As you know, due to my constant and comprehensive whining to you, I’ve had a cold this week.
The upside is that Kermit gets to spend oceans of quality time within two inches of me. The downside is that sleep has been elusive due to all the coughing, snorkling, and hydration-related efforts. (I HATE MY NALGENE BOTTLE.)
Whenever I can’t sleep, I go house shopping. With the Internet, this means I can deep dive anywhere in the world, at any price. In general, I crank up the search fields to at least eight bedrooms, and the Max Price to infinity. No pesky reality to get in the way, no limits.
I look at Swiss chalets or entire islands in Polynesia. Or any house in the United Kingdom. France and Italy and Scandinavia are frequent stops, too. And I keep eyes peeled for the right Greenwich Village townhouse.
I often begin Insomnia Real Estate by digging into a city I’ve actually visited. We visited boy David in Cambridge not long ago, so that sent me drowsily poking around Boston listings, which brought me to this astonishing house.
The Joseph Thorp House, 168 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The listing tells us: “Designed by Arthur Little in 1888, The Joseph Thorp House is a highly unconventional, outstanding and eclectic Colonial Revival masterpiece. With a sympathetic nod to the Queen Anne style, asymmetry abounds, yet all facades are active with Neo-Classical elements, such as columns and pilasters, bays and balconies with delicate balustrades, scrolled corbels, keystone arches.”
“The eclectic interior invokes all classical orders of design including Greco-Roman details and intricately carved teak salon by the American Aesthetic Movement’s Lockwood de Forest.”
“In the southeast corner, the Library incorporates late 19th century Norwegian design with a traditional ‘peasant’ hearth.”
“The truly Classical dining room incorporates a Palladian bay of leaded glass and intimate ‘Poet’s Corner’ adorned with bas-relief on walls, domed ceiling and mantel delights.”
“The French country kitchen houses the original Walker & Pratt cast-iron stove, modern prep island, Sub Zero refrigerators and FiveStar range.”
The price, you ask?
$8,800,000. George Segal sculpture, “Chance Meeting,” not included.
Of course, this sent me off to find out more about the architect, the teak-carving dude, whatever I could unearth. I found a video of the current owner talking about her house and giving us a tour. There she is, up top, explaining the house’s intense whimsy and good humor. Yes! I drifted off to slumberland as the new owner of 168 Brattle Street. I will . . . take such good care . . . of the teak carvings . . .
Somebody please buy this place so I can come visit you.
What do you do when you can’t sleep? For me, knitting is too interesting when I’m trying to shut it down. I highly recommend Insomnia Real Estate. If you go through enough galleries of superexpensive houses, the hypnotic quality of it is like counting sheep. Oceanfront location, boat house, lacquered ceiling, outbuildings, Aga stove, National Trust property, owned by the Earl of Spootlydoo since 1734 . . . See? You are getting verrrrry sleeeeeepy.