The Importance of Being Furnished opens on June 21, 2024

Feb 1, 2024

The Importance of Being Furnished: Four Bachelors at Home will be on display this June at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts.

Historic New England invites you to explore the world of four captivating bachelors – men whose homes defined American style from the Gilded to the Jazz Age, yet whose personal lives have until recently remained mostly in shadow. R. Tripp Evans, Professor of Art History at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, is the guest curator of the exhibition. Evans is a specialist in American material culture and historic preservation.

The Importance of Being Furnished explores how these men used their homes as both expressions of their personal identities and to create a sense of belonging. It sheds light on the pioneering role the “bachelor decorator” played in early twentieth-century historic preservation, collecting, and interior design. In deeply creative and personal ways, these men used  their homes to forge identity, foster relationships, and create lasting design legacies.

The Homes

The homes featured in the exhibition, all of which are now museums open to the public, include:

From the Curator

“Each of these New England designer-collectors came of age when, for the first time in the modern era, the bachelor household had become an aspirational domestic model. This development led to a newfound fascination with interior design and individual expression – a phenomenon clearly seen in the wide range of styles these men adopted, both in their own homes and for others,” said Evans.

Showcasing an extraordinary range of furnishings, design work, and personal artifacts, The Importance of Being Furnished invites visitors to step into the world of these four bachelors and celebrates their contributions to the field of interior design. The exhibition is drawn from Evans’s book of the same title that publisher Rowman and Littlefield releases in June 2024.

Video – learn more

Watch Evans’s keynote address on storytelling and place from Historic New England’s 2023 Summit in Providence, Rhode Island.

View gallery of objects in the exhibition

Plan Your Visit

The Importance of Being Furnished: Four Bachelors at Home at the Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton, Mass. The Eustis Estate is open from Friday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk. The exhibition is on view from June 21 to October 27, 2024.

Stay tuned for information about exhibition programs and events.

Media Contact: Susanna Crampton, [email protected]