Photo by Isaac Harrell
The room seems ready for a gathering of men in tweed hunting jackets, pipe smoke curling above their heads. Or standing on the walk above, it's easy to imagine a soundtrack of jazz piano wafting over the gay laughter of women wearing silks and satins. Something F. Scott Fitzgerald might write about.
Even if Pinifer Park never made it into literature, Richmond will be talking about it soon enough.
Grand old Pinifer Park, once the home of Edwin C. Laird and his family, is set to come to life again, echoing the Gilded Age glory of its time but also displaying the elegant updates expected of a Richmond Symphony Orchestra League Designer House.
The house sits on the crest of a rolling hill that tumbles downward toward a leaf-fringed horizon. Bedecked with intricate whitewashed porch rails encircling the home like a lace collar, it might just be an ornate portal to a long-ago time when these low bluffs overlooking the James River were dotted onlyby occasional hunting lodges and summer homes.
"The house was built in 1910," says Faye Holland, a member of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra League and chairwoman of the biennial symphony fundraiser. "It's a Queen Anne house, but the owner designed a space in the house — the great room in the house — sort of after a hunting lodge he used to go to up in New England."
The cavernous room reaches up two stories to a ceiling of exposed beams. A wide, railed walkway wraps around its second-floor perimeter, giving a bird's-eye view of the room's massive central hearth, blanketed in dark wood and heavy columns.
"We have not named the designers yet," Holland says, though about 60 area designers are in the process of preparing proposals. They've got plenty to work with: seven bedrooms, nearly all of which have their own fireplaces; a kitchen with a butler's pantry; and grounds that once were formal gardens.
But before the designers get to them, the public will have the chance to see Pinifer Park (3312 Robious Crossing Drive) on Aug. 2. Tickets are $5.
Tours will run from Sept. 10 to Oct. 8. Advanced tour tickets are $15, available at Kroger locations. After Aug. 9, door tickets are $20. For more information, visit rsol.org .