STATELY HOME 2013 SHOW HOUSE MORPHS HISTORY & STYLE: “THE BEST HOME YET”
Walking in to the new fantastical Stately Homes by the Sea mansion in Little Silver you feel the grand Great Gatsby-era living emanating from the trap-door bar and the silk-lined walls. Listen closely and it is almost possible for the blue crystal chandelier to be shaking from the flappers dancing in the living room, rather than the construction guys in the kitchen.
The Hartshorne Mansion, the fourth edition of Stately Homes benefiting the Visiting Nurse Association is strategically placed on the most perfect five acres next to the Shrewsbury River and designed by an early-1900’s talent who could have been Jay Gatsby’s architect.
In 1929, world champion figure skater and stockbroker Harold Hartshorne commissioned architect Roger Harrington Bullard (Maidstone Club of East Hampton) to design and oversee the construction of his home. Hartshorne lived in Little Silver with his wife until his sudden death in a 1961 plane crash while traveling to serve as a judge in Prague’s World Skating Championships. [more below]
Since January, more than 50 of the tri-state area’s top interior designers, decorators and landscape artists have descended on the 11,000 square foot Tudor-style home to transform it with respect to Bullard’s enviable majestic-while-comfortable design. The result is detailed perfection and no hint of the damage the home experienced during Superstorm Sandy. And “The Coaster” and “TheBPlot” had an exclusive first-look.
“For months we look for the perfect available home that is worthy of this event,” said Karen Puma, co-chair of the event with Jodi Navitsky, Alice DiFiglia and Cheryl Morris. “We are especially excited about this one because it is the first we have featured that is actually on the water.”
The Hartshorne Mansion is all about the details. [more below]
Stained glass Swiss Canton coats of arms are inlaid in each of the original 217 leaded-glass windows imported from Britain. The exterior facade features red brick in painstakingly laid patterns and slate roof equipped with a plumbing system to melt snow and cool tiles during weather extremes. Twenty-five designers created a cohesive landscape around the mansion and the owner’s original skating pond that teases visitors about what is to come inside.
Enter the grand foyer lined with original oak paneling, make a right turn and like me you may want to move into the two-room powder room [photo below] designed by Judith Luke that is half the size of my house. Luke lined the walls with paper she hand painted and installed using hand forged tacks. “Magnificent” just does not do the room justice. [more below]
While there is a room for every taste and style, the flow is cohesive and creativity is impressive. Each room has a bit of inspiration that can be translated into any home, including the kitchen (Canterbury Design), library (Parrish Chilcoat, Lucas Studio), conservatory (Houndstooth Interior Design), sun room (Linda Benson Interiors), family entry room (Town & Country Kitchen and Bath) and many of the bedrooms. The show home’s original fir ceiling beams were imported from Germany’s Black Forest. Every room has a $5 million view (the mansion is for sale, with taxes at $87,000).
The tour is a great fun and for the first time features an outdoor café. Put on your best “Daisy Buchanan” and linger for an afternoon tea.
“What is most important for me is the people the VNA will help because of this tour,” the mansion’s owner told me. “Each decorator did an excellent job. I am thrilled the house is being used to entertain and welcome people as was intended.”
The Stately Homes by the Sea show house is open Tuesday to Sunday until June 9. Tickets at StatelyHomesByTheSea.org. Live like Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby at one of the many fantastic events planned at Hartshorne House – click here for more info. And check out the new “Great Gatsby,” in theaters May 10.