Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"NORTHWAY" RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS, GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT


RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

   TWO MILES out of town on what the late architect Alan Burnham called "the Fifth Avenue of Greenwich," there is a startling sight. Here, possibly with a sense of deja vu, one immediately recognizes the Petit Trianon from the gardens at Versailles. While such a phenomenon would not be surprising in New York City, it is certainly out of context in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

   "Northway", or The Petit Trianon Deux, as it is more commonly called, was the result of a whim. It was built between 1910 and 1913 by Laura Robinson (d. 1964), a lady in her middle thirties, born in Chicago, who was an heiress to both the Diamond Match and the Goodrich Tire fortunes. In June 1910 Laura, her mother, Eleanor, and her sister, 

   Henrietta, bought a little over fourteen acres of land with the intention of building their own personal palace on it. Why these ladies wanted a chateau is a mystery, but such an extravagance is perfectly possible with great wealth and is certainly the prerogative of any princess. In August 1910, after a falling out with her sister, Laura became sole owner of the land and sought permission of the French government to construct a copy of one of France's architectural treasures. The French government initially objected to the exact replica so the position of a staircase was reversed so there was a slight difference. Robinson hired the New York architects J. Edwin R. Carpenter and Walter D. Blair to adapt the design of her chosen chateau. Henrietta returned to Chicago and built her own mansion — without the blessing of the French. This unauthorized 2nd unauthentic chateau is now the International Museum of Surgical Science on Lake Shore Drive.

   It took three years and $1 million to complete the Greenwich version of the Petit Trianon. Both Carpenter and Blair had studied at the Ecolc des Beaux-Arts in Paris and were well qualified for the challenge. They created a near-perfect copy of their model, making certain modifications to retain the perfection of proportion dictated by the smaller acreage. The design is scaled down from twenty-six rooms to thirteen, and Robinson had two lower wings added, one on each side. The outer walls are brick, covered with plaster or stucco, but they are white. And the reflecting pool with its fountain is located in front of the divided staircase to the entrance. 

FRONT GATES
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

DRIVEWAY ENTRANCE
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

 It was necessary for Robinson's gardeners to climb sixty-foot ladders to prune these trees, creating what Laura Robinson called her bosquet.


DRIVEWAY ENTRANCE
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

VIEW FROM HOUSE
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS
 
POOL
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

  While Robinson's pool is rectangular, the original is circular and sits at the head of the long lawn, flanked by the drive on either side. The trees at Versailles that edge the drive are shaped with an upward scoop; those along the approach in Greenwich are clipped into strict rectangles.


ARRIVAL COURT
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

ARRIVAL COURT
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS


ARRIVAL COURT
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

BACKSIDE OF HOUSE
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS
  
   The interior design of "Northway" remains faithful to Gabriel's work. One enters between two small salons into the spacious front hall where a pipe organ once played beneath the graceful staircase that sweeps away at the right. The staircase at Versailles, of which this is a replica, shows the gentle modification of the rococo used throughout the chateau and is considered the loveliest of the Louis XVI period. Delicate paneling continues the Louix XVI style in every room. On the left of the hall is the living room with a gallery or loggia. On the right is the handsome dining room and the most famous of Laura Robinson's few deviations from the French master; in one of the murals adorning the dining room walls, the likeness of Marie Antoinette was replaced with that of Miss Robinson.


MAIN HALL, STAIRCASE AND ORIGINAL ORGAN
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

VIEW OF LIVING ROOM INTO HALL
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

 LIVING ROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

VIEW OF DINING ROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS


DETAIL OF DINING ROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS
VIEW OF DINING ROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

SOUTH PORCH
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

SOUTH PORCH
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS
  
NORTH PORCH
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

   

MASTER BEDROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS


BEDROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

GUESTS ROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS


GUESTS ROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS



GUESTS ROOM
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS


   For fifty years this magnificent residence was the scene of glittering entertainments and delightful musicales. The furnishings were exquisite eighteenth century, either authentic pieces or excellent reproductions. Every detail was reproduced from the original, including the doorknobs. The floors were parquet on the first floor and hardwood above, all covered with the finest of carpets. There were seven bedrooms and seven baths. The three chimneys served eight fireplaces.

RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

    A garage and stables with five servants' rooms were built in 1913, as was a potting shed and the greenhouse, the latter with three bedrooms and a bath. The formal gardens were famous, a tribute to both the eye of the owner and the skill of her many gardeners.


GREENHOUSE, GARAGES AND SERVANT QUARTERS
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

GREENHOUSE, GARAGES AND SERVANT QUARTERS
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS
GREENHOUSE ENTRANCE
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

GREENHOUSE INTERIOR
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

GREENHOUSE SKETCH
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM EVANS. GREENWICH, CONN.
 J. E. R. CARPENTER AND WALTER D. BLAIR ASSOC. ARCHITECTS

  
 Laura Robinson married William A. Evans in 1915, two years after the completion of her chateau. Evans was the scion of an old South Carolina family, a graduate of Hobart College, and a prominent New York lawyer. Incredibly, his mother's name was Marie Antoinette. Laura and her husband had one child, William Alexander, Jr., who was killed in an automobile accident in 1939 shortly before his twenty-fourth birthday. Evans died two months later, but his widow lived until 1964. Laura Robinson Evans willed half of "Northway" to Christ Church in Greenwich and the other half to the Greenwich Hospital. These institutions in turn sold the estate to two New York City antique dealers, whose sole interest in "Northway" was the furnishings. They were apparently unaware that Parke-Bernet had a contract for these treasures; nearly $100,000 was realized from their sale at auction in 1966. The chateau was sold again in 1967, empty of antiques but as solid in structure as when it was built. Today the Petit Trianon Deux remains a stunning monument to a woman whose dream it was and who brought a bit of eighteenth-century France to Greenwich. Source
  
   Indie film "Stateside", a romantic drama starring Val Kilmer and Carrie Fisher, has scenes from the mansion.




   Back in 2010 the house was listed for $39 million with eighteen acres. It sold for $12 million, its current value is just under $9 million. "it’s kind of like that apocryphal Texan: all hat, no cattle, because it seems to be all of ten foot wide." Source    Click HERE to see at wikimapia. BING


THE PETIE TRIANON FROM THE GARDENS AT VERSAILLES.

  Take a stroll around the original HERE.



5 comments:

  1. I have long been fascinated with this house and other 'replicas' of a similar ilk. Of course, the staircase and other interior details are not a match to the original, but the facade seen down the allee from the road is charmingly evocative of the Petite Trianon.

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  2. Have always loved this precious jewel. Quite an elegant and stately house. The approach sequence, the main allee, the raised entry court, the elegantly detailed interior rooms and the very liveable floor plans all contribute in making this place unforgettable.

    NYarch

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  3. part of the beauty and the genius of the Trianon is how its multiple elegant facades are fitted to the gardens, so I've always found it odd that this doppelganger has such a truly American back yard, with no particular grace about it.
    Always a surprising sight when driving by, this little bit of stucco classicsicism

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  4. Lovely, lovely house even if the rear façade looks as though a major central staircase had been hacked off.

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  5. CORRECTION: Renee Anselmo purchased the palace many years ago and it remains in the Anselmo family.

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