Further, in furnishing or decorating any house it is an excellent idea to try and visualize the type of furnishings two or three generations living there would normally have accumulated. We have already alluded at some length to the farm cottage type because, like the common people, they are more numerous. But in the old country neighborhoods there was nearly always the man of affairs who knew how to make money and was prone to build a house “as handsome as his purse could afford.” He was the squire of his vicinity and his house surpassed all others in size and ornamental detail. If you have acquired such a house, its furnishings must be in accord. Handsome antiques and ambitious reproductions go well in such a setting. Or it may be that your fancy runs to an ultra modern structure with interior decorations and furnishings in keeping. Your house is then its own ancestor and only time will determine whether such a scheme wears well.
Whatever you choose, take the furnishings best suited, arrange them as pleases you, and proceed to live with them. If you like the general effect and are one of those people who like things to stay put, probably one can enter your living room fifteen years hence and find the wing chair from the Maritime Provinces still standing in the northeast corner with a small tavern table on the right; the hooked rug with geometric center still in front of the fireplace; the Sheraton table with mirror over it at its accustomed place between the two south windows; and so forth.
On the other hand, if you are of the restless type, instead of throwing everything out and beginning over again, you will have periodic attacks of rearranging, realigning certain accessories, adding something new, or discarding some item bought in an emergency for something more in keeping with your changing ideas or manner of living. We confess that this is one of our pleasantest pastimes. It takes very little to start us off. An old Pennsylvania Dutch cupboard, stripped down to the original blue and inducted into an apple-green dining room, obviously calls for a fine orgy with paint and whitewash; a gilded Sheraton mirror or another oil painting involves general commotion and often complete rearrangement of the living room. All this is very painful for those who don’t like change; but, for us, it helps to answer the question so often propounded by innocent city visitors, “What do you do with yourselves in such a quiet spot?”
The Early American kitchen was the most important room in the house. Here the family spent most of its waking hours. Here the food was cooked, served, and eaten; the spinning and weaving done; the candles for lighting the house poured into molds. It was the warmest room in winter and around its hearth the family gathered both for work and recreation.