cover image The Spirited Homes of Hunt Slonem

The Spirited Homes of Hunt Slonem

Brian D. Coleman, photos by John Neitzel. Gibbs Smith, $75 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4236-6366-9

This lavish volume from architectural writer Coleman (Private Gardens of the Pacific Northwest) showcases the interiors of six historic homes decorated and owned by artist Hunt Slonem. Coleman describes how Slonem’s work on a Batchelor, La., mansion built in 1832 strived to “preserve as much of the home’s original patina as possible” while sprucing up its dilapidated interior, replacing floorboards and updating plumbing but refraining from repainting the “distressed walls” in the main entry hall. Slonem’s maximalist style is on full display in Searles Castle, an 1885 dolomite edifice in the Berkshires that Slonem restored to its original splendor by adding 19th-century chandeliers and antiques accentuated by more modern-looking royal blue carpeting and his own brightly colored paintings. Coleman discusses the history of each home and how it came into Slonem’s possession (the Watres Armory in Scranton, Pa., had served as headquarters for the 13th Regimental Infantry before falling into disrepair and being bought by Slonem, who uses it to display his art collection), but the spotlight is on photographer Neitzel’s gorgeous images, which draw attention to the finer details in Slonem’s busy designs, such as the vaulted plaster ceiling in the Searles Castle or the “rich cut-velvet pattern” adorning a settee in his Napoleonville, La., estate. This is a visual feast. (Sept.)