Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Architectural Americana Part II: Colonial Revival Interiors

As promised in our earlier post on Robert J. Collier’s country estate here are some interior views of the Colonial Revival mansion at Rest Hill originally published mere weeks after Mrs. Collier’s uncle John Jacob Astor perished the richest man aboard the RMS Titanic.

Architect John Russell Pope, better known for lavish Beaux-Arts projects like the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art, maintained the simplistic theme of the façade in his interiors. The floor plan centers on a wide hall running the depth of the house and dominated by a dramatic double flight staircase that meets at a landing above the front door.

At the far end of the hall French doors flanked by built-in arched corner cabinets lead out to the Mount Vernon inspired porch with its commanding view of the countryside. Wide archways at the foot of each stairway open into the dining room on the left and the drawing room on the right.

A view of the archway to the drawing room shows the acres of simple rag rugs that were spread across the floors of all the main rooms lending a homey country feel in keeping with the Colonial Revival theme. Further unifying the hall, dining, and drawing rooms was the lush foliage of hand-painted scenic wallpaper lit by cut glass light fixtures.

From the drawing room a passage connecting the vestibule with the west wing leads into an intimate library cum smoking room cluttered with antique prints and exotic hunting trophies. The door next to the fireplace leads to a hall with two guest rooms and a bath as well as a staircase to the family rooms above.

The dining room mantle features a simple marble surround flanked by narrow fluted pilasters supporting a high ledge. Another expansive rag rug provides an informal foil for the elegant Chippendale furnishings.

A view from the dining room into the hall shows more of the lovely scenic wallpaper that envelopes the spaces as well as the clean lined moldings that help define them. In 1927 Mrs. Collier donated Rest Hill to the Sisters of the Good Shepard to establish a home for troubled girls, the organization continues to maintain the estate now open to children of all ages as Collier Youth Services.

Photos from Architectural Record June 1912
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