Virtual Historic Home Tours – The New York Times

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Have you ever had the dream where you take a test that you haven’t studied for? Or the one where you’re caught in a public place in your underwear? Here’s another common one: You open a door in your home and discover a room you have never seen before. To make this one a reality, just charge your laptop.

Since the pandemic began, tours of historic American homes, once strictly in-person events, have proliferated online. There are houses with architectural significance, while others had famous former owners or are merely — and wildly — opulent. Encountering these domestic spaces through your screen means sacrificing vestibular sensation and any hope of surreptitiously stroking tablecloth or tapestry. But if you are looking for ways to increase your square footage — no contractor required — here are a handful of options.

The Gilded Age rarely gleamed as brightly as in late 19th-century Newport, R.I., which hosted summer cottages for the nation’s wealthy, assuming your definition of “cottages” extends to 70-room masterpieces of marble, alabaster and platinum leaf. With most homes currently closed, the Preservation Society of Newport County has made video and 3-D tours available of some of the more fabulous ones: The Elms, Marble House, Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, Kingscote, Hunter House, and Isaac Bell House. Scroll and click through Italianate fantasia, Louis XIV pastiche, Gothic extravagance and high-end Victorian clutter. There’s also a tour of the Elms’s servants’ quarters, for a better understanding of the labor and austerity behind the that kept all of that splendor. newportmansions.org

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