Thursday, September 16, 2010

'Avondale Farms' Interiors

The accompanying interiors to 'Avondale Farms', the Joseph Wright Harriman estate with alterations by Sir Alfred C. Bossom c. 1918 in Brookville. Click HERE for more on 'Avondale Farms'.

Pictures from Architectural Record, 1918.


The Ancient said...

What is it with those awful, ugly hall chairs? Who voted for that? As a fashion, how long did it last? Forty years? Fifty?

(I have a pair of them in the mudroom in the country; they come from a house in the Hamptons long since torn down. These two chairs are, by some order of magnitude, the ugliest things in the house. Why are they there? Is it some misplaced sense of obligation? A pointless familial piety? Maybe it's just generational sloth. I know I should get rid of them, or at least put them in the attic, but I know I'll die and they'll still be there. And then somebody else will likely make the same mistake all over.)

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Off topic question - East Coast meets West Coast and a bit of "lil' gay boy" mixed in. I've been enthralled with this book Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills HUGE book with tons of photos and great detailed history in the text. One estate called Enchanted Hill has a East Coast connection in its later years, a man called Paul Kollsman purchased property in 1945. The information in the book says Kollsman and wife Eva spent the summers at "Enchanted Hill" and split their time between rooms at the Waldorf Towers and their 300-acre Oyster Bay Farm{sic} on the North Shore of Long Island. I find nothing on this guy in his doings on the East Coast or this estate that was called Oyster Bay Farm. lil' gay boy what might you know of "Enchanted Hill"???

Anonymous said...

love the fireplace on the second floor hall, what a neat idea

lil' gay boy said...

Oooo, I love a challenge; although not nearly as good as Zach, I'll give it a try..

According to House of Los Angeles, Vol. II, Francis Marion & Fred Thompson had difficulty at first acquiring the land in 1921 from Thomson's former classmate Alphonzo E, Bell, who told them, "I am sorry you became and actor Fred, but I've made it a law –– not one acre of my land is to be sold to actors or Jews."

Yikes. Apparently at the time, the sentiment towards the two were synonymous.

Something changed, because by 1924 they'd accumulated 24 acres & after their first architect left for Mexico he handed the project to Neff. Stables, service buildings & landscaping were done first, including a waterfall used to cool the horses in the riding ring. Additional amenities included an aviary, tennis court, pond & four car garage.

FYI, the house's name, The Enchanted Hill, was something of a joke; an English translation of Marion's boss Hearst's La Cuesta Encantada.

In December 1928, while they were walking the property admiring the views, Thomson stepped on a rusty nail & subsequently died (on Christmas Day) of misdiagnosed tetanus. Francis Marion, heartbroken, sold the home soon after for $540,000 to Texas oil magnate "Lejeune" Barnes.

As for the mysterious Oyster Bay Farm (and Paul Kollsman), the only property I can think of that suits would be Oldfields, the Backer/Schiff/Balsan (formerly Consuelo Vanderbilt) residence which is now on the Pine Hollow Country Club grounds –– Zach?

BTW, I've always loved a second floor sitting room with fireplace, too...

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

They went to Bell in the first place because they didn't want to pay the inflated prices for the surrounding property that they wanted to acquire. After the rejection they were forced to pay THOUSANDS more to get the needed space.

magnus said...

Ancient- you see those "Renaissance" chairs in so many photographs of interiors through the 1920's. My guess is that they were viewed as giving a room- and its owners- a suitable sense of history, stability and heft. But while many historical styles go in and out of fashion, Renaissance and Tudor have been resolutely out for about 90 years. No loss to my mind, either.