Bon Weekend, Finally Friday!
Well, to no dismay, the weekend is upon us all. The end of another work week and the start to a great looking weekend ahead. For everyone here we should expect some rather wonderful sunshine! A rarity the past few weeks. Also, we are looking into the last leg of school. I was very surprised to find a vintage (circw 2004) HB with a great home in Cuba with many, many timeless looks.
A historical island with a connection to the colonial style and elegance of grandieur. A timeless descent to another place and time for Havanan's living and traveling to pre WWII.
I knew a man who had lived there for a time with his mother, she recently passed away, as did he this last year. When he was going through her estate, there were many Cuban treasures that I was lucky enough to see and learn about. The place he described as a child; endless parties, stately homes, and colorful houseguests (foreign and domestic).
So to my surprise (and loss of memory) I stumbled on an old issue of HB which showcased old Havana and all it has to offer today.
This image preceeded the Cuban story, but I wanted to include it as the tall metal windows were pleasing to me and opened another view into the outdoors. The upper tilting is also a great addition to the air flow and cooling off transom window.
This living area is a private collection of 19th - century Cuban furniture and objets d' art in Trinidad. The pale limewashed walls are the perfect backdrop for the richly furnished room. To the left is a crocodile, seen everywhere in Cuba. The indigenous animals are said to be the same shape as the island of Cuba, as told by natives. Once homes of former Spanish merchants, these restored mansions from 1815 Spanish settlers, plantation owners and government officials.
A closer view of the relics and religious symbolism, so evident in design today. The spanish influence is seen and charmingly mixed with French and gilt pieces. The floors are incredible, covered in pattern and aged timeworn hand loomed carpets.
The alcove to the right is carved and cut from aged limestone, faux painted and simply adorned. The mix of richly polished dark woods mixed with silver is so integrated in different styles. The centuries old Spanish, Moorish and African heritage is seen and felt throughout Havana.
A open iron window bar seperates the interiors from the hot Cuban sun. Cuban made Renaissance Revival furniture in the house is played off of brightly patterned tiles. The tiles act as flooring and wall wainscotting, connecting the walls and decor hues into the rooms. The horse seen through the iron is still a stable means of transportation for local Cubans.
A closer view of a wall of drawings featuring Cuban women in traditional dress and form. The walls though blue reflect the sunlight from late afternoon, casting golden glowing shades on the pastel colored facades and interior walls.Though richly colored, a subtle muted tone is soothing and connects sky with earthly colors.
The pattern in the flooring is not only beautiful but intricate without being too busy. The understated richness of the color is evident in pieces and in the rooms. A timeworn look and feel is evident in the furnishings, Cuban works of art carved and made by local craftsmen.
In the private house on the souther coast of Cuba, this Azulejos (Portuguese tiles) is a common decorative element in Cuban architecture. Here the sea colored turquoise is so soft and brought down by the antiqued celedon walls. The Spanish tiles are Moorish in style where many were shipped to Cuba and adorned the walls of many 19th century homes.
This crucifix and mahogany case are 18th century. Colonial life was highly inspired by Catholocism, a daily part of the life of a Cuban. Also to the left is a mahogany prayer bench. The roughly cut tiles are a wonderful shade of terracotta, and the graphic window screen has a circular pattern cutout.
This courtyard remains in the Cuban district of Havana and is surrounded by as gallery of columns made of different kinds of marble. I like the richly polished and roughly cut stones used in this courtyard. Hard to believe this look was achieved many years ago by skilled craftsmen using rough and un powered tools.
A cooler side of Hanava, this reception room houses opulent collections of early 19th century Cuban made furniture. The desk has English influences and French Rococo motifs and carvings. A common characteristic, due to the mahogany being a secondary wood for buliding and bold proportions. The blue is the color of the sea. Stained glass also adds to the color combination.
These stained glass iron doors let filtered light into a small reception room. The room opens into a small courtyard covered with vintage ivy and a carved bust and column.High ceilings add to transom hallways and cool breezes throughout the home.
Black and white marble lines the hallway in the Palacio de los Capitanes in Hvana. The marble busts of Cuban patriots line the sides of the arched hall. Hanging iron lanterns light the way along the transom lit hall. Built in 1770, this outdoor extension was an extension of the home, showcasing the 18th century grandeur of Cuba. I could be transported to another time or place or almost feel as if being in the present looking at the French, English and Spanish influences of this Palacio.
Interstingly, the 19th century moved forward and Cuban elite decorated with Empire style furniture. Leading the way to mass production pieces in the Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo Revival style.As time moved on, post WWII generations saw revolution, political fiascoes and missile crisis that nearlt tore the US and USSR into nuclear havoc the ressurrection of these buildings seems politically correct. A spokesman for Old Havana sees the restoration as a preservation of not only houses but of culture and heritage for Cubans. A richly colored and furnished sense of renewal for life and beauty in the homes of modern Cubans.
Bruce Buck pics / HB Havana home 04