The Victorian Painted Lady house pops, even on a street full of them, thanks to a colorful paint job. Bold blue, accented with green and vivid yellow, is bright enough to attract attention, but not so much that it attracts snickers and stares. The landscaping, too, is colorful no matter what time of year you walk by. Forsythia and croci in shades of purple give way to pink and yellow tulips before the daylilies and rhododendrons start blooming.
The ancient VW Bug parked in front of the house has a similarly attention-getting paint job. In one of the new neighborhoods, the ones with covenants and restrictions and homeowners associations, only the garden would pass muster, but Millville hasn’t been ruled by anybody since the Angston family sold off the old mill after the straw hat industry started fading away. The houses had more space than the company homes the Angstons made available to workers — for a price. These were home to managers at the mill, shift supervisors who did better for themselves than the poor men, women and children who worked the machinery.
Inside, the house has been preserved, its woodwork original. If any spots have been replaced or repaired, it was done by an expert — problems are impossible to spot. If you can see them amid the clutter, of course. It’s not a mess, no trash lying around, no dust bunnies in the corners. But books, art supplies and other — things, often unidentifiable — are on every surface.
The turret at the front corner of the house forms a rounded living room, the fireplace on the straight wall at the back between the living room and kitchen behind it. On the second floor, that room has no curtains on the windows and dried drips of paint across the polished hardwood floor as light floods in. An easel holds a half-finished canvas, the photo clipped to one corner showing the same scene as the canvas.
The other extra rooms on that floor are bedrooms, one with twin beds, red and purple paint sparking the room to life. The other has cool green paint, soft as seafoam. The queen bed has a cotton duvet in crisp blue, green and gray stripes, snapshots and beach scenes lining the walls. That door is shut, unlike the others. Linen curtains shield the space from the sun.
Thee master bedroom is done in green, too, but bolder, the color of Irish fields, with crimson and pewter accents. The queen bed has nightstands on both sides, and two sets of reading glasses. Yet the armoire has mostly women’s clothes, just a few pairs of men’s slacks and a navy blazer hanging there. A single dresser drawer with men’s clothes, compared with seven of women’s clothes.
The walls of each room are lined with paintings in the same style as the one on the easel in the turret room. A table in the living room holds frame after frame of photos, mostly snapshots. A few formal photos of a thin girl with straight brown hair past her shoulders show the progression from child to lanky teen to a woman who just misses being elegant because of the wide grin on her face. Her light green eyes light up the photos, formal and casual, and the painting in the kitchen that features the same woman must have a dozen different greens in the eyes.
A deep blue pottery bowl on the table by the loveseat overflows with chunky red stones strung on fine fishing line, matching earrings hooked on the side of the bowl. Another pair of reading glasses are tucked into the bowl, the red-and-purple striped frames battered a bit around the edges. Scuffed leather loafers lay on the floor half-under the table, and a thick blanket with frayed tassels is draped on one arm of the loveseat.