press - classical architects nyc
  • EDITORIAL
  • BOOKS
  • VIDEO
classical architects nyc

Period Homes - Spring 2003

"A duo of sensitive traditionalists in lower Manhattan has built residences around the world, always keeping past and present in careful synch. The room is also a microcosm of the ambitious work of Fairfax & Sammons. Their 18-person firm has built houses containing up to tens of thousands of square feet, in styles both rustic and lofty. Every inch of detailing is consistent, down to the most minute square of Jacobethan paneling or the most fanciful spiral on a Scottish Baroque gable. A few blocks from the couple's home, the firm's office fills the upper duplex of an 18805 retail/apartment building. Comfortably well-worn staircases link workstations with overstuffed bookshelves on curvy brackets. The venerable classicist Henry Hope Reed provides a fitting background soundtrack, typing on an ancient electric machine in a back alcove. Anne Fairfax and Richard Sammons live in one of the smallest, and perhaps most harmoniously detailed, houses in New York City's Greenwich Village. The mid-19th-century brick structure, formerly a carriage house, is illuminated by slim metope windows bearing their original acanthus-pattern grilles. The new foyer, barrel vaulted and painted Pompeian red, leads to a just-finished kitchen where you gradually realize that all the curves parallel each other. Cabinets and mirrors are arched and keystoned, and set over brackets or a bolection-molding fireplace. It’s a cozy and singing space, its motifs all in concert (and its warmth is usually accentuated by the presence of two Persian calico cats, Elsie de Wolfe and Sister Parish)."