Tucked under the fourth floor tower is a wonderful studio where I write. Outside the studio is a looooong hallway convenient for posting a timeline for the novel I've been working on, old school-style, with index cards. I (and houseguests) have lived with the timeline for years, but I was excited to finally take it down today. Early finished copies of the book are in! WHAT WAS MINE is a novel from Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books. The story is about secrets. (It was written in a house harboring many of them.) A childless woman takes a baby from a shopping cart and raises her as her adopted daughter for 21 years. The novel opens when the secret is out. It started out as a story, but after we acquired Holleywood, the story expanded, along with our living space. Pub date Jan 5, available here.
Turns out that writing on windows was something they did at the Gatehouse, too. Thanks to Lindsey for waiting for just the right light to capture this shot from their dining room window.
In the west parlor window, Charles E. Rudd (the seller's grandfather) carved the date into glass on Feb. 22 1896, exactly 93 years before our younger daughter was born. Happy birthday, Katherine!
Glancing through the west parlor window at Donald on the side porch, his dark shirt makes visible writing I hadn't noticed before: the signature of Charles E. Rudd (the seller's grandfather) dated Feb. 22 '96, exactly 93 years to the day before our younger daughter was born.
Today, the painter who is stripping wallpaper discovers a signature dated exactly 96 years ago. Unlike other signatures which are small and in pencil, this one is grand and loops ostentatiously across a wall. It's in red crayon which has faded, so the name is barely legible. Quite legibly above it, however, is a comment by a subsequent paperer: "crook."
In the living room, a closet next to the fireplace will be opened to provide access to the kitchen.
We arrive this weekend to discover that much progress has already been made. Walls denuded of wallpaper reveal many ghosts, such as holes for stovepipes (see white patch near ceiling), shadows of former doors and signatures of painters and wallpaperers, including that of the seller's father who did much work on the house (including carpentry and upholstery) himself.
The wallpaper in the master bedroom dates from before I was born. We know because Floyd the Wallpaperer signed his name beneath a patch of it. Upstairs, on a wall of the tower, is a long list of painters' signatures in pencil, dating from 1923. Harkening back to an era when painters were artisans eager to assume accountability for their work.
who we are
We are a couple of Upper West Siders from NYC who never set out to buy an old mansion in Connecticut. But the moment we walked through its massive front door, we were smitten. The info on this site is earnestly cobbled from a variety of sources, including the web. Please let us know if we've gotten something wrong, or if there's a story about Holleywood you'd like to share.