It’s been a long time since I did an Interiors post, and I almost forgot how to do them! This lavish dining room is part of a mansion known as Coe Hall, which is itself part of Planting Fields Arboretum State Park in Oyster Bay, New York. This room is restored to its appearance, I believe, at about the time the house was completed in 1921. Note the very long table, elegantly carved cane-back chairs and the large (and expensive) Persian rug. The windows are made of leaded glass. Though we can’t see the windows to the right, you can see their outlines casting on the floor and it’s an interesting design. The oak paneled ceiling resembles that of a Tudor-era house in England or elsewhere in Europe. Yet it’s still very American. The walls are stucco and note the rounded-top door that’s open at the left. The rest of Coe Hall is as beautiful and simple as this.
Coe Hall is a 67-room stone mansion built in the Tudor Revival style. It certainly resembles the kind of ostentatious place that might stand in for a “haunted house” in an old horror film. Built between 1918 and 1921 to replace an earlier mansion on the site that burned down, Coe Hall was the home of railroad magnate William Robinson Coe, who also made a lot of money in the insurance business. Incidentally one of the properties his company insured was the passenger liner Titanic–an unfortunate loss, but it didn’t affect Coe’s fortunes permanently. Indeed, Coe Hall was eventually something like the American version of Downton Abbey. It was at the center of an elaborate set of gardens that deliberately emulated some of the great gardens of Europe and especially England (where, incidentally, Coe was born). Planting Fields became a state park in 1949 after Coe moved away; he died in 1955. The house is now a museum.
One can imagine some of the dinners, both lavish and subdued, that must have occurred in this room in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. I got the idea of the Interiors blog series as a showcase of rooms that could tell fascinating stories, “if walls could talk.” The rooms, like this one, remain, but their historical secrets are often inaccessible to us. Still, these interiors have a lot to tell us.