Sunday 29 March 2015
Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, and historian, born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, now based in London. read more
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A little dilapidation goes a long way

Chelsea, Muttontown, L.I.

I have commented before about the perils of over-restoration, in which a building’s owner becomes a little too enthusiastic about its preservation and ends up with a building that, except in style, looks almost new. Chelsea sits on a 500-acre preserve in Muttontown, L.I. which has come into the hands of the government of Nassau (the county on Long Island in-between Queens County and Suffolk). The county has managed to maintain the house and its grounds at exactly the appropriate level: not plastering over every crack to make it ‘good-as-new’, nor neglecting it so it becomes structurally unsound, but rather allowing it to develop and age naturally. These photographs from the ever-capable James Robertson admirably display the house and its grounds, including its shallow canal-moat.

This post was published on Thursday, March 11th, 2010 1:12 pm. It has been categorised under Architecture Featured New York and been tagged under , .
  1. K Dontoh
    11 March 2010
    3:04 pm

    Meh, I don’t like dilapidation

  2. 11 March 2010
    4:44 pm

    My undergraduate degree was Surveying, my dissertation on stonecleaning. One part was on the perception of building before and after cleaning, with one group comprising surveyors and architects, the other ‘the man in the street.’ Both groups preferred the pre cleaned buildings, the surveyors /architects more strongly, with the acid cleaned ashlar terrace being noted to have been ‘ruined’ by cleaning.

    The restored great hall at Stirling Castle is interesting. It was restored to the yellow colour it is believed to once have been. It does stick out like a sore thumb and looks peculiar when you see the castle from a distance. Can be seen at [link]

    and from a distance

    You can imagine what the locals think of the wind farm…

  3. Nancy
    11 March 2010
    6:17 pm

    Just perfect, solid but aging in a romantic way.

  4. Benedict Ambrose
    12 March 2010
    12:43 pm

    Beautifully mellow. Reminds me of a certain “historical house”, where the conservation motto is “as much as is necessary; as little as possible.”

  5. Benjamin Tredwell Van Nostrand
    12 March 2010
    3:23 pm

    We old New Yorkers are glad to remember that Benjamin Moore, the builder of this large but rather simple house, was the son of Clement Clarke Moore, author of
    “Twas the Night before Christmas”, and owner of many acres of that part of Manhattan called Chelsea to this day.

  6. Steve M.
    14 March 2010
    5:00 pm

    I am wondering if the moat would be useful if there was a full scale zombie attack hereabouts. How close is this to Manhattan?

  7. K. Dontoh
    13 December 2013
    5:12 pm

    In hindsight, I suppose it has its charms.

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