Empty House Tour
Even a down economy has an upside, and for Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard it came in the form of the Captain Mellen House in Edgartown. The property, part of the Keniston estate, is listed for sale with Wallace & Co. Real Estate, but Habitat has use of the property until October and has planned many fundraising events throughout the summer. The next few months will be spent getting the house ready with a cosmetic "facelift."
Photos by Susan Safford
Last Saturday, Habitat held an Empty House Tour, allowing the public to get a glimpse of the house in its present state; a blank canvas awaiting an artist's inspiration. Built in 1840, the historic house has wide-plank hardwood floors, wavy, interior windowpanes, and fireplaces in several rooms. There is no furniture, the faded wallpaper is peeling in places, and the painted surfaces are in need of freshening up. This will be the task of many Island interior decorators who have eagerly signed on to the project.
Along with the curious public, a few of the decorators visited to have a first look at the house and see their assigned rooms. Barbara Welsh, a Habitat volunteer who helped promote the event, was happy to oblige. Lorraine Parish was shown her room, the front upstairs bedroom. She was thrilled to see a closet, which she is thinking to fill with clothes bearing her own label. Paula Conover got to see her room, the nursery, and Kathryn Tate the small downstairs study. Vineyard Decorators will take on the living room, and the dining room is assigned to Past & Presents. In all there are 13 rooms, including hallways, and all will get a makeover. The patio and gardens will also get spiffed up and Habitat is in the process of parceling out the exterior property to potential landscapers.
The projected finish date is mid-June when admission tickets will be sold for the patrons' party.
It's a win-win situation for both Habitat and the decorators. Habitat will gain revenue from the summer-long events, and also a 20 percent take on the sale of any furnishings on display, and the decorators have a prime location to display their talents and merchandise.