Friday, April 20, 2012

'The Orchard'

 'The Orchard', the James L. Breese estate designed by McKim, Mead & White between 1898 and 1907 in Southampton.  Click HERE and HERE for more on 'The Orchard'.  Click HERE to see 'The Orchard' on google earth and HERE on bing.  These 1912 photographs were taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

Photographs from the Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).


The Down East Dilettante said...

Another of my favorites. MMW go Colonial and do it with Panache (yes Ancient, I know how you feel about Mt. Vernon inspired houses, but this is the original). The garden is sublime, integration with house is perfect. (and no, it has nothing to do with it being wooden and simple. This house would be good in limestone and marble too. Good is good)

The Devoted Classicist said...

Wonderful garden photos! Is the Google Earth image up to date? (It shows what appears to be peripheral development but no parking for the condos in this house). The Bing link takes me to the Shinnecock Sub Station.

Is the condo conversion considered a success? I remember the real estate offering and the unit with the entrance hall being among the last to sell.

Zach L. said...

Bing link works for me. Google earth appears to have recently swapped aerial photos for some reason.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Have to say that the condo conversion, as such things go, is a success. The buildings are set a respectful distance away, they try not to overwhelm the main building, and the core landscape is kept intact, and the original relation to the street is maintained. Could be much worse (for example, the Bonnie Crest and Beechbound condos of Louis Chartier in Newport)

Gary Lawrance said...

Yes, I wish all mansion conversions to condos were done as well. I am familiar with the property and when you are at the main house, which is 5 units, you are not aware of the new townhouses all, which are along the edge of the property.The main music room is a common space used for parties, etc.
Parking for the main house is in the court in front of the main building, and along the sides.

The Ancient said...

(The condos.)

(Scroll down.)

(Old aerial view.),4416630

(See last part of the article.)

(Condo sale.)

(Breese's obit.)

(A blog on Breese. Who knew?)

Doug Floor Plan said...

Zach, I notice that today at your blog “Beyond The Gilded Age” you posted an eight-columned columned mansion, ‘The Oaks’ by F. Burrall Hoffman, Jr. for Jonathan Godfrey in Fairfield, Connecticut, about 10-years after ‘The Orchard’ was built. Are you just column-crazy today or is this an invitation to make comparisons?

DED, & now for blasphemy: I prefer the look of ‘The Oaks’ over ‘The Orchard;’ mostly because ‘The Orchard’ is just too big, sprawling. Plus, I’ve always liked the combination of a stone house with wood columns.

& HPHS’s current post is also a McKim, Mead, & White columned mansion, ‘Beacon Rock’ in Newport. Now I’m starting to think you two are in cahoots, trying to brainwash us … but you’ll fail with me because my brain is incapable of being washed.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Doug, if you go to the archives on my blog, you will find that I had a double portico moment myself last year:

And I'm sticking with The Orchard---one can always emulate the nobility and shut down the north wing and put a hot plate in the library.

Zach L. said... chance. I usually don't even decide what I'm going to post until 5 minutes before I post it.

Glen said...

In following DED's condo link I was a little stunned at the monthly fee even though I expected it to be pricey given the gardens and amenities. However, upon seeing the price of admission, the monthly fee somehow seems reasonable. It really is a shame that condos were unheard of and/or considered with such scorn when so many of these houses were lost and could have been great candidates for a nicely done converstion such as this (although I would like to see before/after floor plans and photos of the mansion before overstating that claim). Wheatly, for instance, would have been a wonderful candidate allowing the entire structure to be saved as opposed to just the four corners, which in many respects were the least significant architecturally. The only thing that troubles me about this conversion is the "step-child" parking imposed on the units in the mansion. Surely a discreetly located and approprately designed garage could have been erected. I can't imagine the frustration of trying to parallel park on a circle drive on a daily basis. Of course, given the option, I would probably make that sacrifice to live in even a portion of The Orchard. It really is a lovely place, then and now.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Ancient, I can't get a result from the aerial link.

At friends for drinks this evening, I was idly scanning the bookshelves when a couple of volumes of James Merrill's poetry jumped out at me. One of those slap my forehead moments---duh----James Merrill was Charles Merrill's son. Hit google when I got home, and sure enough: Merrill's beautiful 'Lost in Translation' a poem that affected me mightily when I was young---a friend gave it to me for my 21st birthday, the year it came out---begins in this very house. Though I should have, since I had all the facts, I'd never made the connection until this evening. Duh. Duh.

The Ancient said...

Dilettante --

Anonymous said...

"...I was idly scanning the bookshelves when a couple of volumes of James Merrill's poetry jumped out at me. One of those slap my forehead moments---duh----James Merrill was Charles Merrill's son...."

You know the million incomplete conversations we all had growing up, you'd get most of the first part, but the middle was fuzzy, the finale completely out of reach as family life sped by. One hanging thread is why the name of James Ingram Merrill and his mother Hellen Ingram Merrill floated through our family's conversation so much. My last name is Ingram, so is there a genealogical connection, why are we talking about these people who have our same name, a coincidence, or not. Our family was famously silent, we three sibs had to figure out big and small things on our own, and not that it would yield answers, nevertheless I want to summon my parents from eternal slumber with ", what was that about Hellen Ingram Merrill and James Ingram Merrill again?"

In the same light, don't miss Reggie's Family Secret post Part 1, beautifully written and paced. Quite a gem, the commenters are frothing, but I keep thinking how damn brave Reggie is to crack open, and reveal, the contents of the family vault.


archibuff said...

One of the best and most sympathetic condo conversions/re-adaptive developments ever done. The feel of the original structure and its immediate formal garden area has been maintained even if greatly simplified and the music room is an incredible common space for all residents.

Too bad so many villages and towns on LI still refuse to accept any consideration of multi-unit/condo development. So many exceptional properties on this blog could have been preserved and more open space retained instead of the standard subdivisions that have bulldozed so much of LI. This is a prime example of how condos can be incorporated on an estate and the town doesnt lose a part of its history. Congrats Southampton for a job well done.

Unfortunately when a village doesnt care and has irresponsible board members seeking tax revenue, you get the kind of condo developments that have literally destroyed the Village of North Hills and its history forever.