Written by Cindy Bailen
Fall never fails in New England. We embrace the chance to put away our summer clothes and break out our wool sweaters. The temperatures are crisp, and so are the apples. Leaves turn red, orange, and yellow, and people from all over the world come here to enjoy them.
Those of us who live here begin nesting, getting comfortable at home. Whether we live in the city or the suburbs, our houses take on the feeling of fall. Three Boston-area homes look especially appealing at this time of year, and all three are ready for new owners.
168 Brattle Street, Cambridge
At the Joseph Thorp House, the Arthur Little-designed architecture encompasses the best of Colonial revival, neo-classical, a dash of Queen Anne, and some additional influences. Its arches and balustrades look positively whimsical. There is nothing cookie-cutter about this place.
From the first glance at the facade of the historic home, the autumn gold exterior color warms and invites. Carvings on the corbels are reminiscent of branches, and they echo the wisteria vines that hug the home and the plantings in raised beds.
The solidity of the home draws us in to escape a brisk autumn afternoon. Deep, natural wood in the entry is complemented by the autumnal browns of the oriental runner on the stairs.
Carved teak in the salon, recalling the American Aesthetic Movement, looks especially cozy. The library offers 19th century Norwegian design with a traditional peasant hearth. Original homeowner, Sara Chapman Thorp Bull, had a Norwegian husband, who probably loved this room best.
Not all of the rooms are deeply colored. The neo-Classical dining room has plenty of white-painted woodwork, with intricate bas-relief on the mantel. Its leaded glass Palladian bay window allows a flood of sunshine to enter. Walls and the tiles on the fireplace are the exact color of the autumn sky when it threatens to storm.
French country in design and the light brown color of fallen leaves, the homes kitchen is a balance of contemporary and vintage elements. The stone on the generous prep-island works nicely with mahogany cabinetry. The original Walker & Pratt cast-iron stove stands nearby, reminding us of warm meals laced with autumn spices.
68 Commonwealth Ave, Back Bay
Small, brilliant highlights of fall color enhance the stunning interior of a Back Bay condo facing the seasonal views of the iconic Commonwealth Avenue mall. Golden silk draperies in the front bay frame the scene, and two red chairs by the windows provide a place to relax and enjoy the fall. Look up! Even the period moldings around the 12-foot ceilings are traced with gold leaf.
The interiors of the formal dining rooms arched custom built-ins are painted in a vibrant coral red, the quintessential hue of an autumn maple leaf. The warm color palette extends to the rooms chinoiserie-patterned wallpaper, and it pops against a white background.
In the generous master bedroom, the current homeowners red bedspread and oriental carpet provide autumnal coziness, as does the marble fireplace opposite the bed. The rosy color is repeated in two upholstered love seats that enhance the comfort of the space.
A stunning en-suite marble bath revels in soft autumn beige on the floor and soaking tub surround. Golden brass hardware augments the dual sinks and cabinet doors.
Terra cotta tile in an autumn russet shade gives the family room the feeling of fall and it coordinates well with built in wood cabinetry. A bedroom, currently used as a den, has a majestic red chair beside a pair of built-in bookcases, just the place to catch up on reading during long fall evenings.
Outdoors, the private patio is enclosed by a red brick wall, making it a charming spot to enjoy a warming beverage and friendly conversation.
468 Highland Street, Hamilton
With a long equestrian tradition, Hamilton is a wonderful place to enjoy autumn days, and this 31.7 acre estate on Highland Street is an ideal location for horse lovers. It sits close to a network of riding trails at Bradley Palmer State Park, and the property includes a stable with five stalls and a tack room.
The land undulates gently here, and the surrounding trees are already mellowing into shades of fall. A pond on the property reflects their colors.
A red Japanese maple tree stands beside the organically-shaped swimming pool, adding a bit of color, and there is a large pool house right past it. Swimming is probably a rarity in the fall, but panoramic views flow inside, through the ample windows of the exquisitely updated 18th century house.
In the homes entryway, hand-painted murals tell the story of a previous era, with sailing ships and a white house that appears to be this one. The homes softly carpeted staircase rises straight ahead, with a golden oak bannister for support.
The big living room invites family members to get comfy on the couch and enjoy the views. But its the glowing red dining room that evokes fall most of all. Thanksgiving dinners held at the long table in front of the fireplace could only be delicious. The views through the rooms French doors look lovely in any season.
An appealing cherry kitchen is the heart of this home. Wood beams give it a rustic look, and one wall holds a big fireplace. But the shining island and long countertop tell you that this is a modern kitchen. The rooms best feature: a rounded wall with six windows to let in autumn light and vistas.
A wood-paneled office sports red draperies, patterned with autumn leaf silhouettes, and it looks like a great place to get work done. However, a colorful life in this rural suburban town does not preclude working at a job in Boston, because the Hamilton-Wenham commuter rail stop is not too far away.
When an exuberant autumn comes to New England, were wise to let it into our homes with joy. We know the long winter is ahead, but if were lucky, well have abundant fall color to sustain us throughout the year.
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