Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beauport Glass Display

Our recent art glass storage project reminded me of the ingenious glass displays created by interior designer Henry Davis Sleeper at Beauport, his fascinating home in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The house itself is an architectural wonder filled with curiosities and incorporating salvaged historical architectural elements. Here in the Central Hall is a breathtaking collection of amber glass viewed through a graceful arched window. The window, which actually looks into the pantry, has been backed with frosted glass to allow light from the pantry skylight to naturally illuminate the honey-hued glass items. Just below the pantry skylight are two brilliantly designed mirrors on cranks allowing for the maximum amount of natural light to be focused directly into the display case.

Photo via Beauport website.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Refurbished Vintage Curio Cabinet

As promised here is a look at our completed curio cabinet redo.

After an unsuccessful experiment with black lacquer (too dark) and contrasting highlights (too much contrast) we decided to rethink the project entirely by moving the piece to a new space and painting it the same gray satin finish used on the walls and trim. As noted earlier the cabinets angled sides reflected in the mirrored back give a “built-in” effect, which the new paint finish only further emphasizes. Now the piece fades into the wall beautifully showcasing the art glass collection within while emphasizing the graceful slender arches I’ve admired all along.

The Elizabethan armchair is an antique reproduction from the 1920’s, a previous DIY project that was our first and last attempt at reupholstering. The architectural salvage column holds a whimsical bowl in the form of a shell supported by monkeys, which seems to have dictated an animal theme continued with a Chinese horse carving, a colorful framed bird print, and a charming folk art elephant resting atop the antique palm frond corbel.

An animal or two even turns up inside the curio in the form of a Murano glass swan and small etched bird vase, but the majority are simply random favorites from the collection including an amber glass dinner bell, a blue Art Nouveau style vase, and a stunning Deco piece of ruby cut crystal. The print perched atop the cabinet not only looks great against the wall color but also makes a fine backdrop for the unusual antique copper statue of a mysterious gentleman in elaborate Elizabethan garb.

Photos and home staging by KS&D.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Do-It-Yourself De Medici

Today being Father’s Day our post celebrates one of the forefathers of American design and one of our favorite inspirations, the legendary Tony Duquette.

The beautifully produced design books “Tony Duquette” and it’s companion “More is More” have become staples on my coffee table both for their breathtaking imagery and inspiring content. Discovered as a young man by international design arbiter Elsie de Wolfe, Duquette’s genius as an artist and designer earned him the honor of being the first American artist in history to be granted a one-man show at the Louvre.

Known as the “Do-It Yourself De Medici” for reworking ordinary objects in imaginative ways, Tony’s creations ranged from jewels for the Duchess of Windsor to sets and costumes for MGM motion pictures. Duquette designed for the opera, ballet, and theater, earning a Tony Award for costuming the original Broadway production of Camelot. His theatrical touch made him much in demand among wealthy clients as a creator of lavish parties, but it would be interior design for which he would become best known. The evocative image above shows the spectacular drawing room at Dawnridge, Tony’s jewel box of a home in Beverly Hills.

Here we’ve arranged our treasured books with a nod to Duqette style including an elaborate Chinese vase filled with bright fragrant lilies, glowing votives, a handful of seashells, and an unexpected bubble filled crystal ball just for the fun of it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Inside the Ultimate Beach Bungalow

Following our recent post on Ocean House, the grand beach house William Randolph Hearst built for mistress Marion Davies, are some interior views of three of the mansions 118 rooms.

Shown here in historical photographs are the massive library, dining room, and ballroom, among the largest and most opulent rooms in the mansion. While such formality and grandeur seems out of place at the beach it must be remembered Ocean House was primarily designed for grand scale entertaining.

Throughout Hollywood’s Golden Age the sumptuous balls and lavish costume parties held in these rooms were attended by legendary celebrities from Charlie Chaplin to Charles Lindbergh. The average party at Ocean House included about 300 elite guests but the house was designed to comfortably accommodate as many as 2000.

As anyone who’s ever lived at the beach knows how impossible it is to keep out the sand, I can only imagine the mountains of it removed from those expansive floors after a night of 4000 feet drifting in and out from beach to ballroom.

Photos by William Grimes

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sotheby’s Hosts Kluge Sale at Albemarle House

Beginning tomorrow Sotheby's will host an historic two-day sale of the contents of Albemarle House, the sprawling Virginia estate of billionaire philanthropist and vintner Patricia Kluge.
This house sale will be the first in over twenty years to take place on site, with the 23,538 sq ft mansion itself offered at $48 million. Located in Charlottesville near Jefferson’s Monticello, the estate encompasses not only the 45 room red brick mansion, but also 300 surrounding acres of pristine Virginia countryside and formal gardens.
Completed in 1985 by architect David Easton, Albemarle House was by far one of the grandest country estates built in America since the Gilded Age, representing the height of 80’s luxury and excess. Described as “a livable palace” the home was built for America’s one-time wealthiest individual, media tycoon John Kluge, and filled with only the finest in antique furniture and decorative arts.
Mrs. Kluge received the estate along with the largest divorce settlement in history when the couple split in 1990; a story overshadowed by the heavily publicized divorce of Donald and Ivanka Trump simultaneously taking place. Mrs. Kluge was no stranger to scandal however, having stepped down from hosting Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1985 after tabloids uncovered nude photos and an adult film she’d made in the 70’s.
Looking to downsize after twenty-five years in residence Mrs. Kluge is now opening the doors of Albemarle House to the general public, with everything from the patio furniture to her couture gowns available to the highest bidder. Among the lavish interiors to be dissected are the rich wood paneled library and sumptuous yellow drawing room with its columned Palladian arch framing one of the homes pair of gracefully sweeping staircases.
Always enamored by the nautical I’m especially drawn to the huge antique silver gilt nef of a three-masted ship complete with sails, rigging, and over forty miniature sailor figures estimated at $40,000.00 to $60,000.00.

Images by Sothey's

Click HERE for a closer look at the interiors of Albemarle House.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Art Glass Curio Cabinet

Ever in need of storage solutions for our online emporium Knickerbocker Antiques and Vintage we recently acquired this mid-century vintage curio cabinet to hold overflow of our art glass collection. The curio takes up practically no floor space and the angled sides reflected in the mirrored back give the piece the effect of being a built in column inset into the wall. I also must admit to loving the slender Venetian Gothic-like arches around the glass panels. The only drawback is the vintage speckled chestnut finish that doesn’t match a stick of furniture we have least of all the antique 1820’s painted Baltimore chair it ended up situated next to in the hall. Taking our cues from the black painted chair we decided to try a high gloss black lacquer finish, which really gives the piece a completely different look. The crown molding along the top makes a perfect perch for a print and sculpture collection including a copy of the David, a carved marble bust, and an antique metal female sculpture with great patina. The gilded mirror and abstract painting add light and color while complimenting the rich hues of the art glass items displayed within. The only issue now is the dark finish really obscures most of the detail including those great arches along the top and bottom. Looks like this is another DIY project that just won’t be confined to one post!
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