I recently was in Akron, Ohio, and paid a visit to one of those great big old houses that were once home to industrialists and now are museums. Stan Hywet was built between 1912 and 1915 for the founder of the Goodyear Tire Company, F.A. Seiberling, by architect Charles Sumner Schneider in the popular Tudor Revival style of the time.
The estate stayed in the family even as their fortune waned and ebbed and finally opened to the public in 1957. The gardens are as magnificent as the house!
The house measures in at an astounding 65,000 SF, a not very residential number! Miles of commercial corridors line the basement and indeed the systems were the same types that fueled office buildings. To this day the house sells natural gas to the gas company from its' own wells.
This lovely leaded-glass conservatory is near the front door. Notice the cheerful orange awnings that are in place for the hot summer weather.
The details in and around the house are really beautiful - notice the eaves and brackets 3 stories in the air where they can hardly be seen. My trusty iphone had problems even capturing them!
I loved the fern-linedcovered walkway which connects the house to the garden, over the service area seen below.
The service area is large enough for a factory and indeed large country houses such as this needed an army of staff to keep it running! This lower level courtyard keeps the services hidden from the view of house and grounds.
Behind the backyard is a sunken 'Japanese' Garden which isn't necessarily very Japanese but is a defined space that features a few 'exotic' lawn ornaments.
The scale of the lawn matches the scale of the house: immense!
A few trees wouldn't kill this rear facade but I have to admit it's a handsome house. This is a reflecting pool only, the swimming pool is located in the basement: more on that later.
The main living area lies at one end of the house so when guests were entertained on the terrace they wouldn't feel out of scale against such a massive building. From this view it almost looks like a normal sized house!
Join me for my next posts where I'll bring you highlights of the interiors and gardens because at 65,000 SF there is too much to share on this blog!