Although I am not particularly interested in Chelsea Clinton’s wedding (doesn’t every bride deserve a little privacy if she wants it?), I am happy to be introduced to Astor Courts and Stanford White. Astor Courts is a beautiful house, with stunning architectural details. It is also on the market for $12 million (although the NYT article indicates that it was suddenly taken off the market in early July). According to the New York Times, the house was designed to evoke the Grand Trianon at Versailles. (Image source)
On the top: Astor Courts. On the bottom: Grand Trianon.
Astor Courts, after decades of neglect, was thoroughly restored in recent years.
The restored living room, with its herringbone floors and ionic columns, measures 35’ x 60’. The domed skylight is my favorite feature, although I also appreciate that the scale of so many elements in the room match the size of the room: the fireplace is 9’x10’, and the crown molding is 30”. Note the lampshade on the hanging light; it is a copy of the shade that was original to the home. Image source.
The herringbone floors continue in the hall. Image source.
During the recent renovations, the house was brought back more in line with the original plan, but with modern updates such as a new kitchen. This is a pretty solution to the sink on a wall dilemma I discussed in a post earlier this year.
There are some exquisite architectural details in this house, restored after many decades of neglect. Image source.
The home also features an indoor pool with a groin vault ceiling, painted in a serene shade of turquoise, and views out a series of arched windows.
A detail shot of the ceiling and columns in the pool room. Image source.
The house also boasts as an indoor clay tennis court with an industrial style ceiling. I love the fretwork on the railing; this room has a Gothic feel to it.
A New York Times feature from 2008 indicated that when the bathrooms were redone, the fixtures were copied from the original plans. (Image source)
For a time in the 1960s, Astor Courts was used as a nursing home after Brooke Astor donated the house to the Catholic Church.
Stanford White was considered to be the best-known American architect of the late 19th century, although his career and his life were cut short when he was murdered over a love triangle gone wrong.
A Stanford White designed Palazzo in Manhattan.
Washington Square Arch (New York City) is attributed to Stanford White; it was built in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration.
Stanford White designed my favorite house in Newport, Rosecliff. When I first saw an image of Astor Courts, it reminded me of Rosecliff. No surprise, given that Rosecliff was also modeled after Grand Trianon. Rosecliff was completed in 1902, several years before Astor Courts. Image source.
The inspiration: Grand Trianon (source) was constructed in the late 1600s, and designed by architect Jules Hardouin Mansart. Yet another case of Americans being enamored with the French architectural tradition!
I came across several good articles while researching this post:
A Fixer Upper to End Them All, NYT , 11/6/08
Astor Courts, Estate of the Day, Luxist.com 9/27/09
It will be interesting to see whether Chelsea does indeed celebrate her big day here – reported to be the weekend of July 31st. What do you think of the house?
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