Christopher Spitzmiller's Clove Brook Farm

Christopher Spitzmiller's magical Clove Brook Farm is featured in the July issue of Architectural Digest. The interiors were a collaboration with  Harry Heissmann and are just as stunning as the views below.  Needless to say, Tony and I were very excited to see one of our Sunburst Sconces included in such a wonderful project!

The view from Christopher Spitzmiller's Clove Brook Farm

The view from Christopher Spitzmiller's Clove Brook Farm

I never realized I wanted a fireplace in the kitchen until I saw this room.

I never realized I wanted a fireplace in the kitchen until I saw this room.

I love that our Sunburst sconce hangs above Francis Elkins style chairs and the ceramic swan adds Harry Heissmann's signature touch of whimsy. 

I love that our Sunburst sconce hangs above Francis Elkins style chairs and the ceramic swan adds Harry Heissmann's signature touch of whimsy. 

Coffee table for Alexa Hampton

We consider ourselves lucky to be a part of any project. However, when a client comes to us for work in their own home, we must admit to being particularly grateful. Especially when the client relationship goes back a few generations! Alexa Hampton commissioned us to make the coffee table pictured below for her home last year. The most prominent features of the table are hand-carved anthemion on either end of the table. We went through a number of carving models to get to the final one, as you can see below. And we couldn't be happier to see it in such a beautiful home (thank you Architectural Digest)!

Alexa Hampton's home as featured in April 2015 Architectural Digest

Alexa Hampton's home as featured in April 2015 Architectural Digest

Some brass anthemion from our collection of mounts which we used as inspiration for our anthemion design

Some brass anthemion from our collection of mounts which we used as inspiration for our anthemion design

carving notes

carving notes

carving notes 2
An initial carving model with notes

An initial carving model with notes

Assembling the table with the finial carving

Assembling the table with the finial carving

Gold leaf finishing in-process

Gold leaf finishing in-process

The final product

The final product

Source: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/decor/2...

Desk for Lauren Bacall

Bonhams will be holding the estate sale for the late Lauren Bacall on March 31st, 2015 in New York City. You can find the complete catalog here. We were happy to find lot 116, which is a desk our founder, Frederick Victoria provided to his friend and client, Ms. Bacall. This is something Mr. Victoria would have called in the "chateau" taste; a provincial piece that reflected a bit more of the Parisian sophistication than your average provincial piece of furniture. The design is one of a few chateau-style desk designs with a superstructure from our archive. Some of these superstructures have open cubby-style openings, leather fronted "cartonnier" style drawers, or as in the case of this design, wooden drawers and doors. 

Image of Victoria & Son desk 38, from the Bacall estate sale at Bonhams, 3.31.2015

Image of Victoria & Son desk 38, from the Bacall estate sale at Bonhams, 3.31.2015

Victoria & Son file image of Desk 38 model

Victoria & Son file image of Desk 38 model

Blue print and reference sketches for Desk 38 from Victoria & Son design archive 

Blue print and reference sketches for Desk 38 from Victoria & Son design archive 

The unfinished brass mount used on the knees of the legs for Desk 38

The unfinished brass mount used on the knees of the legs for Desk 38

The raw brass mount used at the corners of the desk surface

The raw brass mount used at the corners of the desk surface

Desk 38 with a later mounted cabinet in Lauren Bacall's Dakota Apartment

Desk 38 with a later mounted cabinet in Lauren Bacall's Dakota Apartment


Source: http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22741/lot/...

New Custom Brass Mounts

We've finally started cataloging some of the brass mounts we use for custom orders and have rediscovered some wonderful models. These are period style brasses that we cast as needed for custom commissions, and alter as needed as well. For example, if a client likes a keyhole escutcheon, we can turn it into a drawer pull if locks are not called for. We even found some porcelain escutcheon sets! We are currently working on the keyhole escutcheon category, which are the examples below. When we get to the sabot, collars, pulls, galleries, etc, we'll be sure to post them as well!

Cabinet for Howard Slatkin

Thank goodness for social media! Tony Victoria produced this cabinet years ago at our old 55th street location for Howard Slatkin. Collaborating with Mr. Slatkin was one of the all-too rare projects when no level of detail was too small to be considered. Truly a great and challenging professional experience. Neither Tony or I have ever seen it in-situ, but perusing Instagram recently we stumbled upon it in Mr. Slatkin's feed! 

Nearly complete in-process snapshot in our previous 55th Street location. 

Nearly complete in-process snapshot in our previous 55th Street location. 

Detail of the match-strike brass and brass rosettes used for this cabinet

Detail of the match-strike brass and brass rosettes used for this cabinet

Old Dog, New Tricks: 3D Printing

We recently took our first dabble into the world of 3D printing. If you are not familiar with 3D printing, imagine your printer at work not only going back and forth as it prints out lines of text, but also "printing" layers upon previous layers making the text 3D. This is why 3D printing is also called "additive manufacturing." So you could theoretically print any 3D object from an electronic file. Needless to say we've been watching the space excitedly because, not only could it significantly cut down on materials waste, but also any of our designs could be printed by whomever has the right file, anywhere in the world...in theory.

Perhaps fortunately, the reality of 3D printing is not up to that scale yet. Most printers simply aren't big enough to print a chair, for example, and the costs to do so compared to current fabrication convention would be prohibitive. However, it is very useful, and fun, for small scale pieces, parts and prototypes.

Inspired by a vintage bar-tool, we designed one electronically with a ice pick, mallet, and bottle opener with a patterned grip. Once the file was complete and the design was ready, we uploaded it to Shapeways. Shapeways is basically a 3D printing outsource firm - we don't have our own 3D printer, so we upload a file on their website, they immediately tell us if the file is printable as well as the costs to do so in various materials. We chose to print our prototype in both a grey finished steel and a hardened plastic. Then, Shapeways shipped them both to us in about 1 - 2 weeks.

Having the full scale prototype was extremely useful - right away I could see the handle was too long, the gauge of the bottle opener neck too thick and the grip pattern not as detailed as I expected. The plastic one was the same except that we left the handle with no grip pattern. We did this because we could carve the plastic the old fashioned way. So the next step could be hand-carving the plastic 3D printed prototype and then "lost wax" casting the hand-carved/3D printed prototype. And in fact one of the materials offered for printing was castable wax in the event you are ready to skip the hand-carving step.  

Currently, this seems to be the way 3D printing will be the most useful to a design firm like us: printing prototypes that we can then cast. The fact that we could in fact print certain items in castable wax was slightly mind-blowing. So metal parts and hardware, frames and more will now be much easier to customize on a project by project basis. But for production pieces, both because of the time required to print and the cost, 3D printing is not there yet it seems. Also, I am not sure how useful it will be for printing small scale prototypes of custom pieces for clients - I'm not entirely convinced how useful today's client would find a miniature, single material, version of their project and they certainly won't be thrilled by the added time they require. Prototypes may be useful for production pieces as we develop them, however full-scale prototypes seem like they will remain more useful. But we will see - it is fun and invigorating to have another tool for the design process. And like most tools, a year or 10 from now, we'll probably be using it in a number of different ways. 

This vintage inspiration piece. 

This vintage inspiration piece. 

A 3D perspective view of the bar-tool design in Rhino

A 3D perspective view of the bar-tool design in Rhino

The metal and plastic bar-tool prototypes. 

The metal and plastic bar-tool prototypes. 

Most importantly - the prototype works! 

The Bunny Mellon Sale at Sotheby's

The forthcoming sale, Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon at Sotheby's, promises to be a rare event for anyone interested in the decorative or fine arts, or simply fine living. Sales like this do not happen very often anymore: the sheer breadth of Mrs. Mellon's collection ranges from Rothko paints to garden tools.  Her collection of porcelains could have a sale in their own right and includes multiple lots of Meissen, Chelsea (a rare red anchor period asparagus tureen lot 483) and at least 4 lots from the rare Longton Hall factory (including two even rarer melon form pieces, lot 388 and lot 443) and many others. The Interiors sale alone will take 5 separate sale sessions at Sotheby's spread over 3 days, with separate sale dates for the "Masterworks" and another for "Jewels and Objects of Vertu."

The other aspect of this sale (sales) which makes it so unique, is that it is a complete "collection" from a collector of a previous era. This very private person, and artist in her own right, assembled such a broad and yet specific range of high quality pieces. Vegetable-form porcelains, garden tools, rare books, fine art, baskets and so on.  I may be wrong, but this type of collector does not exist any longer, or they are at least a critically endangered species. 

We were lucky to every now and then work for Mrs. Mellon through her various decorators over years. Besides lot 337 which is a set of 3 of the original version of the etageres we designed and created initially for Billy Baldwin, below is a low bookcase and chair model we made for Mrs. Mellon, including their reference sketches from our design archive. If you have a chance to visit the sale exhibition, it begins on November 15 for the Interiors portion.  

The reference sketch from the Victoria & Son Design Archive for a side chair made for Mrs. Mellon

The reference sketch from the Victoria & Son Design Archive for a side chair made for Mrs. Mellon

The only photo we have of the chair model made for Mrs. Mellow, in this case the armchair version. 

The only photo we have of the chair model made for Mrs. Mellow, in this case the armchair version. 

Design Archive sketch for a very versatile Louis XV style book table, made by Victoria & Son for Mrs. Mellon

Design Archive sketch for a very versatile Louis XV style book table, made by Victoria & Son for Mrs. Mellon

Not the exact table made for Mrs. Mellon, but the floor model of the design. 

Not the exact table made for Mrs. Mellon, but the floor model of the design. 

The Designer Showhouse of New York with Harry Heissmann

Earlier this year, we were thrilled when Harry Heissmann used our prototype Portal Sconce in the inaugural Designer Showhouse of New York supported by NYC&G. We first got to know Harry when he was working with the one and only Albert Hadley. As you can see in the photos below (courtesy of NYC&G and Harry Heissmann), his style delicately pushes the boundaries of interior design, which is only one of the reasons we enjoy working with him so much - thank you Harry!

Harry Heissmann's room at the Designer Showhouse of NY

Harry Heissmann's room at the Designer Showhouse of NY

Harry Heissmann's room at the Designer Showhouse of NY

Harry Heissmann's room at the Designer Showhouse of NY

To view all the rooms of the Designer Showhouse of NY, please click here.

Victoria & Son in the White House

Well, two of our Louis XIV Style hurricanes were there anyway... It was very exciting when Michael Smith Inc. contacted us about supplying a pair of our large hurricanes for their Obama White House project. But, being 2 relatively small pieces of such a enormous project, we never thought we'd actually get to see them in situ or being used at all for that matter.  But then the internet happened - thank you! 

Can you find them both? 

Can you find them both? 

"H" for Heritage

We were very excited to to be featured in Veranda's Encyclopedia of Style in their September 2014 issue! Besides their very kind words, Veranda highlighted Victoria & Son's Sunburst Wall Scone twice. This was the very first time Victoria & Son has ever been in Veranda - thank you!

Victoria & Son in Veranda September 2014

Victoria & Son in Veranda September 2014

Making of the Portal Sconce

Earlier in 2014 we were very excited to introduce the Portal Sconce. The sconce was inspired by a new and creative mirrored glass technique we discovered several years ago. The effect of this glass stayed with us but we were not sure how to best use it. Finally, the idea for a low-profile wall sconce with clean lines evolved and took form. But it had been so long our craftsman had to re-develop the technique! Without going into too much detail, the process involves firing glass to get a 3D effect. However too little time/too low a temperature will not yield the effect and too much time/too high a temperature will simply leave you with puddles of glass. After some trial and error, we landed on the correct result. Below are some images from the process - thank you for having a look! 

The first frame test for our Portal sconce. Templates for the glass were based on this prototype. 

The first frame test for our Portal sconce. Templates for the glass were based on this prototype. 

The first frame prototype in American Walnut and brass for the Portal Sconce

The first frame prototype in American Walnut and brass for the Portal Sconce

Un-mirrored glass firing test which was unsuccessful.

Un-mirrored glass firing test which was unsuccessful.

First time we had a fully assembled prototype with mirrored glass in the walnut and brass frame

First time we had a fully assembled prototype with mirrored glass in the walnut and brass frame

Pair of Portal Sconce specially wired with battery pack LED lights for Harry Heissmann's use in a showhouse/ 

Pair of Portal Sconce specially wired with battery pack LED lights for Harry Heissmann's use in a showhouse/ 

Detail of the mirrored glass of the Portal Sconce as lit by 2 halogen bulbs

Detail of the mirrored glass of the Portal Sconce as lit by 2 halogen bulbs

The Portal Sconce by Victoria & Son

The Portal Sconce by Victoria & Son

The New Barroux

We introduced our New Barroux Chair at the recent Architectural Home Design Show in New York City. It is a model that has been a family favorite for many years because of how supremely comfortable it is. Perhaps more well known as a Maison Jansen model, the design in fact predates that eponymous firm. My grandfather attributed the model to Paris' Maison Barroux and some of the very first ones we made still had levers under each arm. These were part of the original design and controlled ratchets which allowed the back to recline so far as to nearly become a day bed. 

We thought our model would lend itself perfectly to being updated so a new generation could appreciate it.

The first thing we did was to elongate the legs and raise the seat height. The original frame is quite low, even allowing for the down cushion. Raising the height we believe will make it more user-friendly in public, social settings. 

The next, and perhaps most obvious change, was the upholstery. We were influenced by contemporary upholstered chairs by designers like the Bouroullec Brothers and Robert Stadler. What inspired us specifically was a quilted or tufted technique applied continuously from seat to back - eliminating the visual seam between the these two parts of the chair. But, while we applied deep tufts over the seat and back of the New Barroux, but we kept one of the construction features that made the original so comfortable - springs in both the seat and the back. The result, we believe, is chair that lends itself to both modern and traditional settings and one that is not only comfortable to sit in, but easy to get in and out of.

 

The classic Barroux model with sprung back and dorp-platform seat, loose down-cushion and bolster. 

The classic Barroux model with sprung back and dorp-platform seat, loose down-cushion and bolster. 

An original style Barroux in reclined position. One of the mechanical levers is underneath the arm. 

An original style Barroux in reclined position. One of the mechanical levers is underneath the arm. 

Our New Barroux in process. Padding and form is supported by springs in the seat and back. 

Our New Barroux in process. Padding and form is supported by springs in the seat and back. 

Traditional trim and tufting by hand. 

Traditional trim and tufting by hand. 

The New Barroux Chair

The New Barroux Chair

Old and New Barroux, side by side. 

Old and New Barroux, side by side. 

The New Barroux Chair at AD Home Show 2014

The New Barroux Chair at AD Home Show 2014

Original Baldwin-Porter Etagere Finial

We recently completed an etagere version of our Cole Porter model and had an occasion to use the original finial for this client’s project. As a model that has been made many times now, by many different hands, we thought this small detail might be intriguing.  When Frederick originally made the etageres for Billy Baldwin, we used a short, domed finial with radiating gadrooning.  We used these for all the etageres made in our shop at the time. However, as the model became more widely made, we ceased making the etageres around the mid-1960′s and, frankly, forgot about the finial model.

Raw and finished castings of our original finial model for the Cole Porter & Billy Baldwin etagere 

Raw and finished castings of our original finial model for the Cole Porter & Billy Baldwin etagere 

Catalog cover for the "Baltimore's Billy Baldwin" exhibit

Catalog cover for the "Baltimore's Billy Baldwin" exhibit

When Tony started producing the re-edited coffee table versions of the model in 2000, there was still no need for a finial on a coffee table.  But around 2009, as John Archer Abbott started putting together his exhibition “Baltimore’s Billy Baldwin” at John Hopkins (http://www.museums.jhu.edu/evergreen.php?section=exhibitions&exhibition=baldwin), he contacted Tony about anything we might be able to loan to exhibit.  Sure enough, we found the finial models (2 sizes) and sent them down for the exhibit along with some archival photos.

The 2 original variations for the finial

The 2 original variations for the finial

Needless to say we were thrilled our client agreed to use this original detail for their etagere and to see the model used again after a 50 year hiatus!