By Caroline Labiner Moser, House Chair (January 2013)
Third in a series profiling special areas of the Ebell
The Ebell Lounge, once called the Reception Room, is the jewel of our building. French doors, topped with arched windows, open onto a northern terrace surrounded by a strong concrete ballustrade. The lovely windows at the bowed east end of the room were modestly hidden until last year behind dark draperies. We’ve had the wood work restored outside and hope to do the same on the exterior of the windows shortly. The Lounge and its balcony were painted last year in the same colors (almost) as the original room.
The ceiling decoration is especially distinguished. Because of the continual no smoking policy (famously flouted by Queen Marie of Romania) the colors are almost as bright as they were in 1927. It is the work of artist Julian Ellsworth Garnsey. If you look carefully at the beams crossing the room you will see different symbols at each end. They represent the pursuits of the members from friendship to scholarly and more artistic pursuits. Though decorative, the beams and columns are actually the supportive structure of the building.
The room’s architecture is as elegant as its details. The staircase was designed by the women of the Club to have especially shallow steps and graceful turns. As they envisioned, it remains easy to navigate, allowing for elegant entrances and exits.
Strong columns support the high ceilings – as you move up to the higher floors the spaces get more specific and more intimate.
The balcony was originally a more active space, with a periodical collection. It opened directly onto the staircase from the mezzanine to the third floor.
We are still investigating the furnishings and finishes. If you have any family photographs or documents we would love to have them to round out the history of the Lounge for our archives and Historic Structure Report.