Valentine's Day is almost here but first (tomorrow) is one of our 2 favorite presidents birthday- Abraham Lincoln. Famously born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky, Lincoln may not bring to mind images of high style, but the Lincoln family is actually and ancient noble family whose ancestral home is in Swanton Morley, Norfolk, England. There have been many stately houses in the Lincoln family since. The original house is now a pub called The Angel (below). It looks so charming with its many trellises.
The village church in Swanton Morley bears the Lincoln Coat of Arms in the stained glass windows. Below is All Saints.
A series of inheritance battles are what forced the Lincolns to America and eventually to the log cabin in Kentucky. Samuel Lincoln came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637. Besides Abraham, many of his other descendants also went into politics, like Maine Governor, Enoch Lincoln. Below is Samuel's historic house in Hingham and some photos of the interior which is updated in a transitional style from its listing on Beach Realty. I recently visited Salem, MA around Halloween while staying with my husband's family in the Hudson Valley where they live and came to love this saltbox style.
I would probably keep the interior super traditional and time period but the updates below do look great! Looks like something about the fireplace has been kept original.
I had to include the following because we understand the slanty ceiling dilemma. My husband grew up in a historic Dutch Colonial house in the country outside Albany and his bedroom has those low sloped ceilings as it actually used to be slave quarters. I actually like these cozy bedrooms. They are especially fun for children. I also grew up in a bedroom with slanty ceilings (although it was an abnormally large bedroom) because our house in Dallas is a Cape Cod style (revival from more the mid century).
The Lincoln family next moved to Pennsylvania and Mordecai Lincoln had the following homestead in Exeter. The image is a vintage postcard, however you can still see the real original house in real life. We just love vintage! The architecture for this house was old English.
After yet another few generations, the Lincolns ended up in Kentucky and again had a bit of an inheritance dispute, thus the log cabin. The actual cabin is no longer in existence but there is a replica you can visit. Furthermore, there were legal disputes over their land ownership and they were forced to move to the midwest where Lincoln's father faired better financially. The below Greek Revival House in Springfield is the only house that Abraham Lincoln himself ever owned. We have visited this house on numerous occasions while staying with our family friends in Chicago.
As you might have expected, this house was decorated very Victorian style on the inside. Below is the sitting room. Dark wood, reds and greens, and wallpaper are so typical of this style.
Before we show you how the Lincolns decorated The White House, we will look at his wife, Mary Todd's family house in Lexington, Kentucky. Mary's family line were Irish Lords and Ladies who came to the colonies in the 1600s like her husband's family did. She grew up in a wealthy slave-holding family so it is very cool that she got to play a role with her husband in bringing an end to slavery in the U.S. Below is her house growing up.
There was a great piece on the house by Architectural Digest so I will include some photos below and the link to the article. It is probably my favorite style architecture- Federal.
Mary and the family enjoyed mint juleps and Bourbon as you would expect a Kentucky girl to in the lovely sitting room above. And below is the Winter Kitchen with some of the family's blue and white Canton China collection.
Next are some of Mary's personal collection of Meissen perfume bottles. I personally love these so much. The colors and shape are both wonderful.
As for the White House, you have probably heard of the Lincoln Bedroom. It is a preserved area of the house, but not where the Lincolns actually slept. It is known for ghost sightings. Below is the room refurbished to be time period correct.
And that was more than you ever wanted to know about the house styles of the Lincolns! Which was your favorite? As we are both Southern women with husbands who grew up in New England we gravitate towards the Mary Todd and Samuel Lincoln houses. However, we love pretty much all antique styles and think there is a place for everything!