Articles

Caribbean Houses by Michael Connors

18By Peachy Deegan
Whom You Know

READ THIS: Caribbean Houses by Michael Connors

If you are in Manhattan today, you surely feel at one with a snowman, or perhaps an icicle because it might be so cold it’s not able to snow. We have our thinking caps on at Whom You Know thinking of warm ideas to brighten your life, and we just love Caribbean Houses-History, Style and Architecture by Michael Connors, published by Rizzoli. Rizzoli makes the most beautiful books and this is a winner as a gift or to buy for yourself.

Perhaps you are one of the smart set that has already gone south…and when we think south we usually think Florida, but we heard Florida was even colder than Maine yesterday so we are thinking Caribbean. We particularly love the photography. However, it is much more than a picture book as it depicts the history of the area as well in great detail, which is an enjoyable departure from Manhattan craziness too. The courtyards are exquisite! Peachy Deegan’s chandelier addition is fed. And we will take that pool on page 91, please!

“With the disappearance of the majority of Caribbean architecture over the centuries, the surviving historic houses assume new and important significance as part of the cultural legacy of the West Indies.”– Michael Connors

CARIBBEAN HOUSES (ISBN: 9780847832132: $60.00; October 2009) is a lavishly illustrated and comprehensive history of architecturally significant houses in the West Indies. Author and West Indian decorative arts scholar Michael Connors examines the venerable houses that remain as a testimony to the rich history and vibrant lifestyle that was, and continues to be, an important part of Caribbean culture. The book is divided into five chapters, one for each European heritage that brought their own influences and designs: the Spanish, Dutch, English, French, and Danish. The authoritative text sheds light on the area’s rich architectural and interior design history, and gives the reader a unique view of houses that combine the tradition of European styles with the vernacular island forms and decorative motifs. The stunning photography, all done exclusively for the book, captures the varied exteriors and provides a rare look into the interiors of these historic houses, with exotic tropical hardwoods, indigenous stone, that blend local crafts and handiwork with antiques and contemporary furnishings.The featured islands include:

• The Spanish Antilles – Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic)

• The Dutch Leewards – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao

• The English Islands – Barbados, Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts (previously known as St. Christopher)

• The French Lesser Antilles – Martinique

• The Danish Virgin Islands – St. Thomas and St. Croix (annexed to the U.S. in 1917 along with St. John and renamed the U.S. Virgin Islands).

The color will energize you, the whole experience will make you forget about the current weather in Manhattan, and you might even be inspired to take a trip. Whom You Know highly recommends Caribbean Houses!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Connors has over thirty years of experience in writing, consultation, and teaching in fine and decorative arts. An antiquarian in the true sense of the word, he received a Ph.D. in Decorative Arts from New York University where he taught for fifteen years. In the late 1980s he established Michael Connors International, Inc. and he has become a key resource to dealers, designers, private collectors, and museums looking for absolute integrity in European, American, and Colonial West Indian fine and decorative arts. Connors is a consultant for an international list of interior designers and a frequent lecturer at museums, educational, and retail institutions. As a result, Connors was commissioned to design two lines of furniture for Baker Furniture, both of which reflect the casual elegance of colonial Caribbean style. Dr. Connors is a contributor to numerous trade journals, including Art & Antiques and The Magazine Antiques and has written many books including Caribbean Elegance, French Island Elegance, and Cuban Elegance. He lives in New York City, St. Croix, and Deer Isle, Maine.