Monday, March 28, 2011

'Gray Horse Farm'

'Gray Horse Farm', the Geraldyn Livingston Redmond estate designed by James O'Connor c. 1924 in Upper Brookville. The house itself was connected to the stables complex which is seen above. Redmond died at the age of 36 in 1930. Click HERE to see 'Gray Horse Farm' on google earth and HERE on bing. Photos from the Library of Congress, 1928.




30 comments:

magnus said...

Geraldyn Redmond and his sister, the Countess Laugier Villars had ajoining townhouses in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue around 30th Street. There is a great illustration of them in a wonderful old book (available in a reprint) called "Fifth Avenue from Start To Finish", a street by street photographic essay circa 1910. The architectural historian, Christopher Gray wrote a guide to my edition in which he points out that the Redmond/Laugier Villars houses are the remaining private house "orphans" in a district that had become largely commercial. Clearly, Redmond and his sister were not oblivious to their changing environs, because shortly thereafter they built a magnificent double townhouse for themselves at Park Avenue and 69th street. That house had a sadly short history and was torn down in 1929 to make way for Delano and Aldrich's Union Club. I love his country house, by the way.

magnus said...

Woops- The Countess was actually the sister of Mrs. Geraldyn Redmond, both of them heiresses to the Livingston real estate fortune, one of the great New York land grant fortunes.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Magnus, I think, unless I'm mistaken, that Geraldyn LIVINGSTON Redmond was the son and nephew of the Geraldyn Redmond (who married a Livingston) and the Countess Laughier-Villars, who was the senior Mrs. Redmond's sister, the pair for whom the McKim Mead & White house was built.

I wouldn't have known this two weeks ago, but I'm sorting out the various Livingston houses in Bar Harbor for a project of my own, and I had to figure out all this genealogy.

And I too think this complex is marvelous. Very nice starter house for the young Redmonds.

Doug Floor Plan said...

Since there’s so much knowledge about this family I’ll ask – Zach stated Geraldyn Livingston Redmond died at the age of 36 in 1930 … was it by chance a riding accident?

I also very much like the look of this house & how it's connected to the stable. It appears some of the original stable has been converted to garage space but the riding ring on the property says there are still horse lovers there.

Turner Pack Rats said...

the word "quintessential" popped into my head from the Bing pic. wowee - i like this place. the first black and white pic looks like "Welcome to the Hotel California" but the Bing pic blows all that away. what a beauty. still has a little land and i like the way its all connected. that broken pediment fireplace is breakin' my heart.
what happened to her that she died at 36 and what a shame to have to leave this place. it has all the things that make big houses great.
a strange thing happened on the way to the Bing pic. when it started to focus, it redirected me to another spot in Brookville. i focused in on the spot and, lo and behold, DED had taken over Bing. Where was I? Emerson Road

security word def - "emanters" - cute little things on your lawn in the shape of ants that water your shrubs and flowers.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Incidentally, the Redmond/Laugier Villars townhouses by McKim, Mead etc. on Park Ave. were truly marvelous. I've been trying, lucklessly to find a picture online to link to, but they can be seen in the McKim Mead etc. monograph.

DFP, According to the Times, young Redmond, who had been a member of the Flying Corps in WWI, died in Paris while on a European tour with his wife. No cause given.

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Here is a good link to the Union Club.
http://www.thecityreview.com/ues/parkave/unionc.html
There is also a funny quote about how Stanford White's Son said of the Union Club's replacement of the houses. 'Conceived by the Genius of McKim, Mead & White. Destroyed by the Fury of Delano & Aldrich.' But at least this is a case where a beautiful building was replaced by another great building which is still there today.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Eureka. I have several things I need to get done, so I looked for the Livingston sister's townhouses instead. Found a pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cprimm_manly427/3378672615/in/photostream/

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Love those old interior photos.

♥ Gentle hugs ♥

Anonymous said...

a simply beautiful home, just a gorgeous layout and well placed on the remaining property. what do you accomplished house people know about the "cedars" across the street?

The Down East Dilettante said...

btw, Geraldyn Redmond's brother Roland was president of the Metropolitan Museum. They each inherited 200,000 (about 1.5 million today)from the countess, and Geraldyn built his house the next year. No brainer there.

lil' gay boy said...

"Very nice starter house for the young Redmonds." DED, you crack me up. As my Nana used to say, "I should live so long..."

Lovely home; anyone know about how much original acreage there was? Given the framing & quality of light in the first photo, I can see how TPR mistook it for sunny CA at first glance ––– makes you wonder how the whole composition appeared when first constructed. I'm wondering if this complex was originally whitewashed brick? Ooooo...

My great-grandfather was a Wall Street haberdasher & member of the Union Club; when he died they presented the family with a wonderful tribute bound in leather with the most exquisite calligraphy & illuminations...unfortunately the signatures of the day were quite florid and thus illegible.

Anon 12:39, I too am curious about the recent construction across the street; aerial views from Bing & Google show different stages, Google being more recent. Looks like a "baby" Oheka ––– construction photos show it walked a fine line between homage & vulgarity. Quite ambitious with the islands in the artificial lake, putting pitch, etc.

Security word - vastyper: German; a former secretary promoted to executive assistant.

Cedar Swamp-Thing said...

"The Cedars" isn't a recent construction though a recent renovation left it scarcely recognizable. The house was known as "Normandie" up until Mrs. Thomas passed away around 2003-04. Then a hedge funder purchased the property and spent about 4 years and, I'm sure, vast sums "transforming" it. I try and not judge the results too harshly- I feel that house could have come out looking a lot worse or the property subdivided. The lesser of two ..... Don't know much else about the provenance of the house- though i'm sure that's nothing a quick consultation with the SPLIA book couldn't fix

magnus said...

C S-Thing. Sadly, Poppy Thomas'house Normandie, as charming as it was to look at, was a disaster in terms of condition, all going back to some original poor construction exascerbated by several decades of typical WASP maintenance. The new owners had hoped to rehab the original house, but a number of architects and several reputable builders pronounced it beyond repair. In fact, when they attempted to shore the thing up by reinforcing an outside wall, the roof fell in. The new house is actually quite nice and the owners have maintained and substantially improved the gardens and greenhouses. It's a story with a happy ending. For the moment.

magnus said...

And Zach- am I wrong? Wasn't the Redmond house subsequently owned by Laddie Sanford, the polo playing "carpet heir" and his wife Mary, one of the many "queens of Palm Beach", famous friend of the Windsors and of the ill fated Billy Woodward?

wooded bliss said...

Sanford it is, or was.Wasn't there a horse track on the property? Fab. driveway/ Fab. entrance.
The Thomas place across the way, was a favorite hangout in the 70's.. Thomas' house had the most interesting lattice treatment to its facade.(forgive me, I dont know how to properly describe that design detail)

The Down East Dilettante said...

Wooded bliss, does 'treillage' work for you?

Cedar Swamp-Thing said...

@Magnus- Thank you for telling the whole and correct story! I hadn't seen the Thomas' house in years (I was a child) and I had thought that the new construction (which can be seen from the road now) was a rehabilitated Normandie. Memory failed me. And though the tone of my comment may have led you to think otherwise I really am glad that the current owners found this property and favored improving and not subdividing it.

wooded bliss said...

"Treillage", bien sur. Merci bien

lil' gay boy said...

Thanks for the info on Normandie, guys; most of my reference books are at hand but I'm currently suffering from a case of "piles" (no, not that kind) and cannot get access them. Any photos online? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? (as Mama over at The Real Estalker says).

I concur that although the original house is sadly no more, the new owners' hearts were in the right place; who knows, perhaps this homage will become a treasured landmark design in fifty years time...

Security word - mandeco: that all-too-brief stylistic period between Art Moderne & Art Deco, characterized by the use of duct-taped Barcoloungers.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Cedars/Normandie photo SPLIA page 485.

According to HistoricMapsWorks Redmond owned the whole triangle-shaped property bounded by Piping Rock and Wolver Hollow, 50+ acres.

Brother Roland lived here -

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.8520109&lon=-73.5072201&z=18&l=0&m=b&show=/18136154/


Collins' Both Sides of Fifth Avenue -


http://www.archive.org/stream/collinsbothsides00newy#page/n3/mode/2up

wooded bliss said...

The history detectives..all of you.. It's so great, all that you do, all that you know, all that you discover. :)

The Down East Dilettante said...

Half and half, I don't know whether to thank you or curse you for this last link. It's clear that I won't come up for air again tonight, it's so fascinating....

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Someone told me the iron gates at the entrance were from the J.P. Morgan mansion on Morgan's Island in Glen Cove. I do remember them appearing there after the Morgan house was demolished after being sold off piece by piece.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

If you get the right angle at Google Earth Street View{closed gate} and compare it to this photo{open gate} it would appear they are one in the same.

DED - I wouldn't recommend a general search then at www.archive.org - talk about piles!!!

Turner Pack Rats said...

LGB - yes it will become an icon in fifty years and then they'll tear it down.(ps- mandeco - priceless - you did know that DED makes all these words up) sounds like they didn't even wait for the paint to dry on those Villars mansions. they didn't even make it as long as Beacon Towers. If they were as big as the pic makes them look, why didn't the union club just move into them - they couldn't have been too worn out after only 14 years.
DED - you should have known by now that following HPHS was akin to following the Pied Piper and that he has found the secret to time travel as he can make it evaporate in large chunks.
as far as "Ohekaland" goes - there are worse things to emulate. I, for one as you know, like them big and eclectic. what good is all that money if you can't spend it on something you enjoy. you can't take it with you and your heirs will just piss it away and tear down the house anyway. Did they get the clever idea for the design of the big house from the little house out by the road?

security word def - (DED gives LGB all the good ones.) "meedra" - Archaic Portugese for what i spread on my organic garden last year and saved a big bucket to send to Herr Brodsky

Turner Pack Rats said...

and if forgot to mention that the view through the dutch door - how romantic. talk about time travel - just perfect.
i flew over "Ohekaland" in my Bing plane. always a riot as rotating the map is also an excercise in time travel as rotating it back and forth can get you many many time periods. my question. what the heck were those wavy foundations walls that don't show once the little outbuilding next to the big house was finished?

security word def "micaro" - what i drive to get to myhouseo

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Wavy lines are part of the underground drainage system.

You can see it at Google Earth using Historic Imagery. Go back far enough and see the place with huge overgrown trees surrounding home. Where they able to save any of the structure? The footprint seems very similar to the old. Nice little farm grouping down by the road.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

WAY OFF! Google Earth has the most recent update. Wavy lines are serpentine walls enclosing garden.

The Down East Dilettante said...

HPHS, the Dilettante is amused.