I bought two 18th century books from England and Chris Brennan figured out how to turn them into wallpaper. One was an antique atlas, The 1873 Royal Atlas of Modern Geography, the other was Randolph Caldecott's Graphic Pictures, a compendium of illustrated stories from the same era. Both acquired thanks to the dandy internet which put me into contact with a rare bookseller in London, David Hulse. There were enough color plates to paper both powder rooms on the first floor. The best john reading material EVER!
One idea for the walls of the powder rooms downstairs is to make wallpaper out of illustrated pages torn from atlases and cultural catalogs published in the 1850s. Here, Chris Brennan grids possible groupings of pages on the newly scraped floor of the den.
era of elegance
The Salisbury Association is sponsoring a winter series of lectures entitled "The Era of Elegance". Standing room only in the Wardwell Room Saturday when Chris Brennan and Geoff Rosano spoke on Interior and Exterior architecture in the area between 1750 – 1860. We were delighted that Holleywood was included. If you missed the talk, you can read the cliff notes: Patrick Sullivan's nice summary in the Lakeville Journal.
Hard to believe, it's already time to pick paint colors for the interior. (Exterior colors will remain the same.) How to choose? Remember the Chobi rug for the dining room? Chris the decorator suggested picking a palette from those colors, keeping to the soft, muted earth tones historically at home in Italianate houses, as seen at Villa Farnesina and others, shown below.
Every few weeks or so, the team gets together to evaluate progress and discuss plans. Here, the owner, decorator, architect and contractor discuss progress on the roof, and proposed fixtures for the entrance.
I've never seen one before. It's a tissue overlay on the architect's drawing that lays out where light switches and fixtures go. At first glance, I mistook the symbols for dollar signs--which seemed to be appropriate labels.
seeing the light
Remember what I said about us keeping in place all the simple brass fixtures that are already there? (on the left) Forget that. Chris took another reconnaissance trip to PW Vintage Lighting and came back with wondrous finds. Like this sconce and its mate for the dining room, with glass shade that echoes Greek key design in revival door moldings.
We'll use the original sconces in bedrooms upstairs.
For the breakfast room, we're looking at quirky milk glass lanterns with "bonnets" on chains that servants used to pull up and down to refill when the fixture was gas. "It's similar to what might have been here originally, before they electrified it," Chris said.
Which made me wish aloud that the family had saved the fixtures that came out in 1915. "I wonder whatever happened to those," I said.
Chris's eyes twinkled. "You're probably buying them back."
the lights fantastic
Oh, the illumination a designer can bring to a project. Chris Brennan went shopping in the same lighting store where I deliberated last week, but she brought back finds that never caught my eye: one-of-a-kinds, period-perfect and suited to each space, reflective of the house's unique sensibility. The candelabra I took on approval (remember?) will go back to the forbearing purveyor.
Meeting today with contractor and designer to discuss placement of kitchen appliances and choices for tile and bathroom fixtures. The designer, Chris Brennan, is especially taken with a patch of faux marble beneath paint in the center hallway. She imagines the walls were faux finished after someone made the Grand Tour and, impressed by marble walls in Italy, decided to import the fashion to this Italianate home.
who we are
We are a couple of Upper West Siders from NYC who never set out to buy an old mansion in Connecticut. But the moment we walked through its massive front door, we were smitten. The info on this site is earnestly cobbled from a variety of sources, including the web. Please let us know if we've gotten something wrong, or if there's a story about Holleywood you'd like to share.