"One of the few surviving saltbox houses on Staten Island’s North Shore, this modest two-story Greek Revival frame cottage [built around 1848] with later Craftsman details is a significant reminder of Staten Island’s vernacular architectural traditions."
For almost 30 years, this house has been owned by John Foxell, an "artist, writer and self-confessed eccentric" who has painstakingly renovated the formerly dilapidated building and has added two small structures, a "prayer house" and a "spirit house", to the property. Mr. Foxell has also spent a great deal of time decorating the place to suit his particular tastes:
Many items might strike a more squeamish man as simply grisly — for example, the pair of glass-fronted coffins containing skeletons; a necklace made of human bones; a box containing children's teeth. Hollow-eyed skulls peer out from shadowy corners.You can see some interior photos here and here.
Yet these memento mori do not offend.
"They remind us that we're just a stack of bones, that we're just passing through," Mr. Foxell said. "I'm not put off by them. They're good company."
He is prepared for emergencies as well as the hereafter. Off the kitchen, home to a 1934 ball-top General Electric refrigerator and a 1951 stove, is a pantry stocked with items like canned creamed possum. "Survival food," Mr. Foxell said.