Monday, November 28, 2016

Amelia Handegan Revives a 19th Century Greek Revival

Built in the 1890s, The Pillars was one of approximately a dozen grand homes built as the popularity of Hot Springs, Virginia peaked.  Guests such as Thomas Jefferson flocked to the Homestead Resort, which dates back to 1766. The Pillars, a three-story Greek Revival, was built on a hill overlooking the Homestead for the resort's then-manager. 

Over the years, The Pillars hosted notables such including Thomas Edison and President Grover Cleveland. But by the time the current owners - Bill and Susanne Pritchard of Houston - bought the house, it was in serious disarray. Mindful of the home's rich history, they hired two professionals experienced in historic residences: interior designer Amelia Handegan of Charleston, South Carolina, and New York-based architect Allan Greenberg.

Photography by Max Kim-Bee and captions from Veranda magazine.

The two-year renovation was so extensive that the famous pillars had to be taken down, and the house was propped up by trees until they were replaced. A sweeping staircase was added, and the ceilings of the portico and side porch were painted sky blue, a 19th century detail. 

Hand-stenciled patterns were painted on the pine floor of the entry hall. Stenciling work, Kristen Bunting. Sisal runner, Stark. Églomisé mirror, Amelia T. Handegan Inc. 19th century Regency table, 19th century jars. 

The faded coral of the Robert Kime linen curtains inspired the palette for the room. Custom sofas in Calvin Fabrics linen. Pillows in Fortuny cotton. Skirted table in Hodsoll McKenzie wool-sateen. Stool in Savel silk. Curtain trim, Lee Jofa. Abaca rug, Stark. Pair of portraits, Joseph Lovell. 

Inside, mantels were refined and moldings given richer detailing. Handegan then created the thoughtfully elegant Southern rooms for which she is famous. "The end result was a layered look with no specific period in mind," she says, noting the English, French, Swedish, and Dutch antiques she found to fill the spacious, 10-foot-high rooms. The Pritchards didn't want the interiors to look overdone, so Handegan used light colors and little pattern, steering clear of heavy damasks in favor of cottons and linens. "If a house has strong, beautiful architectural details, I allow the palette and furnishings to take second place," Handegan says. 

Salmon-colored walls in the dining room have a golden glow at night. 1820s mahogany dining table and chairs upholstered in Christopher Hyland silk-linen and Rose Tarlow linen trim. 19th century French crystal chandelier, Robuck & Co. Sterling urns, the Silver Vault of Charleston. Curtains in Lulan silk and Janet Yonaty silk trim. Walls in Farrow & Ball's Dutch Pink. Oushak rug. 

Farrow & Ball wallpaper and an antique English hall chair dress up the butler's pantry. Roman shades in Rose Tarlow hemp-linen. Glassware, William Yeoward. Lanterns, Treillage. 

French walnut chairs in Loro Piano wool. Pendant, John Rosselli Antiques. Range and hood, Wolf. Curtains in Rogers & Goffigon linen. 

Lavender accents and floral fabrics lend a romantic air to a guest room. Bed, Hollyhock. Linens, Sferra. Custom sofa in Lee Jofa linen. 19th century Swedish chair in Fabricut cotton, Amelia T. Handegan Inc. Antique Dutch commode, Parc Monceau. Curtains in Robert Kime linen with Fabricut cotton-velvet trim. Carpet, Stark. Antique Karabagh rug. 

Antique wicker with cushions in Perennials fabric. Pillows in Lee Jofa cotton. English coffee table. Chandelier and sconces, Paul Ferrante. 

"Mrs. David Dunlop has arrived at The Pillars for the Summer and Fall... and is planning several garden parties and dances," notes a 1910 New York Times society column, penned from Hot Springs, Virginia. The tobacco widow was among the Guggenheims and Van Rensselaers who came annually to this fashionable spa town to "take the cure" in the mineral springs. 

"The house was pretty beaten up," says Greenberg. "It had not been maintained for a long time." As can often be the case with old homes, one project dominoed into another: 100-year-old plumbing and wiring had to be ripped out and replaced, and the discovery of what had been a third-floor fire necessitated a new roof.

To read more, please visit Veranda magazine. And to see more of Amelia Handegan's spectacular work, you will want to purchase a copy of her new book, Amelia Handegan Rooms.


  1. Beautiful. Greenberg was a good choice.

  2. Thank you for posting, this is a beautiful house!

  3. Wow, that house is near perfection. It just warms ones soul to see such a beautiful house. Also may God bless the owners for investing in rehabbing this fine house and assembling a great team of Mr. Greenberg and Mrs. Handegan to over see the execution.

    Thank you Andrea for a great post.


  4. The name of the family seemed familiar to me and also that they worked with Allen Greenberg. I swore their house here in Houston was published, and I found it on Arch Digest

    I thought you and your readers would enjoy that house as well.


    1. Oh wow, absolutely STUNNING!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

      The Glam Pad

  5. Ahhh...this is pretty close to my dream home! Thank you for sharing, Andrea! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! xoxo

  6. Gorgeous! But you'd think a magazine like Veranda would know Haint Blue porch-ceiling paint when they saw it!


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