A new year, indeed a new decade, is upon us. There has been a lot of discussion during the past few months – on blogs, on design shows and in magazines – about new approaches to interiors that dealt with self-examination of our needs versus our wants. One story I closely followed was that of Newell Turner, the editor in chief of House Beautiful magazine (www.housebeautiful.com), in which he cataloged through the pages of the magazine and in his own blog, his personal journey in building his own country getaway in the Catskills.
Newell summed up his approach to the “new” building and design better than anyone when he stated in his first editorial letter to House Beautiful readers, and I’m paraphrasing here: “I wanted a house that I could run, not one that would run me.” His selections of building materials and decor were simple and chic as well as tidy and low-maintenance and hit the nail right on the head.
It was while following Newell’s sojourn that my mind kept going back to the lilliputian building pictured above and which I had seen “somewhere” in my travels over the years. It is a replica of an 1810 Dutch house which famed socialite Mary Lou Whitney presented as a gift to her husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, to serve as a chapel on the couple’s Saratoga Springs estate named Cady Hill House. I had to search for a long time to find this image, which was taken from the book “Only the Best – A Celebration of Gift Giving in America.”
And while I don’t have photos of the interiors I can just imagine the simplicity and calm it contains. It strikes just the right note for a new approach to divesting, downsizing and diverting, and not just to make things smaller for the vulgar sake of saving a buck, but because it’s more thoughtful and creative and definitely Rustic Chic to sometimes think inside the box.
Photo from “Only the Best – A Celebration of Gift Giving in America”‘; Abrams, 1985; by Stuart E. Jacobson