Saturday, April 30, 2011

Modern English-Tudor Style

Courtesy of Elle Decor. Image by Simon Upton
In honor of today's royal wedding, we will take a look at English Tudor style. Just as British royalty have gotten a modern, fresh update in Will and Kate, the English-tudor style has gotten a 21st-century makeover as well. Always thought of Tudor as dark and stuffy? Think again. Gone is the dark oak paneling with dark oak flooring with dark oak furniture, all under dark oak beams. Todays Tudor-style has lightened up, with touches of dark wood as an accent, not the main design feature that seemed to demand jewel-toned carpets, brown leather furniture, and heavy velvet drapery. 

Built in 1927, this tudor is one of the Stockbroker Tudors, houses popular with the Wall Street contingent of generations past, in Westchester, a bedroom community of Manhattan. The young couple who purchased the house wanted to freshen the imposing, dark Tudor, modernizing its appearance and floorplan. The house had separate servant's quarters and family area, which no longer made sense for a modern family. The kitchen and dining room, though adjacent, shared no common door to connect the two rooms. Designer Steven Gambrel modernized the outdated floorplan, the exterior half-timbers were painted light blue, and much of the heavy wood interiors were painted in light taupes, blues, and modern, light greys.

Gambrel removed much of the original dark paneling and painting much of the wood accents that remained. In the photo above, Gambrel moved the main dining area to the stunning but seldom-used reception hall, making the old dining room a casual family den next to the kitchen. Imagine how the reception area would look without the oak staircase and beams painted a light, fresh color. The chandelier is vintage; the English fruitwood table is from the 1930s; the Louis XIV chairs have cowhide seats; the Persian carpet is from the 1920s.

Below, the foyer's wood vaulting is now light and modern, and the beautiful front door interior is painted blue-grey. The antique light fixtures were purchased at auction; the mirrors are from Paris; the console is vintage; the lamps were made from 19th-century French urns; the silk runner is from ABC carpet.

Below, the library, one of the few instances of original oak paneling in the house. Actually, it had been painted red, and it took a team of three artisans five months to strip and restore the oak. The plaster design ceiling and stain leaded glass windows are original.

Another view of the library below. The built-in bookcase is original to the house; the Swedish alabaster chandelier is circa 1895; the sofa, banquette, and ottoman were designed by Gambrel.

A view of the second-floor hall, below. A Hunt Slonem painting, Gold Butterflies, is the second-floor hall focal point. The bench is antique English; the vintage side table and lamp are from Europe. I just love this vignette!

A beautiful example of a modern kitchen with clean lines that stays true to its historic roots. The cabinets are custom made; the coffered ceiling is new; and the counters are marble; the refrigerator is Viking. The leaded glass is original to the house.

Below, the master bath. I just love the look of the cafe curtains on the original diamond-pane leaded-glass windows.

Again, original diamond-paned leaded-glass windows, below, in the master bedroom. The headboard is custom with fabric by Bergamo; the bench is antique; the French chandelier is circa 1920.

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