What a treat—photographer Marie Pelletier was on hand as our friend and collaborator David Berman of Trustworth Studios decorated for the season. His 1910 house, dubbed Sconehenge, was dressed up on the occasion of a Christmas party for the Pilgrim Hall Museum Christmas House Tour and Plymouth Center for Restoration Arts and Forgotten Trades.
David Berman is an architectural historian, an artisan in wood and metal, a wallpaper maker, a restoration consultant, and an expert on the English A&C designer C.F.A. Voysey. We knew this would be good!
Here’s Sconehenge, a late Shingle Style house of 1910, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, home to David Berman and Trustworth Studios.
The tree, decorated old style with lots of tinsel and ornaments old and new. The topper (sewn by David Berman) depicts a Humbug, a character drawn by Edward Gorey in his children’s book The Haunted Tea Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas.
In the dining room, the fireplace mantel holds historical jugs from Buffalo Pottery, including the Pilgrim Pitcher, Robin Hood, and Rip van Winkle on the upper shelf. The lower shelf has an assortment of WAS Benson metalware. Christmas cards from the early 20 century are seasonal decoration. The firebox holds a Magicoal “electric fire” from Berman’s childhood home in Brooklyn.
The tabletop feather Christmas tree is decorated with antique paper dolls; it sits in a German musical tree stand that rotates and plays three tunes. The table is laid with WAS Benson candlesticks, a muffin dish, and assorted biscuit jars. The pewter Liberty bowl in the foreground is filled with Mozartkugel (a German confection of pistachio marzipan and nougat covered in chocolate). The table is dressed in a period English Arts & Crafts fabric.
The carved walnut bowl reads, “in a bowl care may not be,” from the “Three Wise Men of Gotham” story by L. Frank Baum. The bowl is by Dave Fisher, is a superb green woodworking craftsman and Plymouth Craft teacher.
There was food, too! Paula Marcoux—renowned historical cookery expert and president of Plymouth Craft— prepared pie shells using period utensils and appliances that date from the early 20th century.
Here’s a game pie that Paula Marcoux baked in a 19-century French mold.
And there was music! Pret Woodburn, a timber framer, played Christmas music on the 1901 Aeolian Pianola.
More to come: In an upcoming issue of Old House Journal, we’ll feature David Berman’s kitchen and pantries—original to the house and recently made exactingly authentic. “When you have a small fridge and no Tupperware, you actually begin to shop and eat differently,” David says. We’ll join him in the kitchen soon.