The Gilded Age was a period in the United States between the late 1800’s and the early decades of the 1900’s when industry barrons began to show their wealth. Interiors of the Gilded Age mansions and hotels were opulent and filled with handmade furniture and textiles, much of it imported from Europe. Architects synonomous with this time are Richard Morris Hunt, Frank Furness, Stanford White and Charles McKim. During the holidays it is a fabulous time to see the mansions so beautifully decorated.
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC was commisioned by George and Edith Vanderbilt in 1889. Richard Morris Hunt was the architect and it was modeled after the French Chateau’s in the Loire Valley. It was completed after six years in 1895 and is the largest private residence in the United States. It boasts 250 rooms on 125,000 acres. Here are some gorgeous images of it at Christmas.
Richard Morris Hunt is also the architect of The Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI.
The Odgen and Ruth Mills Staatsburgh Mansion in the Hudson Valley. The Greek Revival style house was renovated by McKim, Mead and White in 1895. It has 79 rooms and is on the New York State Register of Historic Homes. Photos courtesey of the New York Times online.
Speaking of the Gilded Age, I recently finished reading Mrs. Astor Regrets by Meryl Gordon. If you need a good one during the holidays I highly recommend it.