Archive for the ‘Arts and Crafts’ Category

Hey readers! As summer starts to wind down, Ash and I finally have some time to breathe, so I thought that I would share an amazing piece of architecture from Ash’s home State of New Hampshire with you. We have spent a lot of this summer traveling around our beloved New England and if you take a trip to New England any time soon, today’s Fantasy is one you shouldn’t miss!

Today’s Fantasy is Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. When it was built in 1913-1914, the manse was originally named Lucknow, but people have been calling it Castle in the Clouds since it opened to the public in 1959. Castle in the Clouds is a great example of the Arts and Crafts style, which is all about craftsmanship and a departure from the gaudily ornate Victorian architecture that dominated the last quarter of the 19th century (for more on this read the post on the Gamble House). Castle in the Clouds (Lucknow) was built for Thomas and Olive Plant, who were newly married. Thomas Plant made a fortune from the sale of his shoe manufacturing company to the United Shoe Manufacturing Company and retired to plan a country estate. To accomplish this, he bought over 6,000 acres spanning from the Ossipee Mountains to Lake Winnipesaukee, including the land known as the Ossipee Mountain Park .  One of the amazing things about Castle in the Clouds is that Mr. Plant not only had this house built, but he also built a pretty extensive network of roads around the estate that allowed the Plants and visitors to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounded them; including a series of waterfalls that feed into near-by Shannon Pond.

In the 1930s, the Great Depression hit the Plants, who tried to cut their losses by selling Castle in the Clouds.  Despite their financial duress, they still wanted to be good stewards of the estate they created, so when no buyer was found, they continued to live there until 1941 when Mr. Plant died. Only then was Castle in the Clouds sold.  Since then, it has undergone relatively few changes and today it is run by the Castle Preservation Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining this treasure! They have a website, with great pictures and a virtual tour in case you can’t make it to New Hampshire anytime soon (the photos below are from the Castle in the Clouds website).

I think this shot best illustrates why it is called Castle in the Clouds…. but now I’ll have Les Miserables stuck in my head ALL day…..

An up close view that really emphasizes Arts and Crafts principles.

Can you beat this view? Or the Art Glass panels, for that matter?

What a lovely living room… it almost seems cozy despite its size

One of the many natural features that Plant planned the property around.

Well, that’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed your quick trip to Ash’s home state.

Have a great weekend


P.S.  A special thanks to my friend Peter who recently had a work project here and reminded me of how great Castle in the Clouds is. I think it made a great Fantasy.


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Happy Friday, Readers.

In today’s post, I’m going to get a bit ‘ye olde’ on you… True, it won’t really be medieval because, well, I’m keeping it in the US today, but since today’s fantasy is a ‘Castle’, it just feels right to say. So, mount your faithful steed, lower the visor on your helm and prepare yourself for a visit to Gillette Castle in Connecticut.

Gillette Castle originally called Seventh Sister (for the chain of hills the estate occupied) was built by eccentric American actor, William Gillette (probably best know for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes) in 1914.  He died with no heirs, so the State of Connecticut took over the property in 1943. It is now the Gillette Castle State Park, and after an $11 million restoration, it’s open to the public.

This first Photo is of the main facade of the castle. The photo comes to us from the website, “Popular wealth”.

The next photo is a different elevation.  The photo is from the Dupont Castles Website, which is a neat website for all those readers out there who couldn’t get enough of David Macaulay’s Castle as a kid (not just me and Ash, right?)

Below is an interior shot, also from Dupont Castles:

The final interior picture is the grand Arts and Crafts style staircase. This photo comes from the ctrivervalley website.

Hope you enjoyed getting medieval! If you’re in or around East Haddam, CT, make sure you stop by Gillette Castle State Park and check this treasure out.


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Happy Friday everyone! Since it’s beautiful and summery here I thought that today would be a great day to introduce camping into the Friday Fantasies. I know what your thinking… “Tents aren’t really Fantasy Homes, Etta. Maybe excluding Bedouin tents, and Wizard’s tents in Harry Potter, but as far as camping goes, what is there really to fantasize about?” Well, my friends, today I give you Camp Topridge of the Adirondacks: (Photo from AARCH)

Before I give you some background on Topridge, I should first introduce you to the history of the Adirondack Lodges.  Topridge is hardly an isolated gem, but is in fact part of a larger collection of “Great Camps” that are a product of ultra-wealthy 19th century socialites wanting to “rough it” and enjoy a retreat in nature.  What better way to do that than to build a gigantic log and stone compound in the middle of the mountains?

The construction of the  Great Camps first started shortly after the Civil War, with the construction of W.W. Durant’s Pine Knot on Raquette Lake.  It was intended to blend in with its surrounds by being constructed of local lumber and stones, and incorporating decorative branches and natural elements to reflect the beauty of the natural landscape and enhance the rustic feel, rather than relying on the elaborately carved details popular with high-style architecture during that period.  In addition, when more space was required, it was decided that rather than adding another wing to the Main Lodge, smaller ancillary buildings should be added a short distance away (so they would be easy to get to in bad weather), creating a compound rather than just one huge log home. This had the added benefit of fire protection and a community feel, that also offered privacy.

Now that you know a bit about the ideas behind the “Great Camp” style, we will move on to a bit of history on Topridge, which exists as it is today thanks to the daughter of  C.W. Post (yes, that C.W. Post, the creator of Grape Nuts), Marjorie Merriweather Post. Marjorie bought the property in 1923  and worked with architect Theodore Blake and local builder Ben Muncil to enlarge it and turn it into what it is today. Originally, the house could only be reached by water (though Post later built a road) and once you reached land, you had to take a funicular (or incline railway) to get to the Main Lodge at the top of a ridge.

Because Funiculars are so cool (and the word is awesome) here is a picture of one I found on google:

And while the main lodge at Topridge is amazing, I’m quite fond of some of its smaller buildings, such as its boathouses and guest houses, like those seen below: (Also from Wikipedia)

Sadly for us, Topridge is privately-owned by a Real Estate mogul from Texas. But there is a bright side!  There are many Great Camps in the Adirondacks that are open to the public. In fact, Adirondacks Architectural Heritage (AARCH) has preserved the Great Camp, Santinoni, and offers a number of great tours that you should check out the next time you are in the Adirondacks! Check out AARCH’s website.

Well that’s it for today. Have a great weekend everyone!


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Hello folks. It’s time again for another Friday Fantasy!  Since it’s rainy and dreary where I am, I’ve decided to take you to sunny  Pasadena, California, to the Greene and Greene masterpiece that defined the American Arts & Crafts Movement… the Gamble House.

The Arts and Crafts style originated in England with artist and writer, William Morris, as a response to stuffy and overly ornamented Victorian design.  It brought about sleeker lines, an appreciation for natural shapes and colors, and most importantly, encouraged craftsmanship and pride in design and product.

I have loved the Gamble House and the work of Greene and Greene for a long time, but have not yet made it to California (although someday I’d love to!), so I’ve scoured the internet for pictures that I feel depict the best assets of the Gamble House and the brothers’ work.

Oh, and if you like what you see here, check out the Greene and Greene virtual archive at USC.

My posts have been a bit few and far between as of late, but I’m hoping to get some material written this weekend. If you have any ideas for articles or issues that you’d like to see me cover, or pieces that you’d like me to feature that you’ve written as a guest writer, please feel free to leave me some comments. I’d love the opportunity to work with my readers to develop new and exciting content.

That’s all for today.  Have a great weekend!


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