September 26, 2013

Renewed Ladew Room Debuts

Ha! Try and say that fast three times! I was invited to Ladew Gardens, one of the most special places in our area, for the unveiling of a newly redecorated room in the manor house. For years, the house was decorated mainly in the fashion of the owner, Harvey Ladew, but there were always the tastes of the various house committees overlaid on the d├ęcor.

What started as a job to replace some pelmets and restore a cracking ceiling became a 10-month long project, spanning the globe and using the expertise of numerous craftspeople. Ladew 103In the image above, you can see a little bit of the room as it’s been decorated for the past 20+ years. What you can’t see is the huge and growing crack across the ceiling and the deep concern on the faces of the staff and board. In addition, there was a feeling that something wasn’t quite right about this drawing room, as it didn’t fit well with the rest of the house.

Everything was removed from the room and the plasterers were called in, only to find severe structural damage to the plasterwork and the ceiling. Once the pelmet was removed, the damage to it was clearly apparent. Moths, age and lots of cigarette smoke had taken their toll and the fabric was damaged and the stitchwork was tattered. The curtain tie-backs were not in much better condition. Trips to the Design Center in NYC were made, fabrics were sourced from Scalamandre and Chelsea Textiles, and an order was sent off to be hand-stitched in India. pelmetPaint colours were investigated, and it was discovered that the room was the palest celadon green rather than the yellow which it had been painted.

Original inventories of the house from the 1930’s and 1950’s were consulted and pieces were relocated from other parts of the house.

Copies of paintings that had once been in the room were sourced and reproduced.

Speeches were made, donors were thanked, last minute details were checked

the candles were lit,

and the room was unveiled!

Even the tie-backs are gorgeous!

The drawing room turned out beautifully, thanks to the hard work of the staff and board members, especially Sarah Schweitzer, LB Boyce, Stiles T. Colwill, Fran Scully and Executive Director, Emily Emrick! I know that this was a lot of hard work, and everyone should be very proud of the work they did!

The house is open for tours, click here for details on hours and days.

PS. I just wanted to show everyone how well the espaliered apple trees are growing!

22 comments:

  1. What an incredible job by a team of very talented folks. I'm curious, what happened to the old, damaged items?

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    1. They kept the pieces - they keep everything! In fact, they found a lot of the pieces in the early inventories in the building.

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  2. Thanks for posting, I'm impressed with Ladew's board for their dedication. I think most people would say, "well, let's tear down all of this old stuff and pick something up from target, no one will care." I will definitely visit Ladew soon. I hear about it all of the time.

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    1. Patricia - go up there and do some painting!

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  3. wow! what a mirror. any more pics of it?

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  4. what a charming room: especially love the vintagey chairs and sofa in that celedon (reminds me of my grandparents house!) I really need to visit one of these days........

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  5. What an amazing project! I can only imagine what a journey it must have been from start to finish evident from the photos. Can't wait to tour the house again! Thanks Meg, for sharing these photos.

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  6. This looks beautiful Meg. Thanks for the before and after photos.

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  7. how I adore Ladew + congratulations to everyone + espaliered apple tree is great. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. I've been taking pix of the apple tree for a few years.

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  8. Those pelmet valances are fantastic, Meg! What a wonderful restoration project. Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. The difference between the new and the old is stunning.

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  9. Fascinating---so glad to see a good example of this sort of taste survive and restored (and of course, elsewhere in the house is one of my favorite rooms ever, the oval library.

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    1. The oval library is one of the most beautiful and well-thought out rooms. I think that Harvey Ladew doesn't get the credit he deserves for the design and decoration of the house.

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  10. I should add, having been involved with house museums myself, that the house committee can sometimes be a dangerous thing---as clearly was the case with some of the past committees before this enlightened restoration. The human urge to 'improve' or overlay one's own idea of 'good taste' is almost primal in some people, and they forget that the mission is to preserve and interpret the taste of the owner. Bravo to this committee

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    1. Stiles Colwill was the genius behind this!

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