As much the symbol of education and breeding in the 1700s as it is today, a precious home library was given its own room whenever possible. This one boasts elegant shelving with neoclassical columns, dentil molding, and bull-nosed corner blocks. A rustic oak library table with Jacobean-style chairs recalls old England.

Gracious Impressions

Fresh county style, while casual and comforting, can also be quite sophisticated and elegant. In the late Colonial and Federal periods of America's history, people with land and education had the leisure to cultivate a highly civilized lifestyle. Once the smoke from the Revolution cleared, Franklin, Jefferson, and other early leaders traveled back to Europe and brought many old-world influences to their fine homes in America.

The rooms shown here owe much to those rich and elegant influences. Handsome architecture is key: Arched alcoves and cabinet openings create a graceful mood in several rooms, while a coffered ceiling establishes classic dignity in the other.

An elegantly arched ceiling elevates this lovely vanity alcove to a work of art. Wrought-iron and antiqued brass hardware and overscaled stone floor tiles add a sense of rustic romance to the room's frankly feminine elements.

Carved plasterwork, limestone and hardwood floors, and flawlessly crafted cabinetry in the finest woods add up to a beautifully timeless impression. With exquisiteness like this, the grand country house appears to have a future as impressive as its past.

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