This house was built 73 years ago (97 years in year 2000), in the early years of the 20th century, but its roots go back to colonial days. It is an urban adaptation of the pen and passage house, originating in a Georgian style favored by British colonists n the 18th century, and constructed of such varied materials as stone, brick, and hewn logs. When the passage between the pens, or rooms, was left open, the house became known as a dog-trot. The mode retained its popularity and was in use as a town house throughout the upland South until well into the 1930's. No less than ten such adaptations were built in St. Francisville. They were characterized by a center hall and a full length porch across the front. This version was built in 1903 by the Robert C. Brasseaux family and was imaginatively remodeled in 1968 by its present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Wingate White.
The exterior of the house retains its original character except for the rear porch which was enclosed to extend the central hallway, provide room for two baths, and form a kitchen. The corrugated tin roof covering the original cypress shingles was retained, and the original cypress shutters flanking the full length front windows were stripped of all paint and remain functional. The windows themselves, when raised completely, disappear into the attic.
All other changes occur inside where two walls were removed from a center room, allowing the den to become part of the kitchen. The addition of a stairway in the hall converts a spacious but unused attic into additional living space.
The central hall is flanked by living-dining and kitchen-den areas on the left and by bed-rooms on the right.
The comfortable living area of the kitchen and den is an exact copy of one found in a Williamsburg home. Cabinets are made from old cypress doors. The fireplace, originally with coal grate, has been converted to wood-burning. When outer covering was removed, handmade bricks were revealed, some stamped counter from a turn-of-the-century local drugstore. As in the rest of the house, the kitchen-den area has softly gleaming wood floors.
Furnishing in the living and dining area have been carefully selected to give the cottage a cozy country charm its owners call "homespun" and include a carved marble-top sideboard, a black marble clock of French origin, and a 165 year old German clock, its Westminster chimes still tunefully functional.
Of note in the front bedroom is the early 19th century bed of American burled walnut. The headboard is removable so that summer breezes can be enjoyed.
Thanks to the West Feliciana Parish Historical Society for the write-up on White's Cottage
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