Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Really Big House

Last weekend I volunteered to take photos at a fundraising event for the station's new music fund. It was at one of the largest homes in town, built in 1926.

I grew up a few blocks away from this house and two of my best friends lived in houses across the street from it. At that time it was owned by the Diocese for the bishop's residence. Needless to say, we didn't walk on the lawn! We were afraid we might be roped into confession. I wasn't Catholic but it didn't sound fun.

But I walked BY it many times, en route to Lisa's or Mary's houses. And I always wanted to go inside! Who wouldn't?

So, while working a Friday night doesn't always seem like a good idea, this time I volunteered!

The two guys who bought this place around 15 years ago have restored it, quite faithfully. And, it was stunning.

Most of my photos don't really show it off well (partly because I was sneaking them in with my crummy little camera in-between taking nice little head shots of mostly-people I don't know with the station camera and trying to be charming, when I really wanted to peek in the closets.)

But you get the idea -- like this little fireplace in the sunroom with Pewabic pottery tiles. Pretty much everything in this house was authentic.

My photo of the grand drawing room was so bad, I won't put it up -- the light was stinky. So this is from our publicity materials.

This one looking out is a pretty terrible photo, but you can see the windows -- all the windows were like this. Lots of tiny little panes. How'd you like to do those windows? There isn't enough Windex in the Shop-Rite for that!

There were lots of bedrooms. Some of these may pop up again some Pink Saturday eons from now!

Most either had their own bath or one between the two.

This is the master bedroom (it's weird, taking pictures of someone's bedroom)...

(And I have to say, that part of the room with the bed was the small part. It was at least three times larger, maybe more -- with a full sofa, two oversized chairs, a fireplace, and plenty of room for a party.) And, a very large study adjacent.

And here is their bathroom (Now that's really weird -- sitting on the toilet shooting pictures of a bathroom!)

I loved these old radiators and fans in the bathrooms. They were in all of them.

And I think this is a hip bath. I don't really know what that is, except there's a line in a song from "A Little Night Music" -- "How could he slip and trip into a hip bath" (that seems wrong.)

Here's the bar. I think it might have been the chapel in its previous life. Or maybe a pool. Doesn't that part of the floor look like a pool that is covered? But rather "altar-like" in the back. Hmmm.

The kitchen photo was lousy. But at least you get the gist of the desserts. There were even staging areas in the kitchen. Now that's my dream kitchen!

Many of the rooms had oak paneling, as did the corridors -- and it was polished to a shine. The long corridor on the second floor was filled with nude drawings of one of the hosts. Must have done life modeling to get him through music school. Who knows?

Anyway, lest you should wonder if I asked if I could take these pix, the answer is yes. The only thing he didn't want photographed were the nude charcoals (about 15 of them). That was fine by me, but to be perfectly honest and not just proud of our art-kid Greg's work, Greg's life drawings are much better. More style and individuality. More depth and personality. I didn't mention that to our host, though. That'd be tacky. And he might take it personally, given he was the subject.

On the third floor was a ballroom which the host uses as a recording studio.

He has his own label, recording many of the artists performing that evening.

Our GM, the music school dean and LSO conductor (who is very cute -- I asked him who cut his hair, because I bug Rick about this every time we go to a concert. He gave me his wife's card!)

He also introduced his young daughter, who said a few words about music and was charming.

Then came the concert -- piano, viola, cello, voice, more piano. All wonderful.

Oh, I didn't mention the food. First sushi (being the sushi strumpet that I am, my world isn't big enough for too much sushi!), huge shrimp, marinated roasted asparagus, really fabulous baked brie with raspberry -- I've got to experiment with that one -- beef on bread rounds, much more. And desserts to die for.

So, now I can say I've been in that house. And it was amazing.

And I'm very glad I don't have to heat or clean it.

When I left, I looked back -- the lights were on throughout and it looked so very beautiful, magical, regal, like a fairy castle or a grand country home somewhere in England where Elton John and Prince Charles might hang out for a gig.

And all I could think is I bet they don't have a cat.


Rosa said...

Wow, what a house indeed!!! Could you imagine keeping it clean??? Not me, thank you very much. I loved your last sentence!! Probably not.

Unknown said...

OMG - what a huge house! I've always had a fascination with large homes. I love the old house they used on the original Dark Shadows TV show - it is really Carey Mansion in Rhode Island.

Great post and nice photos!

beth said...

HOW COMPLETELY FUN for you to be able to see the inside and take photos !!!

and I bet they do have a cat....can you imagine the mice that could hide in that place due to the size...they probably just hid the cat toys for all of you !

Sugar Bear said...

What a lovely home. I have to say I'm surprised that the bedrooms aren't a little more foofed up for such a grand home. They must have a cleaning person for all those windows! I bet this house would be fabulous at Christmas time.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tour! I LOVE seeing people's houses, especially GRAND ones. I would love to live in THIS house, but not have to clean it!!!

I'm with you on the subject of SUSHI. I would have embarrassed myself at this event- I would have siezed the WHOLE platter and scurried away. You would have found me on the couch in the great room with an empty platter and a rice mess on my sweater. heehee

Oh, man! Now I'm HUNGRY! Waaa-saaaaa-bi!

BONNIE K said...

That is an amazing house and I loved all the pix. I especially liked the look of the house with its lights on. And I wish we had those trays of food right here in our house right now!

Beth Leintz said...

Incredible! They sure knew how to build them back them- love all thos little details like the fans in the bathroom and the tile on the fireplace- wow!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures and "narration" and you're right about the place lit up at night. Great last line about the cat thing,too!

anno said...

Oh, I loved this tour! I think I've driven past this place before & always wondered what it looked like inside. And now I know!

The party looked like wonderful fun! I think I could have kept you company at that sushi platter.

And you're absolutely right: no cats!

Mary Timme said...

I saw no evidence of a cat. It is quite the house though and quite the feast.

Shelley said...

Whereas I'm not crazy about the house, the food looks fit for the Queen of England! Wow. Nice photos. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

Beth said...

I would have liked to have been on that tour. I Love old houses!
Wonderful picture of you too!
I love how you write its so informative but yet makes me giggle some too!
Hope you had a great week-end!

Kristine said...

That was fun, getting a look inside.
Where is this house?
That was a lot of sushi!

Linda Jo said...

Great picture of you!!! How great that you got to go into a house from your childhood and take pictures! I love that! There were some houses in my childhood that I always wanted to go inside of...

Annie Jeffries said...

That is one amazing house but what really charmed my socks was the completion of the circle that started in your youth and ended with this visit decades later. I love it when things like this happen.

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