During its glory days as one of the Glebov estates in the countryside near Moscow, this Grande Dame offered all that Russian aristocracy aspired to enjoy in the nineteenth century: music, poetry, art, philosophy, stylish living and gracious walks amongst trees and garden paths. Built in accordance with Palladian principles of balance and proportion, its entrance rotunda centers the entire Manor in an axis shape. Manor Nikolskoya’s thriving years, however, were interrupted by political unrest, revolution, war and finally, communism. And so she crumbled from a noble home to a shelter occupied by the Nazis. Bombed and partially destroyed, she made her way through the wars and finally offered respite as a sanatorium for sick children. During the second half of the twentieth century, the once-balanced layout was divided into smaller sections to serve as multi-family residence. Destroyed to a mere ruin, her crying soul caught the attention of a new owner, whose vision was to surpass all tradition: restore the Manor to its original layout, preserve the surrounding grounds, and re-birth the interior with a twenty-first century aesthetic, while keeping historic references intact.
My task was to juxtapose the Manor’s history with a clean and contemporary design that will stand the test of time—a fresh approach, as opposed to a purely historic restoration. I was to ignore traditional and typical decorative aesthetics and incorporate simple lines, spacious rooms, contemporary comfort, and above all, a place one can call home.
In keeping with the balanced layout of four suites on the second floor and two on the third, I decided to use the four seasons, day and night as my design inspiration. And so the largest suites represent Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall; while another is Day, and finally, Night.
Using the finest natural fabrics and materials, the color palette and overall aesthetic are a direct influence of the exterior grounds—the green moss on trees, the amber tones of autumn, freshness of summer, and the sublimity of spring.