It’s been a busy year here at the Maison Vitry. Beside the photo shoot for Details magazine in February, we have had two movies filmed at the house. One movie, Dermaphoria, is supposed to be a suspense film coming out this spring and then the entire fall was taken up with filming episodes of American Horror Story – Coven with Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange. The Maison Vitry was “Marie Laveau’s beauty salon” and “voodoo throne room” in present day as well as Marie Laveau’s bedroom in a flashback to the 19th Century.
Filming a movie is quite an arduous task even if you are just in the back ground watching it take place. Most film days would start with prep people showing up at 5:30 am to unload trucks and lights and camera equipment to get the place ready for the actual actors to arrive by 10:00 a.m. A shoot normally lasts 12 hours meaning that the last person would leave the house around 11 p.m. During this process, there would be electricians, make up artists, special effects people and camera people, all told maybe 150 tromping through your house for 12-15 hours a day.
Recently I was privileged to receive a digital copy of Louise Vitry’s son, Achille Courcelle.
The photo is very interesting because of it’s striking pose. In many photos from this time, the subject was very stiff and quite nervous looking due to the novelty of the technology and the length of time the subject had to hold the pose while the extended exposure was taken. Mr. Courcelle has an easy, relaxed, open pose. Also note the gold watch chain.
It’s been a while since our last post, but we wanted to show off our finished floorcloth! Lots of work went into the process, but it is now in place in the second floor stair hall and looks fantastic. Take a look!
If you missed the previous floorcloth post, click here for a brief into to floorcloths and some images of the process!
Floorcloths, painted canvas coverings for floors, have been in use since the Renaissance. The early Elizabethan floorcloths were often painted to resemble the woven rush matting they replaced. Maison Vitry will soon have its own floorcloth gracing the upstairs hall!
Interior illustration showing a period floorcloth
Utilitarian floor cloths served multiple purposes. First they were easy to clean and protected wooden floors from stains and damage. Also they served to help cold from seeping up through floorboards. Floorcloths were particularly used in high traffic areas such as entry halls, passageways, and dining areas.
These useful floor coverings grew in popularity and were quite common toward the middle of the 18th Century and on to the middle of the 19th Century in Europe as well as America. Toward the end of the 18th and early 19th Century, floor cloths took on a distinctly neo-classical tone – often in imitation of marble flooring. By the middle to end of the 19th Century, with the advent of kamptulicon and later, linoleum, use of the ubiquitous floor cloth was coming to an end.
We have decided to do a floor cloth for Maison Vitry as it represents a typical floor covering/treatment from the mid-19th Century and would have been consistent with what Louise Vitry and Archille Courcelle might have had in their home. The colors and pattern are consistent with a mid-19th design and color scheme.
We received the floorcloth pre-cut and pre-primed from Lisa Mair of Vermont. Upon arrival, the floorcloth was first ironed. Once ironed, we covered the floor under the floorcloth with plastic and then began our first 2 coats of base coat in special, semi-gloss latex. The design was provided by Jacques Levet, Jr.
The fun begins! Rolling the base coat.
Jacques demonstrating his posing ability! – P.S. It helps to have a huge area to work in.
Future posts will show more of the design and our progress. We can’t wait!