An HMA listing was featured in this Sunday’s Free Press Michigan House Envy section!
4721 Hasslick in North Branch, Michigan is Michelle Agosta’s listing, and it is fabulous! The home is listed at $2,999,999 – you can view full details on the HMA website or call us for more information.
The text of the article is below! To read the full text and view the stunning photos, please visit the Free Press website here.
Michigan House Envy: 7,000-square-foot mansion on 36 acres filled with Russian flair
Ed May has put so much passion into this house, he knows he needs a special buyer.
The 7,000 square feet and the 38 acres are the first-round eliminators, of course. Any new owner has to be able to afford a grand estate with Tudor architecture, stone exterior, an all-glass conservatory and artistic outbuildings. It’s listed at $2,999,999.
But that’s just the start. May and his first wife, the late Barbara May, bought this house in 1973, when it was 3,200 square feet and unfinished. In every one of the past 40 years, this house has been enlarged, enhanced or adorned.
The evidence is in every room. In the kitchen, there’s the floor of Mexican tile set in a design of four woods grown on the property. In the living room and dining room, ceilings are covered with wallpaper from the 1856 British firm Burberry.
But most exceptional is the Russian iconography. May is a businessman who fell in love with Russian culture while he worked there part of each year, starting when it was the Soviet Union.
He dealt in trade there, started businesses, bought real estate and brought home the culture. He brought home Russian artists, too, and their work is all over the house’s soaring first-floor greatroom, built like a traditional ballroom.
This space can stop you in your tracks. The floor is herringbone Brazilian cherry. The ceiling is canvas painted blue with elaborate cherry beams. Artisans painted silver filigree designs where beams meet the ceiling. And a curving staircase goes to a second-level balcony where there’s room for a library or an orchestra.
High at one end, a wall triangle holds a painting — a sleigh pulled through the snow by three horses. Passengers in the sleigh are Ed and Barbara May. St. Peter is close by, holding the keys to heaven, and there’s a madonna and child. A Russian artist and his wife lived here several months to paint it.
The room has 11 alcoves, which May filled with paintings of the 12 apostles. (Peter and Paul had to double up.) He commissioned these from a Russian priest who is a famous iconographer.
May’s second wife Carolyn continues the flourish. She recently picked dark red tapestry and had it made into padded wall panels with gold leaf frames.
Another knockout room is the ground floor conservatory, an all-glass room made in London.
The Russian theme jumps outside, where there’s a gazebo or party room made as a copper onion dome, the shape of most Russian church domes. With little to do on Sundays in Russia, May said, he’d visit churches and fell in love with the shape.
There’s also a Scandinavian mountain house, built by a Norwegian craftsman from hand-hewn logs, with a pine-lined sauna inside. These two structures cost twice as much as the original house, May said.
The house includes a heated five-car garage, plus two more garages for another 10 cars, he said. A separate guesthouse adds six bedrooms. There are two ponds that are stocked with trout, walleye, bluegill and bass.
May said he has spent far more on the house than its asking price. “But I can’t charge for my love and my hobby.”
He said when his first wife worked with an architect to plan the great expansion, the architect was not sold on the Lapeer County site. “Don’t build that here,” he advised. “Let me build that near Cranbrook.”
But May never wanted that posh Bloomfield scene. “This is a country retreat,” he said. “As a business owner, I wanted to be out of the way. So we kind of retreated into the comfort of a country setting.”
Please call HMA for full details!