Architectural Details, Interior Furnishings and Fixtures
The McIlvaine's built the home as a summer cottage however they spent an extended season and therefore had fireplaces installed in the parlor, dining room, their bedroom and sitting room. This was not typical of homes during this period and the contractor did not construct a large enough foundation to support the large masonry mass (look up at the roof from across Jefferson Street to get an idea of the size of the chimney) and therefore the floors all pitch towards the fireplaces.
Some of the windows in the dining room and master bedroom start at the floor and the wall is framed to allow the lower sash to go up into the wall (sort of vertical pocket door) to allow access to the front porch and second floor deck now part of the Leitrim Suite. Notice the original screen door in the dinning room window. We do use the east window to access the second floor deck for Leitrim guests but do not use the ones to the first floor front porch.
The home was originally illuminated with gas lighting and part of the fun of exploring the home was to find the original lead gas piping and the fixture locations where gas light fixtures were located. The lighting fixture on the first floor stair newel post is a transition fixture, which could have been used for gas or electric.
There are some of the original electrical light fixtures that you may enjoy noticing. The ceiling fixture in the foyer and parlor and the fixture on the newel post of stair on first floor are from the 1930's. Historical documents show that electricity did not come to Cape May until early 1930's, so prior to that gas was used for lighting.
The Inn is our home and therefore most of the furniture in the public space is furniture that we had in our home prior to purchasing the Inn. The photos you see of people are either their children or family members.
One interesting chair that guests always ask about is called a "porter's chair." The history of the name is that this style chair was used in the lobby of 19th century hotels. The front of the chair would face the fireplace in the lobby with the back towards the door to reduce cold blasts of cold air when the doors was opened in the winter. If you came in late at night and needed a porter to help you chances are you would find him asleep on the chair nice and warm. This chair was given to us by great friends who knew they loved the chair. They were moving to Florida and did not think they would have to sit up close to a fireplace to keep warm!
The Leitrim Suite bedroom has an armoire form a 19th century Atlantic City Hotel that was being demolished. The second bedroom of Leitrim has built-in wardrobe because was Charlotte's (original owner's) dressing room.
A favorite antique bedroom set is in the Kerry Suite. It is a Queen Anne bed and bureau with marble top. The Kerry Suite also has the original bathroom with claw foot tub and original marble pedestal lavatory.
The second bedroom of the Wicklow Suite has a Conestoga wagon armoire. These armoires were designed to be stowed away in the Conestoga wagon while going out west so the woman would have a wardrobe to store her clothes when they finally settled somewhere.
The chandelier at the top of the stairs is an antique Swedish fixture that we brought with us from our home in Hunterdon County.
If you see something you wish to ask about that has not mentioned, please do...there is so much history to cover!
Click here for the complete detail of the 2002 renovation and addition.
The stained glass window pictured at left (and others seen throughout the inn), were designed by owner Andy O'Sullivan in homage to his Irish heritage. Elements of this window (border, celtic knot and green glass) were incorporated into the design of this website.