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At Home: A More Perfect Nature: Tips from Tiffany

Marni Jameson gleans decorating tips from Tiffany museum.
By Marni Jameson, For The Oklahoman Published: June 3, 2013

Shortly after I moved to Orlando, I learned I lived near the Tiffany museum.

“Cool!” I thought, imagining cases loaded with glimmering unaffordable jewelry.

Not THAT Tiffany, the locals corrected, Tiffany as in those leaded-glass, art-deco lamps.

I soon learned that the eponymous lamps, for which Louis C. Tiffany is most well known, are not actually his most impressive work. He even designed a bejeweled chapel.

Arguably the artist's most important work of art, my tour guide told me as I toured the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Fla., which houses the Tiffany collection, was his country home, Laurelton Hall.

The museum's public affairs officer said the genius of Laurelton Hall lay in how Tiffany integrated nature into his home design.

The director of the museum himself, Laurence Ruggiero, showed me the parts of the museum that pay tribute to Laurelton Hall.

Tiffany finished the Oyster Bay, Long Island home in 1905. It burned down in 1957, but parts were salvaged and reassembled at the Morse Museum. The recreated rooms and outdoor spaces capture what the late 19th and early 20th century artist ostensibly did best: Make nature more perfect.

Ruggiero led me to the dining room, where a great transom bearing leaded-glass wisteria vines lines the wall below the ceiling, mimicking wisteria hanging from the eaves.

At Laurelton Hall, real wisteria grew just beyond the glass panels, I learn.

“Wisteria doesn't look so good all the time,” Ruggiero said, “so Tiffany made better wisteria.”

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