I could tell from the moment we approached Blairsden that this was going to be a spectacular showhouse!
This was the best Mansion in May hosted by the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center I’ve ever seen! I understand the association had been trying to get this particular mansion for 40 years!
From the Mansion in May Site…
Designed and constructed between 1897 and 1903, Blairsden was the magnificent country home of the family of C. Ledyard Blair, a New York financier, sportsman and commodore of the New York Yacht Club. Blair was a grandson of self-made multimillionaire, philanthropist and Princeton University trustee and benefactor John Insley Blair, who made his fortune in mining and building much of America’s railroad system.
While we were waiting in line a lovely lady by the name of Prudence Piggott delighted us with stories of Blairsden. What a great name! Prudence Piggott. What I wouldn’t give for such a charming name! Oh well, I digress….According to Prudence, it was Ledyard Blair the grandson, who had the mansion built and lived there until his death in 1949. After that the grand 500-acre estate was then divided up, with the mansion sold to the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, who operated it as a retreat center. The nuns actually hosted spaghetti dinners for the locals at the mansion and the surrounding community loved them. They held all types of retreats, ladies, high school, etc….
Can’t you just picture the nuns scurrying about getting ready for a spaghetti dinner in the shadows of these giant gods:)
Prudence said the nuns would remove elements and architectural friezes if they were in the way of a desk or other utilitarian piece of furniture. They also covered up all the beautiful limestone and marble with linoleum. Many months were spent removing all that linoleum which, in the end actually protected the original floors. They also found an amazing statue of Joan of Arc tucked in a closet with a sheet over it. Turns out it is a replica of a very famous statue and worth quite a bit of money.
Don’t you love this little girl by the reflecting pool. Awe Darn, I sure could use a reflecting pool. Perhaps I’d do some more regular reflecting. According to Prudence, the grandfather and railroad man John Blair who acquired the huge fortune was quite the philanthropist and built churches and schools across the county while laying the railroad. That’s why there are Blairstowns all across the country.
I managed to snap a few pictures of highlights and ideas that could be diy’d on a budget.
I LLLLLOOOOVEE this chair don’t you?
Love the idea of taking a dark old Victorian chair and painting it high gloss white. Hmmm, I know I have a few of those in my stash.
Love that light fixture and the wide crown mouldings.
from the site….Blair and his wife, Florence Osborne Jennings, had four daughters, all of whom had wedding ceremonies or receptions at Blairsden, with private trains transporting guests from New York City. Members of New York’s elite Coaching Club and Ladies’ Four-in-Hand Driving Club made several visits to the estate, often on Blair’s handsome road coach, the “Defiance,” pulled by a team of four matched horses.
Look at this incredible view right out of the girls room window. Can you imagine growing up in such a grand estate. I heard there was a 20 foot dunking pool down in the depths primarily for use by the men, but that the Blair girls loved to sneak down for a dunk. What fun, you lucky little ladies.
The girls would have been looking out from the side of the estate across the hills of New Jersey.
These lady friezes were in the area under their windows.
Don’t even get me started on the artwork, my eyes were bugging out.
I think I took 200 pictures!
love this little gallery wall over a banquette with swing arm lamps beckoning you to crack open a book.
There were so many details and beautiful things.
Like hidden doors.
Love the python top of this table. This could definitely be a DIY.
You can see the inset here. I’m doin’ this for sure!
Here’s another great DIY idea. So simple, so devine.
Another gorgeous floor that could be done as a painted floor treatment.
This table pushed me over the edge as a must do for an ugly table I have in my stash.
How awesome would these babies be in white? Maybe a little python inset or would that be over the top?
Oh well, I’ve got to get my butt going and get to my day job. I’m still hoping to launch my business full time.
You know what I say….Quit your day job, not your day dream!
Hey imagine my surprise as I was walking through one of the hallways at Blairsden. What do you think I came across but one of the paintings I bought at auction and later sold to an art dealer! Woo Hoo. I am validated! Guess I’ve got a fairly decent eye after all.
It was tucked in this space with the great greek key wallpaper.
I was so busy looking at the super duper chandelier that I almost missed it.
My eyes wandered from the lighting above to the floor below and I swear I almost missed it!
When all of a sudden I shrieked, yes shrieked right there in Blairsden. I needed a dunk in the dunking pool I was so excited!
I was so happy to see this wonderful painting by Joyce Barrow hanging in such an amazing home and designer showhouse!
Such a happy ending for Joyce’s painting and for me!
QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, NOT YOUR DAYDREAM!