Media Day at The Abbey: 2017 Mansion in May

Hello everyone, yesterday was an extraordinary day.  It was the day my son Grady and I drove an hour and a half, way into New Jersey, to preview an amazing historic mansion which will be used as the 2017 Mansion in May.  What a treat!!

You may recall, back in 2014 I spent quite a bit of time blogging about Blairsden, a previous Mansion in May.  Grady and I have both pronounced that particular house, our favorite designer house ever!!  And trust me, we have visited a lot of designer houses and historic houses over the years.  Blairsden was just THE most fabulous mansion in and of itself, and the quality of the designers’ work was top notch.  You can still read all those posts and view the photographs I took of the amazing rooms here on my blog.  My first post about Blairsden can be reached by clicking the link below:

Best Designer House Ever!! My first post on Blairsden, the 2014 Mansion in May

I’m so pleased to tell you, that as a result of those 2014 posts, my blog caught the attention of the publicity committee for The Mansion in May, and this year we were invited to see the home in its before state.  Yesterday’s event hosted various media professionals at the un-renovated mansion, to take a peek at the home in its original condition, before the fabulous designers get their hands on it.  Needless to say, Grady and I had a blast!

So today I’m pleased to share with you the location of this  year’s Mansion in May:  Alnwick Hall, also known as The Abbey, located on Madison Avenue in Morristown, NJ.


Alnwick Hall is a turn-of-the-century masterpiece. Designed and built between 1903 and 1904, it has gorgeous crenellated parapets and towers along with  artful stained glass windows. The mansion was designed by New York architect Percy Griffin for the Meany Family who amassed a fortune through the telecommunications industry.

The Abbey is located right on the main thoroughfare in Morristown, NJ and is visible from the street.  What is not visible are the amazing historic interiors, which will be transformed by the 40+ design firms involved with this year’s designer showhouse.


The main entrance features glorious architectural details along with these impressive lion statues at either side of the walkway. Approximately 17 landscape design firms will transform exterior spaces at The Abbey as well. I just can’t wait to see these gardens in the springtime!  I’m sure they will be magnificent with colorful flowers everywhere.

Now I’d like to give you a sneak peak of just a few interior spaces at The Abbey.  I feel so fortunate to have been included in this special Media Day event, and to be invited to take photographs of the ‘before’ spaces.  I DO plan to blog extensively about this year’s designer house, and having images to reference the transformative changes each designer has made in his/her space will be very enlightening to you, my readers.  In every designer house, the participants put forth so much time, effort, and money into their spaces…it’s definitely worth pointing out the before and after!


This gorgeous wood-paneled entry space features a luxurious plaster and gilt ceiling. The detail here is just phenomenal! This will be everyone’s first stop on their tour of the interiors at Mansion in May. It will be interesting to see how the designers choose to furnish and transform this space!

Grady and I began calling this the “house of ornamental ceilings” for obvious reasons.  Looking upward in each space was even more glorious than the last!


The vast spaces on the main floor feature gorgeous fireplace mantels and other architectural details, many in a gothic style. I simply adore the low bookshelves with leaded glass doors which line the room in this particular space. The mansion has been used as medical offices for many years, so there is quite a bit of repair work to be done. In this image, you can see holes in the floor and ugly heaters under the windows beside the fireplace. I’ll be interested to see how the designers deal with these flaws!


Many of the spaces, including this main staircase, feature lovely stained and leaded glass windows. Most of these fantastic pieces of art include crests, heraldry and even pictures of knights in their armor with lances!


Here’s a close up of a detailed stained glass window featuring knights with lances and other Gothic motifs. What a treasure these windows are!!

As you’d expect, there are quite a few bedrooms on the second floor.  The room below is being transformed into a nursery for twin girls.  Grady and I think it’s a wonderful idea to place matching cribs on either side of the fireplace!

In addition to bedrooms, the second floor also features some additional extra-large spaces.


The designers in this ample space were on hand to tell Grady and I about their plans. Those brick walls flanking the fireplace will remain exposed, plaster ceilings will be uncovered, and the entire space will become a loft style pied-a-terre.  This space will be complete with living area, bed, and kitchenette. I’m certain there will be an amazing before-and-after story to tell about this room!


I’m eager to see what will be done with this enormous room on the second floor.  A lounge or family gathering space, perhaps?

And then…there’s this huge subterranean level with even more designer areas waiting to be transformed.


Under the main staircase is the entrance to the lower level, which houses another dozen or so designer spaces.


Grady was super excited about this large room in the center of the lower level. I think he’s envisioning some sort of media space or game room. That IS a great idea. I wonder what the designers have in mind?


Back up on the main level, each room is just as grand as the next. So it will be up to the talented interior designers to come up with innovative designs that can compete with or enhance the amazing architecture of these grandiose salons and boudoirs.


I’ll leave you with this parting shot of the back entrance to Alnwick, the 2017 Mansion in May. Even from the rear, The Abbey has wonderful bones!

Back in 2014 I spent quite a bit of time and many blog posts sharing about many of the gorgeous spaces at Blairsden and I hope to do the same with The Abbey.   In the meantime, you might want to visit the Mansion In May website, for more info on the tours and tickets.

You can go straight to their website by clicking here: The Official Website of Mansion In May

I certainly  hope you’ll join me in May when I begin the process of sharing many of the individual spaces within the mansion, here on my blog.  Until then, make sure to like Robinson Interiors on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, and DO stay tuned for future updates on The 2017 Mansion in May!

Click on this image to be taken directly to my website for more information on Robinson Interiors.

Click on this image to be taken directly to my website for more information on Robinson Interiors.


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