The doors to the worlds of architecture, interior design and landscape design as I understand them were opened to me as a child by the genius of Thomas Jefferson. He was not only a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but also America’s architect president and founder of the University of Virginia. His home, Monticello, at the top of a small mountain near Charlottesville, was my first encounter with a great and historic house.
My childhood recollections of Jefferson’s Monticello are many. It was quite a bit nicer than my family home. I can also remember marveling over the many clever structural ideas, including the wine trolley, and the bed which straddled two rooms with a closet above. The typical out-buildings were ingeniously concealed within the retaining walls. As for the furnishings, Jefferson’s taste was eclectic, some from France mixed in with American. And there were skylights, and lovely colors. I used to dream of riding to Monticello on a horse, a perfect world unto itself.