When a Millenial goes Colonial: Apartment Living in a 300 Year old Newport Home

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This past summer, in between working on stories about people and places in Newport for Puddingstone Post, I had the chance to photograph my own apartment for an article written by editor¬†Meg O’Neill.¬†Although my¬†attempt to remain an objective photographer for this one failed spectacularly, the project evolved into a¬†loving¬†documentation of the place that has been at the center of my¬†life for most of my 20s, so I thought I’d share¬†some photos if you’d like to see.

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Aesthetically, my apartment,¬†which occupies the upper¬†floors¬†of a 300 year old colonial house in the Point neighborhood of Newport, is a steady experiment that will never really be finished.¬†Every¬†corner¬†has fallen together slowly – many a morning coffee was had¬†while contemplating¬†the light and the feel of each¬†room.¬†Over many years, I got to know the house and my own routine within it, buying or changing things only when I felt I¬†knew what the house truly needed.¬†I mixed family heirlooms with pieces gleaned from travels abroad, or my neighbor’s trash pile¬†dressed with a¬†fresh coat of paint.¬†Ever conscious that I was working in a very traditional space, I opted for white on the walls,¬†and¬†a few choice¬†modern pieces, to keep things from looking too frozen in time.¬†

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Psychologically, my relationship to¬†this space is¬†not so easy to describe. In all seriousness,¬†I’m turning¬†3o¬†next week and¬†I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the last decade of my life.¬†I don’t think I would have¬†grown into the person I am¬†without¬†the steadfast, welcoming walls of this dwelling place. It has been my anchor and my creative bubble, it has been light-filled and cheerful even when I have not, it has stood by¬†patiently when¬†I have left it¬†to explore the world, and it has held me through raging hurricanes, tearful breakups and the mind-boggling pain of chronic illness. Yet, despite the years that I have filled the house with¬†friends, roommates, lovers¬†and pets, our time together is no more than a blip on its long history.¬†

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I recently heard¬†something intriguing on NPR (I wish I could remember what story it was a part of, please tell me if you know!): ¬†we frequently talk¬†of¬†the ephemerality of objects. Yet, if you consider that good design and well-made structures have the¬†tendency¬†to persist beyond our lifetimes, then in¬†a¬†sense, we¬†are the ephemeral ones.¬†We barrel into¬†the quiet lives of these houses¬†and¬†these things, and then¬†one day we leave them sitting and¬†waiting for their next occupants or possessors. I rather love this idea. Here I’ve been thinking that this space was mine these past 7 years, when really, I have¬†been¬†its guest all along.

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If I can share¬†one piece of homemaking advice, which I read somewhere once, to anyone¬†kind¬†enough to have made it¬†this far, it is¬†to¬†take the time to truly know your space before you¬†do anything.¬†There¬†is a¬†bottomless rabbit hole¬†in space-making today: pinterest, home decor stores, magazines, and blogs (this¬†one¬†included),¬†offer a limitless¬†blue sky for the imagination to ponder,¬†but you¬†shouldn’t¬†lose sight of the space that you actually have. For example,¬†drooling over sparely furnished¬†Swedish apartments with soaring, 20-foot ceilings is something of a pastime for me, but what works in those spaces¬†does¬†not necessarily translate to the more intimate proportions of a New England colonial. Embrace ¬†your reality and its inherent parameters, such as budget, regional¬†history, sustainability, and the quirks of your home: they will help you wade through endless¬†possibility and hone in on a design¬†that makes sense for your life, while honoring the space¬†in which you are, for a time,¬†a guest.

Ms. Duke Will Not Be Home for Christmas: December at Rough Point

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2016 has been a year of many exciting projects and collaborations, most of which I am very behind in sharing, but among my favorite images are the ones I was able to take for the¬†Newport Restoration Foundation this Christmas. Rough Point, the seaside estate of tobacco heiress Doris Duke, has been¬†curated for the holidays the way it would have actually looked during Ms. Duke’s lifetime: shuttered for the winter, as Doris spent¬†Christmas¬†at Shangri La, her house in Hawaii. Rough Point’s¬†sole occupants would have been her staff, thus the staff wing¬†has been decorated to reflect their own holiday celebration. I found the interior spaces, draped with white sheets, rather eerily inspiring, and thought I’d share.

There’s still time to check out this exhibit, entitled “Undecked Halls,” which will be open for the last viewing on December 27th, 2016.

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Family Sail on an Old Friend: The Classic Alden Yawl “Hope San”

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Photos from a sail on Narragansett Bay¬†aboard¬†the classic Alden yawl “Hope San” for my dad’s birthday. It may have taken us several decades, but we finally figured out what to give him each year. Hope San was actually once my grandparents’ boat (one of the two Hopes that inspired this blog title, the other being my maternal grandmother), and has since been lovingly restored by IYRS grad Patrick Abrecht and his wife Monika. It made me smile to see my dad reconnecting with a boat on which he spent so much time with his parents (see cutely boyish pensive shots on the bow). Hope San¬†can now be chartered in and around Newport RI for up to six guests. You can find out more at sailonhopesan.com.¬†

All images were shot with Portra 160 35mm film on a Pentax K-1000. Thank you to my family for being my models and guinea pigs, I wasn’t sure how I would like Portra in intense sunlight, but it turns out the blue-green tones suited my needs in this aqueous environ just fine.¬†¬†And thanks¬†mom for the shot of me, it’s nice to have my presence in situations confirmed every now and again. (that’s me¬†decked in a double denim¬†jorts + chambray top combo. My earrings are from my new jewelry obsession,¬†Rackk +¬†Ruin¬†in Burlington, VT.)

Summer Portrait Session in Late Afternoon Light

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What a joy it was to do a portrait session with this bright young woman. A thirteen year old with ambitions in music and theater, it was difficult not to exclaim “you look so beautiful and grown up!” at the click of every shutter (I mean, come on) but I wanted to make sure that this was about much more than simply looking nice on camera. To me, the best part about these photos is the¬†sense that she¬†is¬†unafraid to celebrate who she is and to take pride in the process of¬†documenting that. She also offered a lot of creative input,¬†showing me all her favorite¬†spots at her grandmother’s cherished summer home, which I felt was so important in making this a story about her. As a result, the portfolio of portraits we made are diverse in setting and light, but connected by a strong sense of place and the incredible poise and maturity that came out the moment we started shooting. This was one of the most rewarding photography experiences in recent memory, and I hope to do more projects like this. If you know any rising seniors who would like to do a senior portrait, I would love to talk to them! You can get in touch with me via email, CGoddard24@gmail.com.

Sneak Peek: Apartment Tour with Puddingstone Post

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I’m excited to share that my apartment¬†is soon¬†to be¬†featured¬†on¬†Puddingstone Post!¬†Finally, someone else wanted¬†to¬†geek out with me about design and this dwelling that I have put so much love and energy into over the last 5 years!

Photographing my own space¬†on assignment required a healthy dose¬†of objectivity and reflection, no¬†nit-picking allowed. I mean, the day I’m done fiddling with my house is the day I die, but it was nice to just stop for once and drink in¬†my eternal work in progress. Yep, it definitely feels good to be home (especially now that¬†I’ve gotten my sock drawer in order).

Above:¬†The¬†Noguchi-esque paper lantern¬†in my bedroom cost 15 dollars but feels like a million bucks, and a seascape over¬†my bed, which was painted ¬†by my great grandfather, reminds me to appreciate¬†living by the ocean¬†(I forget sometimes). I bought the cloth on top of my dresser in a¬†village at the tip-top of a Cycladic Island, where I¬†encountered this amazing woman. I found the¬†¬†vintage wire egg basket in my neighbor’s trash¬†last Easter Sunday (I was still dressed for church when I grabbed it). The trio of images on the wall are: a drawing I did in college; a random antique portrait that, for me, is so ugly it turns the corner (I think the framing store¬†actually¬†tried to dissuade me¬†from the blush pink metal frame I wanted¬†by “accidentally”¬†putting it in a plain¬†black one); and a¬†Chyrum Lambert study, a present from friends who sublet my apartment last fall and had the artist to stay.

Lookbook: Sages, the spring/summer 2016 collection from Tracy Jonsson Design

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Had a blast photographing the spring/summer ’16 lookbook for Tracy Jonsson Design with this troupe of inspiring women.¬†You can read more about the designer and the collection¬†on Puddingstone Post, where my interview with her¬†was published this week.

Dinner in the 18th Century

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This past winter, I had the delicious joy of photographing a small dinner party of a rather unusual nature. Set against the backdrop of the Reverend Samuel Maxwell House in Warren, Rhode Island,¬†the¬†meal and its¬†costume-clad engineers¬†recreated¬†what a well-to-do Rhode Island¬†family might have served their guests in the 18th century. In the spirit of a lavish abundance of choice on the menu, three different kinds of meat were slowly cooked to perfection in a kitchen fireplace big enough to stand in, while a selection¬†of ‘drunken fruits’ emerged from their month-long bath in brandy to¬†counter the juicy, smoky¬†meats’ flavor. A rich tapestry of side dishes cloaked each table, which was all but obscured by creamware serving platters¬†by the time¬†that guests were invited to take their seats. For dessert, cups of syllabub were prefaced by a demonstration of the creamy dish’s¬†resiliency to being¬†upended, and many a cheerful glass of elderflower champagne was had before the night was through.

These dinners are meticulously crafted by members of the Massasoit Historical Association just twice a year, with very limited seating open to the public by reservation. 

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