Monday, January 23, 2012

'Valley House'

'Valley House', the A. Perry Osborn estate, an 18th century farmhouse enlarged by Warren & Clark c. 1919 in Old Brookville. Osborn's father was for many years the head of the Natural History Museum and Osborn himself was first vice-president and trustee. He was a lawyer with the firm of Winthrop & Stimson (among others) and later a banker and senior partner in the firm of Redmond & Co. The house was extant until very recently when it was demolished and replaced with THIS. Click HERE to see where 'Valley House' stood on google earth and HERE on bing (where it is pictured extant).


Photos from Architecture, 1919.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, the new photo ruined my morning.

The Ancient said...

The clumsiness and vulgarity of the new house is simply breathtaking.

(On a brighter note, it's probably not something they will fight over come the divorce.)

The Down East Dilettante said...

Bleep!!! I don't even know where to bleeping begin this comment, there are so bleeping many things that are just bleeping wrong here.

First, you buy a lovely graceful old house, well settled into its landscape, with charming, well detailed well proportioned interiors. Then you bleeping tear it down. Then you build your bleeping fantasy house. You find some architect who obviously designs for 101 Home Plans books. It isn't just the waste of handsome old resources and the extravagance, it's the absolute, total bleeping lack of taste. Look at that bleeping entrance facade on the new house: Look at how all those silly cartoon ideas of French detail, are crowded together at the entrance, with their three silly little mansard roofs. Taste is subjective, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that bleeping crap. This house is a pig, and the lipstick doesn't help.

Bleep, bleep, bleep

The Down East Dilettante said...

Breathtaking vulgarity---yes! That's what I was trying to say.

I suppose that they built this to lost plans in the CPH Gilbert archives...

Old Grey Dog said...

The new house's front facade looks like a grouping of oversized, attached, fancy Port-A-Johns !!! I do think 'Down East' mentioned the word "c_ _p" somewhere along the line. At least the Nassau County assessors had a profitable day, I'm sure !!!
Security word: "wessesse" ~ 'We assess - We assess - We assess !'

archibuff said...

Y U DED, I oughta..........I thought somebody had soooo much work to do on their next chapter, gotta write a chapter a week, they said. Yada Yada Yada.

This home has sat empty for years, being listed on and off the market and was a candidate unfortunately for teardown. The entry gate area was overgrown and the gates deteriorated so it is obvious the home suffered some neglect too. This is what will be the next wave of demolition in the 21st century, the old homestead that was converted years ago into a pleasant country retreat but now is woefully out of date with modern conveniences so they call in the bulldozer to do some renovation work. Easier to build ones Shangri-la than respect the history of the place.

Also. if you go just directly south on Bing you will see a new cul de sac with one new home and a pile of dirt. When you rotate the view on Bing you will find what was previously there, another expanded 18th and 19th century home that was leveled about 2 years ago and the development has since stalled. I was in the house before tear down and you could see all the great old details, the hardware, the thick paneling, the old windows, beams, etc. It was gorgeous and oozed history. The guy marketing the development was talking to everyone about purchasing the site, not the home itself, just selling it as if the house didnt exist. Truly a sad commentary on the current trend in development.

Now DED go back to writing..........ughh although your comments are direct and too the point......about the hew home that is, not CPH

Zach said...

The crazy thing is that the house that replaced the Osborn residence is one you see all over the Brookville/Old Westbury area these days.

Apparently this is what the new generation of home owners consider to be attractive. Which is utterly bizarre.

Like this one that makes me shudder every time I drive past it:

http://binged.it/wNDVtE

Anonymous said...

I'm speechless....I just don't understand!!?? These happenings are truely a sign of "the end times"

Doug Floor Plan said...

Ancient, LOL re divorce. This is also the kind of "dream house" the owners will put up for sale in a few years because now they realize they need to downsize.

I bet the buyers & sellers of this property never met at closing, or if they did I'm sure there is [the seller's] vomit or blood on the paperwork.

Those little cap roofs on either side of the front door look like a group of women with each wearing a different hat.

Zach, that house you linked to in Glen Head -- it's BIG ... & that's about all you can say about it ... oh, & with no skylight(s) how are they getting light to the center of that BIG house?

Parnassus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Ancient said...

Speaking of (hypothetical) divorces ...

This is what you get when you take:

a) What's left after you divorce Bernard Ebbers, the infamous and now imprisoned former head of WorldCom;

b) What's added when you marry one of the most successful trial lawyers in Mississippi, a state equally infamous for a broken-down tort system that awards huge amounts to doubtful plaintiffs; and then

c) Turn a considerable chunk of that money over to people whose understanding of architecture and interior design is [insert an apposite word --> HERE].

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Vile. Simply and unutterably vile.

Anonymous said...

todays understanding of architecture and interior design comes from arm chair celebrity enthralled viewers watching the piles of dog excrement on the numerous "housewives" shows where every home is an abortion of some design style loaded to the max with gilt edges, overwrought finishes, overscaled proportions, overabundant details, and overstuffed furniture. Its the ultimate display of tasteless excess that gets you noticed and it has caught the minds of builders and buyers everywhere.

Zach said...

Looks like I really touched a nerve with this one eh?

The Ancient said...

If there any television executives out there reading this, I'd like to make a pitch for a new reality show.

I call it "Celebrity Teardown"

Each week, viewers are shown six or eight houses belonging to various sorts of celebrities (athletes, musicians, criminals, television stars, lifestyle divas, etc.) Then, by telephone, a vote is taken on which house is most awful.

And in the middle of the night -- that very night -- a wrecking crew of three hundred, complete with heavy equipment, arrives with lights and cameras and proceeds to teardown the chosen house.

I think we could make big money with show -- even net of the ensuing lawsuits.

Old Grey Dog said...

If this A. Perry Osborn was the son of the gent who headed, and was a founder of, the Museum of Natural History then his father would have been Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn who gave the name of 'Tyrannosaurus Rex' to that most famous dinosaur ! Henry Fairfield inherited, in 1894, his own father's famous 'Castle Rock' in Garrison . . . the storybook castle that overlooks the Hudson opposite West Point. Back in October of 2001 I toured Castle Rock, and other private estates in the vicinity of Garrison, on the annual Hudson River Heritage 'Country Seats Tour' that year. It was up at the Osborns' Rhenish fantasy that I met Sam White, Stanford White's great-grandson. Zach . . . you might feature Castle Rock, someday, on 'Beyond the Gilded Age' !

Parnassus said...

Regarding "Celebrity Teardown", finally, a television show I would watch!

Parnassus said...

Everyone seems to be having the same stunned reaction to that link. We were prepared for something worthless and hideous, but we never could have expected THAT! Especially after the comfortable charm of the old house, the new one made me feel physically ill.
--Road to Parnassus

The Devoted Classicist said...

I cannot watch those TV shows about "improving" houses, which I think have done irreparable harm in dumbing down tastes, but I would make an exception for "Celebrity Teardown". I would also like to invite you all to join the (generously compensated) jury pool for my show "Design Justice" where the responsible parties of bad but expensive examples of architecture and interior design are put on trial, judged and sentenced. Currently this just plays during dreams, but maybe someday. If the Kardashians can be stars on E! . . .

archibuff said...

Oh no, someone mentioned the "K" family name on Old Long Island, How did that happen? While discussing 3 talentless, brainless wannabee celebrities could be so much fun, you did mention the numerous improvement shows & their influence on todays homeowner. Just turn on any real estate selling program, even the one with first time homebuyers and you can witness the brainwashed drones in action, all looking for the same stuff, stainless steel appliances, double sinks, walk-in-closets, central air, rain shower heads in the master bath and a location for the flat screen TV above the mantle. When did we all become so boring and predictable? When shown an older home the reactions are equally in unison, all complaining about the closed off rooms, outdated baths, although many have unusual subway tiles and great old tubs and the dreaded work involved in renovating a home. Indeed the new generation of homebuyer has been irrevocably harmed by watching all the celebrity, home improvement and fix-it shows. I dont know where all the new preservationists will come from in the future, but it looks like we better get used to many more "Valley House" total transformations to be posted on this site.

Anonymous said...

I wish the architect of the new house had just taken one look at the exterior of the house Ogden Codman built in Brooklville. Now that is a chateau in the French style.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Remember folks, that some of the more lavish houses whose demise we lament, without mentioning any names with initials involving the 3rd, 16th, and 7th letters of the alphabet, among others, were equally derided in their day. Will there someday be a site with our grandchildren lamenting the demolitions of McMansions? Just sayin'.

Ancient, your 'HERE' link doesn't work for me, and I'm dying to see the answer. And I adore your program idea.

Devoted, I adore your program idea too, and would love to be on the jury panel. (speaking of design juries, Devoted, I think you in particular might enjoy this old post of mine: http://thedowneastdilettante.blogspot.com/2011/01/jury-duty-interior-decoration-on-trial.html

Zach, that is one ugly-assed house you linked to. Maybe we need a website 'Bring Back the Gilded Age'.

lil' gay boy said...

My eyes!!! My eyes!!!

It seems like a new insurance market just opened up ––– against an unwitting visitor or deliveryman encountering that nasty surprise at the end of the driveway. Talk about PTSD...odious, simply odious.

This is what happens when people with too little education and too much money allow themselves to be talked into "design by real estate agent" ("...no really, this is what's hot right now!") I'll vote for either Celebrity Teardown or Design Justice.

Up until a few years ago, I lived off McCouns Lane and passed this place frequently; at that time, the grotty little enclave to the east was just starting, and Valley House was still in good repair; sad to think it went downhill so fast (perhaps it was deliberate after being on the market so long?)

Oddly, Osborn was a distant relative of an in-law, who was always fond of this place; I can't bear to tell her...

Security word (I kid you not) - luropha: a particularly nasty European form of lurid that manifests itself in vulgar, Disneyesque architecture.

archibuff said...

Hmmmmm? NO!!! DED, The homes designed by a certain architect with 3 initials were not derided any more or any less than some of the great homes of the era. Mansions of the Vanderbilts and notable family homes built in NYC and Newport were vilified for their excess and ostentation and for the era they represented, but these new homes have a certain common thread that binds them together. They will just be inferior designs in any era. Now you just stop worrying another minute about a very talented and underrated architect who doesnt get his due, and you go back to your desk and complete another chapter or two.....ok? We will handle things from here on out.

lil' gay boy said...

Yes Zach, you certainly did touch a nerve with this one...

Although some gilded age mansions were also derided in their heyday, there are two important differences:

1) Not satisfied with just expensive materials for the sake of it, the gilded age mansions were also well constructed ––– sometimes so well that tearing them down proved quite costly. Today's McMansions boast what? Using 2x6s instead of 2x4s? Yessir, that there's kwality!

2) Despite their criticism at the time (and distance in style from FLLW's efforts), they still bore what one of Wright's clients, Mrs. Avery Coonley, so aptly phrased, "...the countenance of principle..." Nothing states it better in my mind.

What really irks me about this demolition is that I cannot believe the house was so far gone as to be beyond redemption (or just moving it outright); if I had unlimited resources AND insisted on asserting my own architectural design, I'd have sited it elsewhere on the property (there's room and view enough) and stabilized Valley House as an eccentric, if somewhat expensive, garden folly.

archibuff said...

LGB, so right plus they not only were constructed well, they contained priceless workmanship and materials that the newer inferior homes of today cant have at any price. This expensive home as many of its bloated and poorly designed ilk will hopefully always be a teardown in waiting. Lets hope. Those 3 bizarre little roof caps on the entry facade, as mentioned previously, do say it all about inferior design. Cant some builder pull out some old design drawings and reproduce a vanished home from the past? There is certainly enough variety to select from.

The Ancient said...

Dilettante --

http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2012/01/tuscan-dream-in-mississippi.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CoteDeTexas+%28COTE+DE+TEXAS%29

Zach said...

Well alright then. From now on anytime I post a house that has been demolished I will try my best to find and link to a photograph of the house that replaced it.

If you don't mind, I'd like to continue this discussion with before and after photos of the Dunbar Bostwick estate on IU Willets Road. This is one I'm quite bitter over.

Bostwick Estate

The Replacement

Patricia said...

I owe you all an apology. I hadn't looked at the new house until I started reading the comments. I thought it was your discerning architecturally savvy eyes that elicited the comments. The new house couldn't be THAT bad, I thought.

When I saw it for myself, I actually blurted aloud, OH DEAR GOD.

Several years ago, I read a piece about the architecture at Disney World. How the "New Orleans Street," for example, doesn't look like an acutal New Orleans street, but rather what the average person *thinks* a New Orleans street looks like. It doesn't take much imagination to transplant this house to Disney World where it would be dubbed "the count's castle" with a gift shop and snack bar.

Parnassus said...

Zach, Yes, the Bostwick replacement is monstrous and certainly cannot compare with the house that was sacrificed for it, but nothing can match the gut-wrenching ugliness of the Osborn replacement. There is something peculiarly repulsive about it. It is quite likely the ugliest building I have even seen. You will have to find something more frightening than the Bostwick replacement to give us a greater shock.
--Road to Parnassus

The Down East Dilettante said...

Patricia, you keep referring to our 'architecturally discerning' eyes, but I daresay with your comment about Disney World and perception that you have joined the ranks. Spot on.

Actually the Dunbar Bostwick replacement is even uglier. Eagle's Nest meets Dryvit.

Cedar Swamp-Thing said...

The Bing view also shows the nearby Van Alen place to be extant as well- but that couldn't be, right? I wasn't aware they demolished Valley House but do remember it looking in pretty fine shape when it was listed 6-7 years ago.

The Down East Dilettante said...

The part I don't get, truly don't get, is how fast all this happened. Once the time was that some large houses went down because of changing neighborhoods, changing times, changing finances. Now they seem to come down just because people are told they should, and because they can afford to. ("I must be successful---look, I can afford to buy this handsome, well built old house and tear it down and build something bigger, more cheaply built, for a lot of money"). In my nearly 60 years, I've never seen anything like the current tear-down phenomenon---or the sudden contempt for anything subtle or old. Very perplexing

Charles said...

The Bostwick Replacement is atrocious! Why can't some people appreciate beauty and elegance when they see it??

Patricia said...

The other thing this house reminded me of is the Barbara Stanwyck movie Stella Dallas (1937)where she plays a mill worker's daughter who is a total social climber. When Stella goes to a fancy resort, she concocts this outfit with every bell and whistle, wears every piece of jewelry she owns, print dress, fussy hat, where all the other women are in plain, sleek, sophisticated clothes. She has no idea how "vulgar" (to use the word used back then) she looks.

This link goes to a perfect picture of her in this get up and it's the exact equivalent to this house -- and just like Stella, the owners are clueless.

http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=psar.079.0121a.fig005.jpg

Anonymous said...

The Bostwick replacement is equally as horrific, as are most of the rebuilds. What's happening on I.U.Willets is truely disturbing. I'm not sure why, but this is really pissing me off!! Why buy an old home to just destroy it??? Leave it be and just go buy a plot of land and build your monstrosities there.

lil' gay boy said...

I too am appalled, absolutely nonplussed, by the Bostwick replacement; it's just heartbreaking; for the unable-to-right-click-and-open-in-a-new-window or otherwise link-impaired:
http://binged.it/Aw5B5D

Rotating the aerial view reveals the house in mid-demolition ––– even with that clumsy wing added to the eastern fa├žade, it was still gorgeous.

At the risk of being offensive, or politically incorrect, etc., I must honestly admit the first thought that flew into my head when I viewed its replacement: "I thought Saddam was dead?"

Thank God no developer has (yet) eyed the Norman Jaffe designed Wohl Residence to the west...since he mysteriously disappeared from a Bridgehampton beach in '93, too many of his stunning modernist designs have been either altered or demolished.

The Devoted Classicist said...

Those who have not seen the January, 2011, post on D.E.D's blog about the originally nice courtroom that someone went out of their way to offensively decorate, should take a look. Perhaps a judge paid for it him/herself as a civic donation; otherwise it is a criminal misuse of public funds.

Lodi said...

Well, it could have been worse... it could have been replaced by that butt ugly house from the cotedetexas blog. YUCK!

Anonymous said...

"Maybe we need a website 'Bring Back the Gilded Age'."

It's back, it's back!

I've always said there's probably a super bowl ring sitting on the master bedroom dresser in all of these teardown/rebuilds.

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/gisele-bundchen-tom-brady-move-dream-home-brentwood-calif-article-1.1009252?localLinksEnabled=false

-Flo

Anonymous said...

Flo --

That's much too harsh.

After all, one leaked sex tape would pay for the entire place.

And people must live somewhere.

Anonymous said...

One leaked sex tape?

Are we back to talking about the Kardashians again?

The Down East Dilettante said...

Flo, you are, as ever, too funny.

Believe me, in my liberal Democratic soul, this current gilded age appalls me far more than the first one, for so many reasons in so many ways. And notice that this one, unlike the first, hasn't even had a renaissance of craft and design to accompany it.

Anonymous said...

i think the new house is just as ugly as everybody else. With that said whats important about the site goes beyond just the house they build. i think were looking too much at the negatives of the ugly architecture being built rather than the positive that the site is not being subdivided.

Houses can constantly be built an torn down. Not all the houses at the turn of the century were attractive, and personally i think valley house had a terribly crowded floor plan and less than special/unique exterior. (Personally i don't think i would have kept the original house as is if either if i had the opportunity purchase and improve the property)

As long as the natural landscapes of the Old Long Island estate remain, the houses built can always be remodeled, changed and improved overtime as shown by so many of the estates on this blog that didn't start out looking so great either. I hate this new house but everyone must also remember just because the first house was old doesn't make it great or anything special. Just look at how many homesteads were demolished to build the great mansions everyone loves so much on this blog.