The latest edition of Art & Home is here! This month we’re showcasing exquisite ballrooms found in some our most sought after, exclusive international properties. From Tuscany and the Czech Republic to Houston and New York, ballrooms are back in vogue.
Among the labyrinth of rooms that make up grand old estates, none is more evocative than the ballroom. You can practically hear the orchestra, feel the rhythm and see the dancers in flickers of gloriously bygone images.
These Downton Abbey-worthy dance halls are legacies of a time when formal entertaining at home was common and square footage was considerable. Ballrooms demanded generous, obstruction-free dimensions with high ceilings for optimal acoustics.
Grand and gilded ballrooms have largely gone the way of drawing rooms, fainting rooms, cloakrooms. Chambers given over to the sole pleasures of music and dance are extravagances are now near exclusive to hotels and private clubs. Modern life is lived less formally and more intimately with a lot more entertainment options than gliding across the hardwoods in three-quarter time.
Some residential ballrooms have been repurposed for more practical activities like playrooms, gymnasiums or home theaters. Others have been partitioned into cozier spaces. And yet in some homes, ballrooms are enjoying an afterlife.
Martha Turner, founder and co-presidentof Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty in Houston, Texas, can tick off a number of estates with private ballrooms still used in ways that honor their original intention. The very first home she sold was an early 20th century residence in the prestigious Courtlandt Place Historic District with a third-floor ballroom that remains in tact. Examples span the decades. A modern Versailles-inspired chateau on the market for $43 million–Houston’s priciest ever–features a breathtaking ballroom among its many public spaces. The current homeowners use it for large-scale entertaining, concert performances and charity galas. And then there’s a pair of would-be Fred and Gingers so passionate about dancing that when they couldn’t find an existing residence for sale with a ballroom, they decided to construct a new one.
If you build it, they will rumba.
Article provided by Iyna Caruso exclusively for Art & Home.
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