An 18th-Century Estate Restoration Near Fredericksburg, Virginia

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. HandeganJohn Cay stands beside an antique plaster bust of Napoléon.

Architectural Digest covered a breathtaking restoration of an 18th-century house situated about 20 miles southeast of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Cay and his wife, Billings, bought Rose Hill and it's 300 acres in 2008, with the thought that some day it could be restored to something great.  John Cay, didn't step into the estate as you see in the pictures, but rather purchased the property when it was at it's worst. The  T-shaped house had been destroyed in a 1959 fire and poorly rebuilt, so it certainly was a challenge so to say. Cay put together an exceptional team that included Frederick Ecker II, whose firm, Tidewater Preservation, has revived dozens of National Historic Landmarks, and Amelia T. Handegan, a South Carolina decorator who had previously worked with the Cays on their 1730s cottage in Charleston to carry out their vision.

The restoration was anything but easy.  In order to install new floor joists on the second story, the house’s entire upper section had to be temporarily removed.  The workers had to carefully dance around the dining room’s rickety plaster walls, in order that they didn’t crack.  In addition, the dining room’s Dufour wallpaper was ruined in the 1959 fire, so it had to be replaced with an identical example.

The history behind the property is rather interesting.  Politician John Hipkins Bernard inherited the plantation in the early 1800s, and upon his 1816 marriage to Jane Gay Robertson—a descendant of Pocahontas—he christened the property Gay Mont. The home started out as a simple two-story structure.  Bernard added a library wing, an office wing, and an octagonal music room. Being a seasoned traveler, Bernard brought back from Europe noble busts, spectacular a Dufour et Leroy wallpaper, and seeds and trees to enrich his gardens and orchards.

When John Cay and his wife The Cays bought Rose Hill through the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, a descendant of the Bernard family gave up the various furnishings that were originally found in the estate.  The harp, music stand, and rosewood spinet piano were returned to the music room, for which Designer Amelia T Handegan created a custom geometric painted floor. Handegan paid close attention to restoring the history behind this home, than recreating something all-together new.  The desire to continue one family's passions that began back in the 18th century  into this modern era is heart touching and meaningful for the Cay's.

This article was published in the June 2013 issue of Architectural Digest

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. Handegan2

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. Handegan3

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. Handegan

An antique tole chandelier from Parc Monceau is suspended above an English breakfast table

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. HandeganPainted in a Benjamin Moore tan, the entrance hall features a Regency gilt-wood mirror and circa-1830 side chairs from Handegan’s shop

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. HandeganAntique Baltimore fancy chairs sit proudly in the center hall

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. Handegan

The master bedroom, painted in a Benjamin Moore beige, features a grand 1822 four-poster bed. 

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. Handegan

Shelves designed by Handegan to hold books that have belonged to Rose Hill for nearly two centuries

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. Handegan

The floor was painted by Kristen Bunting according to a design by Amelia T Handegan

The music room’s harp and piano date back to the original owners

Tidewater Preservation and decorated by Amelia T. Handegan

Dufour et Leroy’s wallpaper circa-1822 depicts Vesuvius smoking in the distance;

A Regency sideboard from O’Sullivan Antiques, and the dining chairs were custom made by Handegan.  The  dining table once hosted Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart.

Classical Style At Osterley Park House

Chippendale furniture, Etruscan Style, Neoclassical Style, Osterley Park House, Robert Adam

Osterley Park is a mansion located in the western suburbs of London.  To this day, it is regarded as one of the most finest examples of prominent neoclassical style in England.

This mansion was close to London, and served as a country retreat for very wealthy families. Some of the other well known retreats of this type near London include Syon House and Chiswick House.

The origins of this property trace back to banker Sir Thomas Gresham, who owned the property and had a house built in the 1570s. The stately brick house was completed in 1576. Gresham also bought the neighboring Manor of Boston in 1572. Fast forward two hundred years, the manor house fell into disrepair, and became the ownership of Sir Francis Child, the head of Child's Bank, after a mortgage default. In 1761 he employed Robert Adam, an emerging fashionable architect in England, to remodel the house. The rooms were personalized by elaborate plasterwork, rich color schemes, and furnished in the English neoclassical style.

Today the house has been preserved as it would have been in the 1780s thanks to the National Trust.  The formal gardens also have been transformed from an overgrown wilderness, back to their 18th century grandeur.  The gardens today smell smell like roses, and contain ornamental vegetables beds. After walking through the great white portico, you would then cross the courtyard and enter into the magnificent hall.

The Entrance Hall To Osterley Park House

The entrance hall to Osterley Park House was created in 1767. Constructed as an all-purpose room, the Hall was used as a saloon, reception room and occasional dining room. The play between the different shapes makes this space breathtaking. Its rectangular space is enhanced by semicircular alcoves at each end, both with a fireplace flanked by large semi-circular alcoves filled with statues.

Stucco panels of military trophies adorn the walls, which were originally inspired by Augustus on the Campidoglio in Rome. Adam created similar stucco trophies for Syon Park. The color scheme is neutral, greys and whites with the floor in a black pattern on white marble.  The floor was designed around white Portland stone and red sandstone.

The State Bed Room

In the State bedroom stands a spectacular bed, made according to Adam's design in 1776.  Adam also designs the hangings and interior of the dome.  In this room can be seen another exquisite ceiling by Kauffman.

The Breakfast Room

This room has a terrific view of the park and was used as a sitting room.  This room was re-designed in the 19th century, but the colors and some of the furniture are original to Adam's design. The drawing for this design can be seen at Sir John Soane's museum in London.

The Etruscan Room

The Etruscan room was inspired by ancient designs discovered in Italy. This room particularly was designed around Sir William Hamilton’s collection of Etruscan, Grecian and Roman vases. A set of 8 chairs were created to match the design featured on the ceilings and walls of this room. The furniture is attributed to Chippendale.

The Tapestry Room

The Tapestry Room was designed to hold a set of magnificent tapestries designed by Francois Boucher.  Many of Adam's other clients also had similar rooms, with tapestries ordered from the Gobelins factory in Paris.  A sofa and eight matching armchairs were specially created and upholstered to match the tapestries.

Osterley Park House is available to the public, and also contains the original furniture which Adam designed.

Note-able Links:

-The Genius of Robert Adam – Classical Addiction

- The Brimstone Butterfly Blog Series on Osterley Paark Part 1, 2, 3, 4

-Take a tour of Osterley Park House on Youtube- here

-Beautiful Pictures of Osterley Park Seen at Trip Advisor -here

-Collection Highlights Of Osterley Park At National Trust- here

-Heston and Isleworth - Osterley Park -British History Online

Entrance Hall of Osterley Park House by d0gwalker on Flickr, Keywords Chippendale furniture, Etruscan Style, Neoclassical Style, Osterley Park House, Robert Adam

Entrance Hall of Osterley Park House by d0gwalker on Flickr

Library, Keywords -Chippendale furniture, Etruscan Style, Neoclassical Style, Osterley Park House, Robert Adam

Library - Picture Credit- nttreasurehunt.wordpress.com

Osterley Park House- Neoclassical Style Seen At The Regency Furniture Blog

Library Picture Credit mitrofani.livejournal.com

Bed Chamber- Osterley Park House- Neoclassical Style Seen At The Regency Furniture Blog

Osterley Park and House, London - The State Bed designed by Robert Adam in 1776 in the State Bedchamber at Osterley Park. The architectural features of the bed resemble a canopied box that Adam had designed for George III at the Italian Theatre in the Haymarket

The Breakfast Room Or Music Room Osterley Park House- Neoclassical Style Seen At The Regency Furniture Blog The Breakfast Room- Picture Credit The Brimstone Butterfly Blog

Etruscan Room' at Osterley HouseEtruscan Room' at Osterley House -www.thecultureconcept.com

Thomas Chippendale's Furniture Created For Osterley Park Seen at London Connection 2

Thomas Chippendale's Furniture Created For Osterley Park Seen at The Anglophile

Thomas Chippendale's Furniture Created For Osterley Park Seen at London Connection

Thomas Chippendale's Furniture Created For Osterley Park Seen at The Anglophile

Etruscan Room' at Osterley House

Osterlery Park thegoldhawkproject.com

The Etruscan Dressing Room: Osterley Etruscan’ Room at Osterley- Picture Credit  by curry15 on Flickr

Thomas Chippendale Furniture

Etruscan’ room at OsterleyEtruscan’ Room Furniture at Osterley- National Trust

Osterley Park - Photograph Seen in Judith Millers ColorsOsterley Park - Photograph Seen in Judith Millers Colors

A painted roundel within a stucco panel on the walls of The Eating Room at Osterley Park, MiddlesexA painted roundel within a stucco panel on the walls of The Eating Room at Osterley Park, Middlesex

Visit nationaltrustimages.org.uk

Osterley Park - Photograph Seen in Judith Millers Colors

Osterley Park - Photograph Seen in Judith Millers Colors

Classical Style At Osterley Park Housewww.partyingredients.co.uk

Long Gallery, Brimstone Butterfly Blog

The Long Gallery, which overlook the gardens at the back of the house- According to The Brimstone Butterfly Blog, this room was not decorated by Adam, but rather by Matthew Hillyard.

View their series "Osterley Park and House: Part Three" which goes into further detail about this house.

Farrow & Ball Pea 'Green' at Osterley Park, Hounslow, London.Farrow & Ball Pea 'Green' at Osterley Park, Hounslow, London.

Fantastic English Decorating Books

English Decoration: Timeless Inspiration for the Contemporary Home by Ben Pentreath with a foreword by Nicky Haslam. Photography by Jan Baldwin Published by Ryland, Peters & Small--CICO Books.- Buy It on Amazon 

London interior designer Ben Pentreath has had antiques columns in weekend editions of the Financial Times for years, and a blog benpentreath.com in which he talks of his renovation of a Regency country house and garden in West Dorset.

In his new book, Pentreath writes lavishly about his clients’ libraries, Spitalfields, his Georgian flat in Bloomsbury, his Victorian shops in Rugby Street, a love of Piranesi, interiors and everything worth knowing about English design. ‘English Decoration’ is Pentreath’s approach on updated English interior design.  This book is exciting for the English collector. It shows bulging old sofas, antique collectable, English garden flowers and faded prints.

In English Decoration, London-based architectural and interior designer Ben Pentreath presents a major new survey of the best of the English style. Eighteen homes, many of which have never been previously photographed, provide the source material for his wide-ranging investigation of this classic look.   189 pages, Buy it from $29 on Amazon

Reviews on Amazon

- By Simon Knight "What a magic selection of homes to get inspiration from. Mayybe not everyone's cup of tea, the minimalists will hate it, but right up our street. My wife and I can really relate to this timeless classic English look. Ben is a man after our own heart, we need a new light fitting, what does Ben use? How can we decorate our dining room, let's see what Ben has done. Great stuff."

-By Deborah Louise "I already have an extensive library of decorating books extolling the English style, yet I was lured to buy English Decoration: Timeless Inspiration for the Contemporary Home as much by Ben Pentreath's delicious prose as by his book's inspiring photographs. The English style - both country and city, high and low - is an intriguingly layered, soothing mode of decoration (if it can be called that, so evolved does it appear). Natural, attractive and livable, eternally aging gracefully with a common thread of practicality running throughout, each interior is as singular as its inhabitants. Mr. Pentreath's book illustrates these qualities admirably and provides a much-needed update and reinterpretation of the style for the 21st century. For me, the glimpses into Peter Hone's flat alone warrant buying this book.

Classic English Design And Antiques

Classic English Design and Antiques By Emily Eerdmans with a foreward by Mario Buatta

This lavishly illustrated volume celebrates classic English antiques and interiors.  This book features more than 150 objects from Hyde Park Antiques, as well as contemporary interiors from the world's most recognized decorators such as Mario Buatta, Albert Hadley, Bunny Williams, Charlotte Moss, and Cullman & Kravis, among many others.

In this book the author takes you through 5 major styles from the periods between 1700 and 1830.  From Queen Anne to Georgian, Paladianism, English Rococo, Neoclassicsim, and Regency.  A spotlight is given to the most important designers in the English style such as Thomas Chippenddale, Robert Adam, and George Hepplewhite.

England at the end of the seventeenth century started to develop decorative arts to unsurpassed heights of excellence.  For the next 130 years, English craftsmen produced furniture and objects with the finest materials and advanced techniques, which became a style that caught the worlds attention.  Through this time, the English had a talent for creating extraordinary beauty with masterful craftsmanship, which often combined the various looks of the ornamental extravagances of the French king Louis XIV, the exoticism of the Orient, and the sober grandeur of classical Greek and Roman antiquity.

Antiques expert Emily Eerdmans educates the reader to the characteristics of the various styles found in England, beginning with William and Mary and Queen Anne and closing with the ever-popular Regency.

This book is recommended for both the serious collector and the more casual admirer of traditional English style and design.  Get this book from Amazon starting at $21.   This volume is a must-have addition for your library.

Influential Styles From Baroque to Bauhaus-Inspiration for Today's Interiors

Influential Styles From Baroque to Bauhaus-Inspiration for Today's Interiors

Judith Miller has a number of fantastic books that I would highly recommend reading and owning for your library. Judith Miller started collecting antiques in the late 1960s when she was studying at Edinburgh University. Her knowledge of antiques then grew in 1979 she was co-founder of the best-selling Miller's Antiques Price Guide. Miller was a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, she is cohost of BBC TV's The House Detectives.

Her book Influential Styles demonstrates how some of the world's most talented designers create gorgeous interiors that are historically influenced, yet fresh and relevant as ever. She covers the main design influences from medieval times to today, each chapter begins with an introduction to each style, accompanied by an overview of the architectural styles, furniture and decorative details that typified the interiors of that period-for example. She reviews everything from moldings and columns to colors and furniture. This book contains dazzling photos of real homes that display these styles. This invaluable reference tool provides a wealth of creative inspiration for anyone who wants to capture the art, architecture, and visual drama of a period style in any room of their own home