A Fairy Tale Find
A classic cottage in Arden gets an update by going back to its roots.
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As an art lover, she appreciates the vintage tiles on the fireplace. They were made by Batchelder, a California pottery founded in 1909 that produced Arts and Crafts tiles in such patterns as rabbits, leaves and hunting scenes in muted colors inspired by the earth. The ballroom floors were made from indigenous oak.
“One piece of white oak is 17½ feet long,” Jester says. “They probably timbered it on site.”
Three seasons a year, the couple dines in a sun porch on the back of the house where they can enjoy the peaceful, wooded setting. A colorful cluster of lanterns is decorative by day and provides romantic lighting by night.
Somerville decorated the porch in a fresh combination of blue and white, with comfy wicker furniture.
“I went to school in Sweden, and I wanted the porch to have that light Scandinavian feel,” she says.
Jester’s next project will be to restore the unique lighting system in the ballroom, in which electrical tubes are artfully concealed in tray ceiling moldings.
“The whole ceiling was washed with light, absolutely beautiful,” he says. “We’re going to get that system going again.”
- If you’re doing a renovation yourself, approach it like a project that must be completed in a timely manner. Rodney Jester is a pro at installing kitchens, so when he worked on his own space, he scheduled it like any other job. “Otherwise, things drag on and on,” he says.
- Turn to the existing space for inspiration. The Shaker-style cabinets in the kitchen and butler’s pantry convey an Arts and Crafts feeling in keeping with the rest of the cottage.
- Preserve the past. The Castle retains its diamond-shaped leaded-glass windows and original lighting fixtures, which were crafted at Arden Forge.
- Adapt amenities to suit your lifestyle. Sadie Somerville stores dry dog food in a pull-out bin designed to hold trash or recyclables.