Friday, February 10, 2012


'Farnsworth', the C.K.G. Billings estate designed by Guy Lowell c. 1914 in Matinecock. Click HERE for more on 'Farnsworth'.

Photos from Examples of Work by Lewis & Valentine, 1916.


The Devoted Classicist said...

This may have been more convincing as an ad AGAINST relocating tall, mature trees, instead. I enjoyed seeing the floor plan in the link, and the shot of the Patio, which I assume was roofed.

Mansions of the Gilded Age, Gary Lawrance, AIA said...
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HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Followup to question regarding 10 Hastings Road in Old Westbury.

Property card has Ogden Mills Phipps as first owner, built in 1932. FRESH pictures -

Mansions of the Gilded Age, Gary Lawrance, AIA said...

I have always found this house to be one of the most fascinating mansions on the gold coast. From the exterior it looks like a plain austere Georgian with the expected interiors, but once inside it was an architectural paradise. The atrium, the Pompeian inspired living room and an unusual floor plan. I was at one of the new houses built on the site of the house many years ago and found deep in the woods a rubble pile of bricks and marble peeking through the weeds. Here is a rare view of the front gate on my blog,

Mansions of the Gilded Age, Gary Lawrance, AIA said...

Here is another link to the story of the bizarre life that Marjorie Bird lead after the death of her husband and her reputed murder. The link to the Time article only gives a few parts, you have to sign up to read the whole story, but does give enough to further research it more and the newspaper account does give you the full story.

Zach said...

HPHS...since Ogden Mills Phipps (Dinny) was not born until 1940 he was not responsible for the construction of the house.

Mrs. Thomas Hastings had this home built following the death of her husband and it was named 'Background'.

I do not know the architect.

archibuff said...

This house could pass for a twin of Farlands, the Curran estate also designed by Lowell, located just a few miles away and with similar massing, facades and detailing, but open that entrance door and the interiors had to catch one off guard. Spectacular layout with the rooms encircling that beautiful atrium and what can you say about that oval pompeian room? (there is a garden pavillion at the Rockefeller estate Kykuit that has a similar pompeiian inspired design, but the Billings room was unbeatable for its complexity and scale. A very underrated home IMO.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Zach another name on the property card was Bancroft. Any history on them?

Zach said...

Mrs. Hastings died in the house in 1936. By 1939 the house was owned by Thomas Moore Bancroft. Bancroft was chairman and former president of Mount Vernon Mills of Baltimore. By his death in 1970 he had moved to Hoagland Lane in Old Brookville.

I assume, since Dinny would have been of the appropriate age to own a house by the mid 1960s, that he purchased the place from Bancroft. But that's a guess.

lil' gay boy said...

I must say that the Billings atrium is probably one of the top three, extant or demolished, spaces of all the Gold Coast mansions.

I can just imagine the space on a bright afternoon, interior and exterior doors and windows open to the breeze...

Much more sophistcated that the court in Hempstead House, another favorite space.

Anybody else have a favorite interior?

The Down East Dilettante said...

Congratulations, Lewis and Valentine! A fine pair of arborvitae indeed.

There was never a finer tree to frame a house than the elm. Sad.

archibuff said...

LGB...favorite interior? Awesome ya know this could be a separate blog all on its own. So much to go thru....

Favorite Pompeian music room - Billing's Farnsworth hands down

Favorite Stairhall - Winfield (stone) sorry DED and Harbor Hill (wood)

Favorite Chapel - Tiffany's Laurelton Hall

Favorite Conservatory - Pembroke (again sorry DED) followed closely by Idle Hour

Favorite Great Hall - Nicolas Brady's Inisfada

Favorite, all-time, most outrageous architecural jaw dropper "whatin the heckwherethey thinking" feature....Vanderbilt's combination of mantle/organ pipe/stalactite wonder in the living room of Idle Hour

Whew, Im back to the subject at hand Farnsworth. Continue

The Down East Dilettante said...

Golly Gosh. This is a tough game. Can we play least favorite LI architect instead?

Old (Former) Long Islander said...


Favorite Stair Hall, period. Montmorenci Stair Hall, Winterthur Museum, DE.


lil' gay boy said...

Let's see:

Favorite stairhall - Winfield Hall, (natch); runner up, Caumsett.

Favorite music room - Farnsworth, runner up, Winfield Hall (I'd kill to explore that catwalk).

Favorite palm court - Hempstead House; runner up, Greentree.

Favorite "specialty room" - Caumsett, the gun room; runner up, Rynwood, the chapel.

Favorite great hall - Coe Hall, runner up, Falaise.

Favorite dining room - Oheka, runner up, Westbury House.

Favorite library - Manor House, runner up, Hempstead House.

Favorite indoor pool - Oheka, runner up, Greentree.

You're right, this could go on and on...

The Down East Dilettante said...

Okay, I'll play:

Favorite Stair Hall: Ogden Mills House

Favorite Indoor Pool: Oheka (can't argue with that one), runner up Oak Point

Favorite over-the-top Palm court Pembroke (surprise)

Favorite Libary: Still Place

Favorite Dining Room: Oak Knoll

Favorite Gallery: Chelsea

Favorite Facade: Oak Knoll

Best parterres: Oheka

Best Vestibule: Oheka

Favorite Huge house: Wheatly

Favorite Small house: Little Ipswich

I'm just back from a cocktail party. I'll think about this some more after the gin wears off.

Anonymous said...

After 1 minute I realized it is too hard, in most cases, to pick just one. Trying to stick with extant (rules are made to be broken)

Favorite music room: The Playhouse
Favorite :chapel: Garvan
Favorite exterior front steps: Sping Hill, second house
Best gates: OWG, Planting Fields, Oak Knoll. Knole (rip), The Braes
Best great hall: Inisfada
Best chimneys: Inisfada and Planting Fields
Best gate house: Sping Hill, Oheka,Henry Upham Harris, Alker (Brookville)
Best dirve: Planting Fields, OWG, Spring Hill, Garvan, Harbo Hill, Caumsett, The Creek,Boscobel/Nevis, Goodyear, Oak Knoll
Best tenis house: Whitney ((OWGC, Greentree (Court)
Best stables: Whitney (NYIT and Grenntree),Guggenheim,Northwood, Hitchcock, Von Stade,Spring Hill,Caumsett,
Best barn Groton Place-both barns
Best boathouse: Jock Whitney
Best powev plant: Laurelton Hall
Bets example of a house that could have and should have been saved : Lands End.
Best innovative means of keeping an "obsolete" residential house residential l: Ontare

archibuff said...

Awesome lists.

Poor DED in his highly inebriated state after one too many cocktails selected a CPH favorite! I did want to give an honorable mention to the Harbor Hill stables (exotic and lavish) and the formal gardens (what a view they must have had), and the Pemboke gates (RIP).

Harbor Hill and Beacon Towers, the 2 homes that I wish could have been preserved....and Spring Hill and Knollwood and.........sigh just too too many

The Down East Dilettante said...

No, no Archibuff--at risk of repeating myself (and you know how I hate doing that), my argument with Pembroke isn't that it isn't interesting, but that interesting and lavish isn't the same thing as good architecture, which Pembroke emphatically is not. But if one is going to have a Palm Court, by its very nature it should be full blown Belle Epoque and over the top, and Pembroke's, with that crocodile pool underneath, and glass dome above, fits the bill.

The Down East Dilettante said...

And big agreement for the Harbor Hill stables---now, Warren & Wetmore! There's a pair who knew how to take it to the edge and get away with it. Don't even try to tell me that the deLamar town house comes even halfway to the level of the Burden House on 91st.