Historical restoration inspires me to look beyond the obvious and into the less visible details. More often than not these elements influence the interior design. The Arthur Astor Carey House (see previous article, First Colonial Revival Home in America) is a Colonial Revival home on Fayerweather Street in Cambridge and an exceptional example.
Soon after graduating from Harvard, Carey (1857–1923) built a home for his future family in 1881. Throughout are references embracing male and female characteristics. Given the future Carey planned, it is ironic that he and his brother alone lived there for a couple years.
Born & raised in Rome, Carey was no stranger to mythology. The bracketed overhang above the entrance is supported by the gods Janus & Vesta protecting the threshold. Janus is the guardian of exits and entrances and also represents beginnings. In fact he protects most of the gates surrounding Rome. Vesta is the goddess of the hearth of man, her fire inextinguishable. And even though she is a virgin goddess, at the same time Vesta is considered the mother of Rome: she is thought to be indispensable to the existence and survival of community.
There is a reciprocal link between the gods of beginning, unending motion, who bestow life to this world as well as presiding over its end, and the goddess of the hearth of man, which symbolizes through fire, the presence of life.
Carey took his vision to a new level, building rooms revolving around the male/female interaction. Here is a timeless example of a bachelor building a home without involving their partner.
The impressive hearth on the other side of the front entrance reinforces this interpretation. Stay tuned for more posts on this grand home!