Dedicated to the preservation of Long Island's 'gold coast' estates and other things old.
Mortimer's country place pre-expansion. Great looking. Always wondered what changed after very large homes like Meudon, Northwood and the Lanier home in Old Westbury wre built that motivated the owners to expand their already sizeable homes. In the case of the Lanier residence it ended up resembling a small country hotel. Meudon, which formerly was quite elegant, grew awkwardly elongated. but Mortimer's place looked even better after its expansion, yet the enormous scale of these super-sied homes ultimately sealed their fates a generation later.
For what it's worth both Meudon and Northwood were enlarged by their original owners...whereas the Lanier place was altered for Charles Steele. From what I've dug up Lanier barely spent any time at the place either. By the mid 1890s it had been leased to William C. Whitney while his place was being constructed nearby and then subsequently by Clarence Mackay while his place was being built. Steele appears in the picture shortly afterward.
Archibuff, the other day, I went to one of the remotest Maine summer communities, to do a 'then and now' piece for a magazine. 'Then' was an 1893 guidebook to the resort, with pictures of 18 large summer cottages. I located the 14 survivors and found that 11 of them had been enlarged, some more than once, and that 2 of them had been reduced from their largest versions, though not back to their 1893 versions. In my own research for my book, I find that some enlargements are just because the owners can, some are due to changes in lifestyle---one large house in Bar Harbor, with 8 masters and 9 servant's bedrooms, in addition to the libraries, drawing rooms, sculleries and laundries already in place, lacked a nursery suite for the grandchildren, so on went another wing, with day and night nurseries, nurse's bedroom, and governess's bedroom, bringing the room total to 36 from the original 32. Sometimes a lot is still not enough, apparently.And as you may not be surprised to hear, I find "Northwood" hard around the edges, and stiff. (And would even if I didn't know our friend designed it.) So many people did this house so much better. cf John Russell Pope at Bonniecrest in Newport
Mortimer's Northwood not a favorite? No, can't say that I am not surprised to hear that at all.Thnx for the insight and yes I realize one had house guests that stayed for weeks or months and servants by the truckload, but to plan and build a behemoth only to expand it shortly after, sometimes by 50% or more. Yea, because they could sums it up. The good old days.Also cant wait for a good before and after architectural review.
Post a Comment