Thursday, May 27, 2010

At Home with the Romanovs

Our previous post on the Yusupov Mansion has me thinking back on my visit to Russia and all the sites I would love to see again as well as those I hadn’t the chance to see.
The most intriguing of these perhaps is one that may never be seen again as it was one of the lost private interiors of the last Tsar and Tsarina Nicholas and Alexandra. The Maple room of the Alexander Palace; so named for the lavish use of maple wood in it’s decoration; was conceived in 1902 as a private sitting room for the Tsarina and her children in the then very modern Art Nouveau style.
Among the most unique features of this space was an elaborately carved balcony spanning the room, which allowed Alexandra access to her husbands study across the hall while creating cozy nooks for her and the children around the tiled fireplace. In one of the opposite corners stood a massive custom designed semi-circular sofa surrounded by a ledge for displaying objects d’art and surmounted by an elegantly carved Maplewood cabinet which once held the Tsarina’s famous collection of Faberge eggs. Surrounding this comfortable nook are framed family portraits reminding us this was indeed a family room, albeit for one of the wealthiest and most powerful families on earth.
One of the most spectacular aspects of this eclectic gem had to be the incredible ceiling treatment of realistically detailed plaster roses concealing a then cutting edge indirect lighting system that would bath the ceiling in a soft green light. Perhaps one day this unique work of interior design will be restored to enchant visitors once again with its one-of-a-kind style. Anyone interested in more information on the Maple Room, the Alexander Palace, or the Romanov family should be sure to visit the incredible website Alexander Palace Time Machine.
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