Monday, August 24, 2015

Stan Hywet gardens

 The last part of Stan Hywet that I'll share are the gardens - last but not least!
I think an important feature to mention straight away is that most of these gardens (of the much reduced estate) were designed to be viewed from the house, or at least with those views in mind.
The first area of the gardens I'll share first though isn't actually visible from the house however. The walled English Garden is like a secret garden really, hidden from the house and main gardens. One enters through the this little outbuilding seen above.
 Once inside the lush plantings and water features take you miles away.
 Looking back towards the entry.
The walls of the garden almost appear to be ruins of an old house -but they were expressly built for Mrs. Seiberling, an avid gardener.
 The Akron garden club, of which she was an active member, still takes care of this section of the garden.
 I love how the brick walkways have aged over time.
 At the rear of the garden is another fountain with this charming statue.
 Walking back towards the house one can see how hidden this garden is in the trees.
The west overlook is opposite the lawn from the back of the house and once featured beautiful views over the estate. Now however this is the edge of the grounds and it (sadly) overlooks an uninspired sub division: a common occurrence with many of these old houses.

Underneath the overlook is entry into the reservoir which covers the length of the rear lawn: this was originally nearly a self sustaining estate afterall. 
This Japanese garden lies just lower than the rear lawn.
 Allees are to be found throughout the gardens. This birch tree allee leads one to the tea houses.
This simple pair of tea houses (gazebos really) flank a simple fountain and overlooks a sunken area popular for weddings.
 A nearby VERY LONG grape arbor leads one to the greenhouses which have been recently rebuilt.
 Acres of cutting gardens keep the house full of fresh flowers throughout the year.
The former carriage house, which also contained some staff apartments now is used as a giftshop, restaurant, and ticket center - located beside their surprisingly large parking lot.
The Plane tree allee makes the estate feel limitless when viewed from the Music room and terrace - When the house was built it was the country instead of suburban Akron!
A parting shot of a pretty spectacular ginger bread house of Stan Hywet located in the music room. I hope you have a chance to one day visit Stan Hywet in Akron, Ohio, for yourself!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Stan Hywet - a tour inside

Summertime (and an inordinate number of photos) got in the way of a speedy posting of the Stan Hywet interiors that I mentioned on the outside of the house post (HERE) but I finally pulled them together!
The floorplans show only the 2 main levels of the house which gargantually measures in at around 65,000 SF.  

True to the Tudor Revival style the interiors are rather dark and gloomy; moody even. To our modern eyes this may appear like a bad thing but at this time period it would have been standard. Inexpensive electricity and technology have ruined our eyes and we now expect glaring interiors. Well you won't find them at Stan Hywet

The main room of the house is the Great Hall found right at the center of the plan; a sort of modern day great room but also true to the style's medieval hall. 

Hallways with great detailing radiate off the Great Hall and lead to other rooms.
The hallways are wide enough to be furnished and provide gracious circulation.
Tucked along these corridors are rooms both public and private such as this flower arranging room used by the lady of the house as well as staff.

 The plasterwork ceilings on this level are works of art.
This large solarium would have held lots of plants back in the day and still retains its running water fountain. Even the sunroom seems dark and gloomy on the most sunny day!
The Seiberling family loved music and the grandest hallway culminates in a round paneled vestibule before leading into the largest room of the house; the music room.
While many other families might have referred to this space as a ballroom the relatively down-to-earth Seiberlings held musical events here. It features an impressive pipe organ as did many grand houses from this time period.
Multiple sunny bays provide more human scaled spaces for smaller groups of people.

Opposite the hall from the Solarium is the enclosed porch which was one of the most used rooms by the family.

The dining room would have been used by the family in the evenings and also for the large parties they frequently entertained.

The sconces, lamps, and chandelier are sterling silver.

Multiple interior windows try to distribute the available light and make the interiors more open. These from the dining room look into the hallway.

A large butler's pantry separates the dining room from the kitchen.

The kitchen, which the family would have seen only rarely, is unusually ornate featuring decorative tile-work and the same leaded glass windows to be found throughout the house.

The stove is large enough to feed an army!

The house is staged with family objects throughout to make it feel as if the family were still in residence.

The breakfast room would have been used more regularly by the family and occupies a sunny corner of the ground floor.

I was surprised to find a nearly full kitchen off the breakfast room so the family could make their own breakfasts without disturbing their staff in the kitchen and servant's quarters; literally across the hallway!

Libraries at the time period were really what we would consider the family room of today.
Large built-in shelves house lots of books and the ample room features many cozy nooks to curl into.

Mr Seiberling worked from home most days, rarely venturing into the Goodyear offices in downtown Akron, and would entertain business colleagues in the billiard room off his personal study.
His home office or study, seen above, features a separate entrance so business visitors didn't need to disturb the family staff.

These business spaces were separate from the rest of the house and are located just off the first floorlanding of the main staircase.
A large leaded and stained glass window lights the stair.
The stair continues up into the tower, seen on the front facade, and the most impressive guest bedroom as well as a sickroom.
The master bedroom (which Mr and Mrs Seiberling very modernly shared)features an interior window where they could keep track of their family and guests in the great room below. Don't you wish you could eavesdrop on your teenager's parties just like this?
They may have shared it but the bedroom itself is larger than most modern day apartments!
Mrs Seiberling's dressing room separates the bedroom from both his and her bathrooms and features the prettiest built-in wardrobes found in the house.
The bathroom has a beautifully painted ceiling and frosted leaded glass windows and doors between Mr Seiberling's own bathroom. Hardly private but sadly he outlived her by many years.

The doorway to the left of Mrs Seiberling's sink leads to a commodious sleeping porch.

Mrs. Seiberling's private sitting room across the hall from the bedroom contains her Steinway piano and desk which she used to run the household.
Daughter Irene's bedroom is probably the grandest in the house with a cathedral ceiling with walnut beams.
I love the curtained wall treatment with these lovely sconces mounted on top.

Next door is daughter Virginia's bedroom which features more interior windows into the hall.

Even more lovely sconces light this room; you know how I love great antique fixtures, particularly sconces!
These daughters shared a large dressing room/hallway and bathroom.

The bathroom has 2 sinks with room for a shared makeup vanity.
The bedrooms for the sons were slightly smaller but no less well appointed.

One of these bedrooms has an enviable leaded glass bay window with windowseat.
While another son's bedroom has its own Inglenook!
One of the many guest bedrooms featured this lovely sitting area and fireplace.

While another guest bedroom in an Adam theme was detailed down to the custom Wedgwood Jasperware doorknobs.

The most impressive guest bedroom is located in the tower and features reclaimed antique paneling and 16th century bed from a Tudor mansion in England.

A guest bedroom in the spacious attics, now used as office space and rarely seen, features neoclassical radiator covers. You know I LOVE these!

Each guest bedroom has an en-suite bathroom nicely fitted out for the time period and all original. 
Also in the attic is the recently restored nursery which features the original charming wallpaper and built-in dressers in the eaves.

The basement features mechanical spaces fit for an office building (which this house of course matches in size) as well as a personal gym, sauna, and luxurious swimming pool seen below.

As with any of these robber barons who were the modern equivalent of a tech geek, the house features all of the newest gadgets of the day such as this drying rack. The laundry room would put most dry cleaners to shame!

I hope you enjoyed this very small peak at the interiors of Stan Hywet -trust me when I say this only starts to delve into the massive house and beautiful details  (and my 450 photos) which you can enjoy if you visit. Join me in my next post where I will share some of my stunning garden photos!