Architecture

Aug 142014
 

Richard Hampton Jenrette  a self-proclaimed “house-aholic”, established the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust (CAHPT) and Richard Hampton Jenrette Foundation in 1994.  Mr. Jenrette has spent the last forty five years acquiring and restoring homes.  Some were sold and given away but he kept 6 of the finest.   This not-for-profit organization will eventually own, maintain and manage sharing the homes with the public. In additon to the restoration the next logical step was the collecting of period antiques to furnish the houses. Today, Mr. Jenrette owns hundreds of antiques, almost entirely American and many original to the houses.

map of the locations of the jenrette houses

1.  Ayr Mount

Ayr Mount- Exterior

“Ayr Mount is a Federal-era plantation house built in 1815 in Hillsborough, North Carolina by William Kirkland.   Kirkland, named the house in honor of his birthplace, Ayr, Scotland. Unlike the other houses in the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust collection, Ayr Mount looks deceptively simple, even austere on the outside. There are no soaring columns proclaiming its classicism. On the other hand, Ayr Mount is far grander – especially in the interior – than one might expect from a first look at the exterior. The ceiling height of 14 feet is unusual for this period as is the elaborate Federal period woodwork and plasterwork found throughout the house. Ayr Mount also was the first major residence built of brick in this area of predominantly colonial era wood frame houses. At the time of its construction at the end of the War of 1812, Ayr Mount was considered one of the finest residential structures in Piedmont, North Carolina. 

Ayr Mount - interior

Ayr Mount interior dining room

This home is currently open to the public.  Information for visiting the home and its beautiful grounds are here.  The preservation of the land surrounding Ayr Mount is an important part of Mr. Jenrette’s mission.   Ayr Mount was originally a 503-acre plantation, but today the house is surrounded by approximately 60 remaining acres of gardens, woodlands, pastures, and serene riverside lookouts. These grounds, plus the trails opposite it across the Eno River, total to over 287 acres.  There are three distinct trails that are privately maintained without governmental funding by Classical American Homes Preservation Trust.  Enjoy year round.

Gate to Ayr Mount

Ayr Mount landscape

Video on Poets Walk.  Publication available on this house,  The Kirklands of Ayr Mount chronicles the rise and fall of Kirkland’s fortunes and his descendants’ efforts to retain the family mansion for 150 years after Kirkland’s death. The book also provides a detailed picture of the small but historically important town of Hillsborough.

2.  Millford Plantation

“Millford Plantation, built in 1839-41, is considered by many to be the finest example of Greek Revival residential architecture in America. The grandeur of the house, located in such a remote section of rural South Carolina, seems to come as a surprise to first-time visitors, who must drive over miles of dirt roads and through moss-draped forests to reach the house. Suddenly the house appears out of nowhere, in all its classical glory – six massive fluted Corinthian columns, 16-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, a domed rotunda enclosing a spectacular circular staircase – all the features to impress that are inherent in Greek Revival architecture. Surrounded by live oaks, magnolias and green lawns, Millford seems as though it might be part of a dream.”

Millford Plantation exterior

Millford Plantation interior

How did Millford survive the Civil War? It was a miracle. On what turned out to be the final day of the War before Lee’s surrender, Northern troops, under the command of Brig. General Edward Elmer Potter, arrived at Millford. Gov. Manning met the Yankee General at the front door and observed: “Well, the house was built by a Potter (Nathaniel Potter, the architect) and it looks as though it will be destroyed by a Potter.” General Potter responded: “No, you are protected. Nathaniel Potter was my brother.”

Millford plantation staircase

Although their fortune was destroyed by the Civil War, the Mannings managed to hold on to Millford until 1902 when it was sold to Mary Clark Thompson of New York, who later bequeathed it to her two Clark nephews. The Clarks owned and loved Millford for the next 90 years, enjoying it as a winter residence with ample opportunities for hunting and fishing. The Clarks sold the mansion and 400 acres to Richard Hampton Jenrette in 1992, but they still retain several thousand acres of timberland in the vicinity.  Visit Information.

Millford Plantation - gardens

3.  Roper House

Roper House, was built in 1838 on the recently completed High Battery with a commanding view of the Charleston, South Carolina harbor.  The house is an outstanding example of early 19th Century Greek Revival architecture in a city better known for its 18th Century Georgian-style architecture. Roper House is built on a monumental scale, with massive, two-story-high Ionic columns raised above a first floor, arched loggia pedestal base. Ceiling heights are 18 feet on the piano nobile, with tall windows extending to the floor. The piazza, opening off the double parlors, has the finest view in Charleston.

Roper House exterior

 It is said that Mr. Roper intended his showcase home to be the first residence seen by visitors approaching Charleston from the sea.

Roper House water view

The architect of this imposing house is undocumented, but some architectural historians have attributed its design to Karl Friedrich Reichert, a highly regarded German who was working in Charleston at the time on the new Charleston Hotel.

roper house-interior

roper house furnishing

 

Richard H. Jenrette’s new book about the Roper House is now available for orderColumns by the Sea: The Roper House takes a closer look at this National Landmark and National Registered Historic Place with full-page images of the house and its collection.

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 August 14, 2014  Posted by at 2:55 pm Architecture, Interior Design, It's A Classic No Responses »
Aug 012014
 

Grilles  the beautiful decorative solution to filling spaces such as holes, for heating and air conditioning, speakers, gates, railings, security protection, privacy and separation and decoration.  When form and function combine a decorative grille is a thing of beauty.  Please visit us on Pinterest to see our entire collection of magnificent decorative grilles, investment castings and iron work.

Petit Palais, Paris

The Petit Palais was built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition.   It became a museum in 1902. Designed by Charles Girault, it is based on a trapezium shape and is made up of four wings around a semi-circular garden bordered by a richly decorated peristyle. The architect achieved a successful blend of traditional and modern architecture which is evident in the natural flow of visitors around the building and in the bold openings he created onto the Champs-Elysées gardens and inner courtyard garden.  The main entrance gate, designed by Girault himself, was immediately praised for its elegance and the virtuosity of its craftsmanship. He also created the banisters for the staircases in rotundas and the garlands and swags of wrought iron decorating the peristyle and balconies.

A Bold Opening

petit palais
Petit Palais Paris

Through September 14 there is an exhibition,  Paris 1900, City show as an opportunity for the Petit Palais to honor its architect, Charles Girault (1851-1932) . The Petit Palais, is recognized as one of the architectural jewels of the Universal Exhibition.   In 2012 the Petit Palais received a significant donation from the descendants of the architect . 

petit palais exterior

petit palais exterior

There is beautiful iron work on the interior as well.

petit palais interior iron work

petit Palais stairway

Petit Palais detail iron work

petit palais stairway

stairway detail Petit Palais

Gates are so grand. If you closely examine the railings above as well as the gates below, you can see that it is a combination of wrought iron and lost wax castings. The wrought iron is welded together from iron bars

which are mostly painted black in the gate below. The finer decorative parts shown in gold leaf, was made from molds cast in the lost wax method, which produces much superior details.

pc-gates 1

 

 

gate drawing

iron banister

grille room divider

grille walls

iron work porches

 

National Cathedral

Grille National Cathedral

Palmer Grille

Palmer Grille

Here are some of my collection from traveling in Charleston, South Carolina and New Orleans, Louisiana. These grilles and railings are generally made of cast iron in sand castings. They have a rough surface, due to the nature of cast iron and the grainy nature of sand which is used as a temporary mold.

iron railing

iron work railing

iron work

ironwork

 

The top of the line when it comes to fabulous grilles is Investment Casting.   These are from Stuart’s Dream Grille file. At the top of my list is this second Empire grille (Napoleon III of France, 1863).  Eighteen of these grilles were used in Grand Central Station, New York City. They were apparently removed when air conditioning was installed in the late 1950′s.

Notice the fine details, which could only be achieved through the labor intensive lost wax method in combination with a fine casting metal like brass or bronze. The original had to be carved in wax, then it was coated in a plaster of Paris type mixture.  Next the wax is melted out of the plaster mold and bronze poured in it’s place  at a temperature of 2200 degrees.   Once the bronze cooled, the plaster mold had to be broken off with a hammer. This method makes a near perfect casting, but was expensive, even in the 1800′s.  That is why it is referred to as investment casting, because it takes a major investment to create one.

Second Empire Grille

Second Empire Grille closeup

Second Empire Grille Grand Central Station

The grille below is one of the few good Art Deco Grilles I have seen. Maybe because Art Deco came of age just before the Great Depression.   The money wasn’t as available for expensive investment casting in expensive metals. Never the less, it is a very fine grille indeed.

art deco grille

Art Deco  Grille from Marshall Fields store in Chicago

art deco marshall fields store

roman arch

For those that have radiators,  Antique Radiator Covers are an inspiration.  The three radiator cabinets below are all from England. They all have the investment casting look. The top one looks like four investment cast grilles were attached to a cabinet made from a different material.

 

antique radiator

Antique Brass Radiator Cabinet with a marble top.  Splendid!

brass radiator cabinet with marble top

English design radiator cabinet in polished pewter.

English Radiator Cabinet

A client sent us this picture of their radiator cabinet using our Arts and Crafts grilles.

radiator cabinet with arts and crafts decorative grille

radiator cabinet with decorative grilles

radiator cabinet with Louis XIV decorative grille

Here are some more beautiful examples of Beaux-Artes‘ grilles that we manufacture. For years we have tried to find a foundry in the USA to cast our wonderful grilles in iron, brass and bronze. Unfortunately,  the iron ones are just too grainy and cannot be sold to a high end clientele. Using Brass or Bronze in investment casts places them out of most consumers price range. Having to break apart each mold after just one use, slows down production too much for profit margins.

In order to replicate the fine details Beaux-Artes developed a stream-lined method of investment casting using a high quality and expensive thermal resin. Our method of manufacturing gives the finely detailed look that we desired, without the outrageous cost of investment cast bronze.  In may respects,  the urethane resin we use is superior to metal since it will not rust, corrode or grow mold like metal grilles do. Rather than just making one grille per mold, we produce 50 to 100 grilles per mold. Our grilles can even have a bronze, brass or pewter face since we dust our molds with metallic powders prior to pouring the resin. The resin bonds or fuses to the metallic powder to form a thin brass,  bronze or pewter surface on the front of our grilles. Times change, manufacturing improves and new materials are introduced. Today Beaux-Artes grilles are as finely detailed as the best grilles made in the lost wax method of the 1800′s.

Here are just a few of our grilles in two of our styles. Visit Beaux-Artes  to see  28 different sizes of our Louis XIV grilles and 47 different sizes of our Arts and Crafts Grille, plus 26 different size of our Venetian Rope grilles.

Louis XIV 14″ x 14″ $159

decorative grille louis xiv style

Louis XIV 18″ x 28″ grille $599

Louis XIV 18 x 48 decorative grille

Arts and Crafts 20″ x 30″ $369

decorative grille 24 x 30 arts and crafts

Arts and Crafts 6″ x 30″ $159

decorative -grille arts and crafts style 6x30

melanie-classical-addiction-sm

 

 

 

 

Jul 082014
 

A relatively easy way to achieve the symmetry of adding wall panels is with board and batten panels.  This statement wall uses the existing wall with boards (vertical) and battens (horizontal) only which is called a flat panel design.

board and batten wall panels

Board and Batten Wall Panel Options.

board and batten wall panel options

Board and batten wall panels using a cove molding.  Any decorative molding such as an egg and dart would work well.
board and batten style wall panels

Simple 3/4″ cove was added to this board and batten wall paneling.  I also like the height of this wall panel layout rather than a wainscoting style.

board and batten wall panels

Beaded Panel Wainscoting

wainscoting

I love it when there is a ledge.  This double board and batten design is very nice.

board and batten wall panels

Pictures look great.

board and batten wall panels

The board and batten panels offer flexibility to size your panels to achieve the symmetry necessary for your walls.

board and batten tutorial

board and batten wall panels

board and batten wall panel design

board and batten wall panel design

Board and Batten Wainscoting

 

board and batten wall panel specifications

Beaux-Artes offers a perfect embellishment to standard board and batten paneling.  This historic Spanish Empire style ornament is a beautiful and easy addition to board and batten style wall panel installations.  It comes in over 20 finishes for $45.  Dimensions:  7-1/2″H x 12-1/8″W

board and batten wall panel ornament in the Spanish Empire style

It is perfect for hallways.

board and batten wainscot hallway panels with Beaux-Artes Spanish Empire ornament

board and batten wainscot panels with Beaux-Artes Spanish Empire ornament

board and batten wainscot paneling with Spanish Empire ornament

Dress up a kitchen island.

board and batten panels on kitchen counter with Beaux-Artes Spanish Empire ornament

board and batten wall panel with Beaux-Artes spanish empire ornament

Borad and Batten Wall Panel Installation Instructions

Lovely hallway wall panel layout done by Phoebe Howard.

board and batten wall panels

Most often the board and batten panels are painted white.  The white panels work well with anything;  but with a dark color the contrast can be a very nice effect providing the color while maintaining a lightness.

board and batten wall panels

This panel layout has quite a narrow batten which repeats the crib.

board and batten wall panels

board and batten wall panels

Kips Bay Show House 2014 room with a decorative molding and custom digital wallcovering on the background wall area.

board and batten wall panels

Board and Batten Panels are also great for stairways.

board and batten stairway panels

board and batten staircase wall

board and batten staircase panels

board and batten stair case panels

board and batten panels

board and batten staircase

Bathrooms with board and batten wall panels

board and batten wall panels

board and batten wall panels

board and batten wall panels

Exterior Board and Batten applications

board and batten exterior

board and batten exterior

board and batten exterior

board and batten exterior

board and batten exterior

Here we eliminated the bead board and replaced it with our Spanish Empire Panel Ornament

board and batten exterior

My inspiration for this blog was a lovely new home in North Carolina featured in Traditional Home this month.  I love the board and batten fireplace mantle and wall design.  Looks like it conceals a TV.

board and batten fireplace

board and batten wall panel design

blithe-spirit-charlotte-nc-2

board and batten wall panel design

They carried the board and batten paneling throughout the home.

board and batten design

Notice the kitchen cabinet door style.

board and batten cabinet doors

Board and Batten Accent Wall

board and batten wall design

board and batten wall panel design

melanie-classical-addiction-sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 July 8, 2014  Posted by at 1:44 pm Architecture, Interior Design, Wall Treatments 2 Responses »
Jun 172014
 

Gods and Heroes There is an amazing exhibit at the Oklahoma Museum of Art, “Gods and Heroes” which offers masterpieces from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, with approximately 140 paintings, sculptures and works on paper dating from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.  The part of the exhibition I consider so relevant is the focus on the legacy of one of the finest institutions for the instruction of art, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. According to Art Curator Jennifer Klos, “(It’s) not just for Francophiles. This is really a look at almost the history of Western art.”  The exhibition offers insight into the development of an aesthetic ideology that fostered some of western art’s most magnificent achievements.

Auguste-Dominque Ingres, 1801  Achilles Receiving the Ambassadors of Agamemnon

“The legacy of the École des Beaux-Arts cannot be overstated,” said Oklahoma City Museum of Art President and CEO E. Michael Whittington in an email. “Until World War II, Paris was the center of the art world, and generations of American artists made their pilgrimage to study at the École. To have this great collection with its star-studded cast of artists now coming to the United States is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people of Oklahoma.”

Jean Honore Fragonard Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Idols

Fragonard’s Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Idols (1752)

The Exhibition’s focus will be on epic themes such as courage, sacrifice, and death, as well as the ways that changing political and philosophical systems affected the choice and execution of these subjects.  Their ideology was rooted in the study of the idealized human form as envisioned in classical art.

The Exhibition features artists such as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, François Boucher, Nicolas Poussin, Albrecht Dürer, and Rembrandt van Rijn. Most of the works have never been shown outside of the school, which continues to train artists. While the earliest painting dates from 1648 and the exhibit spans two centuries, it also includes two classical Greek sculptures used as a teaching tools. The show’s title, Gods and Heroes, comes from the epic stories in the Bible, Homer and other classical sources that the student artists were assigned to depict in their paintings. “It’s not only the epic nature of the stories, but it’s also how really the school itself became epic, with its influence on the history of Western art. In a way, all the artists at the Ecole become gods and heroes themselves. They become these sort of figures that represent and reflect the prestige and the genius of the school,” Art Director Jennifer Klos said. “France was so influential and set such a high standard for this rigorous academic training that it really established the profession of being an artist.” “There will be a wide variety of art, but we’re not only looking at the art. We’re looking at this idea of what was it really like to be a student at the Ecole.”
There are some great photographs of the school itself and artists, and you get to see this camaraderie and you get to understand a little bit more about the architecture and the surroundings of the school. We really want our visitors to be able to kind of put themselves in the shoes of the artists.” “With this exhibition, there will be an emphasis on the academic curriculum of the Ecole … and drawing truly was the cornerstone of their academic study at the school. To master drawing, you really had to master the human body, particularly the nude male body,” Klos said. “You will be able to tell how they studied movement, how they studied musculature, the body in different settings, to master not only these parts of the curriculum but elements that also became competitions.” By the 19th century, École students were competing in various contests like the painted torso and expressive head competitions, which pushed the aspiring artists to master aspects of anatomy, perspective and landscape compositions. The contests prepared them for the most prestigious of all: the Prix de Rome, whose winners were awarded a scholarship to study the ancient and Renaissance masters in the Villa Medici in Rome for as long as five years.

Exhibition itinerary: Oklahoma City Museum of Art (June 19-September 14, 2014); Albuquerque Museum of Art and History (October 12, 2014–January 4, 2015); Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum (February 19–May 17, 2015); Portland Art Museum, (June 13–September 13, 2015).

Pierre-Charles Jombert’s (French, 1748-1825) 1772 oil painting “Apollo and Diana Killing the Children of Niobe” is among the more than 140 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings featured in the traveling exhibition “Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces From the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris,” opening Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Photo provided by the American Federation of Arts

Pierre-Charles Jombert’s (French, 1748-1825) 1772 oil painting “Apollo and Diana Killing the Children of Niobe” is among the more than 140 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings featured in the traveling exhibition “Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces From the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris,” opening Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Photo provided by the American Federation of Arts

Putting yourself in the shoes of the artist is a great idea for this exhibition and it’s legacy for today’s artists.

The Ecole des Beaux-Arts

Ecole des  Beaux-Arts

Ecole des Beaux-Arts

The Ecole des Beaux-Arts was founded in 1648 by Cardinal Mazarin with studies in architecture, drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving, modeling, and gem cutting. The school was born out of the legendary Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, founded in 1648 under King Louis XIV.   The École des Beaux-Arts was a competitive, government-run school that trained artists to meet the needs of royal, state, and church patrons from the late 17th through the mid-19th centuries,  to guarantee a pool of artists available to decorate the palaces and paint the Royalty.   It was made independent by Napoléon III in 1863. At the École, learning how to construct persuasive and powerful paintings from carefully delineated anatomy, expressive faces, and convincing architectural and landscape settings was understood by aspiring artists to be the route to success and recognition.

At that time the Paris art-world was made up of a triangle:

  • The Ecole des Beaux-Arts
  • The Independent Ateliers
  • The Annual Paris Salon

and in the middle was always the Cafe life.

 

 

 

Today

The second point in this triangle was the small independent ateliers where students learned directly under the tutelage of an established “Master” who were not part of the Ecole. Students not in the Ecole trained in these ateliers with the hopes of passing the entrance exam, as well as students already in the Ecole wanting to get recognized by their association with a known “practicing Master”. 

Today’s artists train at Ateliers as well.  The International Decorative Artists League is an umbrella organization for many of the independent ateliers and practicing artists.

A very fine example of today’s atelier of talented craftsmen is Grand Illusions Decorative Painting.  Creating masterpieces and educating the next generation of artists.  Pierre Finkelstein is the owner and creative force behind this excellent atelier.  He has written a bible for decorative finishes.

door header

 

pierre-finklestein-3

pierre-finklestein-09-getty18

 

pierre-finklestein-10-getty19

The third point in the triangle was the annual Paris Salon, the show everyone wanted to succeed at, and from which the public often commissioned their favorite artists.  It was the place to be seen, and get known.  Paintings shown at the Salon often posted not only the artist who did the work, but what atelier they came from and whom they studied under. It was the Paris Salon that was the culmination of a full years worth of work, both at the Ecole and the ateliers.  Not every painting was accepted. You had to submit to a jury to get the paintings shown. Over the summer break, the Masters, teachers, and students were almost all expected to leave the city, travel and paint in plein air. Every year they gather at Salon to share skills and paint together.

Charles X Distributing Awards to Artists Exhibiting at the Salon of 1824 at the Louvre Heim, Francois-Joseph (French Painter, 1787-1865) 1827

Charles X Distributing Awards to Artists Exhibiting at the Salon of 1824 at the Louvre Heim, Francois-Joseph (French Painter, 1787-1865) 1827

 

Artists still gather together at the annual Salon, which is hosted by a different sponsor each year in a different location.    Here is a wonderful blog about this years Salon in Seattle by Pierre Finkelstein.

Salon-Seattle-1

The painting Pierre completed at Salon.

Pierre Finklestein artwork

He is the master of faux marble.  Recognize the pilaster from the Helmsley.  Pierre can reproduce that gorgeous agate.

marble

Salon participants work.

Salon-Seattle-4

 

Wholly aside from the discipline of painting, was the discipline of Architecture and was one of the most important studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and would  influence a whole school of thought. From America came some of the best students to study and it would the Beaux-Arts that buildings such as the Boston Public Library, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Grand Central Station, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many of the Great public buildings in America of the late 1800′s through the 1930′s were built.

Today, the Ecole still exists although the Architectural school was split off after the student riots of 1968. 

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library

boston-public-library-2

 

boston-public-library-19boi1x

A fabulous Beaux-Arts architectural firm, Robertson Partners is committed to excellence in architecture and design and has executed a host of projects in various historic revival styles. Most projects are high-end and range from private estate residences and other residential building types to master-planned towns and urban village centers. The firm’s motivation is to create a sense of place by responding to the site so that, by using specific architectural icons that are timeless in their meaning, the newly built environment will become a cherished part of the heritage of the community.

robertson partners-aviarad

Our company name Beaux-Artesreflects that classical style, philosophy and legacy.  We love offering classically designed solutions to modern intrusions such as the industrial louvered grilles for heating and air conditioning and recessed lights.  Why not make them as attractive as all the other details of the space.
vents-assorted

recessed light trims with crystals

melanie-classical-addiction-sm

 

 June 17, 2014  Posted by at 12:07 pm Architecture, Art, Artisan and Craftsman, Interior Design No Responses »
May 202014
 

This years Kips Bay Show House is in the Villard Mansion at 457 Madison Avenue.  When I  visited in 1987 it was The Helmsley Palace Hotel.  A lot has changed since then.

villard mansion

 

In 1882, Henry Villard, a well-known railroad financier, hired McKim, Mead, and White to create six private brownstone townhouses surrounding a courtyard on Madison Avenue. The prominent architectural firm created the houses in the neo-Italian Renaissance tradition, after the Palazzo della Cancellaria in Rome.

villard mansion

In the spring of 1974, the developer Harry Helmsley proposed a 55-story hotel for the site of the Villard Houses called The Helmsley Palace Hotel. To construct his hotel tower, Helmsley hired Emery Roth & Sons, who created its design of dark bronze reflective glass and anodized aluminum to blend with the Villard Houses and Manhattan’s surrounding skyline. The Helmsley Palace Hotel opened in 1981 and was operated by Helmsley until 1992, when the hotel came under the management of a private New York limited partnership, changing its name to The New York Palace.

During Helmsley’s ownership his wife,  Leona Helmsley,  maintained a strict and intolerant management style which involved her firing staff members for trivial mistakes, an act which gave her the nickname, “Queen of Mean.” The hotel reverted to its bond holders from Leona Helmsley and was ultimately purchased by The Sultan of Brunei with the concurrence of the US Bankruptcy Court. The Sultan of Brunei, through its development company, Amedeo Limited, hired Lee Jablin of Harman Jablin Architects for the complete renovation of the hotel and Villard Houses.

Northwood Investors bought the hotel from the Sultan of Brunei in 2011.

The Kips Bay Show House is in the townhouse on the left of the courtyard.  I was disappointed with the townhouse and the interior decoration with the exception of a few rooms.  No photography was permitted, but I had seen two of the rooms in Habitually Chic, which I loved.  They were the best rooms.

Love this paneled sitting room by Carrier and Company with custom gilt wallpaper.  It is quite a small room, but the furnishings and design gave it a spacious while intimate feeling.

gilt marblelized custom paper

Sitting Room

Alexa Hampton’s Sitting Room also had fabulous panels and custom printed wallcovering from Duggal.  The large tile pattern is wonderful.  The smaller version below the chair rail not so much.  Duggal is a wonderful source for digitized media.  Trend alert - Utilize digital images for unique patterns, large format photography and lenticular holographic imagery.

panels with tile pattern wall paper

The kitchen done by Matthew Quinn was excellent.  The Dacor refrigerator doors in stainless and brass were amazing.  The Helix Silestone countertops in a suede finish were perfect with the stainless and gray color palette.  The designer said the view of St. Patricks through the kitchen window was his inspiration for the lights (incense burners) and window treatment (organ pipes).

kitchen by Matthew Quinn

kitchen Matthew Quinn

St. Patricks

I had really chosen to see this years Kips Bay Show House because of the location.  I fell in love with the Gold Tea Room in the Helmsley, the grand lobby with beautiful marble and all the architectural features.  The show house rooms really did not have a backdrop of grand features I expected to see.  Some designers even chose to cover some grand features.  Over the years, the changes that have been made to the Villard in my view are not all improvements.

Lobby Before.

Villard Lobby Before

  Architectural features and columns were eliminated. Marble panels were painted. The lighting updated.  Getting rid of the yellow gold on the walls was a good idea. New floors look great.  The marble panels could have remained since they repeated the stone for the focal point fireplace.  Not all bad but……
Villard Lobby today

The New York Palace Hotel Michel Richard Bistro.  Amazing room with fabulous stone columns, pilasters, niches and crown.

Villard Michel Richard Bistro

marble

villard-20

villard restaurant

Today the restaurant has this huge wine display.

villard restaurant with wine display

villard restaurant

 

 

The Tea Room which I looked forward to seeing again is now a restaurant with huge images propped against the walls covering really beautiful artistry.  The ceiling is still beautiful.

gold room ceiling

The common areas are still original.    Check out the marble balustrades.  There are several different designs.

marble balustrades

villard-14

villard stairway

marble walls

 

Banquet Room

New York Palace Hotel Banquet Room

Ceiling Detail

Ceiling Corner

Strapwork ceiling design

More to follow.  Next we visited the Mansion in May Show House,  The Blairsden Mansion,  in Peapack, New Jersey.  The seventh largest home in the US.  An impressive Beaux Arts style home.

 

Reminder to submit your ugly grille image to Beaux-Artes’ Second Annual Ugliest Grille Contest.  All you have to do is send a picture of the grille you would like to replace with one of Beaux-Artes decorative grilles, to [email protected]  Deadline for submissions is May 30th, 2014.  The winners will be announced June 4th, 2014.   Visit here for contest details.

melanie-classical-addiction-sm

 

 

Feb 132014
 

Classical Addiction has showcased many blogs on the great beauty that is in Russia; from the Amber Room, Alexander Palace Catherine Palace  and  The Hermitage.  I was unfamiliar with Sochi and am really enjoying all aspects of this beautiful location for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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View of  Sochi with its 90 miles of waterfront on the Black Sea.  It is geographically located entirely within European Russia with the Caucasus Mountains falling on the Asian side.

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Sochi has a humid subtropical climate with mild winter temperatures of 52 degrees in the day and 39 degrees at night from December through March.  It is a beautiful location for the Winter Olympics.

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Luge - Winter Olympics Day 5

The Opening Ceremony was very impressive.  Here are some memorable pictures.

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The scale was enormous.  It must have been quite an experience to be in this venue which was created just for the opening and closing ceremonies.

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Like the Chinese Opening Ceremony they had images projected on the floor and the latest technology using a computer operated gantry system to move these huge light sculptures through the space.  Multi-Dimensional painting is most certainly the theater experience of the future.

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They have the fabulous onion domes which added a surreal portrayal to the unfolding of Russian history.

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Their Peace Dove was my absolute favorite.

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Beautiful Sochi

Sochi National Park Waterfall

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Sochi Arboretum

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St. Vladimir Church

 

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Soichi Russia 1

Summer Theater

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 February 13, 2014  Posted by at 12:20 pm Architecture, Beauty Cult, Travel No Responses »
Feb 032014
 

It has been awhile since I have blogged.  We have been working on our new E-store which I am happy to announce is now online .   We are still tweaking things, but overall we are very happy with our new look.   It is  a rather gray day and time of year for those of us who live in the East.  So here are just some beautiful images.   Beauty is a big inspiration and  focus for this blog and as stated by Oscar Wilde,  “All Beautiful  things belong to the same age.” Beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.

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Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco

There are some things of beauty that appeal universally, such as a gorgeous sunrise or sunset.   Here is one of my sky paintings.

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The Beauty of Nature.

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Queen-Red-Lime-Zinnia

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The Beauty created by humans  is a never ending source of  joy, pleasure and inspiration.  Enjoy….

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tumblr_mknuqovaMB1qk9hrqo1_1280Building Before

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Building After

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 February 3, 2014  Posted by at 2:41 pm Architecture, Art, Interior Design 2 Responses »
Jan 082014
 

Happy New Year.  After a much needed vacation and wonderful holiday I am excited to be back with this blog showcasing the work of some of the top architects and designers at the forefront of global design today that are in Architectural Digest’s AD100.

Their work  is based on classically inspired details, proportions and principles of scale and harmony with 21st century comfort and style.  You will see a lot of bold colors, eye catching art, beautiful wall panels, craftsmanship and artistry.  Enjoy.

Alberto Pinto

_albeto-pinto-510The Lanesborough Suites (21)

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This firm specializes in Orientalism.

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Brian McCarthy

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Bunny Williams

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gottwald, richmond, virginia

gottwald, richmond, virginia

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gottwald, richmond, virginia

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David Kleinberg Design Associates

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Dec 092013
 

Just bought a great book on the Empire Period Empire by Madeleine Deschamps. Here is some food for thought from the Introduction.   “The end of the eighteenth century was a tumultuous and remarkably rich period that laid the foundations of modern times.”  This can be said of our times,  the end of the twentieth century laying the foundations of the new age.   “In the course of the century the philosophy of Enlightenment had opened minds to realities veiled until then, and it had awakened hopes of social and political change in many lands.”  Once again, this can be said of our times with the expansion of knowledge, technology and physics all contributing to powers we could not have imagined just 30 years ago.  “In France this new consciousness culminated in a major cultural rupture, the Revolution.  The fall of the Bastille in 1789 and the death of Louis XVI in 1793 marked the end of a monarchy that had shaped France, its society, and its economy for ten centuries.”

It goes on to establish that the Revolution did not immediately find a language to express the social order they were striving to establish.  So there was no real break in the styles and art forms that characterized the reign of Louis XVI and the subsequent Directoire, Consulat and Empire Styles. The Empire style was a natural development of the neoclassical art born in the preceding decades, which explains why Empire also includes styles that predate the coronation of Napoleon.  “Despite a strong connection to its stylistic preedecessors, the Empire style was highly influenced by the personality of one man, Napoleon Bonaparte.napoleon Once in power he not only wished to dominate European countries but also to control their trade. “He also wished to give grandeur and splendor to his reign, a purpose best served by the arts. Thus the short years of his rule were a period of extraordinary development for arts and crafts in France and in the countries he controlled.”

What will be said of this time in terms of the development of the arts and crafts.  The decorative arts business had products and technologies which will enable today’s artists, artisans, architects and designers to surpass anything that has been created.  Hopefully there will always be patrons to support today’s masterpieces and with the advantage of technology the middle class will be able to create interiors rich with artistry.

“When Napoleon came to power he found a country that had been torn apart by civil war and lay in partial ruin. He also inherited royal residences that had been stripped bare by the Revolution.  Today’s interiors are in a sense are stripped bare with large expanses of drywall.  In his ten years as emperor he not only refurbished palaces and chateaux throughout France and Europe but also gave France one of its most superb collections of decorative arts. To accomplish this he provided massive help to workshops and nascent industries, encouraged and publicized technical inventions, and instituted schools, competitions and prizes. No one since Louis XIV’s minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert had been so concerned with the economic status of France and the international image of its arts and crafts.  Just as Napoleon knew how to surround himself with the best political and military counselors, so too did he call some of the best artists in Europe to his service.”

Let’s look at the glory of the Empire Period and dream about our expression of the decorative arts in the 21st Century.

The Chateau de Malmaison, Paris is a country house in the city of Rueil-Malmaison about 12 km from Paris. It was formerly the residence of Joséphine de Beauharnais, and with the Tuileries, was from 1800 to 1802 the headquarters of the French government.

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Mythological Frieze, Chateau de Malmaison

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Josephine’s  Bedroom

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Today’s Mansion - The Enchanted Home

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Hotel de Beauharnais, Paris

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Salon of the Four Seasons – The paintings of the four seasons were formerly attributed to Pierre-Paul Prud’hon and now to Anne-Louis Girodet, who painted works on the same theme for the Platinum Study in the Casa del Labrador in Aranjuez, Spain.

Salon of The Four Seasons

Salon of The Four Seasons

 

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Bathroom at Hotel de Beauharmais

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The Turkish bath in the Hotel de Beauharnais

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Beaux-Artes designed and executed this Powder Room using technology to create the pietre dure design on the vanity and reproduce it below the chair rail with venetian plaster.

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Inspiration vanity.

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Empire has a section on wallpaper since it was becoming a convenient and attractive way to decorate an interior.  Manufacturers as Jacquemart et Benard, Dufour and Zuber made papers of great artistic and technical quality in lavish colors.  It was a young industry when the Revolution broke out.  Wallpaper answered the demand of a clientele that could not afford expensive silks for decorating the home.  The extension of the Empire opened Europe to their production.

Great article by Barbara Clark in Artisphere Online showcasing the work of Alan Carroll

“My old business partner, Mark Kusek, really opened my eyes to the digital world. Without him I never would have embraced computers as a tool for decorative artists in the same way. More importantly, he taught me that you can be true to the same creative spirit that flowed through the old guys while at the same time embracing new technology.

You don’t have to be mired in the past, trying to copy stuff that was done way better hundreds of years ago. ”

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“Imagine you have a piece of artwork on your computer. You’ve either painted and scanned it, or created it directly on the computer. Want to make fabric? Wallpaper? Flooring? ceiling murals? Area rugs? verre eglomisé? You can do all those and tons more from the same piece of artwork now by combining the power of digital printing with traditional skills. We are only beginning to touch on the possibilities.”

“We even developed a way to print gold size. You could get a sheet of ebony veneer for example, and literally print from any design you have on your computer screen in gold size right onto the wood – no masking/stencilling necessary – then gild it. The computer is used just to expedite the hand-done finish, not to supplant it. It’s still a hand-gilded product.

Or forget about printing the size. What about printing the ‘painted’ image on the reverse of glass before you gild it? Mark is now in the middle of printing verre eglomisé polychrome designs right onto glass from ornamental panels that I painted using a Wacom tablet and some computer software. This is groundbreaking stuff. Print the image onto the reverse of the glass, and then gild it. He even printed the patina onto the sheet of glass before gilding it. Time savings are huge, and that’s just with this one thing!

“I think that’ll be my theme for the future: exploring how to expand and truly incorporate digital technology into the decorative artist’s toolkit. I don’t mean simply painting something by hand, then selling prints. But how about this other experiment we did with the Glass department of OSU in Ohio: We printed our gold size directly onto paper in super-detailed ornate designs. then we simply applied leaf, and dusted off the design. The gold only sticks to the areas we printed. Then we took these gold leaf designs on paper to the glass furnace. The guy blows a vase out of molten glass, then rolls it carefully across our design. The paper burns off completely, and the gold design is instantly transferred to the glass. Never been done before, but we just came up with it by experimenting.

It’s not just about coming up with ways that save time over traditional methods. It’s also about creating new hybrid techniques that could not be conceived of any other way. That’s the future.”

Josephine and her Entourage at Lake Garda, 1805-6 by Hippolyte Lecomte.  Available as a 12″ x 15″ print for $181.

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Chateau de Compiegne

 

Chateau de Compiegne

Chateau de Compiegne

 

The Ballroom

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Empress Marie-Louise’s Second Salon later called the Salon of Flowers.  Would love to do a variation of the panel art in this room.  The Book Empire has a wonderful closeup of the panels.

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Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

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The Sala di Marte near Naples

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Sala di Marte

Beaux-Artes Arabesque Panel

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Casita del Principe, El Escorial, Spain

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Platinum study in the Casa del Labrador, Aranjuez, Spain

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Charlottenburg Castle, Berlin

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Queen Luise’s Bedroomcharlottenburg-castle-queen-luise-bedroom

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Dec 032013
 

I love Old Town. I bought my first condominium on the fringe of Old Town behind the Masonic Temple. That was almost 40 years ago now and the expansion and development of the area between the heart of Old Town which borders on the Potomac River and the Masonic Temple is a great example of planned development and an architectural vision.  Photo by David Zanzinger. masonic-temple

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 They have joined the historic look of the Old Town Waterfront with shopping, offices, hotels and apartments.

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Wyndham Hotel

Hampton Inn

Hampton Inn

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Morrison House Hotel

I have eaten at the Morrison House and it is excellent.

Old Town has  blocks and blocks of a great collection of boutiques and favorite chain stores like Anthropologie.  Old Town was ‘comfortably’  bustling with shoppers for Small Business Saturday.

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shops

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It is a healthy walk from the Masonic Temple to the waterfront.  We hopped on a Trolley and got off at M and M Fine Art and Antiques who were advertising a clearance sale to make room for new inventory.  A great collection of beauty in a very small typical townhouse style shop.  Here are some outstanding pieces that were hard to photograph because there were things in front of them and on top of them.

Italian Pietre Dure table 46″ diameter.

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Mixed Metals Table with Cherubs.  I am purchasing this beauty tomorrow.

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Lovely mahogany inlaid end table with a center drawer.

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Empire fainting couch.

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MandM-sculpture

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Fabulous……………

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Next Stop Random Harvest.  Antique accents, comfortable upholstery, contemporary lighting and accents.

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Love this side chair with the lovely painting on the back.

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Topiaries are a favorite holiday, anytime accent.

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The best bow of the season so far $12.

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old-town-waterfront2We had lunch at a new sandwich, salad and sushi restaurant, The Waterfront Market.  My salmon and kale quinoa salad was delicious.  View of the waterfront.

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The Torpedo Factory ‘Aethenium’ – A combination artists working studios,  stores, and galleries.

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City Hall

City Hall

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Old Town is a great place to shop, eat and visit.   I am fortunate to have it near me and I am so excited about my fabulous purchase.   The wall design for room the table will be in;  mirrors, aluminum leaf with shellac, verre eglomise, and of course ornament.

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