What One Thing I Would Save?

 This is the vintage Italian relief plate and the inspiration for the colors chosen for the dining area of private residence in Peterborough, NH.

This is the vintage Italian relief plate and the inspiration for the colors chosen for the dining area of private residence in Peterborough, NH.

A few weeks ago I was touring a beautiful country house with a client.  Walking me through a large living room, she informed me the house had once been a summer inn that had been vandalized and set on fire in the 70’s.  The volunteer fire department had arrived in just enough time to save one room and asked the previous homeowner to make an instant decision as to which it would be.

My client stepped forward, pushing open a pair of enormous French doors and simply stated, “This is the one they chose to save” I paused, transfixed in the moment as I scanned an exquisite 20 x 40 interior of breathtaking beauty. Carefully restored to it’s original grandeur, the gorgeous, light-filled ballroom remains a powerful testament of the timeless aesthetic and true craftsmanship of the era in which the building was designed.

I marveled at the soft blue walls accented with hand carved white architectural detail, soaring full arched windows, and a well-placed trumeau mirror. This was a moment of understanding and connection to the past which can only be described as sublime.  

I could have wept at the thought of losing such a profoundly historic space; imagining the charred caved and crumbled framework and the acrid smell of smoke that would have completely consumed and destroyed the last remaining elements of this precious space. Instead the room is here, the one thing chosen to be saved and preserved to the delight of the new residents and future visitors.

A small but worthy world of splendor, the ballroom remains a single, enclosed yet poignant reincarnation of a truly remarkable period in history.