Jul 29, 2011

Touring historic homes is one of my favorite pastimes, and it's kindof crazy that I don't spend all my weekends doing just that when you consider how many of them we have around here.  One recent Sunday, I decided to forgo tackling the laundry and visited Russel Wright's home instead.  I was immediately reminded of just how fun a peak into a unique, well-designed home can be.  (Even my husband liked it!)

The exterior of Wright's home looks as contemporary today as it did nearly half a century ago.
Russel Wright was a highly successful commercial designer; his mass-produced tableware, furniture, and fabrics were found in households across the country throughout the '30's, '40's, and '50's, and are considered collectibles today.  He designed and built his home, known as Manitoga, just north of Manhattan in Garrison, NY.  Wright and his wife were at the forefront of the concept of "easy living," and he designed his house around their notion of a casual life - - it featured an open floor plan & kitchen, soaring glass windows, and a unique mix of natural elements with industrial materials long before any of those were popular ideas. 

It feels really contemporary and very cool in a James-Bond-y kindof way, don't you think?
The Kitchen, Dining Room, and Living Rooms are all open to one another for easy entertaining.  The 3-Legged Eames chairs were custom-made for Wright to work on the natural stone floor.  Feel free to swoon.

That IS a tree in the middle of the Great Room - Wright's architect used an old trunk found on the property as one of the main support beams for the house.  The curved staircase is all natural stone.


Wright designed this luxe bathroom for his daughter complete with sunken bathtub and sliding glass doors to her own private patio.  And, oh yeah, her private patio had an outdoor fireplace too.  Lucky Girl.

The first glimpse you catch of Wright's home on the tour - there's an old quarry that he turned into a swimming pond at the base of those cliffs.  It's a bit dark & murky now, but must have been divine when the Wright lived here. 
 If you're interested in learning more about Manitoga, check out my lastest River Journal column  and book a tour through the Russel Wright Design Center.  I suggest making a whole day out it -  schedule a morning tour, then head a few minutes up the road to Cold Spring for a little lunch and some antiquing.  Ahh... sounds like a good Sunday.