Saturday, August 24, 2013

Woodrow Wilson's House in Washington DC

We're on a Woodrow Wilson tour this week, it seems! After a crippling stroke in office, and at the end of his term, Wilson and his second wife, Edith, lived here on S Street, near Embassy Row. Wilson lived here 1921-1924. Edith lived 37 more years and gifted the house to the National Trust in 1961. The house is furnished largely as it was when Wilson lived here. (photo on left by Todd A. Smith Photography.)
Welcome to the parlor, a memorial to Wilson's family (his three girls' portraits on the piano) a "museum" of international gifts to the former President.
The grand piano, played by his eldest daughter, and a huge wall tapestry, a gift to the President.
A painting of the Spanish Steps in Rome, and portraits of King George V and Queen Mary, mother of the current Queen Elizabeth.
Wilson's office includes, among the books and treasures, a film projector (right) and screen (left). Cutting edge.
The neighborhood and the beautiful terraced rear gardens.
Woodrow Wilson's dressing and bed room. What a gentleman.
Edith Wilson was a 9th generation descendant of Pocahontas and proud (left image: Pocahontas, and Edith). Here is her bed and dressing room.
Built-in cabinets and cupboards are found throughout the house (love them!) and proudly house the Wilsons' china collections here.
In addition to an elevator that was powered by the S Street streetcar, the house was equipped with an intercom!

The kitchen is a large bright space, with a "modern" stove and wooden icebox.
The Woodrow Wilson House is a treasure trove of curious gifts from around the world by admirers of the President who negotiated the end of the horrendous World War and an interesting glimpse into life at the high end of Washington in the 1920s.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Local Tourists: The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

We took a stay-cation outing to Woodrow Wilson's place today, right down the street in Staunton, Virginia. Our impetus was the great gift of the Blue Star Museums incentive, allowing military families free admission to certain museums during the summer. (So cool! I wish we could travel the country museum-hopping...) Thank you, Blue Star and The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum.
Three houses sit on the ridge known as Gospel Hill, at the edge of Staunton's downtown. Only the Presbyterian manse was there in the 1850s and Wilson's parents lived there. His father was the minister. The Museum comprises the manse and the other two houses. The middle houses administration, admissions and gift shop. The largest houses the Woodrow Wilson Museum (above.) Come on in for interesting exhibits on the life of the Wilson family, the President's parents and siblings, their short residence but long relationship with the town of Staunton, Wilson's education at the finest institutions in the country, his presidency, World War I and the Woodrow Wilson family.
And the President's beloved limousine, a Pierce-Arrow, one of the first luxury automobiles, lovingly restored and shown off in the large garage/exhibit. Wilson was one of the first members of the AAA, but he never earned a driver's license.
These war posters set the scene for the WW I exhibit - complete with the trenches, their sights and sounds, photographs and old rusty weapons in the basement. The dawn of the machine in war.

The pennants and ribbons and, especially, this typographic drawing endeared me to the graphic and celebratory techniques of the early 1900s. 

I especially loved the exhibit featuring the paintings of Wilson's first wife, from Georgia, Ellen Axson Wilson. She earned awards and exhibited and studied at the Art Students League in New York while she was engaged. After she was wed to Wilson, Ellen pursued family life primarily, painting when she had time as the children grew.

An artful life at the White House, thanks to Ellen Axson Wilson. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sottile & Sottile: From Savannah to the World

The reach of a small architecture & urban design firm in Savannah Georgia extends far, far beyond the bounds of the modest rowhouse studio on Chatham Square.

In addition to awards by the CNU, AIA and others, Sottile & Sottile ideas and projects have produced some standout covers on a few international magazines.

On urban design,
see for full cover
On the singular SCAD Museum,
see for full cover

[The photo by Adam Kuehl in AD is otherworldly.  At night, it glows as a beacon. In the day, it welcomes learners and lovers of art.  It was a thrill to attend paper sessions of the SCAD Symposium in the SCAD Museum in February 2013. Having walked the galleries, halls and classrooms with pencil, pen and watercolor in the design stages, it was awesome to walk and use these spaces (and present a paper in them) in full living color and texture and space...]