Scholla: Matching Alcoves June 6, 1945

“Charm?” says Barrie in “What Every Woman Knows.””It’s a kind of bloom on a woman.”

Old houses have “a kind of bloom” too, and it was that every quality in them, which inspired Mrs. C.W. Miller (nee Hill) to hold fast and keep in peach-tart order, the log house near Kempsville’s Hotel, which has been in the Hill family for four generations.

The house by the side of the road was built in 1740 and has a dozen rooms, and its interior never fails to charm even the most prosaic visitor.

It is the first parlor that delights Mrs. Miller most, particularly the matching alcoves to the right and left of the keystone arch leading to the second parlor. Of white pine, enameled white, they reach from the floor to the ten-and-a-half foot ceiling, and resemble corner cupboards.

Their double glass-doors are equipped with H hinges, and while the itinerant carpenter of the long ago was fitting the shelves, his mouth must have watered, most certainly designed for high-cake stands!

Though Mrs. Miller does not place her chairs against the walls, she is proud of the chair rails, which she has kept intact. And she has not removed the wide frieze of carved pine, “though it takes a long time to houseclean.”

Of like charm is the fireplace in the second parlor– its carved mantel and panels of Colonial design, enamelled white. But to Mrs. Miller’s everlasting regret, she had to enclose it, in order to install a heating system.

“I don’t have to fire up much,” she will tell you, “for the flooring is double with plaster in between.”

The room also has a wide frieze of simpler pattern, and one of the doors has a pine-tree hinge of wrought iron.

Mrs. Miller has added a sun porch and made other improvements, none of which detract from the charm of the two century-old house. And as she goes about her daily tasks, taking increased delight in her home, she cannot help but wonder whether the itinerant woodcarver of long ago ever dreamed what keen satisfaction future generations would take in his handiwork.

Yes, “charm is a kind of bloom on a woman.”

On a home too.

Amand Saeger

Archivist Notes: Only a cursory search for the property was conducted. It is possible it was torn down during road widening.

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