Friday, April 26, 2013

Junior League of Greensboro Show House 2013 Sponsored by Traditional Home Magazine: Miles Redd's Grand Reception Room.

We arrived for the press breakfast at Adamsleigh, the unbelievable remnant of the American Country House Movement, to view the resurrection of a home that had been virtually untouched since 1930. To read our last post on the architect, Luther Lashmit and other artisans on the property click HERE.

I showed the main reception room in the previous post, but wanted to juxtapose the dramatic Miles Redd, Oscar de  la Renta Century Furniture transformation. 

While we can see that Arthur Cassel Griffin, the original designer was adhering to the antiquarian precedents of an ancient structure, Miles Redd relevantly applies a graceful Chinoiserie style throughout the room. Open fretwork Oscar de la Renta chairs are ingeniously placed in the central area of the room allowing a clean, homogenous visual sweep of the room. 

Parsing the large space with a central table and chairs creates a functional gathering area maintaining the characteristic airy Chinoiserie effect without sacrificing the density of seating required for large receptions. Flow throughout is achieved by the repetition of the branching patterns on the rug, fabrics, wall panels, that the fretwork chairs echo. This room becomes engaging and complex by Redd's masterful mix of blues, complementery orange, bold large scale ceramic pieces and architectural pediments. The original architect, Luther Lashmit, had a predilection for octagonal windows, so Miles Redd nailed the vernacular in his mirror selection above.  

This is a characteristic octagonal window in a friend's Lashmit home in Winston-Salem. Many of the surviving homes feature this signature flourish. 

Early mid-century lighting combined with a modern abstract painting convey a light-handed sense of continuity and the evolution of decor over generations. This market more than any other market in years, reiterates a luxurious aesthetic through rich tactile fabrics, carpeting and precious veneers. Chinoiserie, popular since the 17th century French infatuation, has never gone out, but is more visible in the showrooms and has been reinterpreted by many designers. Where did we find the look around market? Let's start with Mary McDonald's beautiful linen chinoiserie wall panels. 

Chelsea House had a wide array of Chinoiserie on hand for buyers, as has been their tradition for decades. 

The prices are unbelievable!! 

Christine and I are never tired of Alexa Hampton's Susanna Table. Hickory Chair is a custom manufacturer, so we love seeing what Alexa does with this piece every market. Don't you love how you can add notes to your images in Google+?

Bungalow 5 speaks fluid Mandarin and Cantonese in their well curated line and demonstrated how to use it with neutrals several markets ago. Here is what they've got going on this market!

Bungalow 5 High Point April 2013

Worlds Away
Liz Gray of HGTV's Design Happens blog and I chatted about our collaboration on a Worlds-Away giveaway for the Feebie Friday post. Worlds-Away does a fantastic job with modern interpretations of Chinoiserie fret work, lacquer and pagoda designs. Finally, I have to say Mirror Image Home has a premium line of Mirrors with design legends Bunny Williams and Barclay Butera. We were delighted to find them in Market Square Suites and look forward to adding these items to our online store. 

We Have Thousands of Beautiful Items to Choose from in Our Online Store!
If You Don't See That Special Item Online
Call Us and We Will Help You Find it!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Luther Lashmit's Adamsleigh: The Junior League of Greensboro and Traditional Home's Showcase House April 2013

Thanks to the Junior League of Greensboro and Traditional Home, the spot light is on Luther Lashmit, a Winston-Salem, North Carolina native and architect to the industrial revolution scions of the early 20th century.  Tobacco, textiles and furniture revived the broken post civil war South, in the same way that the electronic, and computer revolution generated fortunes at the end of the 20th century. World War I fueled Southern industries as soldiers required uniforms, underwear, socks and gun-stocks, as armies consumed vast quantities of tobacco. Cone Mills of Greensboro produced miles of denim while their heirs fed the modern impressionist artists in Paris. With the South resurrected, versus reconstructed, Southerners transferred their positions as plantation owners to estate builders.  The Junior League Showcase House in Greensboro is one of Lashmit's period house masterpieces. Commissioned by textile (hosiery) business man, John Hampton Adams, Adamsleigh has endured as a prime example of the American Country House Movement, comparable to the great estates of Palm Beach, Philadelphia, Newport and Long Island.

Luther Lashmit, of the offices of Northrup and O'Brien was undoubtedly commissioned to lead the Adamsleigh  project, because of his great success with Graylyn, the home of Natalie Lyons and Bowman Gray of Winston-Salem.  Northrup and O'Brien had maintained close communication with the local Lashmit throughout his education and career. Receiving his architecture degree from The Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, PA.,  Lashmit went on to win the prestigious Fontainebleau Fellowship, studying at the revered Ecole des-Beaux-Arts, traveling extensively to survey the great houses of England, France and Italy. Having taught architecture in Georgia and Pittsburg, Northrup and O'Brien brought Lashmit home to create the Gray's magnificent Norman Revival estate which was to be the second largest house in North Carolina after Biltmore.

A Portion of the Graylyn Front facade

Lashmit, in conjunction with the Northrup and O'Brien office assembled an unrivaled team to complete the vision of the sophisticated and well traveled Reynolds Tobacco magnate and his wife. Europe had not fully recovered from the Great War and wealthy American industrialists traveled throughout Europe and the Mediterranean purchasing masterpiece ancient rooms, fireplaces, paneling and flooring for their trophy estates. Arthur Cassell Graffin of Baltimore designed and procured much of the interior architecture with Northrup O'Brien. Very notably, J. Barton Benson, a wrought iron master craftsman of Philadelphia, created the detailed intricate gates, locks, railings and other metallurgic flourishes through out Graylyn and later Adamsleigh. 

The distinguishing departure of the Country House Movement from its feudal predecessors is aptly noted by Harry Desmond and Herbert Crowly in their early survey: Stately Homes in America (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1903) 

".....our greater rural residences are..... occupied by people who, no matter how varied and sincere, their interest in their country places {may be}, spend their money upon the land without any reference to making money on it."

Graylyn Rear Facade

Harvard trained landscape architect, Thomas Warren Sears, who had worked with Fredrick Law Olmsted was introduced to North Carolina and Virginia industrialists via his Reynolda House Commission through Charles Barton Keen, chief architect of the earlier R.J. Reynolds estate, across the street. The collective design team was easily transferred to the Adamsleigh project. While there are many vernacular similarities, adaptations were made to create a unique estate. 
Unusually this house remained in the original family from inception to 2003.

Employing a brick veneer versus Graylyn's stone facade, makes Adamsleigh more Norman English than French Norman. Characteristics of these European houses adapted for 1920's tastes included fewer, but more spacious rooms for grand entertaining with open floor plans. Picturesque, French style estates were designed to look as though they had grown organically over time transitioning from fortifications to homes. To achieve these ends, Lashmit massed irregular outlines along asymmetrical wings. Graceful, quaint chimneys rose above round, square or hexagonal towers pierced by narrow windows enclosing spectacular vertiginous medieval staircases. The Graylyn stair tower has holders for plants and flowers that are reminiscent of Addison Mizner's Worth Avenue. Creative cribbing is common in design, and my friend, Tom Gray who wrote his Master's Thesis on Graylyn discovered an identical previous image from the Newbold house in Laverock, PA. 

Grayln stair tower

Adamsleigh has come through a remarkable era of singular family ownership. The current asking price of $4,000,000 will hopefully attract a preservation minded buyer. Meanwhile, we will tantalize you with the empty rooms that are being reinterpreted by this talented roster of designers building on the legacy of the great Country Home architects, landscape designers, interior architects and artisanal craftsman. 


I chatted up Suzanne Kasler in her stunning space at Hickory Chair today and her excitement over the project was refreshing.  She relayed that Miles Redd was up to his usual theatrical magic and was afforded a great amount of creative latitude. I noticed world class floral designer, Randy McManus, was  present and accounted for. Blogger friends Lisa Mende and Traci Zeller have been sending fun, behind the scenes posts worth perusing. The list is endless and it will be fascinating to see an intact American Country Place refurbished by a complimentary contingent 83 years after inception.

Suzanne Kasler waxed poetic about the original metal, window doorways that flank the house:
"These are the doors we want to install in both contemporary and traditional houses, we can't get enough of it now, and there they are exactly as we want them from the 1920's."

 Rear Terraces by Thomas Sears at Adamsleigh

 Adamsleigh aerial view

 Adamsleigh mantel detail

The Thomas Sears Gardens at Adamsleigh

 I spoke with charming architect, Bob Myers, who spent many years working and traveling with Luther Lashmit. He was impressed by the fact that Lashmit moved brilliantly in multiple vernaculars and was able to adapt skillfully to modern architecture. Notably, Merry Acres, for  R.J. Reynolds Jr., was a 1940's marvel. Dick Reynolds received his pilot's license from Wilbur Wright and was also a competitive yachtsman. He wanted his house to feel like one great cruise and Lashmit delivered. 

Softened by nautical curves with extending decks, a pilot's house and smoke stack/chimney, Merry Acres is a wonderful idiosyncratic home.  I, for one, think houses should have personality. Luther Lashmit had a fluid, creative ability to treat with the past and effortlessly leap into the future. 

Kind thanks also to my friend Tom Gray for encouraging me to read his master's thesis on the Graylyn Estate with much scholarly insight into the work of Luther Lashmit, Arthur Graffin, J. Barton Benson, Northrop and O'Brien,  and Thomas Sears.
I hope you will all come to visit the Junior League Show House 
sponsored by Traditional Home. 
We are honored by an enviable roster of top designers
April 20th-May 5th
3301 Alamance Rd., Greensboro, North Carolina
Do not miss some of the wonderful events and opportunities to meed the designers. 
More Later!! 

The High Point Market is opening today!! 
If you are looking for furniture, lighting and accessories for 
your home, call us at 336-705-1316. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Entertaining

Happy Easter everyone!!

Whilst many of us have empty nests, we console each other during some of the holidays with pot luck dinners that do not over tax the host, and allow individual's specialties to shine. Last year, with the girlies home, I went all out with the flowers and daughter #2 did an amazing job arranging them.

This year I struggled with my selection of Ranunculus, Tulips, Daffodils and Iris. Despite the tape I grid over the containers, my dainties flopped over like tired ballerinas.

After much pushing, and tucking piled upon  even more dissatisfaction, I ripped them out of the largest container and tried working with smaller more manageable bouquets. The fabulous effect of last years flowers was derived from massing many small arrangements creating an exuberant interior garden. Now, I remember. This year, the flowers were pretty, but nothing like daughter #2's effusions.

We have a ginourmous kitchen island that is the center of the action.  We dance around each other, weaving in and out between cooks and guests  with the practiced rhythms of a minuet. Mrs. R. and I are in charge of the main course and as usual it was an experiment. The food critics present gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up, so I will happily share it with you. It is extremely easy so I encourage you to give it a try. Cooks Illustrated is a trusted source for my frequent safaris to the culinary frontiers. Rethinking Leg of Lamb in the April 1013 is without a doubt the best version I have ever tried.

Roast Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Coriander, Cumin, and Mustard Seeds
 Serves 8-10 (we doubled it and really could have served 25)

1 butterflied leg of lamb, (6 to 8 lbs)
Kosher salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 piece ginger, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and smashed, (1-inch)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
3 bay leaves
2 strips lemon zest, (2-inch)
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. FOR THE LAMB: Place lamb on cutting board with fat cap facing down. Using sharp knife, trim any pockets of fat and connective tissue from underside of lamb. Flip lamb over, trim fat cap so it's between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick, and pound roas to even 1-inch thickness. Cut slits, spaced 1/2 inch apart, in fat cap in crosshatch pattern, being careful to cut down to but not into meat. Rub 2 tablespoons salt over entire roast and into slits. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks 4 to 5 inches from broiler element and to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250°F. Stir together oil, shallots, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaves, and lemon zest on rimmed baking sheet and bake on lower-middle rack until spices are softened and fragrant and shallots and garlic turn golden, about 1 hour. Remove sheet from oven and discard bay leaves.
3.Leaving the oven at 250 degrees, thoroughly pat lamb dry with paper towels and transfer, fat side up, to sheet (directly on top of spices). Roast on lower-middle rack until lamb registers 120°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and heat broiler. Broil lamb on upper rack until surface is well browned and charred in spots and lamb registers 125°F, 3 to 8 minutes for medium-rare.
4. Remove sheet from oven and, using 2 pairs of tongs, transfer lamb to carving board (some spices will cling to bottom of roast); tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes.
5. FOR THE SAUCE: Meanwhile, carefully pour pan juices through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Stir in mint, cilantro, shallot, and lemon juice. Add any accumulated lamb juices to sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. With long side facing you, slice lamb with grain into 3 equal pieces. Turn each piece and slice across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with sauce. (Briefly warm sauce in microwave if it has cooled and thickened.)

    • My Notes: I was religious with the meat thermometer, not trusting my oven calibration. It is something of an act of faith to go ahead and sear the meat under the broiler at this point, since it's looking a tad on the blue side. I heated the pan drippings and juices dropping the herbs, shallots and lemon juice in for a quick stir, before pouring the sauce over the sliced lamb. 

      Now for the dessert, I searched around because we wanted something fruity, without refined flour or sugar. We hit on Mango and Lemon Syllabub and it was a hit!!  Mrs. P. made this easily in under 1/2 hour with my new Vitamix, which I finally sprung for and adore. In my enthusiasm to dive in, I forgot to take a photo but I am using the images and recipe from Grace's Sweet Life which is an adaptation of a BBC good food recipe. It is exactly what we want to top off a hearty meal. It is beyond quick and simple. 

      Photo and Recipe from Grace's Sweet Life

      Mango & Lemon Syllabub

      (adapted from BBC Good Food)
      Serves 6

      For the Lemon Syllabub:

      • 12 ounces heavy cream
      • zest of 1/2 lemon & 2 tablespoons lemon juice
      • 4 tablespoons honey

      For the Mango Purée:

      • 3 large mangoes, peeled and stoned, 1 finely chopped (reserve 1/4 to serve)
      • 4 teaspoons honey
      • juice of 1/2 lemon

      To serve Mango & Lemon Syllabub:

      • flesh of 1/4 mango, finely chopped
      • mint sprigs
      1. For the syllabub, with a hand-held mixer or wire whisk, whip the heavy cream until slightly thickened.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice & honey, with a wooden spoon, stir to combine.  Let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
      2. For the purée, put the flesh of 2 mangoes in a food processor or blender and blend to a purée.  Add the honey and lemon juice and blend until smooth. With a spoon, stir in 3/4 of the finely chopped mango.  Spoon the purée mixture into the base of 6 glasses.
      3. Spoon the whipped cream mixture on top of the mango purée.
      4. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 finely chopped mango and add a sprig of mint.

      More Later!! 
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