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.
This ornament is based on Wright’s “Wedding Chapel” design from 1957.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 are three plans from our Exclusive Design Studio that can easily accommodate holiday trees.
In plan 431-7, by architect Gregory La Vardera, there’s room for a tree in the big window bay.
In plan 433-2, by architect Ross Anderson, the tree can go at the far end of the big living-dining room,
in the closed corner or the one facing the courtyard.
And in the mid-century modern, Eichler-inspired plan 438-2 by architect Robert Nebolon, there’s also a good spot.
It’s in the glass alcove to the right of the fireplace. Let the holiday season begin.