EYE ON DESIGN: Holiday Plans

Architectural Ornaments and Where To Put the Tree

In a difficult economy, the home becomes more important than ever as a place to regroup, recharge, and reconnect with family and friends — especially over the holidays. So how about greeting the season — and dreaming about a new house at the same time — by looking for something architectural (of course!) for the tree. Here’s what I found after a quick Web search, beginning with the franklloydwright.com shop.

wedding chapel ornament FLW

This ornament is based on Wright’s “Wedding Chapel” design from 1957.

House Beautiful ornament FLW

Or here’s one inspired by his House Beautiful designs from 1896-7.

Palaces — “not so small houses” — may be out of fashion but how about affordable examples, now available in the online shop at Newport Mansions, The Preservation Society of Newport County, in Rhode Island, where the Gilded Age reached its apogee.

Marbe House, Newport onrament

The Marble House, of 1893,was designed by Richard Morris Hunt and built for William and Alva Vanderbilt. If the house itself is too much, how about a gate from another Vanderbilt extravaganza.

Breakers gate (bigger)

The Breakers was the biggest of all the Newport mansions, also designed by Hunt, and commissioned by William Vanderbilt’s older brother Cornelius.

Yet another Vanderbilt house — the largest of all — is Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina, also by Hunt, with landscaping by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York’s Central Park. Talk about a family of builders! You can have a Chippendale bed from this house.

chippendale bed from biltmore brass bed

Which gives new meaning to sleeping under the tree — or else it’s a metaphor for a wished for sense of calm during the holiday frenzy.

A more typical Victorian edifice is the Denver house of the Unsinkable Molly Brown, designed by architect William Lang and built in 1889.

Molly Brown House ornament

She famously survived the sinking of the Titanic, which is a hopeful sentiment in recessionary times.

If your tree needs not architecture, but sparkle, here’s a very simple craft idea: fill ordinary glass ball ornaments with conifer sprigs or shiny, gauzy ribbon, like this:

glass ball with juniper

These examples, from save-on-crafts.com could also work as tags for packages, or placecards. There must be a way to get a house inside one!

Location, Location, Location

With all these extra ornaments, you need a place to put a bigger tree. As you explore our floor plans, look for layouts with bay windows or alcoves facing the more public areas. Here’s a design that can easily accommodate a holiday tree.

Eichler-inspired Plan 438-1 by architect Robert Nebolon, has a good spot in the glassy alcove.

438-1p2-2587 Eichler place for tree

Let the holiday season begin.

One response to “EYE ON DESIGN: Holiday Plans

  1. the designs are cool for houses i love them….

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