The Breakers – Music Room // 1895

You know you’ve “made it” if you have a music room, especially if you have one in your summer mansion in Newport! The Music Room in The Breakers evokes the opulent Parisian interiors of the Second Period and when inside the room, you just feel sensory overload (in the best way possible. The room is located off the Great Room and Morning Room, at the southern end of the house. The Music Room was used for recitals and dances for the Vanderbilt Family and guests. The room displays ornate woodwork and furnishings designed by Richard Van der Boyen and built by J. Allard of Paris. The room looks like it was plucked out of a French building and dropped into the mansion, and that is because it was! The room’s interior was constructed completely in France and then sent to America where it was installed at The Breakers by French craftsmen. My favorite parts of the interior are the bay window at the end and the gilt gold coffered ceiling.

The Breakers – Morning Room // 1895

Possibly my favorite room in The Breakers mansion is the Morning Room, found on the first floor, just off the Great Hall and lower loggia. The Morning Room is executed in a late Renaissance style and faces east to catch the morning sun and provides sweeping views of the Atlantic. It served as a family sitting room at all times of the day. The interior design, including the fixtures, woodworking, and furniture, were designed by French architect Richard Bouwens van der Boijen and designer Jules Allard. The predominant grey, and gold colors of the Morning Room are echoed in its fireplace which is made of Campan marble. On the walls, you will find the most stunning shimmering silver wall panels, depicting ancient Greek goddesses. It was originally believed that these features were silver leaf, but the Newport County Preservation Society investigated further, determining it is actually platinum! The Vanderbilts clearly wanted this room to shimmer with the sunrise, so the use of platinum, which never tarnishes, was a great solution!

The Breakers – Dining Room // 1895

The Dining Room at The Breakers Mansion in Newport is straight out of a postcard! As you walk through the Great Hall into the Dining Room, you can imagine the high-quality 10-course meals served to the Vanderbilts and their wealthy guests. The two massive chandeliers always catch my attention first. The chandeliers are comprised of thousands of crystal balls and beads and were executed by Cristalleries Baccarat, the French glassmakers founded in 1765, but were partially designed by William Morris Hunt, the architect of the home, in the imperial pattern with a crown atop each fixture. Twelve free-standing columns of alabaster surround the room each with Corinthian-style capitals of gilded bronze, which seemingly support the edges of the vaulted ceiling. These columns support a massive carved and gilt cornice. The fireplace of the Dining Room is of carved and gilt grey marble; its hood is of a deep grey Cippolino marble, and it is amazing!

Frank Anderson House // 1906

One of the finest mansions in Nashua is the Frank Anderson House, a c.1906 Beaux-Arts style property on Concord Street. The home’s original owner, Frank Manning (1852-1925), co-ran the Estabrook-Anderson Shoe Company in Nashua, which at its peak, manufactured over 10,000 pairs of shoes daily. In 1925, the house was sold to New Hampshire’s seventy-fourth governor, Francis Murphy, a successful businessman. Most recently, the home was home of the Manchester Convent of the Sisters of Mercy, then became a private girls’ high school; and in 2016, it was purchased by Thomas More College. The home was given a full restoration in 2018.

At the exterior, the symmetrical home features red brick and Vermont marble trim. A hipped slate roof is accentuated by twin dormers. The interior was surprisingly well-preserved given its wide variety of uses, and local interior designers completed modern, but appropriate modifications to the spaces.

Gasson Hall – Boston College // 1913

The Boston College campus at Chestnut Hill represents the best of the Collegiate Gothic style in the Boston area.

Boston College was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1863, and is one of twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Originally located on Harrison Avenue in the South End of Boston, where it shared quarters with the Boston College High School, the College outgrew its urban setting toward the end of its first fifty years. A new location was selected in Chestnut Hill, then almost rural, and four parcels of land were acquired in 1907. A design competition for the development of the campus was won by the firm of Maginnis and Walsh, and ground was broken on June 19, 1909, for the construction of Gasson Hall.

Originally called the Recitation Building, then the Tower Building, Gasson Hall was finally named in honor of Father Thomas I. Gasson, founder of the Chestnut Hill campus. The building was designed by Charles D. Maginnis and built from stone quarried on the present campus. The style of the building and much of the campus can be classified as Collegiate Gothic. Gasson Hall was publicized by Ralph Adams Cram, who helped establish Collegiate Gothic as the prevailing architectural style on American university campuses for much of the 20th century.

At its interior, the Rotunda at the center of the building is a special treat to behold. A blending of different mediums of art including: architecture, sculpture, stained glass, and painted murals, the space is truly awe-inspiring. The dominant feature inside the rotunda is the large marble statue of St. Michael triumphing over Satan. The art piece was commissioned by Gardner Brewer, a Boston merchant for his great hall in his Beacon Hill house. Brewer hired Scipione Tadolini, a renowned sculptor in Rome, and he (along with his assistants) turned a massive block of the finest Carrara marble into the epic battle between good and evil. The piece was eventually purchased by Boston College when they envisioned it to be placed in their Rotunda.

Wellesley College- Houghton Memorial Chapel

Historically, most colleges in New England and around the country featured a chapel for students, as many were religious and far from home.

The original chapel of Wellesley College was housed in College Hall from 1875. In 1887 a fund was established by the students to build a separate chapel that would hold the entire student body, which was rapidly growing from the 350 students in Wellesley College’s first graduating Class of 1879 to nearly 700 students in 1890.

At this same time, William S. Houghton, a businessman in Boston and a trustee to Wellesley College took notice and updated his will to provide funds to the students desire for a chapel. Just before his death, uncertain events occurred which caused him to alter his will, having most money go to his family. After his death, with his children understanding his desire to help Wellesley College, gave a $100,000 gift was for a chapel to be built on the College grounds, in memory of their father. The chapel was to be used only for religious and academic purposes for the succeeding twenty years. The Board of Trustee s appointed a Chapel Committee immediately to choose a site and run a competition for the design of the Chapel .

The architectural firm of Heins & LaFarge, of New York were later selected to design the new student chapel, in the Gothic Revival style to blend with existing 1890s structures on Norumbega Hill in the center of campus. Heins & LaFarge were Philadelphia-born architects, who located their office in New York, and are most notable for their collaboration with Ralph Adams Cram on the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan.

The chapel was dedicated in 1899 and is constructed of Amherst stone in the Greek cross plan. The structure is constructed upon a granite foundation, which is a harder stone that holds up to weathering at the water table.

Interior shot from Wellesley College website

The interior is notable for its open spaces with stained glass windows designed by John LaFarge and Louis Comfort Tiffany. There is also a bass relief inside designed by Daniel Chester French in memory of Alice Freeman Palmer, the first president of Wellesley College.

Interior shot from Wellesley College website
Ceiling detail