“A thick brown envelope wormed its way through a crack in the green-painted paneling next to the fireplace. Once it had worked itself free, it shot across the keeping room and landed, faceup, in my lap.”

Colonial houses had separate rooms for meeting guests, dining, cooking, and sitting as a family. The most formal of these rooms was usually the parlor, and the family’s room was often called the keeping room. In the Bishop House, I put an extension on the back of the original house. Sarah’s office is the old parlor. The keeping room–though once the more “casual” room–is now used as the formal living room in the house. It would look a bit like this–without the dining room table in it.

Photo of a colonial house in Delaware.