Thursday, July 30, 2009

Favorite houses

Do you have a favorite house in your neighborhood? Maybe it's one you've never even been in but you always look at it longingly? This townhouse up the street has always intrigued me. I think I can honestly say it's my favorite house in Dupont Circle in this case. A bit quirky, the style doesn't really fit in with the stereotypical red brick Victorian rowhouses nor with the grand beaux arts mansions in this area. Instead -it combines the best features of both!The plaque near the door says that it was built in the early 20th century for a local architect -HIS dream house: No wonder I have such a connection with it! Grand but not large with a beautiful garden to welcome you, I can only imagine how beautiful the insides is! Sometimes the mystery is the best part -I can conjur up my dream interiors to match the exterior!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tintinhull House

Tintinhull House is a beautiful house mostly known for its arts & crafts garden. Located in Somerset, England, the gardens surround a 17th century house which is built of the local stone, Ham stone. The house and property belonged to the Napper family until 1814 when it passed through the hands of numerous families before it was bought by Phyllis Reiss in 1933.

Phyllis designed the gardens in the Hidecote style and developed them before gifting them to the National Trust in 1955. She continued to live in the house, caring for the gardens, till her death in 1961. Since then the house has gone through a number of lucky residents. I suppose living in the middle of a tourist attraction wouldn't be so bad if it were so beautiful!
Plan your visit at the National Trust
More information from Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of an Australian friend who visited last month. Thanks! Look forward to some more of his beautiful photographs of English country houses!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Phillips Collection

This past weekend I visited the Phillips Collection, a private museum here in Dupont Circle, DC which has an enviable collection of modern masters. Founded in 1921 by Duncan Phillips (a fellow Pittsburgher), the museum remains small but incredibly important. Works by Renoir (seen above), Paul Cezanne (also seen above) and Monet sit alongside very contemporary art. The museum was the first modern art museum in the United States which explains the incredible collection.I was drawn to the museum for the 'Paint made Flesh' exhibit which I highly recommend! Seen above is the new addition which houses the entrance. It quietly fits onto a small street, respecting the stately townhouses and embassies that are neighbors, just 3 blocks from the metro. Here you can see the original structure, a 1897 Georgian revival townhouse which was Duncan's home. After the deaths of his father & brother, Duncan and his mother dedicated the collection to their memory. In 1930 the collection was becoming so large that they moved out of the house and devoted it entirely to the museum.Above is a work by Paul Gaugin -I just love the colors and besides, the meal just looks delicious. At the top of the post is of course 'Luncheon of the boating party' by Pierre-Auguste Renoir(1880-1881) which Duncan purchased in 1923 -the museum's most well known painting to this day but surely not its finest.A painting by Chagall (my favorite artist).
The museum is known for its unusual approach to displaying the works. The collection is not shown in order by date or artist, but by similarities seen in the works themselves. This makes for a really enjoyable visit (as does the intimate scale of the space). I hope on your next visit to DC you visit the Phillips!