Vintage Couture Salons

Completely obsessed with interior design of the early french fashion houses!!!  
Think Dior, Chanel & Saint Laurent.  

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Vintage Couture Salons


The Orchards Southampton, NY

These days I have been spending quite a lot of time in Southampton, NY 
It is an elegant location with  
graceful mansions, pristine beaches and quaint downtown shops. 

I have become familiar with this lovely locale through my daily strolls along her gracious streets.  

There are tall hedgerows that line the perimeter of the massive estates and charming cottages.  Often times the hedges block out nearly all views of a given home.  All that is left are stately gates, pristine landscapes and winding driveways, which adds to the intrigue.  

What exists beyond those gates and hedgerows?  
I need to know!!!  

 Then..... there is the architecture, the details that you can get a glimpse of anyway.  
The ARCHITECTURE is the element of the Southampton panorama that I adore most.

Little did I realize that the massive white mansion I was passing on my walks to town was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White. 

That's them below!

If you peruse my earlier posts (I invite you to do so!), I have a keen interest in
Stanford White,
his work and his life

Needless to say I was amazed when I learned the mansion currently known as Whitefield was likely the last project Stanford White worked on before he was shot by Harry Thaw in 1906.  
Whitefield was originally known as The Orchards and was built for James L. Breese who was a photographer of inherited wealth.

James L. Breese

Stanford White and James L. Breese were friends prior to THE FIRM working on The Orchards.  
Mr. Breese purchased the property found on Hill Street in Southampton, NY with an existing ship captains house built upon it.  He hired McKim, Mead and White to create quite an extensive addition to the existing house beginning in 1898.  The last addition to the house was the wing which included the Music Room.  

It is Stanford White who is attributed to designing the interior of the very elaborate music room in 1906. 

Unfortunately for me, I missed the recent lectures given in that very music room this past summer. 

After finding out the information I have shared with you I decided to take a very sloooooow stroll with camera in hand to capture a few current photos of 

The Orchards:

Sometimes shooting on the sly causes less than desirable slanting pictures.  
You get the gist though!

If you have the chance, I highly recommend the book, The Houses of McKim, Mead & White which was written by Stanford White's grandson  
Samuel G. White.  

Based upon the floor plan of The Orchards in his book, it's my understanding that the music room is located behind the door where the two columns are in the picture below. 

The Orchards is now known as Whitefield.  It is currently a 29 unit condo complex which is bordered by Breese Lane and White Street.  It is listed on the 
National Register of Historic Places.

Next up ....  locating and researching additional Southampton structures that were designed by 
McKim, Mead and White.  
They include the Clubhouse at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, residence of publisher Edward S. Mead, residence & studio of artist William Merritt Chase, "White Fences" residence of Lawyer Samuel L. Parrish and residence of banker James Hampden Robb.  
In addition there are a group of houses built in Montauk by 
the firm.  

Stay tuned for updates (Historically Vintage Facebook) as I travel the lavish surroundings of 
Long Island's East End 
in search of 
Charles McKim, William Mead & Stanford White!


About Me: Swimmin' Pools and Soap Stars

My Aunt Anne and Uncle Pete
lived in an extraordinary village called,
Oyster Bay Cove
which is located on the North Shore of Long Island, NY.

Oyster Bay is probably best known for being home to
President Theodore Roosevelt.

Itinerant Wanderer
Sagamore Hill is currently closed to the public while undergoing a major restoration process.
When it reopens I highly recommend a visit.
Just be sure you aren't frightened of taxidermy animals!!!!

Leaving Teddy behind and returning to my story.......

Anne and Pete were not blood relations.... no, we are Italian.
Often blood lines have no bearing on who will be your Aunt or your Uncle when you are Italian.
We are all one big happy family!
Pete and my father were "Paisans" who worked together in Manhattan's Garment Distirct.

My father would take me on weekend visits to their magical home.
Anne and Pete were so incredibly kind to me.
They made me feel like a princess from a far off land staying in their lovely palace.

Recent Photo of their Oyster Bay Home
Aunt Anne had the most adorable white teacup poodle.
It was one of the most intelligent little creatures.
It was so precious that years later I was inspired to adopt a mini poodle all my own.
Recent Photo

The house in Oyster Bay Cove was magnificent yet understated.  To a girl more accustomed to tract housing and suburban sprawl, their home was a wonderland. Upon entering the gates I felt completely transported.  When the double doors were swung open for my arrival,
I felt like Dorothy during her arrival to Munchkin Land.
I was living my very own technicolor dream.

Anne belonged to her local botanical society at  
Planting Fields Arboretum.

Planting Fields Arboretum/Coe Hall 1924
Not only did she have a green house which was attached to their home, her gardens were simply gorgeous.  I remember my mother being particularly taken with the fact that outside of each room, Anne would coordinate the color of the flowers with the room decor.  

My absolute favorite part of these visits was that Aunt Anne gave me free rein.  She would tell me to go wherever I wanted to within this spectacular house.  
I frolicked within the confines of this sumptuous estate, my vivid imagination in tow.

The foyer was so lovely with it's rounded staircase and black and white tiled floors.  I can remember their Christmas tree 
tucked within the bend of the stair.
So very elegant!

I would go through Aunt Anne's closet which was astounding to me and something I aspire to today.  Anne had a lovely walk in closet with tons of clothes and her shoes individually packaged in clear containers with labels on them.
When visiting we would spend most of our time in their den.  It had a bit of a masculine feel to it with brown leather furniture, nailhead embellishments and built in wood cabinetry.  The room with it's french doors looked out over the slate patio, gardens and pool.  

The pool had 2 changing rooms and an outdoor shower.
The "his and her" changing rooms each had corresponding male and female silhouettes on the front door.

 Each dressing chamber had several small stalls for dressing in.  There was a large mirror vanity with chairs for fixing oneself up after a swim in the pool.

Below exists the only picture I have from my time in Oyster Bay.  

I'm on the left
Anne and Pete permitted me to bring friends and guide them on my own tour of the house and gardens.
This is likely where my docent skills were honed! 

 One of my favorite things to do when in Oyster Bay Cove was walk along the bridle path which had an entrance at the end of their street.
While on the path we might meet up with riders and their horses or perhaps others like ourselves going for a simple stroll.

That which resided at the end of our stroll was NOT simple at all!!!!
The bridle path led to a mansion which was once known as
This enormous mansion had been turned into a private school.
I remember as we approached the structure it's many
brick chimney's
 would extend toward the heavens.
My imagination was completely consumed with the many soirees that must have taken place on the terraces and in the magnificent rooms.  Up until that point, I had never seen anything quite like it.

This is an updated photo of  Mallow which is now East Woods School.

Many years had passed since I had seen  
in Oyster Bay.
Although I longed to revisit this place of my dreams, I no longer knew how to find my way to
Anne and Pete's former home.

A few years ago, I made  
a new friend.
She asked me about
my love of decorating and old homes.

I told her the story that I just told you.
Within moments, divine intervention allowed my longing to be satiated.
The information I sought would be wrapped up in a tidy little package and placed in my hands once again.

Moments after telling my story, my new friend told me about her
Aunt who married a Soap Opera Star 
on her grandmother's estate in the late 1960's.
At that time her grandmother owned the grand "Lyman Beecher Smith" estate.

The Lyman Beecher Smith Estate Circa 1840's formerly on Edgewood Avenue St. James, NY
The hair stood up on the back of my neck because I knew exactly who she was talking about before she uttered his name!!!!!
That "Soap Star" was none other than Anne and Pete's nephew.
My friend made a few phone calls and was able to retrieve the Oyster Bay address for me.

I have driven past Anne and Pete's home on several occasions in remembrance of my  
cherished childhood memories.
Most recently to take the pictures I have shared with all of you this day......


About Me: My Life as a Southern Belle

How exactly did I become the 
"Historically Vintage Girl" 
I am today?
Growing up in North Babylon, New York I had access to an enormous 463 acre park which was just a short bike ride or stroll from my family home.   

Belmont Lake State Park 
was named after the man who had owned and developed the land,  
August Belmont, Sr. 1813-1890.
The park still exists in its full glory and features a 26 acre spring fed lake, bike/jogging paths, horse stable, playgrounds, picnic facilities, baseball fields and basketball courts.  My friends and I were so fortunate and we took advantage of it all!  
During the summer months groups of us would take out the row boats and race each other around the lake.  It always ended with us falling in the water.  
Some memories cannot be erased from one's mind!  
Exactly what exists beneath the murky water can best be described as 
swamp water, pond scum and sticky gooey gak!
Did I mention that trout and bass live in there?  Oh and swans and geese...... Well you get the picture!

There is a lovely little waterfall feature that was our preferred "hangout".  
I think you can see why.

So how exactly did this wondrous playground inspire me to become the  
historically vintage girl I am today? 
How could this space be related to my life as a  
Southern Belle? 

Well this is why.....
You see in my uneducated and fantastically imaginative mind, this was my
 Antebellum Mansion!

Give me a large building with a few columns and my creative fantasies were born!

During my visits to the park, I had imagined myself adorning an enormous white dress with tiers of ruffles and an abundance of petticoats and undergarments.  
Why Miss Scarlet O'Hara herself had nothing over fictitious lil' me!  
(Reread the above sentence with an over the top southern accent.)

As I would float down the brick walkway, the rows of tulle, lace and organza would gracefully bounce around me as I moved.  

I would head toward the round driveway where my 
horse and carriage awaited my arrival.

Whilst in my carriage I would imagine navigating the grounds of my plantation.  
I would read a book by the lake, 
I would catch a glimpse of the wildlife scurrying about, 
I'd visit with Perry, my favorite horse at the stable, 
I would meet a friend for tea in the gazebo 
I would end my day back at my antebellum mansion.  

Exhausted from my adventures, I'd return to my mansion carrying my large floppy bonnet.  I'd ascend the stairs, walk between the white columns and enter through the large black double doors.  

There my fantastic imagination would rest until its next adventure.

 In reality....
This beautiful building was not an antebellum mansion, it was not in the south and it was never a house.  The fact is, this building was built in 1936 and served as one of Robert Moses' offices.  

The Bowery Boys
 Robert Moses, was one of the most influential people in New York State during the mid 1900's.  He was instrumental in planning and carrying out the development of modern day New York.  He was a polarizing character whose supporters and detractors had legitimate facts to support their beliefs.

"My Antebellum Mansion"
 now serves as the home to the New York State Park Police and the administrative home of the Long Island State Parks Department.  

I wonder if they are ever visited by the ghost of my childhood fantasies since they still reside within those walls.....


About Me: Shoe Box Mansion

How exactly did I become the 
"Vintage Girl" 
I am today?

I distinctly recall a few catalysts that fueled my imagination as a young girl.

 Yours Truly

My fascination with architecture and design occurred quite innocently in the 1970's.  It all began when my cherished and frugal aunt who lived next door shared her 
Home and Garden 
magazines with my mother every few months.

 My mother demonstrated mild interest in the magazines herself but I consumed them with much exuberance!  I wouldn't merely flip through the pages. OH NO!  I would carefully cut out each of my favorite design photos and place them in a large shopping bag for further "processing".

You see, all those photos depicting the best of 1970's interior design had a greater purpose.  All the mushroom wallpaper, shag carpets, sunken living rooms, geometric wall art, chrome and glass furniture would serve as a backdrop for my


 I was building my very own 

Each of the shoe boxes I had amassed served as a room in my imaginary mansion.  I would tape or glue my favorite pictures to the interior of the boxes then, I would stack the boxes to form my mansion. 

Sadly my original work of genius design went the way of the 
harvest gold and avocado green 
appliances of the time.  

They all ended up in the local dump.  


No grainy, faded photos exist of my 1970's palace so your imagination will be required to envision my  
DynOmite Crib.  
I assure you it was totally  

To Be Continued.......


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