Greenwich, Connecticut, United States
Architect Allan Greenberg masterfully designed this scale model of Mount Vernon and turned it into a one-of-a-kind children’s playhouse. The architect’s project page reveals, “In miniature, it replicates the historic dwelling’s general massing, architectural detailing, and character.” The structure was commissioned by Susie Hilfiger, then wife of fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger, in 1999 as a piece to be shown at a decorator show house in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Los Angeles Times published a piece from the Associated Press in February 2000 revealing that the structure cost $750,000 unfurnished and $980,000 furnished – complete with candlesticks and bed linens.
The Los Angeles Times: Architect Allan Greenberg, an expert on Mount Vernon and author of “George Washington, Architect,” simplified the floor plan from eight rooms to four and shrank the interior dimensions to about two-thirds size: The main house measures 8-feet by 22-feet; doorways are 4-feet 3 inches tall; double-hung windows that suggest two stories from outside look into single-floor rooms with ceilings between 6 and 7 1/2 feet high.
The Los Angeles Times: Greenberg says that although they took liberties with the floor plan, the playhouse design was inspired by original details, and “the craftsmanship is superb throughout the building.” Touches include hand-cut, “fish scale” roof shingles, “rusticated” wood siding to give the grainy appearance of stone, paint colors matching authentic chips provided by the estate, and half-size fireplaces.
The Los Angeles Times: For the show house, the mini-manse was furnished in period detail, right down to the monogrammed antique linens, ribbon-back Chippendale mahogany side chairs and a reproduction of a dove weather vane designed by the first president. These days, the playhouse sits in storage in Connecticut. Hilfiger explored the possibility of selling copies through a licensing agreement with the Mount Vernon estate. That deal fell through, however, and now she is considering donating it to the Smithsonian Institution.