by John Ipekjian
In 1908, architects Charles and Henry Greene built one of their most famous residences, the Robert R. Blacker House. In addition to designing the home and interior furnishings, they also designed the landscaping which included a Bermuda cedar tree in the front yard.
A century later, the 55′-tall tree threatened to fall onto the house. Once a sentinel standing watch over the entrance of a grand estate, the gnarly old conifer now leaned like an old man on weak legs. The tree had to come down.
Our hope was that the wood salvaged from this tree could be used somewhere on the grounds – the current owners of the Blacker House had the same thought. The plan was to drop the tree, saw it into usable lumber then build something with it that could be used on the property.
While the Greenes have long been celebrated for their “total design” approach and their unique ability to design homes, the interiors and the furnishings so cohesively, this would be the first example of furniture built for a particular Greene Brother’s property with material grown on that property. We had the opportunity to take the level of cohesion a step further.
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From the April 2014 issue, #210