Charming Homes of New England, Captured by The Front Door Project


Through her Instagram feed, The Front Door Project, Deb Cohen chronicles charming homes throughout New England, such as this Victorian in New Britain, CT. Photo by Deb Cohen/The Front Door Project.

I have this thing with doors. And judging by my Instagram feed, I’m not the only one. So when I first found The Front Door Project (@thefrontdoorproject) on the social media app, I was all like, like, like, follow! That was probably more than a year ago, and I’ve been hearting these pics ever since.

As the creator of The Front Door Project feed, Deb Cohen chronicles domiciles and doors far and wide, but primarily she focuses on New England, and, more specifically, Hartford County, in her home state of Connecticut. The idea started simply as a way to keep busy: In the summer of 2014, Deb was trying to exercise more. Out she’d go for a walk, but to stay entertained and keep her mind from getting tangled up in stress, Deb would snap photos of houses.

“I always had a lot on my mind,” says Deb, who’d been laid off from her job as a financial professional in the insurance industry. “It was a great distraction, really. My teenage daughter introduced me to Instagram, and I decided to start my own [account].”

But distraction turned to mindfulness, and Deb found herself unwinding. “Noticing the details of the houses in my beautiful hometown of West Hartford made me feel happy and appreciative of the world around me,” she writes on her blog. And so she began taking more portraits of homes, especially their welcoming entryways.

“It was satisfying to me,” she says, “but I wondered if people would think I was weird. Then I thought about it — magazines always have stories about ways to spruce up, decorate, or paint your front door.” Today, more than 14,000 Instagrammers seem to agree she’s not strange, and media outlets including Yankee Magazine, Town & Country, and Country Living have featured her work.

Her passion has led her to launch a blog, also called The Front Door Project, where she writes about her sightings and explores her growing passion for architecture, local history, and historic preservation.

Which, of course, has brought her here to Newport on a few occasions. “I love to shoot Newport — the older Colonial homes are very appealing to me,” says Deb. “You really get to see the detail in those homes because they are so simple.” Other favorite locations include Martha’s Vineyard as well as Wethersfield, Litchfield, and parts of Hartford in Connecticut.

Despite her love of Revolutionary-era buildings (she herself lives in 1930s Colonial revival), Deb’s favorite architectural style is Tudor. “There’s something a little bit fairy tale-like about them,” says the blogger, who also admires the Carpenter Gothic style, “with its whimsical gingerbread detailing,” along with Queen Anne Victorians, which she likens to “crazy pieces of art.”

Though Deb’s professional goals have her planning a return to the world of finance, she won’t be closing the gate on her architectural passion anytime soon. She’s got this thing with doors, after all, and there are a lot of them out there. “I feel like I’ve barely made a dent,” she says. “There’s so much to explore!” 

Charmed, I’m sure! #Jamestown

A photo posted by Deb Cohen (@thefrontdoorproject) on

Meaghan O'Neill is a writer, editor, blogger wrangler, and the founder of Puddingstone Post. She was formerly editor-in-chief of TreeHugger, Discovery Channel online, and TLC's Parentables. Her writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, and her book, Ready, Set, Green: 8 Weeks to Modern Eco-Living (Villard/Random House) was published in 2008. She lives in Newport, RI with her family.

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