By Richard Hamilton Jenrette
Many people own multiple homes, but there’s nothing quite like the house collection of Dick Jenrette, with each house from the same period (early nineteenth century) and each furnished with genuine antiques, pictures, dinnerware, etc., of the same period. All of the houses are livable; in fact, the author lives in all seven houses in the collection, moving from place to place on a somewhat seasonal basis.
Adventures tells the story of building the house collection. The distinguishing feature of the book is approximately 150 beautiful color photographs. At just over 45,000 words, there’s a gorgeous picture of a house or an interior every 300 words. Adventures is divided into two main parts. The first tells in chronological order, as in a diary, the author’s experiences buying, restoring, furnishing and sometimes trading houses and furnishings. The remainder of the book is seven chapters that describe in detail each of the seven houses owned by the author.
Jenrette’s folksy writing style is appealing and self-effacing, very clear, and the stories he tells are of interest to a collector of any type, anyone interested in Wall Street history, and house and interior design enthusiasts. The seven chapters on each of the houses is told in the same style as the diary—a single voice, supported by photographs—describing in detail the history, the renovation (architects, builders, craftsmen, interior designers are named), and the furnishings.
Since publication of Adventures with Old Houses, the house collection has been absorbed into the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, of which Dick Jenrette is Chairman.
Adventures with Old Houses by Richard Hamilton Jenrette. Wyrick, 2000