Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Extending Giveaway and fun Blogger Round up for Dovecote Decor furniture

Antique English Box Giveaway extended! 
$350.00 value

Dovecote Decor is extending our exciting giveaway so we can spend more time with family and friends. I thought you would enjoy a roundup to see the favorite things on the new website selected by our blogger friends. 

Karen from Art by Karena,  always the lead dog on the comment field, chose the faux bois concrete Beaujon bench. 

Hill House Ramblings, our new friend, chose a $35,000.00 antique chandelier from the new antique center at High Point.  I am going to save her about $33,000.00 and recommend the Mansion Chandelier.

Bruce Barone, an accomplished photographer--think Bunny Williams--always posts a stunning and vicarious treat--he's also a great cook. Bruce chose our Paris City Map.  Old world travel cues have been a touch stone at High Point for the last few years, and this map for $1,586.00 provides great, over the sofa, wall coverage with its 66" x 54" dimensions.

Connie, at Sogni e Sorresi selected this Bombay Armoire, a stylish bar, especially in a space that needs architectural additions.

Karen of Garden Home and Party chose the Rick Garden Ornament, which I have had my eye on for my container garden.

Lovely Elizabeth, from Pretty Pink Tulips selected these elegant, hand carved, European Mansion wall sconces. We met this talented vendor at the October Market, and whole heartedly agree!

The Swedish Side Chair is on a project list for Mary Ann of Classic Casual Home.

Robin, a civilian (not a blogger) wrote that she has begun a Majolica Collection and would love this enchanting Victorian tea set, with the English robin red-reast, from our Antiques Partner, The Wind Rose. This is perfect for the Robin on your list!

Our fearless leader, PVE, holds court at the epicenter of our little blogging storm. She is generous with advice, humor and support to all of us. Her whimsical artwork graces the banners of many bloggy scribblers. I was delighted when she chose the Quatrefoil reclaimed wood side table, but secretly smug when she also chose this exotic Portuguese inspired Feret Bed.

Teresa at Splendid Sass spied the graceful and etherial Athena Lantern for her classic proclivities.

Diana Mieczan, from the ultra chic and popular Expresso-O shares an enthusiasm for The Regatta Wing Chair with the editors of House Beautiful, this month. They are running low, so grab them while the vendor still has them in stock!

Merry Christmas to all our sweet and savory friends in blogland, who always set an extra place at the table for us.

Our thoughtful friends, who take a quiet moment to share their thoughts in e-mails, when we are feeling a little down.

Who shout happiness from the roof tops when they find a special gift they really love!

And especially to my beautiful girls who goad me and encourage me through this life!

Merry Christmas from all The Morten Girls, and Dovecote Decor--Liz, Viive and Benji!!
With special thanks to my other special supporters, to numerous to thank: Brooke Giannetti--Velvet and Linen, Maria--Colour Me Happy, Kathy Sue, Privet and Holly, Pamela Terry and Edward, Holly Goes Lightly, The Zhush, Pure Style Home, Laura Casey

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dovecote Decor Online Store Launch and Giveaway

Dovecote Decor is excited to announce our online store launch to our blog friends and followers. We have been quietly open for business since October, processing orders, talking to our very first internet clients, and watching Dovecote Decor take on a life of its own.  Partners Viive Ralston, Benji Gaines and I envisioned a hybrid shopping experience that seeks to blend the convenience of online shopping, with the traditional interior design approach. Understanding that currently, most people do not decorate an entire room or house, immediately, we have created an a-la-carte portfolio of our interior design resources, for the client that wants to methodically create a decorating scheme, one beautiful piece at a time. We create access to our gifted, atelier vendors, who uphold the aesthetic of merging quality, sustainable materials with affordable craftsmanship. 

Having shopped High Point and regional markets cumulatively for over 30 years, we were enchanted when the smaller manufacturers began incorporating reclaimed wood construction with small batch production, applying painstaking, hand applied finishes. The result has been well priced reproductions, that are often indistinguishable from the original antiques.  The instant gratification of the online retail experience is exchanged for budget expanding, thoughtful planning and selection. 

A stunning example of one of our perfectly executed modern reproductions. 

We strictly adhere to manufacturers online price guidelines. With a more expensive piece like this we encourage shoppers to telephone us for our design client rates.  Beautiful home design emerges slowly, over time, developing patina and character reflecting the owner, embracing family and friends. The art of living is a loving process creating cherished memories, reflecting our souls. Analogous to the slow food  movement, we encourage clients to step back and approach their home decor projects in a "new" old way. 

Our Regatta wing chair with maritime flag panels is featured in the November 2010 House Beautiful and advertised, as carried by ABC Carpet. A client call confirmed today, that ABC has no inventory, a much heftier price and no free shipping. We are currently offering sharp pricing, although in accordance with vendor guidelines, and free shipping, to inaugurate our client dialogue. There are 8 left, so if you love this chair, it is time to pull the trigger. 

Our Mirrored Buffet is a superb, geometric nod to the Hollywood regency period. Our client was having trouble visualizing how this vignette would translate, and as part of our service we performed a little photoshop magic, so she could see just how perfectly the mandrel lamps look with the buffet and Abalone Mirror: "Here's looking at you kid." 

Another client was trying to visualize a grisaille  European dining room, for a "rustic" house in California, balanced with strong architectural bones. Benji translated the mixed metaphor, combining our provincial dining table with these elegant French dining chairs  and chandelier

Our antique,  Suffolk Dresser comes from our new partner, The Wind Rose!

We are elated to also announce our new partnership with The Wind Rose, a trade only antique resource for many high profile designers and shops around the United States. I have been stalking their trove for myself and my clients for 25 years. Ned White and Cary Wright have been scouring Europe for 30 years, importing timeless pieces and sensitively restoring them for everyday living. They have shared their encyclopedic knowledge with us for years, and the pieces I have slowly added to my home over time, mean so much more when provenance, age and unique regional characteristics are explained. This versatile Suffolk dresser is identified by its even shelving, heart pine construction and is dated 1850-1860--a fantastic 160 year old timeless heirloom, with simple lines that work with multiple genres. 

The spectacular Wind Rose showroom is an early destination for savvy High Point designers. As we add to our collection on the website, please call us for requests that may not be posted. 

Accessory English boxes are classic and useful stacked on shelves and on tables for storing party invitations and love letters. Mine, holds the television remote control. They make thoughtful and memorable gifts. Old wash tubs have been transformed by Wind Rose artisan journeymen repurposed for elegant new lives.  Ned redesigned the antique chest in the background, with a modern, mid-century modern graphic. 

While this armoire is not posted, we can offer you photographs, dimensions, pricing and shipping on any number of beautifully restored cupboards. The Wind Rose policy of pricing based on their cost versus what the market will bear,  has fueled their reputations as shrewd buyers and fair merchants. I have never found an antique resource with this combination of quality, function and price. Trust me on this, we shop!

Our 1880 English country chest with the original paint is rare, as over the years many simple, functional country pieces were changed or stripped to suit contemporary tastes. At a price of $1,745.00, it is an amazing value. As with all Wind Rose product, the drawers have been "retuned" to stand up to everyday use. When we can find an antique for a better price than a new piece, we recommend the character and finish values old furniture provides.  

For the flower arranger on your Christmas list, this exquisite Prattware pitcher dating from the late 18th-early 19th century, would make a thoughtful and cherished gift. We have a huge inventory of antique gifts for Christmas, and a fantastic Wind Rose giveaway to celebrate the season and our new beginnings!

Our Blog Launch Giveaway!
The Wind Rose has generously donated this lovely English box with inlay!

Here are the Rules of the Game: 

Become a follower of our blog, if you are not one already, by clicking the link.

Visit Dovecote Decor and describe a desired object, not from this post.

Comment by clicking the faint link at the bottom of the post, which says comments, telling us what you covet on the website.
Let the Wild Rumpus begin!

The winner will be selected on December 20th

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Old Long Island Estates: A surviving James W. O'Connor Playhouse

Long Island is famous for its Gilded Age Estates, immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald and chronicled, with vigilance by Zach L. in his blog Old Long Island.  The American Country house movement was propelled by the tremendous fortunes earned in steel, railroads, shipping, coal and oil. Vanderbilts, Whitneys, Phipps, Morgans, Pratts, Graces and Hearsts, to mention a few, erected spectacular weekend estates in Nassau County as private country clubs. Palatial homes in every idiom sprouted with architectural stables, polo fields, and Playhouses. Architect James W. O'Connor  cornered the Playhouse market. A Playhouse is a separate house, containing an indoor tennis court, occasionally a swimming pool, guest rooms, and a large gathering living room overlooking the tennis courts. This Playhouse survives today, and is one of the few private Playhouses remaining in the country.

This is an exterior photograph, from the family archives, depicting multiple elevations. The first landscape architect on this estate was Olmsted, of Central Park, followed by Ferruccio Vitale.

The exterior of the house today.  
O'Connor, educated at Columbia and The Ecole des Beaux Arts, was known for his colonial style using 18th century Georgian models. He was equally at ease with Tudor, Gothic, French, Manorial, and Italianate vocabularies. 

As an Irish Catholic, James W. O'Connor's entree to the social elite came through the patronage of his childhood friends within the W.R. Grace shipping family. His commissions grew steadily with his magnificently scaled manor houses, yet Playhouses were his oeuvre. 

The same ornamental facade from the old estate days

Many of the ancient trees on Long Island Estates were brought over on barges from Connecticut with the innovation of maintaining the large root ball intact. Ferrucio Vitale adhered to classical geometric principles in his designs, combining circular and rectangular elements with cross axes and interconnected parallel spaces. See the aerial view below to see how the pool is visible from both the main and Playhouses. 

The aerial view provides insight into the scale of the Playhouse relative to the main house. The second owners were heirs to the Jello fortune, and I would say their motto: "There's always room" must have resonated. Vitale's outdoor rooms are well defined, and illustrate his intention of creating a "gentleman's farm." In the top left hand corner, orderly gardens for vegetables and flowers provide sustenance and beauty for the estate. The greenhouse, practically invisible is above them. 

 The entrance to the tennis courts is a simple back door. The balustraded roofline is an O'Connor signature. The door opens directly to the right of the lower sitting room. 

"I tell you what. You slip away first. I'll meet you at... The indoor tennis court. ..." 
Sabrina Fairchild

O'Connor tennis courts have a signature double gallery with substantial ornamental mill and ironwork defining their space. 

The family has maintained the Playhouse with many original features, including the old furniture that came from the previous owners. Old coal boilers, large enough for a man to walk into, have been replaced by modern, efficient heating. It used to cost $10.50 an hour to heat the tennis courts for a match. The price is now $1.50. Lighting technology has improved dramatically, with double the candle power on the court. 

The old tennis racquet room has stayed virtually the same. Bobby Riggs was the house pro and would have restrung your racquet for you here. 

The entertaining portion of the house is upstairs. Spectacular paneling is certainly on par with the main house, but the furnishings were more in keeping with a men's club. 

The original furniture is timeless with fresh fabric and color. Mrs. M. decorated this room in the English country style with the legendary Sister Parish of Parish Hadley. At the time, Bunny Williams was her assistant, so there was a double infusion of genius to spread around! There has been a great deal of discussion of center table placement in large living rooms to break up the seating areas. This is a perfect example. 

The french doors open to the upper gallery of the tennis courts and allow the party to socialize while they enjoy the match. 

The old Playhouse living room was arranged very differently, with the same Aiken style, deep upholstery. The contemporary interpretation of the same room and furniture is eminently more feminine.

The long corridor divides the living room from the guest rooms traversing part of the tennis court on one side and the pool on the other. Bright chintz's on the upholstery play well against the dark paneling. 

Believe it or not, I was having trouble orienting myself and was wondering where the swimming pool entrance was hiding. Opening the door to the pool from the corridor is a truly unexpected vertiginous transition into light and space. 

This is a family photograph of the pool area. It is usually left empty due to moisture issues and is filled for parties, with magical floating candles illuminating the murals. The house is filled with Currier and Ives prints, and the murals were perfectly chosen to depict the era.

Moving towards the main entrance area, the guest rooms have been refurbished by the Grand Daughter of the third owners with the assistance of Megan de Roulet of Windham House design.

Megan is fluent in English and French country house styling, with a unique American twist. Working with the existing pieces from the second owners, she continues with the fresh aesthetic initiated by the wonderful Mrs. M. I think its time to head to the bar! Megan and Mrs. G. chose this exotic Digby's tent pattern by Charlotte Moss for Brunschwig & Fils.

In conclusion I'll end with some of the happy memories that have generated from the wonderful tradition of fun and hospitality this Playhouse has provided for many. 

My parents were wonderful tennis players. I found these photos in the family album of them relaxing with a cocktail after a match. Its hard to believe, but they are younger than me in these pictures! 

The gallery watching the finals of the annual "Divorce Doubles" tournament. The rule is: you must play with your spouse!
We hope you enjoy this post. Thanks very much to friend's for sharing. If you have guessed the origins of this estate, please keep it confidential for the privacy of the family who so generously shared their home with us. Please do not use the pictures without our permission.