Pigtown Design: OKL, Stanford White and Baltimore

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I got a lot of grief from someone the other day who said that I a) post too much about OKL and its mad prices, b) and I “troll through the thousands of item available of any given day to simply mock one item that you don’t feel is worth the asked price” and c) that it’s becoming my “thing” to post about OKL. 

Not entirely true. I mean, who has time to troll through all of OKL’s daily, and sometimes twice-daily  items? And I hope that OKL is not my thing… I am so much more than that. And out of 1600+ posts, about 30 have been on OKL. Hardly an obsession.

So I am hereby writing a positive post about OKL.

I have recently purchased two books from them and am delighted with everything about my purchases. One of the books I bought was Rizzoli’s “Stanford White, Architect”, written by Samuel G. White and Elizabeth White, photographed by Jonathan Wallen.Stanford White bookIt’s a gorgeous book and I am so pleased to add it to my library.

I became a huge fan of Stanford White when I was membership director at a private club here in Baltimore. I had ample time to spend studying every inch of the building and finding the treasures that laid within. One of my favourite pieces was a carved cabinet with the nursery rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle, The Cat & The Fiddle on it.It is so charming and completely unexpected, especially given the rest of the room that it’s in.It is papered with old tapestries and elaborate wood carvings on every surface.We used to keep our mailing supplies in this sideboard!

The entrance hall in the club gives a visitor a good idea of what’s to come.This incredible cantilevered staircase is stunning.It’s ovoid in shape and is topped by a Tiffany glass dome. I loved flying down those stairs!

There’s also a massive fireplace

 

and a balcony with a screened room where the original owner of the house, Mrs. Robert Garrett, would watch her guests arrive to make sure she was the best dressed at her parties.Literally, almost every single square inch of wood in this space is carved in some way.

As you move through the rooms, you will see carving and gilding everywhere.

 

Over the past few years, the club has spent lots of time, money and energy revitalizing the rooms and being careful about restoring the space to as close to the original look as possible.

One of the rooms that’s been completely restored is the Ballroom/Theatre. It’s just the most extraordinary space, and I have whirled away many evenings dancing there.The gilding and the woodwork is just glowing,and the paintings have had decades worth of smoke and grime cleaned from them.

As you head down the sweeping marble staircase towards the dining room,you notice that there’s ornamental ironwork everywhere.

 

 

The dining room seats about 100+ people, just enough for an intimate dinner for your closest friends.Although it’s hard to see, the chandeliers in this room are Meissen.When I worked there, the chandeliers had figurines on them, but I am sure that they’ve been put into storage for safekeeping.The flowers are so realistic looking, but they’re all porcelain.

Another room I loved was the library.It’s everything a library should be – dark, filled with books and as cozy as a huge room like this one can be.

I found this map case,which was, in fact, filled with old nautical charts.Perfection!

 

 

In addition to gorgeous wood on the walls, there’s also beautiful wood on the floors. This is in the ballroom.And this is in the front hall, and it had just been revitalized.

I remember when the film “12 Monkeys” was shot at the club, and the crew stuck gaffing tape on the floor to hold some cables down. When they pulled it up, a chunk of the antique parquet floor came with it. Oops.

As we were leaving the party, my friend Tracey reminded me that the Baltimore Architecture Foundation owns a set of McKim, Mead & White folios. So I headed over in the morning to see them.

We pulled them down and had a look through them.

They are filled with photographs,plans and blueprints,detailsand more.

 

 

I didn’t have lots of time to leaf through these delicious books,but you can bet I am planning on going back to look at them more closely.

On the way down to the Foundation, I passed two Stanford White buildings, so I did a little “drive-by shooting”. This is the Lovely Lane Methodist Church, which is featured in the Stanford White book I bought from OKL .

This is the Ross Winans house, then…

and now.You certainly see a lot more of the detail in the original photograph, because of the paint on the stonework.Wonder if that could be remediated?You can get a bit of an idea of the floor plan here.

This is why I love architecture.

Read more at Pigtown Design


Meg Fielding

Meg Fielding writes the local interior design and lifestyle blog Pigtown Design. She enjoys dual citizenship with the US and the UK.


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1 COMMENT

  1. I’ve been there many times but didn’t see some of the neat things you highlighted ( the nursery rhyme cabinet my new favorite!)

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