Festive holiday events abound this time of year. But when my friend Suzanne Clary invited me to dine with designer Alexa Hampton and landscape architect Thomas Woltz at a luncheon to celebrate the landmark Jay Heritage Estate, I jumped at the chance.
This dynamic duo is helping Suzanne Clary (President of the Jay Heritage Center) and her team with restoration projects at the historic Jay Estate in Rye, New York. Alexa Hampton has one of the most recognizable names in interior design. Frequently included in “Best Designer” lists for the likes of Architectural Digest, House Beautifuland New York Magazine, Alexa runs her own design firm Mark Hampton, Inc and has product collections with Kravet, Hickory Chair, Visual Comfort and Stark Carpet.
Alexa joined the advisory board of the Jay in 2010 and is assembling the soft furnishings for the Jay Mansion’s dining room to compliment the 1870 period. She is an expert in all things classical, but knows how to make elegant, historic places modern and accessible for today’s use. Alexa is a board member of the NY Landmarks Conservancy, The Institute of Classical Art and Architecture and the NY School of Interior Design. The 1907 Classical Carriage House on the Jay property is another special project Alexa will work on to bring it back to its original splendor.
Thomas Woltz is another incredible talent working at the Jay Estate. Thomas is the Principal owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects with offices in New York, Charlottesville, and San Francisco. Named 2013 design innovator of the year by the Wall Street Journal, Woltz is a landscape architect who describes himself as a “storyteller,” embracing the complexity of modern life while responding to the conditions of each project location. Currently at work on the $15 billion New York City Hudson Yards Development, Thomas is designing the 6.5 acre Public Square in the middle of the site, describing it as the “City’s Living Room.”
Thomas first came to the Jay Estate as part of a sustainable landscape symposium organized by The Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington, DC. Thomas was one of the speakers, outlining the challenges and opportunities inherent in preserving historic landscapes like the Jay Estate. Suzanne immediately recognized his approach to revitalizing gardens as a clear fit with what she envisioned the Jay “campus” to become.
Suzanne and her board want the Jay gardens to educate and help tell stories of American Heritage. Since Thomas’approach is a perfect match, things clicked between them. Thomas and his team will create a concept plan and a 3D model in early winter 2015 for the fifteen historic gardens at the Jay Estate.
The luncheon was a celebration to announce the exciting news of a $500,000 matching grant to restore the Jay gardens and the stewardship agreement between the Jay Heritage Center, NY State and Westchester County.
Suzanne toasted Michael A. Kovner who received the JHC’s 2014 Preservation Award and he, with his husband, contributed a gift of $150,000 during the luncheon to help complete the gardens.
It was a wonderful event and so inspirational to see what this dedicated group has done to preserve this gorgeous historic property!
If you want any additional information on the Jay Estate, click here. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The Wry Home will be back in 2015.