Back in the late 1890s, when Kensington was a Victorian garden community modeled after Kensington Park in London, Tooie Geddes built this turreted Queen Anne Victorian across the green from town founder Brainard Warner’s home and the Noyes Library.
Geddes, who worked for the Agriculture Department’s Bureau of Animal Industry, had spent time in London, testing animals to be imported into the United States. He likely was influenced by the aesthetic design movements in England when constructing his home.
When Judy Hanks-Henn bought the house in the late 1980s, she also was inspired by her time in London. Hanks-Henn, a landscape architect and watercolorist, was particularly fond of the home of former Punch illustrator Edward Linley Sambourne. For the next 20 years, she took what had been a blank canvas and, using themes from the British Arts and Crafts movement and the British Aesthetic movement, created a showpiece.
The grape motif in the cornice molding, the geometric patterned wallpaper above the plate rail, the herringbone design of the parlor and dining room fire boxes, and the leatherlike wallpaper under the chair rail in the back hall are some of what has been re-created by Hanks-Henn from the Linley Sambourne house. Even the light fixtures are reproductions done in iridescent glass found in the Linley Sambourne residence.
This heady mix of clutter and styles is a bit of a jumble, but it typifies Victorian interior design.
The ceiling wallpaper in the dining room and parlor are a nod to William Morris, the artist and designer who was part of the Arts and Crafts movement. The William Morris Society, which considers those two rooms to be the finest examples of his type of design in this country, will be featuring the home in an upcoming newsletter.
The wallpaper for the dining room was made by a British company, Sanderson & Son, using the original paint formulas and set of carved wooden blocks designed by Morris. Hanks-Henn’s order was delayed because of a fire at Windsor Castle that damaged William Morris wallpaper there. Once the company fulfilled Queen Elizabeth II’s order, it finished the wallpaper for Hanks-Henn. The paper was hung using traditional methods.
Like the Linley Sambourne home, the house has painted doors. Hanks-Henn took her inspiration for the painted door in the dining room from a famous William Morris tapestry and added a quote from a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., “Where we love is home, Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
Each room in the main living areas represents a season. The dining room with its deep green colors is summer, the parlor fall and the back hall winter.
Sunflower motifs are a symbol of the Aesthetic movement, and the sunflower carved above the gable in the front of the house is in honor of Anglo-Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is listed at $1.295 million.
Listing: 10234 Carroll Pl., Kensington
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