Saturday, January 22, 2011

On The Market--Bougemont

There's another house on the market that has a bit of a spot in my history, Bougemont, a turn of the century mansion in the hills of Charleston, WV, overlooking the state capitol.
It's a gorgeous, classical house that would border on stodgy if not for the pea gravel driveway and the sort of manicured but not overly formal grounds that might be expected in a gentleman's farm.

According to Wikipedia:  "Bougemont Complex is a historic home located at Charleston, West Virginia. It was the home of two prominent families in Charleston's business development. It was built about 1916 by Harrison Brooks Smith, an attorney, who served as president of Kanawha Banking and Trust and various companies in Kanawha County. Smith died in 1942, and in 1959, Horace Hamilton Smallridge, another leading Charleston businessman, purchased the property. Bougemont is symmetrically arranged with a two and a half story central block and two single story side wings. The entrance facade features a pedimented portico with Corinthian columns. Also on the property are a cottage, stable, and barn."  For more information on the estate, CLICK HERE to read the "Historic Properties Inventory Form" from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. (It even includes a rudimentary floor plan!)

As a college intern, I had the pleasure of visiting Bougemont in a professional capacity. The widow who called Bougemont home was an ongoing client of the designer I worked for that summer.  As I think befits a house like this, the extent of the work the firm did on the estate was limited to small spruce-ups here and there as upholstery wore out, drapes faded, and paint needed to be touched up. The place was never, in recent history at least, given a wholesale makeover.

On the day I went to Bougemont, we were suggesting upholstery choices for a pair of Martha Washington chairs the owner needed recovered. I shall never forget being led in by a uniformed maid (something I wasn't sure still existed ANYWHERE, let alone in Charleston, WV), and then greeted by the matron of the house--all 70-some years of her, dressed in a leotard, tights, and aerobic shoes. At her side was a standard poodle that kept sticking it's head between my legs, practically forcing me to ride it like a horse through the mansion.

When my colleague introduced me as a summer intern, the lady of the house clucked and with a dismissive wave of her hand, exclaimed, "Hmmmph...well I don't know why you brought him here! Nothing to learn from a bunch of old junk like I have!" 

The Dining Room at Bougemont
The Main Stair
The Living Room

The Study

I'd give my eye teeth for "old junk" like that! The house has such a wonderful "collected" air about it--effortlessly elegant and timeless.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On The Boards, A Mountain Cottage

From time to time I get, as I like to put it, a house "stuck in my head". They usually start with one idea (an interesting staircase, a remarkable kitchen) and grow from there. Such is the case with the one I'm working on now. No client, no lot, just ideas. Two central ideas brought this house to life: an exterior of seemingly simple details, and a great room with a wonderful play of scales (the floor plans aren't done yet--stay tuned!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Setting the Table

The new dining room table was delivered on Friday (a few days late thanks to the biggest blizzard our little corner of the south had seen since 1988). I had no immediate plans to be on the hunt for anything else in that room save for host chairs, but a day scouting out some of my favorite bargain shops turned up some deals too good to pass up.

The glasses came first, a clean lined design from Waterford. ($30 for a set of 8 versus the $200 they retailed for.) Simple white bone china dishes were next, the salad bowls and bread plates rimmed in silver. Silver chargers, a Hobby Lobby steal at only a dollar apiece, anchor the place settings very nicely.

The guest napkins, a bold black and white pattern from Badgely Mischka, were another great deal, but there were only four of them available. To solve that problem,  crisp white linen napkins monogrammed in black with a wonderful ribbon detail for the heads of the table. All the napkins are ringed with an elegant and simple design in silver.

The final touch, a set of gorgeous crystal candlesticks--a clean lined transitional style that are perfectly scaled for the table, with silver taper candles.

I'm linking to Between Naps on the Porch's "Tablescape Thursday" Click over there to check out more beautifully set tables!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

TV/Movie Houses: Firewall

Last night, we watched the Harrison Ford movie Firewall. It was a psychological thriller starring Ford as head of security for a large bank whose identity is compromised and family kidnapped all in a very elaborate plot to rob his bank of $100 million dollars.

The real star of the film, for design lovers, was Ford's house. The house not only played home to Harrison Ford in Firewall, but was also featured in a little known flop called Blitz, and I could swear it's the same house from the Jennifer Garner version of "Elektra" (I will be digging out that DVD to find out!)

In Firewall,  Ford's on-screen wife (Virginia Madsen) was an architect who had designed the stunning contemporary residence on a waterfront point near Seattle.

In real-life, the house is located in British Columbia, and was designed by Brian Hemingway.  Called "Tidewater",  "With the ocean as its pedestal, this 8000 sq. ft. post, beam and glass home sits nestled into the landscape's edge. Unobstructed views in every direction allow the residents to intimately relate to the beauty of their natural surroundings. Here, as in all his houses, Hemingway attempted to create a visual symphony of parts that flow from the guiding principles of the plan, and extend to the structure, flooring materials, built-in furnishings, cabinets, doors, window frames and light fixtures."

Photos courtesy Brian Hemingway

I absolutely LOVE how the rooms are defined by floor changes, the exposed structure, and how the coldness of all the glass is countered by the wood beams. It's hard to say if the interior scenes in the movie were filmed at Tidewater, but I suspect at least some of them were:

Ignore the violence in this screenshot, and look at the cabinetry
In this photo from Hemingway's site, notice that same corner by the ovens. Certainly looks like they shot on site, doesn't it?

And if that isn't the actual Tidewater fireplace behind them there, they were at least inspired by it.

Photo courtest Brian Hemingway

Finally, a few exterior shots:

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Today's Find

I can cross one item off of "The List" today--the new dining room table. I was out doing some browsing yesterday and found the almost perfect dining room table. (The price made me overlook that "almost" part). Perfectly sized for our dining room, and on sale for less than a third of the retail price. It's from Broyhill, of all  places, part of their "Perspectives" collection. It's finished in  black, so it will look great with the side chairs I already have. An aside on the side chairs: I bought them at target a number of years ago when they had their "Global Bazaar" event going on. They were on sale too, and I got the whole set for $200 because they reminded me of Barbara Barry's dining chairs for Baker furniture.
The table has clean lines and won't look too modern with the chairs. An interesting feature (that will be of no use to us) is that the top slides to reveal hidden compartments for silver.

These are the side chairs (from an old photo when I first purchased them):

The List

"Phase One" of decorating this house involved painting everything, doing a few small trimwork and "finish" projects (wainscoting in the dining room, new hardware and crown molding for the kitchen cabinets), and buying the "must have" pieces of furniture for our most used rooms. Phase one was a harried few months, involving weekends consumed with trips to the local hardware store, Sherwin-Williams, and hunting for a great room sofa that was not only comfortable, but also good looking and large enough to fill the space.

"Phase Two" will be much slower. It involves all of the finishing touches, filler pieces, and accents. Phase two could be completed rather quickly if money were no object, but reality means that all of the items on my list will be crossed off as I find bargains (or find unexpected money to "splurge".) It's not a terribly lengthy list, and I don't have any certain priority arrangement. I've resigned myself to the fact that it may take quite a while to cross off everything, but I'm certainly enjoying "the hunt."

1. Living room lamps. I found the perfect lamps last summer at Tuesday Morning. They were a relative bargain, but I  had already exhausted my shopping budget at the time, so I didn't pick them up. I've since found the lamps online at prices I am neither willing or able to pay. They are simple and clean lined, and given the popularity of crystal lamps right now, should be easy to find. But, alas, no luck yet:
2. For that same room, I need art and/or a mirror for the wall. I'd love a big silver quatrefoil mirror flanked by a pair of brackets that hold some sort of objet. And a somewhat abstract piece that has a slightly musical theme.

3. For the dining room, a new table and a pair of head chairs. I love the four side chairs I have now, but the current room really needs to seat six, and the 4-foot round table I have just looks too small for the space.

4. Drapes for the living and dining room. I'm thinking something along the line of a Kelly Wearstler Imperial Trellis. Maybe just a solid panel with a band of a similar geometric print on the leading edge. (If only I'd snatched up a few panels of Z Gallerie's "Tango" before they were pulled for copyright infringment!)

5. A pair of chairs for the study. We have a "gaming area" set up on one side of our study where we can indulge our inner child with the latest Wii and Playstation games. A couple of small-scaled leather chairs are in order, and I feel certain I can find those at TJ Maxx or Marshalls when I'm ready. Likewise, the study needs drapes. The walls are a silver-blue, and wood pieces are dark cherry. I currently have an old rug in primarly gold and dark red tones that I would like to keep in that room, but the drapes are going to have to pull all of those colors together.

6. The master bedroom has the largest list of things to buy. It needs new  bookshelves, a chaise lounge, drapery, a chandelier, and some piece of furniture to hide all of the television-related equipment in.

7. For the morning room, we're thinking of a piece of furniture that can serve as a bar, and another pair of comfortable chairs for morning coffee, as well as probably replacing the existing table and chairs.

8. And finally, a whole host of small accessories and art pieces for different places throughout the house.