Thursday, November 3, 2011

Katie Ridder Rooms

Have you seen the new book, Katie Ridder Rooms? If not, I suggest you pick up a copy because it's one of the best design books out this season!

Katie knows color and texture. In my mind, these are things that make a house a home and the book is filled with luscious examples. I love the blue and red combination seen above.Probably the best part, for me as an architect, were the numerous examples of kitchens and baths. We're always looking for inspiration in these departments!Something as simple as a patterned backsplash in this vintage looking kitchen makes a world of difference.In this bath, a morrocan inspired tile is used to create a beautiful line at the top of the wainscot: so easy to replicate at home. Again we see a lot of blue which is surely Katie's favorite color (and mine as well!).What I love most about Katie's work is that it is unabashedly pretty and comfortable; nothing overly precious. They're simply delightful spaces which I'm sure thrill the occupants day in and day out. Isn't that what design should be all about?

Book written by Heather Smith MacIsaac with beautiful photography by Eric Piasecki.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dupont Carillon

Alfred Dupont loved his estate, Nemours, so much, that despite spending his last years in Florida chose to rest there eternally after his death in 1935.The 210 foot tall Carillon tower stands off the main mansion museum grounds (now) but within the original surrounding walls on the grounds of the adjacent children's hospital. Designed by his architect son through his firm Massena and du Pont, the carillon is still in working order and plays a number of songs daily, watched over by 4 stone eagles at the summit of the tower. Oddly enough, the mausoleum contains a 6 passenger elevator; can't seperate the industrialist from his gadgets even in death! Dupont's 3rd wife, Jessie and her brother, Edward Ball, are also interred at the Carillon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nemours Garage

Of course, a showplace estate such as Nemours must have an outstanding garage. What self respecting industrialist wouldn't have the latest gadgets of the day? The garage matches the grandness of the house but with simpler materials; Stucco, painted wooden treillage and a clay tile roof hold delightful copper dormers.

The second floor held a large apartment and offices for the chauffeur and his family while the first floor contained the estate's collection of vehicles as well as repair and machine shops.Five car bays (plus entrance ends) now hold 5 automobiles, a pony carriage and motorboat once owned by Dupont and his wife.The interior is simple and of its' time: textured plaster walls, simple woodwork and tile floors.The entry hall holds the original telephoneAs well as the machine shop to which Alfred Dupont escaped to tinker.Dupont's taxidermy collection from his hunts once graced the main hall of the mansion, but Jessie Ball, upon moving in after their marriage had them moved out to the garage. An early 20th century example of the man cave?
The center doors have a graceful arch while the 4 flanking garage doors, while massive in size, are less monumental.

Admittedly I don't know much about cars but I certainly appreciate their style.Dupont would only buy American made cars and drove this Pontiac for many years until his death.At this time, Jessie went out and purchased a British made Rolls Royce (Silver Cloud no less!)All of the cars are in mint, working order and still are driven around the estate.Why don't more cars today have hood ornaments?Two of the cars were so beloved by the Duponts that they had their bodies transplanted onto new cadillac engine beds. I had never heard of that before!The sides of this green car had an interesting woven texture.The oldest car featured a true 'lantern' as headlight.And they're called 'trunks' for a reason!Also in the collection is a wooden motor launch which would ferry the Dupont's guests across the Little Choptank River to their nearby country estate. Now this is a collection I can appreciate!