The Moody Palette Of The Ellis House

The Moody Palette Of The Ellis House

The Ellis House, located at Kyneton, about an hour from Melbourne, sits a 1860's four bedroom home which has been renovated in a moody palette with lots of texture and rich details. Ellis House offers three-quarters of an acre of beguiling gardens, space to comfortably sleep eight adults, relaxed linens, elegant lighting and a modern, relaxed aesthetic.  The house has been renovated inside and out, carefully keeping intact the building’s original features while planning for contemporary needs.  Inspired by Belgium interiors and the desire for luxurious taste, they have harmonised the old and the new through colour, furniture, and carefully selected decor.

The lounge features a grand living room with an aged leather sofa, open fireplace and a dining table for scrabble or dining. This house also offers a study area, comfortable enough to get deep into a novel or two, and modern enough to have the light to access your ipad. The main bedroom features a cushion top king sized bed, and Belgium linen. The north bedroom has a bit of an industrial edge to it, featuring rustic industrial lights with the romance of a Dutch chandelier and view of the sage garden. The kitchen is equipped with a pantry to prepare foods, or take a trip to the local gourmet deli and out to the Campaspe river for a day out. The country styled dining room features a old English farmhouse table, and seats 8.  Borrow some ideas from the Ellis House for your own home.

Photographs by Sharyn Cairns

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Book Review: Creating A New Old House

Creating A New Old House

 Creating A New Old House

Many of you might be searching for a new house to buy, or perhaps you are hoping to reinvent your current home with some old classical details to give it that old style charm.  I have a book for you!

Many people don't even approach the idea of building a house, because imagining a new house, or the expenses associated with starting from scratch can be daunting thought. Many people touring new homes looking for ideas find nothing but cookie-cutter copies in which they then find themselves combing through the bookstore shelves looking for inspiration in which they can add to their homes to give that old world feel.

Russell Versaci was inspired to write Creating A New Old House when he was in architecture school.  It was then that he discovered the modern American homes didn't even have a trace of the past, as if they abandoned the architectural elements all together.   He turned to history for inspiration, and while searching through dusty volumes in the library he discovered America was rich with forgotten styles, from the first colonial dwellings and styles of the new republic through early-twentieth-century classicism.  Russell spent 30 years studying the qualities that make old houses so appealing—and learning how to re-create these qualities in new homes for modern living.  Amongst those who love new styles, there is an even bigger population that clings to the old.

Google Books Has a generous preview of Creating A New Old House Here.

Also  Versaci's Roots of Home: Our Journey to a New Old House preview is also on Google Books

Creating A New Old House will show you homes which were built from scratch which incorporated elements which were patterned after tradition. The houses in this book have been created by some of the best architects, builders, and homeowners who dedicated their craft to creating styles based on classic designs. The homes presented in the book cover different styles ranging in different regional styles across America. You will see portraits of eighteen new houses in classic traditional styles. The examples given were selected from more than 300 homes, presenting the very best in each style. Creating A New Old House became an instant classic when it was published in 2003 and is now used as a tool in hundreds of traditional architecture practices.

The fabulous pictures of this post come from North West Eddy , who also features a great review of this book

About the Author

Russell Versaci was a graduate of Yale, and studied architecture at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1985 he formed the award-winning residential practice Versaci Neumann & Partners, based in Washington D.C. and Middleburg, Va.  Then in 2006 he founded Russell Versaci Architecture which has a goal of improving the quality and value of traditional homebuilding.  Versaci's designs have been featured in national magazines, including Traditional Home, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, and Southern Living, as well as on Good Morning, America.

Russell Versaci offers 8 guide points to consider when designing a new house with classical strong traditional design.

1.  Invent within the rules- When creating new designs, work within the traditional language of architecture.

2.  Respect the character of place- Honor the local building traditions.

3.  Tell a story in your home about the growth over time.  Imagine changes made by alterations and additions over time, and design within those ideas.

4.  Build for the ages- Build with durable materials and time-tested construction techniques which are built to last.

5.  Pay Attention to detail.  Authenticity of details define house character making it more convincing.

6.  Build with natural materials- The timeless beauty of natural materials will always remain in style, while the modern day plastics will always become dated at some point in time.

7.  Create the patina of age by natural weathering processes.  Build with salvaged antique materials.

8.  Intergrate modern room functions but hide new technologies.

  Index Information:

Introduction - Page 2

Reviving the Classic Homes of the Past Page 4

A Portfolio of New Old Houses

CALIFORNIA SPANISH COLONIAL REVIVAL- Recapturing the Romance of Spain Page 24

ROCKY MOUNTAIN RANCH- Rive House in Big Sky Country Page 36

SPANISH-PUEBLO ADOBE- Reviving A Primitive Power Page 48

MIDWESTERN GREEK REVIVAL- An Honest Prairie Farmhouse- Page 60


PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH FARMHOUSE- A New Farmstead with a Past- Page 82



GERMAN STONE FARMHOUSE- Bringing a Farm Back to Life Page 116

CAPE COD COTTAGE- A. House of Salvaged Bones Page 128

SOUTHERN PIEDMONT FARMHOUSE- A New Farmhouse For An Old Village Page 138

SOUTHERN ANTEBELLUM PLANTATION- Proper Southern Planners Page 150

FRENCH CREOLE COTTAGE- A Weathered Bayou Cottage Page 160

TEXAS GERMAN RANCH- Sunday House on the Prairie Page 172

FRENCH COLONIAL PLANTATION HOUSE- A Portrait of Louisiana Heritage Page 184

CRAFTSMAN ARTS AND CRAFT'S BUNGALOW- House of Fine Woodworking Page 196

COLONIAL REVIVAL SHINGLE STYLE-New England in the Northwest 206

Directory of Architects 218

Creating A New Old HouseCreating A New Old HouseCreating A New Old House Creating A New Old HouseCreating A New Old HouseCreating A New Old HouseCreating A New Old HouseCreating A New Old House

The Williamsburg Color Collection By Benjamin Moore

The Williamsburg Color Collection

The Williamsburg Color Collection

It is a surprise how relevant the 18th century aestheitic is today. Benjamin Moore has developed a collection of paints called "The Williamsburg Color Collection", a palette of 144 paints developed in conjunction with historians and curators at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The collection features 144 historically accurate 18th and 19th century colors, the Foundation’s historians and conservators referenced historic documents, paint samples, wallpaper and architectural fragments. The research stretched far beyond studying Colonial Williamsburg, but also included other colonies such as the Caribbean and Europe of the time period.

(Picture Above -CW-590 Williamsburg Wythe Blue, CW-650 Palace Pearl Walls,CW-305 Claret Back wall)

The colors which derived from pigments that date back 250 years, revealed unexpected color vibrancy. Analyzing the pigment compositions with the latest technology enabled Benjamin Moore to precisely match the hues, resulted in a palette that turned out to be richly layered with earthy undertones.

While the Williamsburg Color Collection by Benjamin Moore, includes intense and vivid hues not typically associated with the 18th century, the updated colors being introduced are more vibrant as new research revealed the colors were actually more saturated than originally thought.  This discovery was a result of new technology used Colonial Williamsburg Scientist revisiting paint samples, period documents and fragments of wallpaper.

The houses of Colonial Williamsburg are currently undergoing a color transformation inside and out since the creation of this new line.  Although the colors were 250 years old, the collection is being marketed with a ‘trend meets tradition’ theme.

“Through our shared passion for authenticity and discovery, we have created a timeless palette that fuses history with contemporary design”, said Carl Minchew, Benjamin Moore’s Vice President of Color Innovation and Design.

The results-warm reds, rich teals, and luminous grays-are both authentic to the era and unexpectedly vibrant. Check out some pictures from Benjamin Moore and Colonial Williamsburg

If you would like to see the new colors, visit the Benjamin Moore website here

The Williamsburg Color Collection

The Williamsburg Color Collection

The Williamsburg Color CollectionThe Williamsburg Color Collection

The Williamsburg Color Collection -CW-65 Gunsmith Grey Trim & CW-65 Mopboard Black Door

The Williamsburg Color Collection -CW-65 Gunsmith Grey Trim & CW-65 Mopboard Black Door

The Williamsburg Color Collection 2

The Williamsburg Color Collection- CW-715 Bone Black Walls & CW-695 Lampblack Trim

The Williamsburg Color Collection- CW-655 Greenhow Blue

The Williamsburg Color Collection- CW-655 Greenhow Blue

The Williamsburg Color Collection 7The Williamsburg Color Collection

CW-585 Ewing Blue Upper Wall, CW-30 Market Square Sheil lower wall,
CW-595 Chesapeake Blue Ceiling, CW-5 Hardwood Putty Trim

The Williamsburg Color Collection 3

The Williamsburg Color Collection-CW-5 Hardwood Putty 

The Williamsburg Color Collection 5

The Williamsburg Color Collection-CW-545 Spotswood Teal

The Williamsburg Color Collection 9

The Williamsburg Color Collection-CW-80 Carter Gray

The Williamsburg Color Collection 11

The Williamsburg Color Collection-CW-25 Williamsburg Stone

The Williamsburg Color Collection 8

The Williamsburg Color Collection

The Williamsburg Color Collection 6

The Williamsburg Color Collection-CW-480 Green Umber Walls & CW-5 Hardwood Putty Trim

The Williamsburg Color Collection 4

The Williamsburg Color Collection-CW-205 Raleigh Peach Walls

The Williamsburg Color Collection 12

The Williamsburg Color Collection-CW-355 Carter Plum

williamsburg red

CW-630 Washington Blue Walls & CW-315 Cornwallis Red Highboy

Master Craftsman -Thomas Day

Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color (The Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts)

Thomas Day (1801-61), a free man of color from Milton, North Carolina, became the most successful cabinetmaker in North Carolina--white or black--during a time when most blacks were enslaved and free blacks were restricted in their movements and activities. His surviving furniture and architectural woodwork still represent the best of nineteenth-century craftsmanship and aesthetics.

In this lavishly illustrated book, Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll show how Day plotted a carefully charted course for success in antebellum southern society. Beginning in the 1820s, he produced fine furniture for leading white citizens and in the 1840s and '50s diversified his offerings to produce newel posts, stair brackets, and distinctive mantels for many of the same clients. As demand for his services increased, the technological improvements Day incorporated into his shop contributed to the complexity of his designs.

Day's style, characterized by undulating shapes, fluid lines, and spiraling forms, melded his own unique motifs with popular design forms, resulting in a distinctive interpretation readily identified to his shop. The photographs in the book document furniture in public and private collections and architectural woodwork from private homes not previously associated with Day. The book provides information on more than 160 pieces of furniture and architectural woodwork that Day produced for 80 structures between 1835 and 1861.

Through in-depth analysis and generous illustrations, including over 240 photographs (20 in full color) and architectural photography by Tim Buchman, Marshall and Leimenstoll provide a comprehensive perspective on and a new understanding of the powerful sense of aesthetics and design that mark Day's legacy.

About the Author

Patricia Phillips Marshall (1958–2010) was curator of decorative arts for the North Carolina Executive Mansion and the North Carolina Museum of History. Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll is professor of interior architecture at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Picture Credit- Pinterest Thomas Day (1801-1861)

Sofa with cushions by free black cabinetmaker Thomas Day of North
Carolina (1801-1861). Read more about him in this month's Smithsonian.

Milton Presbyterian Church   Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina. Pews by Thomas Day

Milton Presbyterian Church (Thomas Day Pews) by CCHA on Flickr

Thomas Day, Crib, 1848, walnut, yellow pine, and poplar, Windsor style,
Collection of the North Carolina Museum of History, Purchase, funds
donated by Mrs. Sarah Branch.


"Exhaustively researched . . . with . . . gorgeous full-color photographs of more than 160 pieces of furniture and architectural woodwork that Day produced between 1835 and 1861."
--Raleigh News & Observer

"Give[s] hints of the artisan's hidden inner life. [Day] came across as subservient in his newspaper ads, promising that commissions 'will be thankfully received and punctually attended to.' But he sent his children to an abolitionist boarding school in Massachusetts and wrote them that he longed to leave 'the Oppressive South.'"
--The New York Times

"Day's incredible story is exhaustively researched and deftly illustrated. . . . A fascinating study of both the entrepreneur and his craft. . . . [With] eye-catching photographs and engrossing text. Highly recommended."
--Library Journal

"An excellent book about the craftsman's remarkable life. Building upon decades of research, the authors have produced the most comprehensive publication on this figure to date. . . . The photographs . . . are abundant and of high quality."
--American Craft

"This beautifully-illustrated book offers exceptionally skillful and sensitive readings of the artifactual and textual evidence. It is recommended for academic libraries, museums and large public libraries, and for all collections that support programs in African American studies and American cultural history more generally."
--Art Libraries Society of North America

"Comprehensively researched and delightfully written. . . . The authors successfully advance the body of knowledge of free African American craftsmen in the antebellum period, while painting a vibrant image of the world in which Thomas Day operated. . . . Will be indispensable for all collections that focus on art history and the decorative arts, African American history, the antebellum era, and regional collections. . . . Essential."


The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg

For more than thirty years, the architectural research department at Colonial Williamsburg has engaged in comprehensive study of early buildings, landscapes, and social history in the Chesapeake region. Its painstaking work has transformed our understanding of building practices in the colonial and early national periods and thereby greatly enriched the experience of visiting historic sites. In this beautifully illustrated volume, a team of historians, curators, and conservators draw on their far-reaching knowledge of historic structures in Virginia and Maryland to illuminate the formation, development, and spread of one of the hallmark building traditions in American architecture.

The essays describe how building design, hardware, wall coverings, furniture, and even paint colors telegraphed social signals about the status of builders and owners and choreographed social interactions among everyone who lived or worked in gentry houses, modest farmsteads, and slave quarters. The analyses of materials, finishes, and carpentry work will fascinate old-house buffs, preservationists, and historians alike. The lavish color photography is a delight to behold, and the detailed catalogues of architectural elements provide a reliable guide to the form, style, and chronology of the region’s distinctive historic architecture.

About the Author

Cary Carson is retired vice president of the research division at Colonial Williamsburg.

Carl R. Lounsbury is senior architectural historian at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and teaches history at the College of William and Mary.


"[This] book transforms our understanding of Chesapeake region buildings . . . [It] should become an essential reference for anyone interested in early American architecture."
--Colonial Williamsburg

"A remarkable book. Cary Carson and his colleagues have transformed the way architectural history fieldwork is performed and in the process have also changed our understanding of the early architecture of the Chesapeake."
--Carter L. Hudgins, Clemson University

"The Chesapeake House is the fruit of a generation's labors and captures a revolution in the study of early American architecture. The authors adroitly combine field documentation with the most recent research as they explore the region's architecture--from the smallest details of construction and decoration to the broadest issues of social ritual and social prestige. This is the great work we have been waiting for."
--Dell Upton, University of California, Los Angeles

"As someone who is intoxicated with 18th century southern and tidewater architecture and building practices, I can't praise this highly enough. Most "old house" (to use a slang term) books focus on exteriors - surfaces - decor, with occasionally a cross section of a door jamb or window sash thrown in. Much good work has of course been done on classical design, the orders, and how this has come down to us as the common interior and exterior mouldings seen in the "polite house" of this period. But as far as a real anatomical dissection, down to the gristle, of the building practices of the men who built these houses, you had to go begging with your hat in your hand. There are scraps here and there, as much as the intended readership would bear but no more, in books by housewright and woodworker Roy Underhill and timber framer Jack Sobon; "Get Your House Right" is the best there is on architecture and tasteful design of these houses without going into construction details, and the White Pine Series can be assembled if you want to put on your 5 power magnification goggles and squint at the beautiful tiny scale architectural drawings. So much emphasis has been placed on New England one would think there were no great houses anywhere else. (Yankees!) But here in massive, heavy glory is almost anything one could hope to know about the domestic buildings that we commonly associate with Colonial Williamsburg but in fact typified an entire culture, not just the miracle mile there in "the 'burg".  Indepth work on not only the what and the how but also the WHY is what sets this apart. They don't just show one cross section of sash muntin to show that in the 18th century they were thicker and deeper than in the 19th, the authors give us cross sections of 10 or more muntins, from different houses and different periods. I've never seen so many bannisters before. Paint in all its shades and meanings. How they put the brass rim locks in a house so that you would see them as you moved through it. Also how people lived in the houses - the way they laid out their posessions - the rhythm of their lives.

Worth twice the price. "Grab it and growl", as we say. It'll probably go out of print and the price will achieve fair market value. 5 STARS -By Ryan McNabb

"Imagine, for a minute, in your mind's eye, a house that comes to mind when someone shifts your attention to Annapolis or Williamsburg. If you're like me, you'll think of William Paca's grand Annapolis townhouse, or perhaps George Wythe's equally grand Williamsburg townhouse. Or perhaps you'll be reminded of Shirley Plantation or more modest but equally beautiful Smith's Fort.If this sounds like you, you have a fondness for houses of the Chesapeake region, a vast area with a wealth of historic architecture tied together by a common historic, economic and cultural identity.This book is dedicated to capturing the building art of the region. By using the term "art," I mean exactly that. The book is not an architectural catalog, but is a descriptive guide to the arts and crafts employed by architects and artisans in the design and construction of these magnificent and beautiful structures.The houses featured herein were designed and built when a house served a profoundly different function than it does today. They were not only places of domicile, but also expression of a common culture and agricultural ideal. These houses, regardless of size or age, were meant to make a statement. They were also meant to make money, from the cash crops of the day. These very characteristics allow the authors to group what may otherwise be considered different styles into a common whole - the Chesapeake House.The houses featured in the book were all built before 1850 because the authors note that regional distinction in style had essentially disappeared by then. Houses built in the 1850s in Virginia looked a lot like houses built in the 1850s in Wisconsin, or California, etc...So here we have a book divided into chapters, roughly, by cultural theme (in the first half of the book) and trade (in the second half). The Design Process, Plantation Housing, Outbuildings, Woodwork, windows, doors, hardware, paint, etc... Each chapter is written by the outstanding practicing expert in his or her respective field. The book, while beautifully illustrated, is intended to be a research tool and a serious work of scholarship. It's intended to inform further architectural investigation and history into the styles we associate with the Chesapeake. As such, it's a pleasure to read for what it reveals about historical form, and it's informative in what it can offer as a manual for accurate reproduction of that historical form. Here's a book that reveals all the secrets as to why so few people can actually tell the original buildings in Williamsburg from the reconstructions, and why it's important to reconstruct certain structures to begin with.The illustrations are outstanding. As the book is a study of style and its cultural contexts, the photographs and illustrations support that specific purpose. While it's often beautiful, this book should not be mistaken for a volume of artistic color photographs. The graphics, cutaways, elevations, floorplans, details, etc... are numerous and superb.If you have an interest in this style, or you are a practicing architect or craftsman working in this style, this book is a must. If your interests are more casual (i.e. less technical), this book will still keep your interest. Just be aware that the text may be difficult at times.This book will quickly become the standard of its type. The editor, Carl Lounsbury, is the absolute authority in this subject of architectural history. You're not going to find a better book.--By Jon L. Albee

Thomas Day Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color