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Friday, August 2, 2013

Touring the Rockefeller Home Bassett Hall

Today’s post marks the end of my summer vacation series. In almost gleeful anticipation as a mother it also marks the end of the last week of summer vacation for Sweet Boy. He returns to school on Monday…yippeeee! While it has been wonderful to focus on my children this summer I am truly itching to return to project mode.

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Did you know that if it were not for the generosity and vision of one couple there would be no Colonial Williamsburg? In the early part of the 20th century the rector of Bruton Parish Church, Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, began leading a campaign to restore the historic church located in Colonial Williamsburg. A few years later when he saw further deterioration of many of the other colonial-era buildings he was both saddened and inspired. He began a movement to preserve the historic buildings surrounding the church. Goodwin drew the interest of John D. Rockefeller and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

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While you can read the complete story online, the summary is this~ in the end the Rockefeller’s donated millions of dollars and saved 88 original structures. Many more historically accurate buildings, such as the Governor's Palace, were recreated bringing the grand total to approximately 500 buildings. The site is truly a national treasure.

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Early on in the restoration process it became apparent to the Rockefeller’s that they would need a home to stay in when visiting the area. The Rockefellers purchase Bassett Hall in 1927. The home had been built in the 1700’s and had three outbuildings and sat on 585 acres. 

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Modifications to the home were completed by 1936. As they did not want to compromise the integrity of the eighteenth-century structure a wing was added to the back. The addition included a modern kitchen and bathrooms, servants’ quarters, as well as an extra guest bedroom and dining room.

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It is a traditional frame home with a center hall entry.

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The staircase, while fairly small is impressive.

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To the left is a pale mauve living room.

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The wonderful collection of artwork throughout the home is traditionally hung from the ceiling molding via thread, wire or ribbon.

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I loved the 1930’s era accessories that the family added to the home.

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To the right of the entry is a more formal sitting room.

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I adored this small settee.

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Gorgeous mirrors, occasional chairs and chandeliers filled the space.

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A collection of china shepherdess.

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Framed French needlepoint.

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A gorgeous Aubusson rug topped wood floors.

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I then climbed the staircase where two bedrooms were located.

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To the left was a mauve bedroom. A door was opened to view the modern bathrooms that were cleverly added without compromising the original home. 

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Here is a close up of the hand crocheted bed coverings.

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A small seating area near the fireplace.

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A chaise in front of the fireplace.

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To the right a dressing table.

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Many of the needlepoint rugs in the home were stitched by Abby Rockefeller herself.

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Across the hall was another bedroom.

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I loved the collection of blue opaline glass.

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Two twin beds were also in this space. Check out the luggage!

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A glimpse beyond into the modern part of the house.

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Traveling back downstairs I took another picture of a framed French needlepoint to show Mr. Décor. You’ll find out why soon enough. :)

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Leaving the 1770’s era house we entered into the newer section of the downstairs which contains a formal dining room.

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Here’s a close up of the Chinese dinner service.

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The linen tablecloth had a fabulous monogram “JRD” for John D. Rockefeller

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The napkins had just a single “R”. I loved the silver and green goblets.

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Above it all was a sparkling chandelier.

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Here is a close up.

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To the right of the entry is a small chest and artwork.

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Here is a close up of the wall sconce.

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To the left of the entry is a demilune table and my favorite piece of artwork in this room. I just love the young lady’s jaunty red ribbon.

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To the right of the dining table is a hutch and three tiered table.

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A close up of the window treatments and hutch pediment.

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A single large rug covers the entire space.

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To the left of the dining table is a desk and Federal Era mirror.

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While not exactly my taste, the details are exquisite.

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Just past the dining room is the butlers pantry.

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It is a well lit space and I loved the color of the cabinets and brass knobs.

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I couldn’t help but peek into the cabinets and smiled when I saw these glasses etched with “Success to Repeal 1935” which of course refers to the end of Prohibition. Interestingly enough Mr. Rockefeller was a strict Baptist who abstained from drinking alcohol.

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Next came the charming 1930’s era kitchen.

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I am so glad that the kitchen was not modernized in any way.

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A small custom table fits neatly over the radiator to the right of the large sink.

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A small center island is set up for baking.

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No doubt the ice box was the finest money could buy at that time.

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Another table is set to the right of the stove.

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There is a wall mounted fan to keep things cool.

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On that same wall is the pantry.

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Oh my was I in heaven!

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Off of the kitchen was one of the servants quarters.

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I was thinking to myself that it didn’t look like such a bad gig.

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The room was very comfortable with all the modern amenities. Another door led to the bedroom which was not open for viewing. 

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Bassett Hall is located at 522 Francis Street, near the Capitol, in Colonial Williamsburg. The Rockefeller family donated Bassett Hall to Colonial Williamsburg in 1979. It is only open on certain days. I was VERY lucky to be able to tour this wonderful place.

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I hope you have enjoyed my historic vacation series.  It was truly a joy to relive and share with you.



Blackberry Lane said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour through your photos. All the best to Sweet Boy in the new school year. Have a nice weekend, Laura.


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Absolutely loving all the photos!! What a fab trip!!!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh what a wonderful place. I loved the tour, thanks for letting me tag along. Great pictures. Hugs, marty

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

Thank you for the guided tour in this impressive home which I would never otherwise have had a chance to see. Enjoy the fading days of summer. xxx

openid said...

Every time you travel I feel like I've climbed into your pocket and get to go along. So thankful for all your tours. I've only been to Williamsburg once -- in 1998 during a heat wave. I don't do extreme heat {felt so bad for the employees in colonial attire} and have yet to return. Your tour has me hungry for more and looking at our autumn calendar.
Your Friend,

Vel Criste said...

We're lucky you got to go and we get to see too! Thanks so much Laura, so love touring historic homes and all the details you've shown here was wonderful! Thanks!

Jen said...

Your photos are just fab! I so enjoyed taking the tour with you. Thank you so much for sharing!!

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Lovely! If I can ever build a house I want the outside to look like the front of this one.

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your vacation! I can't believe school is starting Monday for your sweet boy! Time flies when you are having fun! I hope that Sweet Boy is in for a great year!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

I love the kitchen! It hardly looks retro these days!!!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Oh Laura thanks for sharing! I so enjoyed it. I have been to Williamsburg but don't remember this! I am like you I love the 1930's items and how they set them up. I wanna go back!!

Bonnie said...

Yes, I did enjoy the tour very much. Glad you were able to make photos. It was very interesting. We were not allowed to make pictures in Monticello.


Beautiful tour of a beautiful house, I enjoyed it so much! Thanks my friend for sharing your vacation and the great pictures with us. I can't believe school starting in August?! Have a blessed Sunday too.

Phyllis @Around the House said...

I loved touring this beautiful, I found myself getting caught up in the pantry and the canning pot and around the time of the servants quarters I was hooked..thanks for the wonderful tour with all the great photos...loved the post

Liz Hockamier said...

I love seeing old historical homes. That kitchen is AWESOME!


Something Nice and Pretty said...

I loved touring that with you and I too am glad they left the kitchen alone!