Category Archives: Architecture

Does That House Look Flat-Chested?

by Categorized: Architecture, Heritage, Historic Houses, Home Design, Mid-Century Modern Date:

glass-houseArchitect Philip Johnson, who designed the renowned Glass House (above) in New Canaan, was part of the remarkable “Harvard Five” — gutsy young architects who put Mid-Century Modern home design on the map and made the quiet Connecticut town of New Canaan an international hub of it.

In 1978 Johnson remarked with amusement that Frank Lloyd Wright had told him the buildings looked “flat-chested.”

Here’s my story on the Harvard Five — Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John Johansen and Eliot Noyes —

And here is the Modern Homes Survey of about 90 Modern houses in New Canaan:

John Johansen House, designed in 1949, with a living room wall across the back that was almost entirely glass. (Wayne Andrews/ From “The Harvard Five,” courtesy of William D. Earls)






Hartford Blooms! Today Through June 29

by Categorized: Architecture, Art, Elizabeth Park, Garden Design, Gardens, Heritage, Historic Houses Date:

Hartford BloomsThis picture-perfect first day of summer is an ideal start for Hartford Blooms’ 20th anniversary extravaganza, a nine-day celebration of Hartford’s glorious gardens and architecture. Dozens of walking tours are on the schedule.

The kickoff includes guided tours of Elizabeth Park’s magnificent gardens, and later today there’s a cocktail party at Vito’s by the Park.

And weekdays, gather at the Butler-McCook House and Garden on Main Street for a reception — where plein air painters will be creating art as you watch.

Click here for the story I wrote for Hartford Magazine:

A $10 tour book serves as your ticket for all the events. Click here for complete details:


Photographs via Hartford Blooms



Hartford Blooms: A Call For Gardens

by Categorized: Architecture, Elizabeth Park, Flowers And Floral Design, Garden Design, Gardens, Heritage, Historic Houses, Landscape Architecture Date:

The afternoon could not have been bleaker, slushier, grayer or more dismal.

But Mike McGarry, the former Hartford city councilman who founded Hartford Blooms 20 years ago, burst the afternoon drear into full blossom as he described with infectious exuberance the glorious plans Hartford Blooms has for June: a nine-day garden tour extravaganza, June 21 to 29, with garden, architecture and history tours around the city, garden lectures and evening receptions at the Butler-McCook House.

hydrangeaHartford Blooms presented a garden tour last year in the West End, and the year before on Ashley Street. This June’s event incorporates that, and so much more.

“We’re collaborating with a wide range of organizations to show how important gardening is to beautifying and unifying our city,” Mike said.

There are so many glorious gardens — private gardens, public gardens, gardens at churches, businesses and institutions — and so much outstanding architecture “right under your nose,” Mike said.

hartford bloomsRemarkably, the tour book that will be a ticket to all activities and tours over the nine days is priced at just $10.

However, some tours will have limited capacity, so it’s a good idea to purchase your book now. Make checks out to Hartford 2000 with “Hartford Blooms” in the memo line, and mail to Hartford 2000, c/o CREC, 111 Charter Oak Ave., Hartford, CT 06016.

Or stop by the booth Hartford Blooms is sharing with the Elizabeth Park Conservancy at the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show this weekend at the convention center.

Hartford Blooms also is still lining up gardens for the tours. If you’re interested in showing off your garden — whether it’s grand or just a lovely pocket garden, go to

And here’s Mike’s op-ed in The Courant, “Hartford Blooms Sets Mega Garden Fete,” with more details: Click here.

You’ll see what I mean by infectious enthusiasm.