ELE­GANT PAS­SAGE­WAYS

Veranda - - DESIGN STUDY -

Corinthian cap­i­tals and a swag-and-urn frieze in­spired by 18th-cen­tury ar­chi­tec­tural pi­o­neer Robert Adam are among the many neo­clas­si­cal el­e­ments through­out the house.

ILEARNED MY LES­SON the hard way,” says the owner of a Greek Re­vival home in New York’s Hud­son Val­ley and the ex­tra­or­di­nary col­lec­tion of an­tiques that fill its rooms. They are pri­mar­ily 18th- and early-19th-cen­tury English pieces he’s been col­lect­ing for the last 30 years—well, mi­nus the one that got away. “Early on, there was a piece I re­ally wanted but I hes­i­tated. When I went back, it was gone,” he says. Now, he trusts his in­stincts, honed over decades of study­ing the finer points of carv­ing, tim­ber, pro­por­tion, and crafts­man­ship—de­tails that re­veal prove­nance and time pe­riod to the trained eye. “I love imag­in­ing the sto­ries be­hind the an­tiques, the love letters writ­ten at a desk,” he adds. “They don’t make pieces like these any­more, so now I act fast.”

The les­son paid off in spades when it came time to build a home to show­case his col­lec­tion. The owner and his wife were look­ing for some­thing larger than

the farm­house they owned in Mill­brook, New York. Though it sat atop 100 acres of un­du­lat­ing mead­ows, it was small, and the pair was seek­ing an ar­chi­tec­tural style more suited to their re­gal an­tiques, many of which had been in stor­age, await­ing the right home.

“We were about to break ground on an­other lot when my wife and I were hav­ing cof­fee one morn­ing, look­ing out at the trees, and re­al­ized we re­ally loved where we were,” the owner says, adding that the only site op­tion on that other lot was on a tree­less hill­top, “and that’s the last thing we want in Mill­brook—a shiny new house up on a hill.” Heed­ing their in­stinct to stay put, they nes­tled their neo­clas­si­cal dream house at the bot­tom of a slope, “be­hind these spec­tac­u­lar gi­ant oaks, so it looks set­tled,” he says. In­deed, con­struc­tion was com­pleted in 2012, though the house could pass for 1850.

“That was our goal, to make it look and feel like it’s al­ways been here,” says the owner, who tapped ar­chi­tect Cyn­thia Filkoff of Di Bi­ase Filkoff Ar­chi­tects to en­sure the new con­struc­tion melded with the Mill­brook mi­lieu. Filkoff mea­sured ex­te­rior de­tails of a nearby circa-1848 Pres­by­te­rian church as a guide for scal­ing the ex­te­rior mold­ings. She also vis­ited Robert Adam-de­signed clas­sic coun­try houses in Eng­land, in­clud­ing Syon House and its Great Hall, which in­formed the scale of the en­try hall here (com­plete with more col­umns, a hand-carved stair rail­ing, and an­tique lime­stone floors).

“The fab­u­lous neo-gothic bench worked per­fectly in the en­try hall,” says Lynne Stair of Mcmillen Inc., the

ven­er­a­ble New York City de­sign firm. The bench is a 19th-cen­tury piece pur­chased from Mal­lett & Sons, one of Lon­don’s old­est an­tiques dealers and a fa­vorite haunt of both the home­owner and Stair, an English expat who worked at Christie’s and Sotheby’s be­fore evolv­ing into de­sign. In­deed, the owner had a strong sense of what an­tiques he wanted where, and he had an ex­pan­sive art col­lec­tion to place. Still, he looked to Stair for guid­ance and “taste­ful re­straint,” he says. “Left to my own de­vices, I would go nuts.”

“My job,” adds Stair, “was to cre­ate a beau­ti­ful back­drop that doesn’t over­power. He’s an An­glophile who loves 18th- and 19th-cen­tury pieces, and I’m a Brit who is quite knowl­edge­able about that pe­riod, so we got along mar­velously.”

Stair didn’t shy from strong col­ors, in­clud­ing a ruddy red in the din­ing room to an­chor the for­mal­ity and a sunny yel­low cus­tom mixed for the draw­ing room—a color, she says, pop­u­lar in English coun­try houses “be­cause of the dread­ful weather, and be­cause ma­hogany and gilt fur­ni­ture look lovely against it.” In the ad­ja­cent morn­ing room, so named for its soft morn­ing light—a fa­vorite spot for read­ing—she pairs an ele­gant de Gour­nay wall­pa­per with vi­brant greens, in­clud­ing a Marvin Alexan­der chan­de­lier. “It’s slightly more con­tem­po­rary, a bit

“I love imag­in­ing the sto­ries be­hind the an­tiques, the love letters writ­ten at a desk .... They don’t make pieces like these any­more.”

ABOVE: In the draw­ing room, a col­or­ful ar­range­ment of 19th- and 20th­cen­tury match strikes sits on a brass-in­laid rose­wood ta­ble. Cus­tom drap­ery trim, Sa­muel & Sons.

LEFT: Ar­chi­tect Cyn­thia Filkoff bor­rowed de­tails from a lo­cal Pres­by­te­rian church dat­ing to the mid-1800s to en­sure the new home fit in among its char­ac­ter­laden neigh­bors.

QUIET RE­STRAINT More sub­dued 20th­cen­tury de­tails, like this re­cessed ceil­ing oval, har­mo­nize with ear­lier or­nate el­e­ments.

REV­O­LU­TION­ARY FINDS This ma­hogany li­brary ta­ble for­merly be­longed to the Mar­quess of Down­shire, a Bri­tish politi­cian who served as sec­re­tary of state for the colonies in the mid-1700s. LEFT: Ethe­real de Gour­nay wall­pa­per en­velops the morn­ing room, punc­tu­ated by emer­ald green draperies (Prelle, with Sa­muel & Sons trim) and a Mu­rano glass chan­de­lier (Marvin Alexan­der).

ABOVE: The kitchen’s coarse lime­stone floor­ing and a cop­per hood trimmed in brass straps and riv­ets lend it a Euro­pean sen­si­bil­ity. Cabi­netry paint, Point­ing by Far­row & Ball.

LEFT: Tufted leather and pat­terned vel­vet head­line the seat­ing area in the study. The desk is from the Re­gency pe­riod. The por­trait be­hind it is of Vis­count St. Ge­orge by Fran­cis White. RUS­TIC RE­FIN­ERY Carved pine pan­el­ing is a nod to the sim­ple ma­te­ri­als used in coun­try houses of the 18th and early 19th cen­turies.

ABOVE: A scrolled gen­tle­man’s arm­chair brings curvi­lin­ear con­trast to a mix of geo­met­ric tiles (Water­works). Light­ing, Jamb Lon­don.

A cozy cock­tail lounge ac­com­pa­nies the bar (op­po­site). Both are painted high-gloss Avo­cado by Ben­jamin Moore. A GRAND SCHEME An an­cient Greek frieze pat­tern (also seen on the Parthenon in Athens) matches the scale of a stately gallery of Euro­pean oil por­traits.

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