Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"FARNSWORTH" The Estate of Mr. C. K. G. Billings at Locust Valley, Long Island

  "FARNSWORTH" The Estate of Mr. C. K. G. Billings at Locust Valley, Long Island GUY LOWELL, ARCHITECT

 IN the estate of Mr. C. K. G. Billings is seen one of the most beautiful of the larger places on the North Shore of Long Island. This dignified house, which suggests in its design the best traditions of the Georgian period, stands midway between Oyster Bay and Piping Rock, commanding a distant view of Long Island Sound. Surrounding it are wooded stretches, lawns and gardens that are remarkable, not only for their beauty, but for the fact that they were brought to a state of completion in nine months after the ground had been broken to build the house. The house was also completed within this time—a remarkable achievement, for it gave no impression of the rapidity with which it had been constructed when it was first occupied in the summer of 1915. The red brick exterior, with its portico, cornice and trim of limestone, has great dignity and is in perfect harmony with its setting. 

Caen stone patio showing marble Cupid fountain by Bela Pratt

  In the interior of the house, the owner evidently wished to have expressed all of the out-of-door elements of country life, combined with a lived-in feeling, and this plan has been well carried out by the architect. As is often found in houses in southern countries, the various rooms are grouped around a central patio or court, with a loggia of goodly proportions at one end, used in this instance as a music-room. 

Loggia with Italian frescoed decorations opening of the patio

   This room, which is one of the most important in the house, is essentially Italian in the treatment of its frescoed sidewall decorations. The floor of the loggia is marble, and the room is so furnished as to lose none of its dignity and spaciousness. From the group of windows facing the north stretches out an expansive view of wooded land and in the distance the gray-blue waters of the Sound may be seen.

Hall and patio showing overdoors used as outlet for the music of the echo-organ
  The overdoor treatment in the loggia and patio is in a perforated, semicircular design, corresponding with the general scheme of decoration, and is used as an outlet for the music from the echo-organ, which is installed in an adjoining room especially built for this purpose. These overdoors are a distinct feature throughout the first floor of the house. 

   As in the loggia and terrace, the floor of the patio is of marble—of great beauty of color and veining. In the center of the patio stands a marble fountain, surmounted by a graceful figure of Cupid by Bela Pratt. Under the skylight, which covers the patio, draperies composed of different colored fabrics hang across the glass to soften the light that filters down upon the patio and adjoining loggia. These give a delightful effect of color.

Georgian living room, overlooking sunken gardens, with fireplace at each end
 Opening from the patio at the left is a long Georgian living-room with a fireplace at each end, which is intended for more informal use than the rooms just described. Adjoining this is the trophy room that was planned to hold the many valuable trophies which have been awarded to Mr. Billings as the breeder of fine horses. Through spacious windows, access is given to the broad porch overlooking the sunken gardens and pool.

A view from the covered porch looking toward the sunken gardens
 The outbuildings include a large stable, two garages and dwelling houses of consistent architecture for the various employees and the superintendent of the estate, likewise a central heating and lighting plant.

Click HERE for more on Billings and his Long Island Gold Coast mansion "Farnsworth".

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather was the superintedant and Winnie’s Nephew. My mom lived there until about 1942