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Mansion in May

Walk, run, drive, get a bus, but do whatever you can to get your behind to the Mansion in May. You only have a few days left until it's done.

Organized by Women's Association of Morristown Memorial Hospital, 15th Mansion in May Designer Showhouse and Gardens is at the Fawn Hill Farm in Harding Township, New Jersey. the doors opened on May 1, and will remain open until Monday. Mansion in May is their signature fundraiser and also our most profitable event, generating over $5 million for Morristown Memorial Hospital since its inception in 1974. This year, your tickets will go directly towards the Emergency Room expansion, a very worthy cause.

The 34-acre estate, location of this year's event, originally named Graymar Farm, traces back to 1937 when wealthy businessman Allan Kirby, the president of Alleghany Corporation, purchased part of a large farm located in prestigious New Vernon. The farm remained in the Kirby family until 1980. A few years later, the estate was acquired by its current owners, renamed, and greatly enhanced through a meticulous restoration of the main house and other buildings.

As photography is not allowed, this is the image of the front of the house from the organization's website.

And while it is impressive, you really have to see it now. I was stunned, floored, you name it.

In all honesty, I didn't expect much of this event, even though a friend has explained the entire process to me. The designers pick a room they want to work with. This year, there were 35 of them, so 35 rooms, from Master Suite to the Laundry Room. Designers then use their own funds to make their creation: floors, walls, ceilings, paint jobs, wallpaper, rugs, lighting, furniture, fixtures, accessories - everything, unless the owners specify an element they don't want touched. Then, these spaces are created and we get to admire them for a month.

But, and here is the unfortunate fact, after all is done, if the owners and designers don't reach an agreement on the price, or if the owners don't like some of the creations, they have to be removed. Yes, removed, and everything returned to it's original state. Oh, what a shame that will be for some of these rooms.

One of my favorites, A Library Under The Eaves, had these amazing, bright colors, and I was told immediately that the owners what that installation out. My other favorite, In A Guilded Cage, had 2,500 sheets of gold leaf in its ceiling. I don't know anyone who can afford that. And just imagine the waste of having to remove and repaint all of it.

All in all, despite the terrible directions, and the unfortunate parking situation, and the issue with credit card machine, and the rushing me through the house so they can close it up, it was an awe-inspiring afternoon, and I came home full of ideas, most of which were forgotten by the end of the day, unfortunately. Because, who can remember the details in all those rooms and gardens. Yet, I find myself now browsing metallic paints, pearl finishes and antique glazes, as well as upholstered beds, just in case.


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