One of the best things ever written about New England was the work of Ada Louise Huxtable. Huxtable, who died at 91 on Monday, was the most influential writer on architecture of her time. She was a New Yorker at heart, but she spent half of every year in Massachusetts, where she had an unpretentious one-story house in Marblehead.
Marblehead is the subject of the Huxtable quote I love best. Writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2011, she was commenting on the work of an architect who designs houses in imitation of the styles of the past. Huxtable wrote that the architect’s historic details were so accurate they amounted to a kind of perfection. “Full confession: I am no fan of perfection,” she wrote. She then used Marblehead to explain what she meant: