Architecture

Sep 222014
 

Rizzoli has just published a new book  Americans in Paris on the Ecole des Beaux Arts which was responsible for the beautiful architecture of our young country that we refer to as the Gilded Age .   This book presents a comprehensive overview of the seminal early work of a century of American architects who studied at the famous school before going on to design and build many of the nation’s most important buildings and monuments.

Book cover

“The first American to be accepted to the École, in 1846, Richard Morris Hunt (the brain behind the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal and the fabled Breakers estate in Newport, Rhode Island) led a line of students that included Guy Lowell (architect of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts), Julia Morgan (the school’s first woman and the designer of Hearst Castle), Charles McKim (of legendary firm McKim, Mead & White, whose creations include New York’s original Penn Station and the Morgan Library), and John Russell Pope (best known for the Jefferson Memorial and the National Archives in Washington).”

George Howe Post Office rendering

Here are some of those important buildings along with a collection of mansions from the Gilded Age.

The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island

The Breakers Exterior

The Breakers interior

breakers interior

The Breakers Dining Room

Boston Museum of Fine Art

Boston Museum of Fine Art exterior

Boston Museum of Fine Art interior

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Museum of Fine Art interior gallery

Hearst Castle

HEarst Castle

Hearst Castle Entrance

Hearst Castle Tower

Hearst Castle

An iconic pool.

Hearst Castle Pool

Today’s icon Lady Gaga chose the Hearst Castle indoor pool for her video location.

Lady Gaga Hearst Castle Indoor Pool

Love that we have such magnificent places combining architecture, decorative arts and sculpture.

Hearst Castle Roman Indoor Pool

Hearst Castle Great Room

Morgan Library

Morgan Library Rencering

Morgan Library Exterior

Great sculpture.

Morgan Library Lions

Morgan Library

Morgan Library

Morgan Library Ceiling

Morgan Library Ceiling

Morgan Library

 

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 September 22, 2014  Posted by at 5:41 pm Architecture, Art, Artisan and Craftsman, Interior Design No Responses »
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