By Constance Mitchell Ford
Several months ago, I purchased a beautiful 85-year-old Tudor revival-style house in Westchester County, a northern suburb of New York City.
In some ways, it’s the type of house I always dreamed of owning, with intricate designs, gables, diamond-shaped leaded-pane windows, timber boards that shoot up to the roof and a large chimney. My house is in Fleetwood, a section of Mount Vernon, N.Y., known for its pre-World War II vintage homes and huge Norway maple trees that shade the streets.
The house reminds me of the homes owned by nice middle-class families in old novels and black-and-white movies from the 1950s. The refined couples with the clever and well-mannered children seemed to live in Tudor homes. Oddballs and Alfred Hitchcock villains, in contrast, seemed to live in scary Victorian homes. (All of these decades later, I still associate Victorians with the movie “Psycho.”) Although both architectural styles were exported to the U.S. from Great Britain, the Tudor was far more popular and enduring.
Gary Williams, a former trustee of the Westchester County Historical Society, said most Tudors in suburban New York were built between 1890 and 1930 and were called “stock broker homes” because the original owners were often bankers and the homes indicated that the owners were affluent and conservative. “The homes were a status symbol, a symbol of being well off,” said Mr. Williams.
Tudors can be grand like the ones built by the late William Van Duzer Lawrence, who founded Sarah Lawrence Collegeand contributed to the development of Bronxville, the very wealthy town next door to Fleetwood filled with magnificent Tudors. But Tudors can also be modest and many of these are found in older suburbs all across the Northeast and Midwest.
Prior to World War II, real-estate developers began moving away from Tudors, which were considered complicated to build and closely associated with Europe. As demand for Tudors declined, Colonial revival styles became more popular. Not only were these styles easier to build, but the owners were viewed as more patriotic. “People started to look back at the founding of the republic” and wanted to “go back to our original architecture,” says Steve Tilly, an architect in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. who specializes in historic preservation.
Even today builders shy away from building Tudors, although the style remains popular with historic-home enthusiasts.
Restoring a Tudor home, however, isn’t for the faint of heart. They can be more complicated than other types of old homes to update. The same intricacies that make Tudor homes appealing, can also make them costly nuisances to repair. The roofs, which are often slate or tile, can be extraordinarily expensive to replace. The leaded-glass casement windows are beautiful, but aren’t very energy efficient and require delicate expert handling to repair and update. The exterior wooden timbers, which give Tudors their distinctive look, require expert carpentry to maintain. The interior plaster walls require the skill of more experienced contractor than your typical drywall installer. And if you need to upgrade the malfunctioning locks and hardware, forget about finding replacements at big-box home centers. More than likely, you’ll have to have them custom-made or order them online from a historic-home locksmith.
The bottom line is that turning my old Tudor house into a comfortable home will take a lot of time and money. My goal is to make the house bright, cozy and esthetically appealing, while preserving as many of the historical aspects of the house as possible. There are a few exceptions: the old bathrooms and kitchen will receive makeovers.
My goal in writing this column is to teach readers a little about historic preservation and a little about the history of design and construction in older suburban homes.…
Mike Love, a member of the Beach Boys, has cut the price of his 8,995-square-foot Pebble Beach estate near Monterey, Calif., by 12% to $ 6 million. The property was first listed in 2009 for $ 7.9 million.
Built around 2003, the Tuscan-style house has seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms and sits on an acre in Pebble Beach, the coastal community known for its golf courses. An elevator services all four levels of the home. A lower basement level has a wine cellar and tasting room, a game room, a gym and a screening room. A guest apartment attached to the home has a separate kitchen.
Mr. Love says he and his wife, Jacqueline, are selling because their children are grown and aren’t going to school in Pebble Beach anymore. “It is a lifestyle change,” says Mr. Love’s wife. The couple’s primary residence is in Incline Village, near Lake Tahoe, and in recent years they used this house as a vacation home.
Steve Beutel and Noel Beutel of Sotheby’s International Realty have the listing.
A Montana Ranch Goes on the Market for $ 10 Million
Richard Childress, a former Nascar driver and current Nascar team owner, has put his 626-acre ranch near Emigrant, Mont., on the market for $ 10 million.
Called Grizzly Meadows Lodge, the 11,028-square-foot home has six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. It is being sold furnished, including 14 televisions, 11 all-terrain vehicles and custom wood furniture. The ranch sits in Paradise Valley, by the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, and borders public land. Mr. Childress bought the property in 1993, renovating and adding to it over the years, spending roughly $ 9 million total.
Mr. Childress, who was a Nascar driver for about 20 years, used the ranch as a vacation home and a corporate retreat but now he is selling because he spends more time at home in North Carolina, managing his nine Nascar racing teams and helping his grandsons launch their own racing careers. “I only went a few times this last year, so I think it’s time to buy something closer to home,” he says.
Sally Uhlmann of PureWest Properties, a Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate, has the listing.
A Private Island in Maine Asks $ 4.9 Million
A 24-acre island in Portland Harbor, less than two miles off the coast of Portland, Maine, is asking $ 4.9 million.
Called House Island, the property has five private beaches and views of Portland and Casco Bay. There are three cottages as well as Fort Scammel, an 1808 fort that was used in the War of 1812. The cottages are small, each between 1,200 and 2,000 square feet.
Owner Harold Cushing inherited the island from his mother, Hilda Cushing-Dudley, who purchased the property more than 50 years ago in an effort to preserve the fort. For decades, Mr. Cushing has run a private tour company that hosts private events on the island, but now he’s ready for a change and a new adventure, says listing agent John Scribner of LandVest in Portland.…
Posted: Jun. 30, 2012 | 2:04 a.m.
Summer has officially kicked into high gear in Southern Nevada, and Dunhill Homes is making life a splash at its Tuscany Village master plan in Henderson. With dozens of amenities including large community pools and an award-winning golf course, Tuscany Village is the place to beat the heat this summer.
“More than anything, home shoppers are looking for convenience and amenities when they embark on their new-home search,” said Marina Petric, sales agent at Tuscany Village. “There is no other community in Henderson that offers so many amenities and benefits for such a low monthly fee. Not only does Tuscany Village offer residents exclusive use of its multimillion dollar recreational facility, but also a 24-hour guard-gated entrance, 50 channels of cable television and no special improvement fees like most other communities require.”
Dozens of indoor and outdoor activities are offered to residents every day. From relaxing at the pool or playing tennis to working out in the gym or taking a class, residents have many choices for fitness and fun.
“And, of course, convenience is top-of-mind with 12 beautifully designed floor plans, six of which are single story,” Petric said. “You will not find more options for single-story living in Henderson than at Tuscany Village. Each home is unique and offers additional options for personalization.”
Among Tuscany Village’s flexible single-story plans is the Roma 1810, which measures 1,810 square feet and includes two bedrooms, two baths and a home office. Options include a three-car garage on selected home sites, powder room, third bedroom and a fireplace.
“This is the perfect plan for those who want a single-story home, but still want the private areas that a two story offers,” Petric said. “The home office is in the far front of the home adjacent to the garage and front entry, so it is completely separate from the main living areas. And the master suite is to the rear of the home with an option for its own back patio.”
Six other single-story plans at Tuscany Village range from 1,215 to 2,683 square feet with prices starting in the $ 150,000s.
In addition to Dunhill Homes’ La Vita Tuscana recreation center, Tuscany Village is home to an award-winning golf course set within the rolling hills of the area. Designed by renowned golf course architect Ted Robinson, the groomed fairways and greens offer a challenge to any level player. The course has twice been named Golf Magazine’s No. 1 golf course in Las Vegas in its annual BBQ (Bang for the Buck) quotient. It is open to residents and the public.
“During the summer months, the golf course also offers special pricing for early tee times, and recently introduced a brand-new outdoor patio with a kitchen and barbecue at the club,” Petric said. “Our golfers are in heaven when they spend the morning on the greens and the afternoon with a cold beverage at the club.”
The resort lifestyle continues at La Vita Tuscana with a full-size gym, equipped fitness center, aerobics room, basketball and racquetball courts, among other indoor fitness options. Outside, residents and their families enjoy a 25-meter lap pool, a resort-style pool, oversized spas, large covered cabanas, lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, abundant walking trails and a children’s playground.
All floor plans at Tuscany Village are certified by the Energy Star program. Tankless water heaters, radiant-barrier roofs, dual-pane low-e argon gas vinyl windows and other energy-efficient elements are included as standard features in the homes.
To visit Tuscany Village, take Lake Mead Drive in Henderson heading east. Follow the signs to the community and turn left on Mohawk Drive to the main entrance.