Updating classic american colonials

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320 Grace Church St, Rye, NY For sale: .495 million The listing says this “immaculately updated colonial exudes sophisticated good taste.” From high ceilings and French doors to beautiful built-ins and crown moldings — the home is filled with architectural charm and decor fitting for the period.

View Slideshow Americana, with its long pre-Revolutionary reach, is inevitably associated with historic houses and the period rooms of museums.

"I liked the finishes and materials she used in Florida," he says.

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The exterior is marked by shutters, columns and a second-floor balcony, while the interior features a grand foyer, sauna and huge master bath.It's Neil who was really the force behind doing these interiors this way.So the only difference between his Long Island house and his house in Florida is the climate," she laughs. Let's just say that Neil is a man who likes what he likes, and that's he likes—his thing is depth, not breadth.""I've been besotted with Americana since I was a child in St.Louis—I had an aunt who was into it, and some collector cousins," Hirsch explains. As Nancy Druckman, head of the American folk art department at Sotheby's, assesses: "One finds many different levels of interest and commitment and appetite when people are forming collections, and in my long-term observation of the permutations of collecting, I find it impressive that Neil Hirsch, who had at his disposal any kind of collecting he wanted, fastened on this particular aesthetic—and at a time when it had a much less broad following—and has been so faithful to it.He keeps coming back for more, pursuing relentlessly the finest and the most rare."Leff found the Long Island house, already the repository of some of these treasures, profoundly unworthy of them. "The color scheme was mint green and poached salmon, and there was a smattering of chintzes and masses of wallpaper and lots of frisketing." The one thing the house had going for it, as far as Leff was concerned, was that spatially it was anything but formal—the living and dining areas were open to each other and, thanks to four pairs of French doors, shared an expanse of glass overlooking gardens and water. "It affords a casualness appropriate for summer living."The designer took a deep breath, rolled up her sleeves and got to work—raising the ceiling in the master bedroom a couple of feet; replacing all the pine flooring with dark-stained antique oak; providing recessed lighting; enlarging the kitchen; redoing the baths; and turning Hirsch's office into a breakfast room.

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