Writer In (What?) Residence

While searching out historic writer homes to satisfy my Pinterest addiction, I noticed some houses had a name. They did not need to be an estate, nor in England or France. Many were in America.

We’re used to fictive estate names, right? They conjure up powerful images: Tara, the Georgian plantation in Gone With the Wind, Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice, the shadow-filled Manderley of Rebecca, or the more recent Downton Abbey featured in the popular PBS mini-series.

Melville's Arrowhead

Herman Melville’s Home – Arrowhead

Still, I was surprised to learn that Herman Melville’s home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he created Moby Dick, was called Arrowhead. His sweeping view of grasses rippling in the breeze gave him a sense of the sea’s swells. In the distance, Melville pondered a scarred, massive mountain – Mt. Greylock – the archetype of the great, white whale. A house like that surely deserves a name of its own, even if it’s just a farmhouse. With the curious name of Arrowhead.

The Evergreens

The Evergreens

What about Emily Dickinson’s Amherst home – The Evergreens? Is there a name (or house) more charming? Or Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top – which looks out grandly from its hilltop perch onto the tangled gardens below? Charles Dickens’ Gad’s Hill House or Agatha Christie’s stunning Greenway?


Agatha Christie’s Home – Greenway

I looked to my own community where no private abode appears to have a name. My modest ranch-style residence, while cute & cozy, is no Ponderosa. Or South Fork. There is no hill-top situation or Doric-columned façade. We are talking humble house here. Yet, as an author, my inner-Agatha longed to give my little dwelling a name, too. But what?

Obviously, some have considered the grounds for a clue. Though with my notion of lawn care, beige is the new green. Short grass on life-support is my goal. A goal I have met. So probably not The Evergreens II.

The Ever-beige? Nevergreens? Greenless?

I know! Little House on the Prairie. Uh, no. Fitting, but not very original.

I do have some amazing roses that survive in spite of little attention. Let’s see…Gnarly Rose Ranch?

This isn’t as easy as I thought. Maybe I better go water the lawn so I have more options.

The House With No Name

The House With No Name

For more about Writer’s Historic Houses, visit: Writer’s Houses: Where Stories Live


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6 responses to “Writer In (What?) Residence

  1. Cathy, I loved your blog, humorous yet inventive. Hmmm… what to name your modest writer’s abode?

    How about Taupe Rose Ranch? It’s not quite beige, taupe has a bit of an attitude. The brickwork out front fires up the imagination ~ Brick Rose Ranch.

    Those may not be pillars out front like on Tara’s porch but hey, they dress up the place and add a certain slender pole flair, but perhaps that can be taken the wrong way ~ Cathy’s Pole Place. Not to be confused with certain pole dancing establishments of entertainment within your city limits…

    And while Hilltop overlooks an amazing lush English countryside, once your grass grows back, you’ll definitely have the appeal of a flat-landers carpeting or sod to roll out to the cement curb. Surburban tract heaven, my dear.

    After taking a closer look, I think you should focus on that big, beautiful picture window, that postcard view to the outside world that the mysterious author within those walls gazes out as she pens the next novel of the century. Yes, that’s it ~ Looking Glass Cottage,

    (You know cottage is just another name for a small ranch-style house with character!) (Or is it, with a character abiding inside?)

    • Cathy Elliott

      Kathy! My face hurts from grinning at your comments. Insightful and with a certain whimsey, too. Directing my view to an engaging story – found just beyond/behind the looking-glass.

      Looking Glass Cottage!!! I can’t tell you how much I love that name. You rock!

  2. Love, love this post! What fun! I will be NO help in suggesting a name for your adorable cottage.

    We are fundamentally unoriginal in naming our homes. We call them by their street or area names…the House on Shasta View, The Pleasant Grove House, the Carey Road House…or we call them by size…The BIG House! (Since we’ve only had ONE of these we all know what we’re talking about!)

    I guess we kinda name our houses the way we name our animals…Moose (a huge chocolate lab) Buck (a buckskin horse) Blue ( a dog..a Blue Heeler). We name our vehicles the same way…Old Yeller (a yellow pick-up…could you have guessed?) Rover (an old green range rover). Whitey…(a white pick up….funny, but we have “new whitey” and “old whitey”)

    Of course, with the ranch we’ve gone through several transition names. Up here, usually everyone refers to a place by the previous owners name..until you become a permanent resident, which could take years! Our place was the Longhorn ranch for a long time after we bought it, cause the former owner was raising long horn steers.

    We changed it to the Circle Bar K…named after our brand…but that brand was a problem, so we got a new one…a bar over the letter K. Now we called the ranch the Bar K…

    However, everyone in our area calls it “Barker’s Place”…and now, twenty years later, we just call it “The Ranch.”

    And I think we’re gonna call our new place in Oregon, The Blue-Grey House!

    See, I just can’t help you, but I wish you the best of luck in finding the right and perfect name for your writers residence!

    • Cathy Elliott

      Goodness, Kate, I hope I remembered to get your take when I was naming Hondaleezza. 🙂 You have a wealth of experience naming homes and with the acquisition of the Blue-Gray House, it continues. So fun to see what folks come up with and why. Thank you for your wonderful response. Enjoyed the heck out of it.

  3. Great post. I really enjoyed it and it certainly got me to thinking about names for your house. We call ours the Little Cottage in the Woods. Not too original, but when it snowed, only briefly, it reminded us of the cabin the Chronicles of Narnia where Lucy has tea with Mr. Tumnus.

    I really like the Looking Glass Cottage, it holds so much promise. I had been thinkting more on the lines of the roses, how stubborn they are, to survive in spite of neglect. (Don’t worry, my roses survive in spite of me as well.) How about Wild Rose Ranch? Trying to think of a word that would encompass the strength of the rose. Hmm…. I’ll have to give it some thought. Let you know if I come up with anything good.

    • Cathy Elliott

      Great ideas, Cindy; you’ve given me some creative possibilities to consider. I have a couple more I’m thinking about, too. But I guess I’ll have to let it all simmer a while and see what suits. 🙂 Thanks so much.

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