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My Little Corner of the Net

Friday, December 30, 2011

Gallier House New Orleans

More research for my Victorian House - My wife and I were able to visit the Gallier House in New Orleans historic French Quarter. The house was designed by famous New Orleans architect James Gallier in the 1850's. The house has been loving restored and furnished with period pieces.

Here is a photo of the double parlor

The house has a long narrow floor plan and a small courtyard at the back of the property. The property backs up to another house and also has one on each side. The skinny portion of the back of the house could be closed off from the front part of the house. The back areas included the kitchen and dining areas on the first floor, and the bathroom and slaves quarters on the second floor. The courtyard has a small garden and had a cistern to collect the waste, as it was designed before the city of New Orleans had a public sewer system. The house is one of first known in the area to have indoor toilets.

The entry hall is pretty unassuming, but still ornate with the woodwork, woodwork and wallpaper

Here is a photo of the front of the house which is directly adjacent to the street. The balcony and iron work on the second floor cantilever over the public sidewalk.

Here is a photo of the front door and very heavy custom designed grill to protect the residence

Here is a photo of the front parlor with dust covers which were used while the family was away. Notice the very heavy plaster crown molding.

Here is a photo of the dining room table. The table was set for a multi-course meal

Here is a shot of the kitchen sink with a view out to the courtyard. Notice the copper hot water heater to the left.

The stove was wood burning and built into the wall in the kitchen. I was surprised at how small the kitchen actually was.

The house was state of the art at the time and featured this copper water heater in the kitchen

The pantry, just off the kitchen was stocked with period necessities
Upstairs, the large hall serves at a library. The tour guide told us that Gallier didn't like the wasted space. Another very neat feature of this room/hall, was a large operable skylight with could be opened to help let all the hot summer air escape and keep the house cooler in the summer months.
The master bedroom was very ornate, furniture, carpet,  and even the wallpaper. The tour guide mentioned something about how valuable all of the dark carved wood furniture was, but I missed that part. It was produced by a local craftsman.
The exterior of the house is drastically different facing the private rear courtyard. The facade is wood and plaster, versus the large cut stone and wrought iron on the front of the house.
Here is photo of one of the slaves quarters. They were much simpler than the rest of the house, no woodwork or wallpaper.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Queen Anne Style

While in Eureka Springs Arkansas last summer we took a tour of a great restored Queen Anne style house. I found some great photos on a photographers website.
These will be another great resource for my Victorian house.

This historic Queen Anne Mansion was originally built in Carthage, Missouri. A century later workers dismantled it, board-by-board and stone-by-stone, marked each piece and put it back together on hill overlooking Eureka Springs.

Around the side, the area that used to be the screen porch, now houses a pretty great stair case down to the basement.

The front parlor is ornately furnished. Almost every room in the house has a different fireplace.

The round or oriel window in the front parlor is very beautiful. I would like to somehow incorporate this in one of my projects.

For the most part, the furniture was the focal point of most of the rooms. There was not a lot of wallpaper used in the restoration.
The tour guide explained that the amount of carving and woodwork in the entryway showed a family's wealth and status. As you can see from the picture and inset, the entrance hall was very ornate.

This picture shows how they decorate part of the house for Christmas - pretty ornate by today's standards, but not how it would have been done back in the 1800's

Monday, December 26, 2011

Overholser Mansion

We took a day trip to Oklahoma City this last summer to visit the Overholser Mansion. Walking through the halls, one journeys back in time experiencing first hand life as the Overholser family did over one hundred years ago. This 1903 three-story Chateauesque home with original furnishings, hand-painted canvas walls, stained glass windows and lavish fixtures, stands as a tribute to one of Oklahoma City's truly remarkable families. The 11,000+ square foot home provides a unique experience to all who visit. Nestled in the beautiful historic Heritage Hills neighborhood, it is one of Oklahoma City's top tourist attractions.

Here is a gingerbread replica of the mansion on display for Christmas.

The house is brick and stone. The dark brown portions are stone that has been painted.

The 11,000 square foot home and 4,000 square foot carriage house were finished in 1903. Complete with hand painted canvas walls, an interior of Antwerp Oak, extravagant
furnishings, and lavish furnishings and stained glass.

Note the Art Novuea hand painted walls in the entry

The dining room is set for a dinner party

The house still has it original carpet, wallcoverings, furniture and draperies.

These two stained glass windows are at the intermediate level of the main staircase.

The Overholser Mansion’s late-Victorian style interior is one of the few house museums left in America to house 99% of its original collections. It was a private residence until 1972 when it was purchased by the historical society.

Here is a view through the butlers pantry into the kitchen.

Here is a photo in the kitchen showing some of the old baking equipment. The kitchen was remodelled in the 1950's. The tour guide said one of the stipulations of the old housekeeper and cook was that they had to keep the woodburning stove. So they did!

The other interesting thing about the remodel was that they put in the latest kitchen cabinets - they are by a company called St. Charles Kitchen Company and used in famous houses like Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water or Mies Van Der Rohe's Farnesworth residence.

Here is an old picture of the house, back when the horseless carriage was brand new

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas

Here is a picture of our Christmas tree.

 We don't have any snow yet at our house in Oklahoma, but we are ready for Christmas both Inside and Out!

This is the photo we used on our Christmas cards this year.  It is my family being silly and was taken on a trip we took to Eureka Springs Arkansas earlier this year.  We received a lot of great comments about the photo, especially since my wife is the choir director at our local high school.   I have been blessed in many ways this year.  As we celebrate Christmas and reflect back on 2011, I would like to thank everyone who helped make this year a little brighter for me and my family.

I wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Victorian Mansion Ideas

I have had this project on the back burner for quite a while.  My daughter and I received a Duracraft - Marquam Hill Mansion kit from a friend in the Tulsa Miniature Club a couple of years ago.  I have had all kinds of ideas for a great Victorian house for a long time.  I have also been collecting things here and there - a fireplace, pieces of furniture, wood brackets, wallpaper and even windows and doors.

Manufacturer's photo on the box
Manufacturer's Photos on box

After studying the plans and a few completed kits online, I began to sketch. The kits advertises 8 rooms, but in my architectural mind.. 8 rooms isn't really a "mansion". and that is counting a small attic space as one of the rooms.  I have all kinds of sketches of ideas on how to add on to the kit, but I knew it would be hard to replicate the same materials in the kit with an addition.  Not to mention that fact that I would need to be able to construct it in a way so that I could get it in and out of my house if I needed to.  I began sketching ways to add another wing or an addition to the original house.  I saw another Marquam Hill house kit come up and eBay and I had the idea to combine the two kits and create a house that was nearly twice the size.  I got the idea to double the size of the house and make it a true mansion.

There are a couple of things that bother me about the kit.  The biggest thing is that there does not seem to be a way to do anything with the top/3rd floor of the tower.  In my design, I will make that another room.  The other complaint about this kit, is the small single story kitchen that is applied to the side is too small.  I noticed that a lot of people make the kitchen larger and some even add a second story to the small kitchen.  Most make the second story addition into a bathroom.
A kit with a kitchen addition on the right

A kit under construction with a 2-story kitchen/bath addition on the right
So here is one of my initial sketch options to combine the two kits into one house.  My hope is that by getting this down in writing, it will be a reminder to keep working on this project throughout the year.  So this is where I am at... I have toyed with the idea of 2 towers, but I like the idea of the house being a little more symmetrical.

As always, your comments and ideas are appreciated and if any of you have worked on a Marquam Hill kit, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a preliminary room layout.  I have not totally committed to the upstairs room layout.  The library may move to the space above the parlor.  The actual bedrooms may be a nursery, a master bedroom, and a maids quarters.  I am considering a kind of wrap around porch at the kitchen.