Funny enough, one of my favorite Parish-Hadley designed interiors is not Brooke Astor's library, although I do fancy it. Nor is it the yellow drawing room of the Paleys. Instead, it's the snappy-looking room seen above, one that was featured in Christopher Petkanas' Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design. What drew me to this Parish-Hadley room was not its leafy green vista, but rather the geometric-print fabric hanging on the walls combined with the blue lacquered bookshelves. To me, this room is so quintessentially American, comfortable in a crisp, chic, and casual way. Can't you just imagine what it must have been like to lollygag in this room on a Sunday afternoon?
The book only mentioned that the solarium was part of a 68-acre Westchester County estate, something which left me wondering for years who owned such a lovely garden room. But now I know where this room is located thanks to the Sotheby's catalogue for the Brooke Astor auction. It's at Holly Hill, Astor's estate along the Hudson River. Finally, the mystery is solved, although I'm sure that quite a few of you knew who the homeowner was long before the auction catalogue was published.
According to the catalogue, this is the Philosophers' Room, a fitting name for a room filled with such a collection of books. What struck me about the catalogue's photos, seen below, is how bright those blue bookshelves really are. I don't think they're being auctioned off, but the Roman marble head of a Satyr, perched on top of the bookshelf, is. (That too you can see below.) And wouldn't you love to see a close-up shot of the books? I can make out a few titles: The Flowering of the Middle Ages; Pearls: A Natural History; American Rococo, 1750-1775: Elegance in Ornament. But the other titles in the library? I suppose that in a way, the mystery surrounding this room endures.
Image at top from Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design by Christopher Petkanas. The remaining photos courtesy of Sotheby's.