A $1.2 million home for sale in Fall River is missing one thing some might find unnerving — it was built without nails.
The house, called “The Rising Sun,” was built using a Japanese technique known as “kanawa tsugi,” which bonds wood in interlocking joints, rather than nailing it together.
It’s a seminal Japanese Arts and Crafts house and was designed by Ralph Adams Cram, who was an influencer of Frank Lloyd Wright. Cram also taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology until he retired in 1930.
He is known for designing “buildings of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Gothic transformation of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City,” according to the Cultural Landscape Foundation.
The home in Fall River, built in 1894, has “beamed ceilings, beautiful woodwork, a skylighted central staircase, 4 working fireplaces, home offices on both the 2nd and 3rd floors, as well as 6 bedrooms,” according to the listing.
It was built using 26 species of wood and also has the original Walnut doors, which are now more than 127-years-old.
Current owner Mary Wheeler retired this summer, and her and her husband are looking to downsize.
“Even though we love this house and it’s very comfortable, it’s more than we want to handle,” she said. “We just want to have something simpler.”
She remembers the moment they walked through the door for the first time and how breathtaking it was.
“We walked in and looked at the wood, and my husband’s whispered in my ear and said, ‘We’re going to buy this house,’” Wheeler said.
She noted there is so many intricate details to the house, such as bird carvings in the wood throughout the house.
Another detail is that one of the wooden poles in the dining room is a tree trunk, she said. There are also stones behind each of the four fireplaces, which help heat the entire house.
Wheeler and her husband have worked to restore the home since they bought it in 2011 for $295,000. At that time it had pink shag carpet and was decorated in a Victorian style, “which was the age of the house but not obviously the style of the house,” she said.
They redid the floors, changed the wallpaper and more.
One of the things they haven’t restored is the teahouse.
“I have a picture of the old tea house which is fabulous,” Wheeler said. “And I always thought it would be wonderful to turn the tea house back into a tea house.”
The teahouse door is small, however. This is traditional for Japanese teahouses, which often have low, small openings so that samurai would need to de-arm before entering.
Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu told the Japan Times that removing their weapons would mean that “everyone is equal in the tearoom.”
She hopes the next owners love and care for the house as much as she does.
“Someone who really has a vested interest in taking care of this. It’s lasted for 127 years without white paint, and I certainly would not want anybody to buy it and turn it into condos,” she said. “They have to come here and appreciate what this is.”
Another house by Cram is on the market in Maine.
The Ledges at Whittemore House is on the market for $2.5 million in York, Maine.
“Everywhere there is architectural interest: the syncopation of the ribbon windows; the opposing curves of the triple gable window and adjoining tower; the two first-floor windows above the lower doorway,” the listing states. “Even the smallest details command attention.”