Shooting at Weylin B. Seymour: Part 1

A few weeks back we did a shoot at Weylin B. Seymour’s, one of the most stunning new venues in Brooklyn.  When we first laid our eyes on this gorgeous space we couldn’t wait to come back with a truck full of stuff and snap some pics.  We’ll show you how it all went down.

There is no question that this building was brilliantly designed and you can’t help but look at every square inch to soak up all the small details… down to the door hinges! This used to be the Williamsburgh Savings Bank which was founded in 1875 and built by George B. Post + Peter B. Wight. Posts’ ‘Renaissance Revival’ vision was selected as far as architecture, making this masterpiece of a building one of the earliest in the states to carry on this style. It was meant to signify wealth + importance to be the face of a safe + trustworthy bank to their clients. The bank soon became an example of others to follow in a similar style. Wight painted the beautiful mural in the main dome with floral motifs, art deco geometric designs as well as using gold leaf throughout.

 

Now this building was named after a historical character: Weylin B. Seymour.

Portrait by: Juan Herrera

Portrait by: Juan Herrera

Let us tell you a little bit about this guy. He was a famous party host who lived in Williamsburg. His mother passed down her impeccable hosting talents down to him. He was very well known for this… but not only this. Weylin took in great joy in practicing his match making skills. He feared falling in love himself seeing what his fathers death did to his mother, so he decided to remain single and help all his clients and dearest ones fall in love with each other. He knew of the building going up and he had stated his hopes and dreams of it bringing growth and happiness to the Williamsburg neighborhood. He passed before the building was finished- and it became a bank lining up with his wishes- They  named it after him carrying on his inclination. His monogram initials are carved and etched into all different parts of the building first only the interior- glass, wood, stone. Now it is etched onto the exterior of the building as well. We love this story around the naming of the bank, its so fun to think back to these days of this super loving guy match making around Williamsburg with dreams of bringing a community together! A fine character to name a fine building after indeed.

 

Now lets start with the Third Floor + work our way down. There are two ways to go up to the third level of this building. You can go up the stairs like any day in the Big Apple… schlepping up a million stairs to get to your apartment, or job interview, except these stairs are gorgeous and quite a treat to go up with all the decadent decor to gawk at on your way up…. OR, you can choose option B. Take an authentic birdcage elevator up! Now this building is one of 3 in the entire city that the Department of Buildings approved for a birdcage elevator. It wasn’t built at first when the bank had first opened in 1875 because there were no means of power to run the elevator during this time. So with research ahead of the owners, they came to find out that the elevator was installed in 1911.  These elevators were considered a danger zone back then, that’s why they are super rare. But given the building’s Landmark status, it was one of three exceptions in this city of ours, and boy are we thankful for that. It was really fun being able to ride in such a rare form of an elevator. You really feel the nostalgic vibes from the building once you take a ride!

stairs|elevator|wbs

Lets start with the Victorian Room. The wallpaper was designed by one of our favorite’s, William Morris, a well known textile designer from the mid 1800’s. He originally designed this print for Queen Vicotria’s Throne Room at St. James Palace in 1881. Its a beautiful 17 color damask print that glows beautifully in natural day light, and dims perfectly in darker corners.

William Morris wallpaper that was originally designed for Queen Victoria

William Morris wallpaper that was originally designed for Queen Victoria

Thanks to a few folk at Bradbury & Bradbury teaming up with Weylin B’s creatives- the wallpaper finishings in each room were carefully selected, and let me tell you- they are jaw dropping! That William Morris was a very talented guy, and boy has he inspired some amazing designers of this day and looking at his prints in person really is quite incredible. This room also features a wooden hand carved fireplace that you can see as you peek into the room.

Victorian Room geometric floor tiles.

Victorian Room’s geometric floor tiles.

The two toned encaustic tile floors made up of a deep chocolate brown and a coffee color in geometrical triangle prints plays brilliantly with everything else in the room. Two windows give the perfect amount of day light in this small room. This room was originally used as the banks office room and now it  has transformed into being used for VIP lounges, conference meetings, as well as for small intimate dining rooms. And boy is it perfect for this!

 

With getting started in the Victorian Room, we learned that anything small enough to fit in the elevator can work upstairs, so we stuck with our upholstered chairs and side tables for this one. With so many beautiful details in a smaller space, we decided to take the less is more approach for this room. We turned it into a sipping room with our Professor Plum chairs, a cowhide rug and a few moroccan poufs.

Our Professor Plum chairs in the Victorian Room.

Our Professor Plum chairs in the Victorian Room.

The windows in this room give off two nooks and we realized our Starsky Hutch would fit perfectly wedged in there. So we dressed it up with a bar tray, liquors, some flowers and lit a few candles to set the mood. Right outside of this window you can watch the traffic on the Williamsburg Bridge, which we thought to be a cool perspective of the bridge’s movement. We placed one of our Botello chairs in the corner by the fireplace, which gave the room a really nice feel with the airy spindles of the chair. This chair has been one of our favorite to play with, it seems to really go with every single vibe!

Our Starsky Hutch tucked into the window nook with our Botello Chair.

Our Starsky Hutch tucked into the window nook with our Botello Chair.

Moving over to the mantle, we dressed it up very simple with a few candelabras, and some bowls of tangerines to bring out the gold + peachy tones in the wallpaper as well as the glow of the candles. Wouldn’t you love to sip on a hot toddy + dig into a good read in this room? That’s the feeling we got and had trouble packing this room up with out living the experience. On another note, we also believe some of our smaller scale tables would also be able to make its way up there for a dining experience to serve some private dinners in there.

Moving onto our personal favorite room: The Trustees’ Room. Now this room is rather large and how we all pictured this being our bedrooms— how can you not day dream in this building— it’s nearly impossible! This was the original ‘boardroom’ for the Trustees’ conferences in the bank. It was filled with a very long narrow table paired with Louis IV chairs for everyone to gather around for their meetings. A large Victorian styled chandelier used to hang from the center of the room and oil paintings of board members and founders were hung about the room. We found an old photos of the bank which made it fun to compare of how it used to look to its restoration plans. They did such an amazing job reworking these rooms.

An old image from openlibrary.org of the Trustee Board Room.

An old image from openlibrary.org of the Trustee Board Room.

With this particular room a few floor tiles were damaged and some were simply missing. They dug deep into the original vendor documents of the building and found out the company that made the floor tiles was still up and running! So they contacted them and long story short— they reproduced all the missing + broken tiles, had them placed by their team and wallah! You would never know that some of those tiles are newer then others. Impeccable! Let us mention that the ledges and all wood finishings in this room are french polished! Their team was trained by a highly respected professional on the process of french polishing techniques, and holy cow- did they do a beautiful job!

So many options with this room- Honestly it is a dream to be even standing in there thinking about all the possibilities!  We noticed the ledge that runs parallel with the length of the room so the first thought was to make that a book shelf with all of our vintage hard covered books. We added in a few oil paintings, candelabras, and taxidermy pieces to give it a more lived in feel. These props really made that ledge pop!

Some vintage books, oil paintings, and taxidermy brings a ledge to life!

Some vintage books, oil paintings, and taxidermy brings a ledge to life!

Moving towards the two large windows at the end of the room, we placed our Hitchcock chairs under each window and put our baby got brass bar cart in-between the two chairs. Styled it up with some booze, decanters and a bowl of pears that seemed to bring out the gold leaf in the wallpaper. The tile was so beautiful we didn’t want to cover it up with a rug, but we would normally throw down a runner or kilim rug to anchor this look.

Our Hitchcock chairs + Baby Got Brass bar cart by the windows in the Trustee Room.

Our Hitchcock chairs + Baby Got Brass bar cart by the windows in the Trustees Room.

This room is also equipped with a gorgeous fireplace with a mirror almost as tall as the ceiling! We saw this as a stellar opportunity to place our taxidermy peacock and boy did we hit gold with that idea. Couldn’t have been the more perfect place to put that thunder stealing bird! The turquoise of the peacock played so well with the teal in the wallpaper just as amazing as the iridescent tones from the feathers played with the gold leaf. I wish we could do a shoot with a bunch of trustee peacocks walking around in that room as if they were in a conference, mind blown!

Our taxidermy peacock looking killer on the french polished mantel in the Trustee Room.

Our taxidermy peacock looking killer on the french polished mantel in the Trustees Room.

With the books on the ledge we played with the idea of making this room a study filled to the max with vintage books so we decided to style the books pouring out of the fireplace onto the persian rug we through down. Propped a few candelabras, and lanterns along the way to grip the ‘fire’ affect of the mantle. Besides the fireplace we chose to set our blue spencer chair to play of the tones of blues and greens in the wallpaper and tiles. A few moroccan poufs and floor pillows were added to the equation for a sweet cozy ‘sit down on the floor and cozy on up by the fireplace and read’ vibe. We also placed one of our twig side tables to the right of the fireplace that simply held a vase of flowers.

Our Spencer chair next to the fireplace bursting with vintage books in the Trustees Room.

Our Spencer chair next to the fireplace bursting with vintage books in the Trustees Room.

This room is typically used as a private dining hall, or a VIP area as well. Same as the Victorian room, some of our tables would fit in the elevator and nearly all of our upholstered chairs can make it up to the third level. All of our bar carts and hutches along with smaller pieces like our poufs and floor pillows are great touches to bring to your private event in this room. We have dreams of hosting a dinner made up of a low dining table paired with moroccan floor pillows as seating in there. Just picture this of course along with candles and lanterns lit and ever flowing wine throughout. This room, like we mentioned earlier… is a dream!

 

Read more about our shoot here!

 

Photos taken by: David Toquica

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