Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt Mansion’s Neoclassical French Style

May 6 2011, 10:43am

The Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt mansion was designed in the Neoclassical French style, mirroring Pope’s experiences and successful years of study in Paris, and demonstrating his characteristic sense of proportion and efficiency. The house was separated into two sections: a three-story residence for Mrs. Vanderbilt and her guests, and a seven-story servants’ quarters, which Pope skillfully arranged to allow the house to be run with seamless elegance. No extraneous rooms or passageways existed, and while the ceilings in the residential portions of the house rose up to fifteen feet, Pope added gave the servants’ quarters low ceilings, and added mezzanine levels to increase the space available for storage and preparation. He kept the two domains completely private from each other, not only through his ingenious floor plan, but also by means of padded doors, separate elevators and staircases for each half of the house, and a dumbwaiter that ran from the kitchen straight to Birdie’s bedroom.   First Floor Hall of Vanderbilt Mansion 60 East 93rd Street

No expense was spared in the materials used in the house. The grand staircase and all of the woodwork were made from mahogany; the locks and hinges were hand-chiseled, engraved and gilded by Bricard in Paris; the limestone used on the façade and the interior entranceway was brought in from France; and on the first and second levels the flooring was custom-made to match the antique parquet used on the third floor. A balcony on the second level had a trellis crowned with a lead-coated ziggurat-patterned copper cornice. Four entire 18th-century antique paneled rooms were imported, two from England in the Kentian style and one from France.   View from Marble Clad Dining Room to First Floor Hall