Peeking Inside a Philadelphia Gem: Private Tour of Curt Chinnici and Troy Bianchi’s Fishtown Victorian
Curt Chinnici began leading the October Trust Tour by saying, “This house is 1865. I bought it in the mid-90’s and it was dirt cheap because nobody wanted to live here…” Times certainly have changed! Curt Chinnici and Troy Bianchi’s loving care of their home in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood has transformed the space into a place worthy of extreme envy. Curt and Troy did most of the renovations on their own, revitalizing a house that had been neglected for a century. Along with their dedication to architectural preservation, the two have built an incredible collection of decorative arts that is rooted in the Philadelphia Classical style.
The first piece the Curt acquired for his collection was a butler’s desk built by Philadelphia cabinetmaker Charles White. He purchased the desk in New Orleans from a dealer. Curt’s diligent research dates the desk to between 1827 and 1831. Like many of the objects in Curt’s collection, it is a museum quality piece. Seated directly in front of the desk is a gothic rosewood chair with an exact twin that lives in a museum in upstate New York.
Each room is wrapped in gorgeous Bradberry and Bradberry wallpaper that Curt’s husband, Troy Bianchi, diligently installed himself. The ceiling in the dining room features stars and acts as the perfect backdrop for the couple’s Bouvier sideboard. Michel Bouvier (1783-1854) was a French immigrant cabinetmaker based in Philadelphia. His work is featured in some of the most prominent museum collections in the country. Curt was able to open the doors to the sideboard to show the many different types of wood Bouvier used to make the piece, which is a unique feature associated with his ownership of a lumber yard. Details like this are preserved and treasured through the couple’s care.
When asked for tips for young collectors, Curt enthusiastically said, “Buy books,” and “talk to people, make connections.” Two sentiments we all can agree with. Click below and watch the Trust Tour to hear more about Curt and Troy’s amazing collection and get more great tips on building your own collection.
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About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin
Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.