Tuesday, September 15, 2015
House Tour: The New York House of Benjamin Garber and William Kennedy
What to do when your work schedule is so hectic that it leaves you little time to prepare a blog post? You scramble to find photos of a house so attractive that you don't have to devote much time to writing text.
Now that I've gotten that off of my chest, I'll get on with the gist of this blog post. The upper Westchester County, New York house you see here belonged (or, perhaps still belongs) to designers Benjamin Garber and William Kennedy of William Kennedy Associates. Built in 1968, the 7,000-square-foot house was composed of quite spacious rooms, which were decorated in that dignified style so characteristic of mid-twentieth-century, high-end design. By dignified, I mean that the house was appointed with fine fabrics, formal, antique furniture, and exquisite porcelains, all set against a backdrop of sophisticated, harmonious color. And although the house could be deemed polite (a compliment in my book,) there is nothing stuffy about this house. Warmth and comfort are much in evidence, with just enough dazzle to keep things interesting.
Also interesting is the information provided by the 1974 Architectural Digest article, in which these photos appeared. According to the text, Kennedy once worked for Syrie Maugham, and both men took over her U.S. operation in the 1950s. The interview for this article must have been lively, with much banter about Kennedy's former employer. I'll leave you with this exchange between the two men, in which both share their thoughts on Maugham:
"She was the greatest gal I've ever know," says Mr. Kennedy. "Venemous," says Mr. Garber, "but the most charming girl that ever walked into a parlour. Whatever she did, she insisted on quality."
"She sold the worst things in the world," says Mr. Kennedy. "But she made them look like quality," says Mr. Garber, "and that is magic that few people do well."
Photos from Architectural Digest, Jan/Feb 1974, Charlotte Brooks photographer.