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The Restoration of Stanford White’s Dining Room in Box Hill

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About the Event

The New York Landmarks Conservancy in partnership with The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York cordially invites you to a Landmark Lecture

The Perils of a Better Idea

With Samuel G. White, Founding Partner, PBDW Architects

Peg Breen, President, New York Landmarks Conservancy

This will be an in-person and online lecture on Tuesday, April 9th, 6:00 pm

General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of The City of New York – 20 West 44th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues), Manhattan



Between 1889 and 1903 Stanford White expanded a small, mid-nineteenth century farmhouse into a formidable country seat that was a gathering place for his clients, his friends, and his relatives. Today the house continues to be occupied by his descendants, representing the fifth, sixth, and seventh generation of his family to enjoy Box Hill.

Throughout a nearly continuous campaign of home improvements White was supported by the architectural, engineering, and organizational discipline of the staff at McKim, Mead & White. But in a few instances, he changed direction in mid-construction, invariably for a better effect, but not always without consequences. One hundred and twenty years after his death his descendants have had to undertake significant capital repairs, which in some cases involved interiors of historic significance.

The restoration of Stanford White’s Dining Room at Box Hill illustrates a problem arising from one of those “better ideas” as well as the challenge of replacing nineteenth century decorative finishes that, while critical to White’s interiors, are no longer available.

In this illustrated talk, Stanford White’s great-grandson, architect Samuel G. White will describe some of these challenges and “the perils of a better idea.”

Samuel G. White is a Founding Partner of Platt Byard Dovell White Architects (PBDW) in New York. Mr. White has practiced architecture since 1974. His diverse portfolio of award-winning educational, institutional, and residential projects focuses on designs that introduce new interventions to historic settings in ways that both reinforce and reinterpret their contexts. He is a National Academician and a trustee or advisor to a number of preservation and arts organizations. He was an adjunct assistant professor of Fine Arts at New York University from 2000 to 2012 and most recently in 2023. He is the author or co-author of The Houses of McKim, Mead & White; McKim, Mead & White: The Masterworks; Stanford White: Architect; Stanford White in Detail, and Nice House. Mr. White lectures regularly to museum and preservation groups and is a longtime Advisory Board member of the Landmarks Conservancy.

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