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Before and After: John Jacob Astor IV's Heavenly Pavilion

Before and After: John Jacob Astor IV's Heavenly Pavilion

The New York Times has a jaw-dropping article, "A Fixer-Upper to End Them All," and coinciding slideshow about the 1902 Stanford White-designed Beaux-Arts sporting pavilion in Rhinebeck, NY, which was purchased and renovated by Kathleen Hammer, a retired producer for Oxygen Media. The building was originally designed for John Jacob Astor IV, great-grandson and heir of the fur and real estate magnate, and originally served as a weekend retreat and entertaining spot.

Astor's elder son Vincent inherited the property, and his third wife, Brooke Astor, made it more of a residential spot. Brooke donated it to the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and it became a convent and nursing home, and later a residential home again.
Shown above is the main hall of the home, which connects two wings. It can be closed off by French doors on all sides, and is the most central part of the pavilion. It measures 35 by 60 feet in magnitude, and for this reason was considered by Stanford White “one of the greatest rooms in America." Aside from its overwhelming size, the hall's heavenly domed skylight with elaborate plasterwork and vast fireplace are astounding, to say the least. Unfortunately, years of neglect left Hammer with a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. So, she hired the best person to do the job, Sam White, architect and great-grandson of the original architect. To see this room as it is today, read more.

Gooorrrgeous!!!! Today, the living room features a copy of a lampshade original to the home. Be sure to read the article and check out the slideshow.

Photos courtesy of Bruce Buck for The New York Times and The New-York Historical Society

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