Frederick & Fances Watkins House Significant Interior Details
The house features a center-hall plan with identical door, fanlight and sidelight ensembles in the north and south elevations. The dogleg open-string stair on the west wall is articulated with a varnished handrail supported on white painted turned balusters with square bases (three per tread) ending in a left-hand volute supported on a half-circle end tread with a center varnished newel. An ogee white-painted chair rail rises with the balustrade against the west wall. The stair is visually separated from the Entry Hall by a double arch on paneled pilasters without a center supporting post in the manner of Tulip Hill (AA: 138); however, the arches are segmental rather than circular as they are at Tulip Hill. A small chandelier with faceted glass drops is installed where the arches meet. The front and rear door ensembles are bracketed by slim fluted pilasters as are the flanking openings to the east and west giving access the Living and Dining rooms, respectively. The segmental arches of the room entrances feature a fluted wood keystone. The downstairs formal rooms in the main block have plaster cavetto crown moldings finished with a single wall bead and double ceiling bead. The eight-inch high mop boards in these rooms have varnished quarter-round shoe moldings and a cavetto top trim piece. The floors are two-and-one-quarter-inch oak with the original beech-colored stain. The peach-colored damask wallpaper in the Entry Hall and Stair Hall features a baroque garland-and-leaf design.
The Living Room to the right of the entry spans the width of the house. Directly facing the entrance is a segmental arched and fluted pilaster opening fitted as a bookcase. The chimney breast in the center of the east wall is articulated with a white-painted wood mantel of Colonial Revival design. The mantle has fluted wood pilasters and the header is enhanced with a four-part carved festoon. The surround is faced with Ocean Green marble, bookmatched on the legs. The cast-iron fireback portrays an image of Zeus. Pairs of nine-over-six sash windows are located in the north and south elevations. The room was originally painted medium pink to which the current owners have added a wide, darker pink stripe. The Lavar Kerman Persian carpet by Karastan, woven in celadon, pinks and cream with a central medallion, was chosen for this room by the Watkins’. The 1910 Steinway studio grand piano is also original to the room. An ormolu six-arm chandelier with faceted glass drops is hung from the plaster ceiling medallion, which has an acanthus leaf design. To the left of the chimney breast is a single-leafed door opening onto the Study. On the opposite wall an opening gives on the Rear Hall. The door surrounds throughout the house have molded (cyma reversa) backband trim with an interior bead. The ceilings on the first floor in the main block are ten feet, two inches high.
Study (East Wing)
The east wing consists of a Study, Bar, Lavatory #2 and a hallway. The main volume of the east wing is unusual in that it is articulated in the Modern mode that was gaining popularity in the period, yet it was built as part of the overall Colonial Revival aesthetic of the house. While the Modern character is most pronounced on the interior treatment, it is expressed on the exterior in the large multi-light east window that reaches to the gable. The green leather-buttoned cushion on the window seat is original. In the family room, the painted brick chimney is located off-center on the west wall and is fully expressed to the height of the gable where it meets the false beamed ceiling. The firebox is unadorned and opens onto a raised hearth (the flagstones were added by the current owners). The cast-iron fireback portrays an image of Macbeth’s witches. The woodwork throughout the room is varnished with a medium-brown stain. A wet bar in the north wall is concealed behind a pair of bi-fold louvered doors. The counter is of Rojo Coralito marble. A short hallway provides access to the Bar and Lavatory #2. Lavatory #2 features a wall-length pink tiled varnished-wood console with cupboards and drawers, a pink oval drop-in basin with centerset brass faucet, a pink water closet, pink wall tile and a green and pink floor tile. A Regency Revival-style cream painted tole lantern with scrolls, leaves and tasseled drop hangs from the ceiling. The hallway terminates in a closet; to the west a door provides access to the rear terrace.
Dining Room and Kitchen
The Dining Room is found to the left upon entry. Twin shell-back (the shells are plaster) cabinets are located in the southwest and northwest corners. The cabinets have fluted pilasters and fluted keystones and appear to date from earlier in the twentieth century. They may have served as inspiration for the trim work in the living room and hall. The room features a chair rail. A single-leaf door to the Den is located at right center in the west wall and there are two windows in the south wall. A two-tier, ten-arm crystal chandelier with glass drops and bobèches hangs from the acanthus-leaf plaster ceiling medallion, identical to that of the living room. A single leaf door located off-center in the north wall leads to the Kitchen. (The interior doors are all three-quarter-inch solid wood composed of six panels.)
The kitchen retains the original cabinets. The range was originally located to the left of the door to the Hall. The room was originally painted pink and the cabinet knobs had a raised floral design. The cabinet hardware, steel-edged Formica countertop, ceiling fixture and vinyl floor tile were added by the current owners. The center of the kitchen has traditionally functioned as an eating area with a table and chairs. A single-leaf door on the east wall of the kitchen leads to the Rear Hall.
Den (West Wing) and Garage
A single-leaf door in the west wall of the Kitchen gives on the service Hall which runs north to the garage and south to the Den. Located off the Hall are a Laundry and Lavatory #1. Lavatory #1 has light-yellow wall tile, pink hexagonal floor tile and a Sherle Wagner pink and white marble console sink. The sink is fitted with Wagner’s “Empire Counter Legs” in gold plate featuring caryatids and an acanthus pattern widespread basin set with rosette handles, also in gold plate. Wagner’s “Louis XVI Towel Bar” in gold plate is installed to the right of the sink. The stair to the basement is located in the south wall of the Garage. The bays of the Garage are separated by a gypsum wallboard partition. The Den is paneled from floor to ceiling in cherry-stained wood with applied rectangular moldings. The paneling is finished with a chair rail at the height of the windows and a cyma recta crown molding. A fireplace with molded wood surround, brick facing and quarry-tile hearth is located in the center of the east wall. A molded wood keystone supports a wood mantle. A bookcase is located to the left and a door to the dining room to the right. The Den ceiling is eight feet high.
The second-floor Stair Hall’s balustrade curves to meet the enclosed attic stair. The Stair Hall runs from the north door giving on to the Porch to the south and Bath #2 at the front of the house. Two original bag chandeliers fitted with glass drops light the Stair Hall. Bath #2 features its original tile and full-length mirror encased in molding on the back of the door. Two bedrooms are located over the living room; the master bedroom (Bed Room #1 on the plans) is located over the dining room and kitchen. The en-suite Bath #1 retains its original tile, sink and water closet and both a stall shower and bathtub. The master bedroom features a Georgian-style wood fireplace mantel with molded jambs, barrel frieze and dentiled cornice. Although the proportions are different, in composition it is identical to the dining room mantle at Tulip Hill (AA:138). The Watkins House fireplace features a paneled over mantle. The surround is faced with the same pink and white marble used in Lavatory #1’s console sink. The cast iron fire back portrays an image of Medusa. A polychrome five-arm tole chandelier of entwined flowers sprouting from a basket is hung from the circular Adam-style ceiling medallion. The curtains in the master bedroom are the original pink damask selected by the Watkins’ for the living room.
The attic is accessed by a full-sized stair but is unfinished except for a cedar closet. The basement is unfinished and contains a mechanical room and a large rumpus room.