For this I used the image of my mother’s doorway – sitting here I can smell the stone and plaster walls (unless my sister is cooking ratatouille, bread pudding with ginger toffee, or some other deliciousness). The house dates back to at least 1595, the records before that were lost when the town was sacked in 1576, and when she moved in the only plumbing was a sink underneath the window to the right of the door, all cooking had been done in the fire.
I love row houses because I love town noise, and my mom’s house is so accessible when someone drops by for a visit, but my dream house would be a ‘portland’, a row house with a long strip of garden behind. I recently stayed in a beautiful example of that in a medieval town outside London while visiting relatives (including my most adored aunt and uncle who are fixing up a barge in the gorgeous port of Sandwich), the garden was 40+ feet wide and 630 feet long, on a south-facing slope with orchard, pond and nuttery. Perfection. An upscale version, built 70 years after the one I stayed in, is Rothe House in Kilkenny, which has been restored and opened as a museum. It would be great to be part of a project like that, they did such a good job on the gardens and orchard, and next time I’ll definitely spend more time in their library.