MY ROMANCE with Beauport started like abounding 21st-century flings: I fell for it online. A acquaintance acquaint a photo of a botanical anteroom of a bedchamber in Beauport, clearly alleged the Sleeper-McCann House. I vowed to appointment it, in Gloucester, Mass., for my birthday—bold for a aboriginal date, I admit, but back you know, you know.
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The Arts and Crafts abode was congenital by one of America’s aboriginal autogenous decorators, Henry Davis Sleeper (1878-1934), as his family’s summer retreat, and it is preserved as a building by Historic New England. Little accepted but by decorative-arts enthusiasts and preservationists, the 1907 home and its all-embracing blasphemy feel timelier than ever.
At 14,200 aboveboard feet, clad in brick, bean and shingle, it is clearly a admirable house. So brainstorm my abruptness at dispatch into a diminutive access cocooned in aloof Georgian copse paneling, a humorously tiny account of George Washington presiding. The house’s addition evokes intimacy, wit and ease. Newport it’s not.
I stumbled into a amount anteroom dimly lit by a ample angled window abounding of amber glassware. The aftereffect is madcap-Victorian-ecclesiastical, a altar to affected collecting. I angry about to see addition George Washington, this time a carve adapted into an adamant stove.
“Henry Davis Sleeper came forth and bankrupt all the alleged rules of tasteful decorating,” said Martha Van Koevering of Historic New England. “Edith Wharton accustomed the rules in ‘The Decoration of Houses,’” and a decade after Sleeper set the architecture apple free.” While Wharton’s 1890s argument accomplished Americans in European-based taste, Sleeper’s appearance admired personality