Lagniappe, Madelyn Cook, 1977-1978

This 18th century Virginia Tidelands mansion was conceived as the home of a mythical sea captain. Notice the weathervane of a schooner ship which was the type used for trans-Atlantic trade as early as the 1700s. Cook modeled the mansion after George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Lagniappe a French Creole word meaning “a trifle extra” is a modest description for this magnificent mansion. Madelyn Cook’s stunning miniature is reminiscent of the fine homes built throughout the Virginia Tidelands during the 18th Century. The interior of the mansion is not your typical 18th century Southern décor however. The owner of this mansion, a mythical merchant sea captain who spent his career sailing the seven seas, made his fortune trading in exotic ports around the globe and “built” the main house in the 1750s and “added” the two wings in 1800 and 1830. His emblem can be found on the mansion’s weathervane, and his portrait is hung over the Vermeil room mantel. Madelyn decorated the rooms of the mansion with his personal mementos so that the home is “a lasting reminder of his success”.

Madelyn Cook invested period authenticity in the décor including many English and American features in the rooms of the main floor and wings. The 2nd floor rooms represent the countries America was trading with by 1750. Each room features a particular decorating style and period such as the Spanish Renaissance room, the Ming Dynasty room and the American Empire bedroom. There is one exception to Madelyn’s penchant for authenticity- the Brass room. This room is filled with almost all brass furnishings and the floor, walls and fireplace are trimmed in brass. She terms the décor in this room “early imagination”.