Saturday, June 7, 2014

THE ELMS ANYONE?

 
As you may know from the last couple of days reading my blog, I was recently in Newport, Rhode Island, where I spent an enjoyable week with the professor. Today, I’d like to take you on another tour of one of the grand summer “cottages” that line the Newport shoreline.  Because of its lovely climate and island appeal, Newport was the scene of an exciting era known as the Gilded Age, when the area was the summer home of America’s wealthiest and most influential families.  Lavish mansions were designed by America’s greatest architects and many of them are maintained by the Preservation Society of Newport County for the public to enjoy. After being there, I seriously think the Mistress was left behind from this time and I am still mourning this daily!!!! The Breakers was a hard house to beat in elegance, but the Elms was ever more a favorite with me, because the gardens were more prevalent and you could tour more of this home.
 

 This is the stately Elms. Edward Julius Berwind, a coal baron, hired architect Horace Trumbauer to design the Elms and the building was completed in 1901.The Elms is modeled after the mid-eighteenth century French Château d'Asnières in Asnières-sur-Seine, France. This limestone cottage has a rounded central section flanked by wings of equal size - a simple plan of balanced proportions. Edward and Herminie had no heirs and when Edward died, Julia, Edward's sister inherited The Elms. Julia, was unmarried and also had no heirs, and she bequeathed The Elms to her nephew. He, in turn, sold the house and 90% of its contents later.
Could you imagine inheriting this place????
 Anyho, we toured the gardens first, which were stunning and we milled the grounds for an hour before entering the house.

 
One of the many cooper roofed, marble teahouses that over looks the fabulous gardens.....
 
Passing through the ornate glass and wrought iron doors, you enter a foyer with Ionic columns of Italian breccia marble. The Grand Staircase has white marble steps and a wrought iron and bronze railing.

Edward Julius Berwind and his wife, Herminie, enjoyed entertaining at The Elms until Herminie's death in 1922. This is the conservatory.


Julia Berwind summered at The Elms until her death at the age of 96 in 1961. In 1962, The Elms was slated for demolition when friends of The Preservation Society of Newport County raised money to buy it. Plus, 50% of the original contents of the house has now been returned


It's interesting to note that The Elms was one of the first Newport homes to have electricity. I was very impressed with this linen press. The chambermaids washed and changed all the sheets and linens everyday!!!!! I'm still wondering why the Casa doesn't have one of these set ups!!!

The Elms had a large staff and their quarters were concealed out of view..... on the top floor of the house. There are 13 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms to support a summer staff of more than 40, working around the clock, particularly when the Berwinds were hosting an event.

 
We then descended into the deep cellar where the kitchen, laundry, and other workrooms were concealed. Many, many sumptuous meals were prepared on this massive stove. Like other prominent Newport families, the Berwinds hosted 2 or 3 dinner parties each week for only a few people of 50 to 60 people.
 
 
Of all the massive homes,  this one really shows I feel, what went on to run these on a daily basis.
Let's all chip in and buy it shall we? Party in the Mistress's boudoir every  night!!!!!
 
 

28 comments:

  1. Absolutely magnificent!

    I don't know what I like better the inside or the outside!
    The amount of work and money to maintain such a mansion
    must have been unbelievable. To do all those linens by hand and all
    those dishes everyday and just dust must have been full time
    jobs.

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  2. When I was there years ago, I skipped the staff quarters, so thanks for the fascinating view into a side of the house we might not see if we visited ourselves.

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  3. You just don't see that kind of gorgeous-ness out here in the wild west!

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  4. Thank goodness for The Preservation Society of Newport County for saving this house. I almost dropped my drink when I read they almost had demolition!!! I couldn't imagine tearing down such fine, and these days rare craftsmanship. I also have a new attitude as I start my ironing tomorrow, a job I do not love, but love everything ironed. This was my favorite house on the tour too years ago.

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  5. Reminds me of Downton Abbey! What a trip you had! Welcome back!

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  6. I have never been to Newport, RI personally, but I so enjoy seeing these absolutely beautiful tours you have shared with us. But what impressed me most about this post is all the hard and difficult work the staff had to do in order to keep the house running. Hard to imagine now!

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  7. I love all of this historical information about the grand estate called The Elms! Every photo is stunning and how great to be able to see not only the outside of the building, but how fantastic to see so much of the inside and I love it all! What a strong building built clear back in 1901-marvelous! I agree that the gardens are magnificent.

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  8. Just my opinion, but the rounded central section makes’ the building. Without it, I think it would look like an old city elementary school, kind of like the one I attended. It makes me smile to read ‘cottage’. WOW.

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  9. Oh my, there WILL be a Bar B-Q at Twelve Oaks Tonight!!!!

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  10. This was another great post. We love the old mansions and would love to visit the Elms. I remember a story on a special about the giant front doors. They are of great weight and perfectly balanced on 2 piviots. The garden are gorgeous.

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  11. Yeah, I could live there, though, my luck I'd be one of the forty sharing the 13 bedrooms and 3 baths.

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    1. Well bob, sometimes the more scandalous and fun could be had in the staff quarters!

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  12. A wonderful tour...love the gardens and many appointments of this magnificent home!

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  13. I'd be happy just living in one of the tea houses. Don't get any ideas Mistress about a laundry press, we already have enough to do around here.

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  14. Wow! I would love to visit this place! Thought of my favorite show while viewing the pictures....Downton Abbey

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  15. While these posts and these homes are very beautiful and stunning, and they are fascinating as period pieces, the unsustainability of these houses as family homes seems sad. Monuments to ego that become money pits. That may seem negative but how much better a legacy is that benefits rather than drains future citizens. Just a though.

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  16. That is just incredible!!! I could retire taking care of those grounds. And I also need to get off the West Coast more, I feel like Im missing the best parts of our country.

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  17. the staff must have been 3-4 to a bedroom. such grandeur for the berwinds!

    PS - you know the berwinds are still active in the philly area, right? and trumbauer designed some philly buildings? home connections! :)

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    Replies
    1. I had a feeling but didn't know for sure. I must put you on my historic staff for cock a tails!!!!!

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  18. I'm more of a modern woman, but this is beautiful!

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  19. Spectacular!!!! I say lets bring back the Gilded Age, and you can start it Mistress, with your etiquette standards and traditions.

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  20. Spectacular!!!! I say lets bring back the Gilded Age, and you can start it Mistress, with your etiquette standards and traditions.

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  21. The Elms is to my opinion the 2nd best masion of Newport you featured, after The Breakers. The Elms, you see the elegance and opulence of yesteryear. The warm paneling, intricate detail of the carved staircases and beautiful marble fireplaces are a great reminder of what life was like back then. The Breakers is more me.

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  22. The Newport Mansions are really something to see! The Elms is one of my favorites. it is so pretty and so stunning, you must see it at least once in your lifetime! The details are just amazing, as are the gardens, the best which I feel of the homes , the Elms offers.

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  23. I've not been to Newport, but after seeing your hotel and your posts following it's on my list for next summer. From your post, the Elms is a more subdued mansion compared to likes of The Breakers, the Elms is a stately mansion that I personally liked better than The Breakers. Oh and welcome back!!!!! Loving your trip regale.

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  24. The Elms was much more toned down. Compared to The Breakers, it's the 'poor' man's mansion but still exuded elegance and taste. It's hard to believe that the place was slated for demolition back in the 60's. What a SHAME that would have been!!

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  25. STUNNING!!!! I can see this Mistress , you living there, although I hate to see what the houseboys do in those tea rooms.

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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