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At Home in Tennessee

Classic Historic Interiors

by Donna Dorian photographs by Anne Hall

224 pages / 12.00 x 10.00 inches / 208 color photos, 6 halftones

Cultural Studies

  Hardcover / 9780807134474 / September 2009

In the first half of the nineteenth century, when road transportation was still a rather primitive affair in the South, families would open their doors for what they called an "at home," entertaining friends and relatives who came and went throughout the day. This book is an "at home" of sorts: a celebration of Tennessee's antebellum domestic décor and its influence on interiors today.

Donna Dorian and Anne Hall showcase twenty historic homes rich in material culture. From museum houses to meticulously preserved private antebellum homes to houses decorated by contemporary homeowners in a historic style, each displays its original furnishings or is refurbished with authentic period pieces. Although the book includes many of Tennessee's great historic houses, such as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage and General James Winchester's Cragfont, this sampling of domiciles represents a range of economic and social strata. With homes including a log cabin furnished with vernacular pieces designed by regional cabinetmakers and high-style brick mansions of planters and merchants filled with fine furniture, the book points to the remarkable legacy of Tennessee's decorative arts between 1800 and 1860.

For each house, Dorian gives a lively brief history of its construction and occupants. She then describes in detail the décor , stunningly captured in natural light by Hall's photographic lens. Together, words and images focus on the arrangement and selection--as well as the form, function, and style--of furniture, portraits, wall coverings, paint techniques, lighting, carpets, wood and plasterwork, window treatments, textiles, china, silver, ceramics, pottery, hardware, gardens, and more: in short, all of the ornamental and practical touches of a home that reflect the individuals who lived and entertained there. The book concludes with an overview of the significance of the history and ingenuity of antebellum interiors in Tennessee homes today.

Only lately has an appreciation for Tennessee's antebellum architecture, interior design, and decorative arts begun to emerge fully. At Home in Tennessee amplifies this beloved heritage and its place in contemporary décor .

 

Donna Dorian, previously the Style Editor of Garden Design magazine, has written extensively on interior design, the fine and decorative arts, and landscape architecture for Town & Country, Southern Accents, Art & Antiques, and House Beautiful, among other publications. A former resident of Tennessee, she lives in New York City. Anne Hall is a freelance photographer and a former editorial staff member of The New Yorker magazine. Her portraits of writers and artists have appeared on numerous book jackets, have been exhibited in one-woman and group shows, and are held in many private collections. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, with her husband and two west highland white terriers. Mark Brown is the director of Belmont Mansion in Nashville.

Anne Hall is a freelance photographer and a former editorial staff member of The New Yorker magazine. Her portraits of writers and artists have appeared on numerous book jackets, have been exhibited in one-woman and group shows, and are held in many private collections. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, with her husband and two west highland white terriers.

Review of At Home in Tennessee

"This is an essential volume for the historically minded enthusiast of domestic architecture and interiors." 

SOURCE: The Magazine Antiques

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