An HMA listing was featured in this Sunday’s Free Press Michigan House Envy section!
221 Lewiston in Grosse Pointe Farms is Dennis Andrus’s listing, and it is absolutely stunning! The home is listed for $1.69 million–call for more information!
The text of the article is below! To read the full text and view the absolutely incredible photos, please visit the Free Press website here.
Michigan House Envy: Grosse Pointe villa offers a taste of Tuscany
This rambling mansion wrapped with gardens must be as close as you can get in Michigan to Tuscany and a 14th-Century country villa.
Its sections flow down the hill behind, like an Italian country house built by several generations. Walls are painted with elaborate scenes, copied from a medieval palace in Florence.
Dramatic ceilings over the main hall and stairs rise with steep “groined” arches — arches that intersect to shape a Gothic vault, painted as intricately as any medieval church.
The ceiling in the 50-foot great room is covered with a grid of beams, painted in vivid 14th-Century Florentine designs. Striking staircases are built with plain and decorated terracotta tiles, combined with elaborate wrought iron.
Craftsmen accomplished all this between 1924 and 1926, and 90 years later, it is in excellent shape. The current owners and those before them invested in artists who’ve maintained the work.
So significant is this house that the late W. Hawkins Ferry gave it a half-page of text plus a photo in his five-pound tome “The Buildings of Detroit” (1968, Wayne State University Press). Architecture scholar Ferry said this house marked the fading desire for formal grandeur in early Grosse Pointe and a new search for things picturesque and romantic.
Picturesque and romantic indeed: Take the dark red vestibule to the powder room. It’s painted with scenes copied from a 14th-Century palace in Florence, a tale of doomed courtly love.
Take the large library, its walls also covered with painted designs from the palace in Florence, rampant lions, crowns, fleur de lis.
The front of the house is about 60 feet wide, but it sprawls backward down a hill at least three times that far, organized in four sections, as though built over generations. Because each section is offset from the previous one, the house becomes part of the view from its own windows.
Add to this the five-car garage and potting shed in back, brick walls and mature plantings around the sides, and the house feels like its own enclosed community. “You look out these beautiful windows at the gardens and you feel like you’re in Italy,” said Realtor Dennis Andrus.
Much of the house is built one room wide, which amplifies the sense of setting. The formal dining room, for example, has wide glass French doors on both sides, leading out to slate patios, gardens and fountains. You can go out one side of the dining room or the other, depending on whether there’s morning or evening sun. The same with the 50-by-30-foot great room.
The 1.3 acres are filled with many gardens. In the Italian manner, these are accented with fountains, walls, decorative brickwork and statues. Italianate stonework and plaques outside include a satyr, the winged Lion of Venice, shields, birds and the mythical she-wolf nursing the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. Celtic Christian symbols add an ecumenical touch.
The current owners gutted and combined the kitchen and butler’s pantry into one large kitchen with maple cabinets, terracotta floors, and mosaic artwork as back splashes. They also renovated four bathrooms, the entryway, the landscaping and lighting.
With its red tile roof and exuberant architecture, “This is truly one of the unique homes in Grosse Pointe,” Andrus said. In this land of the English Tudor, he said, “We don’t have too many Italian Renaissance homes.”