage beyond.  Oh, did we mention that this property has 1.13 fenced acres? Perfect for the garden enthusiast or kids you want to have a private place to play. Upstairs in the barn was another large room with home theatre. Perfect for “movie night” with family and friends.




There is so much more to this totally updated property—too much to write in one post.  If this sounds intriguing and you would like to have a peek, click here or give us a call, 774-994-1337.

Happy browsing,

The Hassler Team

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Royal Barry Wills Crush


Looking for a house that is oozing with charm but also works well for today's living?  The classic Cape Cod homes that dot our landscape were an inspiration for the renowned architect Royal Barry Wills.  Though he also designed cutting edge modern homes, his traditional designs helped to catapult the Cape style home to the forefront of Colonial Revival American architecture during the first half of the 20th century.  Wills, born in Melrose Massachusetts in 1895, established his architectural practice in 1925.

Historic New England has Royal Barry Wills archive

A graduate of MIT in architectural engineering, Wills pulled inspiration from the language of traditional architecture for his cape style homes.  They evoke the feeling of a quieter time but incorporate modern kitchens and baths and the necessary garage of the mid 20's century.  He was a master of proportion and his homes can be recognized by their easy relationship with the surrounding landscape.


Online Archive

Now antiques in their own right, they can be the perfect home for someone looking for a unique, high quality home complete with nooks and crannies, without having to shoehorn a bathroom under the stairs.

Royal Barry Wills died in 1962.  However, if you want a new home, the company Wills founded continues designing magnificent homes today as Royal Barry Wills Associates.

Already have a Royal Barry Wills home? Lucky you!!  You can research original plans and drawings at Historic New England's archives.  Royal Barry Wills Associates generously donated their archive to Historic New England in 2014.

For a current list of pre 1962 Royal Barry Wills homes:

pre 1962 Royal Barry Wills for sale on Cape Cod

More info:

Jeff Wilkinson, "Royal Barry Wills"; Old House Journal July-August 1992

November 2009, Retro Renovation blog post Royal Barry Wills


Friday, April 1, 2016

The White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs


This post should be subtitled "How did I not know this was a thing".  I was rummaging around my favorite book store, when I came across a jewel in their used book section.  The object of my desire was a worn portfolio of architectural essays, entitled "The White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs", which was barely held together with a clip.  I brought it home and upon researching further, found that the bi weekly series, edited by architect Russell Whitehead, had a long history in documenting historical architecture in the United States.


The White Pine Series was born in 1914 and was supported by the Northern Pine Manufacturer's Association of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan and the Associated White Pine Manufacturer's of Idaho as an advertising vehicle for using Eastern White Pine in building.  As such, the focus was initially on exterior details and highlighted colonial New England Architecture to capitalize on the colonial revival fever sweeping the nation.

When, in 1924, the White Pine Bureau ceased its sponsorship, the series continued with other advertisers but broadened its focus to include interior and public buildings as well as southern buildings.

In 1940, the series was discontinued, largely because many of its contributors began working on the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) created by the New Deal.  Whenever I am researching the history of a property, HABS is usually my first stop as it is a wealth of history, photographs and architectural drawings of historic properties, especially 17th, 18th and early 19th century buildings.  I also look up info in the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS).

However, this series was new to me and so exciting because it often relates structures to a theme, such as 19th century entries, 18th century mantels, etc rather than taking a building in isolation.  Also, the detailed drawings and photos in this series of interior features are a delight.  This series could also be very useful to people building a new home who want a classic look.



If you are wondering what the chances are of your finding the series in a used book store, fear not! Much of the series has been reset and printed and can be purchased on Amazon.  Also, the series is in the public domain so you can see many of the bi weekly publications at online libraries.  Also, publications from 1914 through 1931 are available online (with printing capabilities) through Eastern White Pine sponsored by NELMA.





Saturday, October 17, 2015

Barnstable Village Antique Homes Open House

Now this is how to spend a beautiful crisp fall day!  Tomorrow, Sunday Oct 17 from noon to 3 PM, join us for a multi broker antique homes open house!  I'll be at 3688 Main St. w/Ellie Claus, armed with cookies and cider.








Thursday, October 1, 2015

When Getting Plastered is a Good Thing

Newly plastered walls and ceiling
If you haven't had work done to your home in a while, you may be surprised to learn that the dominance of sheetrock with mud and tape has slipped as many builders and homeowners choose blue board with a plaster veneer as their finish of choice for walls and ceilings.  This is especially good news for old house owners whose plaster is damaged or was removed and replaced with sheetrock.
If you do have original plaster, it is worth noting that in many cases it can be restored and resurfaced for less cost and better quality than replacing with newer materials.  Original plaster has a flexibility that modern replacements lack. Properly maintained it can last many years and have the added benefits of mold inhibiting characteristics and an unparalleled authenticity.

Though our house has much of its original plaster on lathe, the original plaster was removed on the ceiling and badly damaged on the front interior wall.  We felt that smooth modern sheetrock with mud and tape would stand in stark contrast to the subtle texture and visual movement of the original plaster.  So, we turned to Leigh Draper, a local plasterer with many years experience to help us with our restoration.  (Leigh services the Southern Massachusetts and Cape Cod area.  His phone number is 508-264-3497).

Though Leigh seemed a bit surprised by our request to leave the surface of the plaster less than perfect (he could make it as smooth as a mirror), he used his ample skills and talent to match the original plaster in our living room, dining room and entry.

Applying veneer plaster requires both knowledge and skill.  The plaster must be mixed and applied before it becomes too hard and unworkable.  Ambient temperature and humidity also play a large role in the success of the plaster finish.

Living room wall original plaster and blue board on right wall
and ceiling.

The top of the original plaster was badly damaged where
it met the ceiling.  Leigh filled the gap with plaster prior to the finish coat.

Mesh tape covers the joints on the new blue board on
the ceiling and right wall.

The plaster is mixed when ready to apply.

Detail of infilled area at top of wall where
it meets the ceiling.
First coat is put on seems



Finish coat turns a light grayish white when dry.
Ready for primer!

The ceiling reflects the light.  Plaster can be left
without paint and pigments can be added
to the plaster.
Painted with Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin on walls,
Elephant's Breath on trim, and Off White on floors




Dining room painted with Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin on walls,
Old White on trim and Off White on floors
For more information on the history of plaster and restoration of plaster:

Article on benefits of old plaster in Period Homes Magazine article "Plaster Perfect", March 2007.

The National Park Service has created this brief on the history and maintenance of plaster walls: "Repairing Historic Plaster Walls and Ceilings"




Saturday, July 11, 2015

Open House at The Isaac Davis House in Barnstable Village 8/1/15 from 11 AM to 1 PM



Put aside your beach towel and suntan lotion (I know, its hard, but you'll be glad you did!) and join us for an Open House at The Isaac Davis House, located at 3688 Main St. in historic Barnstable Village, Saturday August 1st, from 11 AM to 1 PM.  This beautiful house has a rich history.   Beginning as a Federal style home, it underwent substantial updating during the Greek revival period.  Feast your eyes on the generous, inviting rooms and imagine sitting in front of one of the fireplaces with a good book and cup of tea.











This remarkably well preserved house has had many fans over the years.  An article in the Barnstable Patriot, June 22nd, 1858 described Isaac Davis' house as "one of the most tasteful residences in town":


But this house started its story long before.  On the property, there stood an earlier home from the mid 1600's belonging to Elder Thomas Dimmock and memorialized with a plaque in the scenic stone wall:



An article in Yankee magazine mentions the secret trap door leading to an underground tunnel that could have been used as a stop in the underground railroad. There were Davis' at that time that belonged to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), known abolitionists.  Hmm, could Isaac have shared their sentiments?

From an article in the Barnstable Patriot by Nancy Rubin Stuart, May 23, 2013:


Isaac Davis' daughter Mary, married a ship captain, Otis Hinckley.    Mary lived many years after Otis and stayed in her father's house until her own passing in 1917.
From Edward Handy's book, Barnstable Village, West Barnstable and Sandy Neck, Arcadia Publishing July 14, 2003, p.13.



From Edward Handy's book, Barnstable Village, West Barnstable and Sandy Neck, Arcadia Publishing July 14, 2003, p.13.Obituary of Mary Freeman Hinckley, December 17, 1917, Barnstable Patriot:

The Isaac Davis house is a strong link to Barnstable Village's past. And now, you have the opportunity to view this character filled home in person!