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James Andrew at Blairsden

James Andrew at Blairsden

Showhouse season is upon us and as you might imagine, I’m savoring every bit of it! Located in the truly idyllic Peapack-Gladstone, the Carrere and Hastings masterpiece, Blairsden, houses this year’s Mansion in May. Peapack-Gladstone, as you may know, is one of the most exclusive enclaves in the US., having been home to major figures like the King of Morocco, Sister Parish, and Jacqueline Onasis to name just a few.

Blairsden was the brianchild of C. Ledyard Blair, a New York financier and sportsman (he was the Commodore of the New York Yacht club). He enlisted the esteemed architectural firm, Carrere and Hastings—of the Frick, the New York Public Library, Nemours, etc.—to assist in creating a grand country retreat for his family and friends—and literally had a hilltop leveled to make way for his monumental hilltop Beaux Arts-style mansion! The gardens were designed by James Leal Greenleaf—and as was the fashion of the times, it replicated that of an Italian villa. The 65,000 square foot structure is very much intact, retaining many of its original details.

Blair spent nearly fifty years on the estate until his passing in 1949, at which point it was divided and sold to nuns for a mere $65,000. In 2002 it returned to private ownership. It was sold to its current owner in 2012, who is now lovingly restoring it and so graciously welcomed Mansion in May to use it for this year’s showhouse.

"Mrs. Blair's Drawing Room" by Barbara Ostrom

“Mrs. Blair’s Drawing Room” by Barbara Ostrom

For me, Barbara Ostrom’s Stunning “Mrs Blair’s drawing room” is certainly one of the highlights. Also of note is the incredible kitchen by Scott Seibold for Canterbury Design, with a super-chic stove by La Cornue.

kitchen by Scott Seibold for Canterbury Design.

kitchen by Scott Seibold for Canterbury Design.

Do go and see Blairsden for yourself—it’s such a rare and rewarding opportunity to experience a true Gilded Age masterpiece, and getting there from the city is as simple as a quick train ride. There is even a free weekend shuttle bus to take you back and forth from the Gladstone train station in New Jersey. And if all this were not incentive enough, let’s not forget that Mansion in May ultimately benefits the Pediatric Intensive Care Center and the new Autism Center at Morristown Medical Center. A great phalanx of volunteers contribute to the success of this sublime showhouse and you can be sure it will be a wonderfully seamless experience for all who come!

Feeling a bit Lord-of-the-Manor in front of the ravishing reflecting pool at Blairsden, I’m flanked by a pair of stone stags from Barbara Isreal, and I’m sporting a Tom Ford jacket in indigo and ivory silk Glen plaid, abstract floral print shirt, cobalt cotton panta, royal blue dot print silk pocket square, Ralph Lauren navy leather D ring belt, Gucci navy suede loafers, vintage Rolex, Tom Ford “Marco” sunglasses, and my fragrance is Creed Bois de Cedrat.

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  1. Dean says:


    How stunning! I love how you went from the salon straight to the kitchen- since we all live that way now-

    A high contrast I am sure to the time when the Blairs were in residence!

    Thanks for the tantalizing glimpse into your beautiful world.


  2. marco aurelio cuneo says:

    very elegant and classy!!!

  3. La Contessa says:

    You are indeed THE -LORD-OF-THE-MANOR!
    Loved the history lesson too!GRAZIE TANTO………..

  4. Divine beyond! We are coming east!

    I will give you dates…….and DPC and hope for a meeting!

    Next week; we will be seeing my brother in Connecticut; and going to Wallingford!


  5. CD says:

    Hello James!

    What a great photo again, with the shimmering reflections of the mansion and trees behind you… And once again, your blues so elegantly complementing the greens, while the jacket acting as the perfect chromatic correlative of sculpture, architecture and sky.

    Thanks so much for all your emails. Now that I’m less busy I have to catch up with reading your posts that I always find to be so fascinating.

    Happy Spring and Best Wishes!


  6. debbie spiro says:

    Thanks for the post – I am going to put this on my May list. Looking dashing and super stylish as usual:)

  7. James Andrew says:

    Dear Dean,

    Yes it certainly is another world!

    It was so very exciting to see this legendary home- you would of course love it!



  8. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Marco,

    Thank You as always for your kind words and support!

    Mansion in May is such a marvelous event- I wanted to dress to celebrate!



  9. James Andrew says:

    My Dear La Contessa,

    I wish!

    It is such a treat to get to see these masterpieces and a wonderful little escape from NYC!

    Cheers and All Best,


  10. James Andrew says:

    My Darling Penelope Bianchi,

    That is the best news I have heard in ages!

    We are anxiously awaiting your arrival – it is the perfect time for a New York City visit.

    Perhaps you will get to see the rather marvelous Mansion in May and we have Kips Bay Show House as well!

    Oh and the Charles James at the MET!

    Much Love


  11. James Andrew says:

    Hello My Dear CD,

    So pleased to hear you like our photo- it was a challenging idea to try and capture- I wanted to be flanked by the stags – have the house and reflecting pool centered on the frame- alas – this was the best we could do.

    Luckily I wore something electric- the day was a bit on and off – so it looked a tad dreary.

    Cheers and All Best,


  12. Sarah Eaby says:

    I was just there and my personal favorite was the outdoor pavilion done by Scott Salvator that they call The Belvedere. The red fabric against the lime stone was such a wow factor!

    I would never think to hang a mirror and curtains in an outdoor space. The ceilings must have been about 30 feet high!

    I tried to post a picture because the room is just so great.

  13. great photos! I’ve loved this house for many years and it was a privilege to walk through it multiple times. If you want to see some of my shots and research I’ve done, you are welcome to visit my page, http://www.TheGildedButler.com Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

  14. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Matthew Niewenhouse,

    Your blog is so very sublime- I am an instant fan!!!

    I cant wait to immerse myself more fully.

    I would love to be photographed at so many of these magnificent homes.

    The black and white photos add a whole new dimension as well.




  15. thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. my goal in keeping most of the visuals black and white is make it really feel like it is a step back in time. Shadow Lawn Mansion (Wilson Hall) and Guggenheim Mansion (Guggenheim Library) are both on Monmouth University’s campus. They are open on week days. Shadow Lawn uses the the servants wing as offices, as well as many of the bedrooms on floors two, three, and four. Some bedrooms and main living spaces on the first floor serve as class rooms. As long as no one is occupying that space at any given time, its yours to roam!

  16. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Matthew Niewenhous,

    That is amazing!

    We should do a blog collaboration!



  17. That would be awesome!

  18. James Andrew says:

    Dear Matthew Niewenhous,


    Email me and lets sort out a plan – ippet@aol.com



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