The Spirited Homes of Hunt Slonem Captures the Artist’s Maximalist Interiors

By   |     |  Design Feature

The third-floor billiard room of Cordts Mansion in Kingston features Victorian oil portraits and Hunt Slonem’s gold “Hutch” wallpaper.

Stepping into one of artist Hunt Slonem’s homes is like entering a world where art and architecture dance in perfect harmony. Renowned for his vibrant and whimsical paintings, Slonem’s distinctive approach to design transforms his homes into living canvases, breathing life into historic mansions that tell stories of elegance and creativity. The spirit of his art resonates through the hallways and rooms, creating spaces that are not just residences, but masterpieces of their own.

The recently published The Spirited Homes of Hunt Slonem (Gibbs Smith), with photographs by John Nietzel and a preface by Whoopi Goldberg, features six of the captivating mansions currently or previously owned by the artist that seamlessly blend his love for art, antiques, and grandeur. Three are located in our region: Belle Terre, Searles Castle, and Cordt’s Mansion.

Belle Terre, a grand Georgian Revival mansion in South Kortright, tells a tale of revival and reinvention. Built in 1906, this estate boasts stunning classical molding and woodwork, offering an elegant backdrop for Slonem’s eclectic collection of antiques and paintings. With a touch of daring, he introduced bold hues, breathing new life into the interiors and reigniting the home’s grandeur.

Photos by John Nietzel

Among his collection of homes, Searles Castle in Great Barrington stands as a symbol of scale and splendor. The turreted stone castle, built in 1885, features more than 40 rooms, seven turrets, and 30 fireplaces. Slonem’s expertise in combining fine antiques, his artwork, and his fabrics brings forth a captivating symphony of design elements, revitalizing the castle’s Gilded Age opulence for a new era.

Cordts Mansion in Kingston, a Second Empire Victorian, was one of the grandest homes in the area, over 20 rooms built in 1873 by merchant John H. Cordts. With much of the original interior detailing still intact—intricate molding and plasterwork, wainscoting, slate mantels, wooden floors, and a pair of rare, elaborate, cast-iron mantel covers in the double parlors—Cordts Mansion was one of Slonem’s most restrained restorations.

As we journey through the Spirited Homes of Hunt Slonem, the photography by John Neitzel captures the essence of each space. It offers us a glimpse into a world where art, history, and architecture converge to create magic. These homes are not just residences; they are embodiments of Hunt Slonem’s artistic spirit, a celebration of his boundless creativity, and a testament to the fusion of art and design. It’s an invitation to step into the artist’s mind and explore the dazzling interplay of colors, textures, and forms that define his remarkable homes.

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