One of the activities that I’ve always enjoyed doing as a child was to visit the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus and Museum in Sarasota, Fl. It wasn’t just the circus that I was interested in, although it was nice. I remember the guy who held the balloons – although he was tall he was somehow able to reach down and give me one of those float-away balloons that were yards taller than him every single time. They made him look like a giant.
My favorite part was actually the mansion. Guests were actually able to walk through the mansion that was once occupied by the Ringling Family. Not only did the tour guide provide a story about the Ringling family, so did the house itself. The story was in the way that the furniture was arranged, the decorations, the fixtures that were built into the home, the items that were left around the home and mysteriously not put away, and what parts of the house were chosen for what activities.
Standing there viewing the home I could turn on the camera in my head and see the lady moving about to complete her tasks of the day. I could see them in the living room entertaining their guests. I could see them together planning for their next cross-country adventure traveling in the circus. I could even see the lady trying on the newest circus suit.
One of the cool features of the home has to do with the facades in the doorway. They present themselves like designs that come on the circus cars that travel on the trains. There is one peculiar hallway that belongs to the room, and the way that the designs are aligned along the hallway it appears that the outside world is millions of miles away and that the person staying in the room will have to walk miles and miles before reaching any other members of civilization. It makes a great writing room.
In the downstairs portion of the house, the furniture is arranged in such a way that all of the guests can sit snuggle together and have a traditional conversation over tea, while the rest of the house carries around them – extending many feet from the small circle where guests can talk. It increases the size perception of the home many-fold. In this same spot, especially layer windows with a hybrid french and Gothic style facade aligns tall windows that look to reach from the ground floor where the guests’ area is all the way to the tips of the stairs. It brings in a natural light that allows the entire house to save on energy. It also helps to increase the size of the room even more. These artists were amazingly smart!