Saturday, July 10, 2010
when is "too late?"
This is Elm court in Lenox, MA, designed by Peabody and Stearns at the end of the 19th Century. It was built for Emily Vanderbilt Sloan and her husband, furniture magnate W.D. Sloan. I devoted a chapter to it in my book, "The Vanderbilts and the Gilded Age, Architectural Aspirations 1879-1901," with an Introduction by Louis Auchincloss. My co-author, Robbe Stimson, and I sneaked up there one afternoon when Elm Court was in derelict condition. It was one of the most enjoyable days I can remember. We took photos showing the wreck the place had become for our book. They caused a local sensation in Lenox. The house was - and still is - in family hands but interestingly, our most notable supporter was a family member. Not long after "Vanderbilts" was published, the son of this family member took the house over and did an incredible renovation. Stimson thought it was "compost," but the new owner managed to transform mulch to magnificence. For a short period he lived there and operated a sort of ultra-luxurious bed and breakfast. And then....he moved out and the place was closed down again. I wonder what's happened to it now.