August 27, 2013
Naumkeag is a quintessential country estate of the Gilded Age. This architectural masterpiece is, with its incredible views and incomparable design and detail, at its heart, a family home.
Joseph Choate, a leading 19th-century attorney, hired the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, & White to design his 44-room “cottage,” Naumkeag, to be a summer retreat, that stayed within the family for three generations.
McKim, Mead & White was an American architectural firm that rose to prominence at the turn of the twentieth century. The founding partners of the firm were Charles Follen McKim, William Rutherford Mead and Stanford White. Stanford White, a master of architectural design inspires one’s palate or passion for fine proportion and detail in architectural millwork. Their work applied the principles of Beaux-Arts architecture, with classical Greek and Roman stylistic vocabulary as filtered through the Parisian École des Beaux-Arts. Furthermore, their work was a part of the City Beautiful movement after 1893 or so, with the mission to clean up the visual confusion of American cities and give them a sense of identity, order, and formality during the Gilded Age.
With its views of Monument Mountain, its vast collection of gardens created by Joseph Choates’s daughter Miss Mabel Choate and Fletcher Steele over the course of 30 years, its original artwork, and its shingle-style house, Naumkeag creates an unforgettable experience for visitors.
The house is built in the Shingle Style with a wood-shingled exterior featuring brick and stone towers, gables, a large porch, and interiors with fine woodwork. Inside the home visitors can see the Choate family’s furniture, Chinese porcelain, and artwork collected from America, Europe, and the Far East.
Naumkeag gardens include the Blue Steps- a series of deep blue fountain pools bordered by four flights of stairs and a grove of white birches, the Afternoon Garden, Tree Peony Terrace, Rose Garden, Evergreen Garden, and the Chinese Garden, all of which show the inventive spirits and visions of Miss Choate and Mr. Steele.
Bestowed in its entirety in 1958 Naumkeag, a National Historic Landmark, provides a special link to Berkshires history. The U.S. Department of the Interior designated Naumkeag a National Historic Landmark on March 29, 2007.
Sarah Blank Design Studio is a high-end architectural design firm that specializes in high-end kitchens, butler’s pantries, libraries, and master bedrooms, bath suites. The firm works predominantly in Fairfield County and Westchester County. Our award winning firm, with 33 years of experience, often works beyond the kitchens and baths of a clients home, and designs the architectural interiors for many of the projects that have been commissioned.
(Sources: The Trustees of Reservations Organization)