On Sunday, April 25th, five historic Larchmont homes will open their doors to members of the Larchmont Historical Society and their guests. This year’s tour will feature a collection of houses in which each represents an individual architectural style prominent in the community. The range includes Queen Anne-style Victorian, Tudor Revival, Spanish Colonial
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The earliest house on the tour is a Victorian that dates to circa 1892. This Queen Anne-style house at 118 Park Avenue is one of a number of original summer cottages still extant in Larchmont Manor. It serves as a reminder of the period when Larchmont was primarily a summer community. This particular example is remarkably intact both inside and out. A delightful surprise awaits tour-goers upon entering the house. The current owners have created a décor that both highlights the house’s many original elements while also honoring the great masters of 20th-century international design. The combination of the original architecture and the house’s present contemporary interior decoration is a fine example of eclecticism.
If one feels transported to another place and time after visiting the Queen Anne-style house, that sensation will continue with visits to the others on tour. All four were constructed in architectural styles that reflect a particular romanticism in American design during the first quarter of the twentieth century. It was a period of great eclecticism, as well as one characterized by many revivals — themes both initiated in the Victorian era. Numerous architectural styles existed side by side, which is precisely what is reflected here in Larchmont, and especially on this year’s tour.
The Tudor Revival house at 8 Pryer Lane featured in this year’s group is prized for being one of the earlier examples of the style in Larchmont. Built around 1907, this house pre-dates by one or two decades the period in which most Tudor-style houses in the community were built. This house appears to have been constructed as a year-round residence – making it a forerunner in this category as well – and boasts its own Tudor-style boathouse. The effect is a touch of the British Isles in Larchmont.
From Tudor England, the LHS tour-goer is transported to Colonial Spain and the Mediterranean. The present owners of the 1922 Spanish Colonial Revival house at 1 Locust Avenue included in this year’s tour have both preserved and enhanced its exotic details. The interiors in particular have been layered with elements primarily from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, creating its own rich “tapestry.” A Moorish-style family room, complete with “mashrabiya,” or carved latticework, and a view to a similarly-styled cabana with pool may cause visitors to forget that they are still in Larchmont.
Another aspect of the Mediterranean is featured in the tour’s Italian Renaissance house at 6 Pryer Lane. Designed by 1926 and constructed around 1930 by an Italian man and his wife, the exterior is reminiscent of an actual Italian villa. Many of the interior details are so grand, however, that they are more in keeping with those of a palazzo. From the marble floors and staircase in the entrance hall to the elaborate coffered plaster ceiling in the dining room, the current owners have striven to preserve every original detail. Here, too, visitors may have to be reminded that they are still in Westchester.
Returning from this trip abroad, the final strand in the house tour’s tapestry is an American Colonial Revival house at 18 Wildwood Circle. While examples of this style abound in our community, this particular house stands apart. Rudolph Schaefer, Jr., whose family played a significant role in the history of twentieth-century Larchmont and of the Larchmont Yacht Club, designed this house in 1925 as his first home. Mr. Schaefer had an interest in architecture, and the Colonial Revival house that he built for his wife and their young daughter includes details unseen in other area examples. Such features as a Dutch, or split, front door combine with authentically wide floorboards and a living room fireplace based upon those found in eighteenth-century New England kitchens.
To purchase tickets for this year’s tour, please visit larchmonthistory.org. Tickets will also be available at the local Larchmont real estate offices of Sotheby’s, Houlihan Lawrence, Weichert, and Coldwell Banker, beginning one week prior to the tour. For further information, please contact Laura Hoffman, LHS Spring House Tour Chairperson, at 833-0009 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.