Wednesday, September 22, 2010

'Bayberry Downs'

'Bayberry Downs', the Francis Tilden Nichols Sr. estate designed by William E. Frenaye Jr. of Howard & Frenaye c. 1930 in Brookville (now Muttontown). Nichols' grandfather was William H. Nichols, chairman of the board of the Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation, and made his fortune in chemical manufacturing and copper refining. The estate originally consisted of sixty acres but has since been shrunk to 2.84 acres. The house is currently for sale for $3,498,750, click HERE to see the listing on Daniel Gale. Click HERE to see 'Bayberry Downs' on google earth.





Click below to see 'Bayberry Downs' with all sixty acres intact in a 1966 aerial shot. Listing photos from Daniel Gale / Sotheby's.

19 comments:

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Thats an AMAZING price! That will barely buy you a decent townhouse (with no property) here in DC (sadly) which is why I live in a studio apartment, albeit a nice one!

The Ancient said...

Notice what the pictures don't show -- the kitchen, baths, bedrooms, etc. The house looks as if it's occupied by fairly old people who've done little or nothing to the place for decades. So the price is not exactly a steal if it needs a couple million dollars of work.

Stefan -- You could still get a VERY nice townhouse in your neighborhood for much less than $3.5M. With parking and a garden.

The Down East Dilettante said...

I knew the Nichols quite well, as they also had a big place up here (two, actually, as they bought a big house in the village for winters after selling the Long Island house, as well as keeping their summer place on a lovely piece of ocean front a few miles away). They were very old guard, very formal, but kindly---Mrs. Nichols was a proper Bostonian, which is to say veddy propuh indeed, wearing tweed on even hot summer days. They were extremely philanthropically inclined, and made several life enhancing gifts to the community, most notably a day camp, free for all children.

Louise Nichols once told me that soon after they moved into this house, Mr. Nichols, writing a quick note to himself as he was leaving the room, held the piece of paper against the paneled wall of the library, not realizing just how soft the antique pine was, and therefore the note etched into the panelling and that for the rest of their tenure, that note was impressed into the wood. I wonder if it's still there, or finally got sanded away?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Ancient, I was referring to anything CLOSE to this scale or importance. Not a 3 bedroom typical dc townhouse.
I think part of the charm of this old house would be the original kitchens and bathrooms. Places which have been modernized too much loose their charm.

The Down East Dilettante said...

So true Stefan---and I notice that the real estate ad mentions the 'step back in time'. Pity that now everybody thinks they have to replace good mantels with silly fake limestone ones in bad scale, etc etc....so tiresome and unimaginative.

Btw, I forgot to mention that the little garden turret seems to have been copied from a similar one at Francis Nichols' uncle's house, Pleasantdale, at West Orange New Jersey...obviously he like the one at Uncle Charles's, and had his architect do one in the Muttontown house. There is an interesting article about the building of the Nichols house, in the pay section unfortunately, in the New York Times, noting the interesting features of a home laboratory for Mr. Nichols in one wing.

The Ancient said...

I think part of the charm of this old house would be the original kitchens and bathrooms

The bathrooms, maybe, but the kitchens? Which were designed for servants?

Zach may someday get around to another house I know very well, which was sold in the Eighties sixty years after it was built. The copper and zinc counters were charming, but the refrigerator hadn't been upgraded since the Thirties. (I doubt the owners were ever in the kitchen more than a dozen times in their lives.) The place was -- of course -- bought by a young investment banker. I haven't had the heart to go see what he's done to it.

P.S. Having recently spent a king's ransom on one of my kitchens, I am compelled to believe that new kitchens are better than old ones. (It's the only way I can resist shooting myself.)

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Ancient, my point being, that you can choose for yourself (not some tacky developer) which items to keep and which items to discard such as refrigerators, countertops, etc. I am not a proponent of living with 100 year old ranges or outdated appliances. This is 2010 and people want to live in a certain way.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Ancient---a friend knocked her grandmother's butler's panty, kitchen, servant's dining room together to make a living kitchen, but reused the glass front cabinets of the original, with new restaurant range, and retained the cook's pantry. The coolest thing she retained, and most useful, was the walk-in refrigerator, on only its second motor since it was new in 1911..all in all a success, I think...

ArchitectDesign™ said...

A friend of mine has a stove from 1911 in an 1890s big victorian house in Pittsburgh-original kitchen (with the exception of the addition of a new refrigerator and dishwasher) and it all works great. The gas stove itself is so easy to use and maintain that it just has never been replaced. Much better quality than the crap made today that is designed to break in 10 years time and need to be replaced.
DED -that refrigerator sounds fascinating!

The Down East Dilettante said...

Stefan, it is....the size of a standard hotel bathroom, shelves on three sides, etc...and a nice place to linger while fetching a cold bottle on a hot day---although I do remember the time that Lucy and Ethel got caught in a walk-in freezer....

Kellsboro Jack said...

It is a lovely home that really does stand head and shoulders from anything built today. The saving grace may be the fact that it has gone unmolested for a couple generations and not suffered the indignity of a modern renovation.

The taxes seem relatively low at $50k for the location and it being far more baronial.

Speaking of properties for sale I've been smitten with the Henry Upham Harris estate (albeit at $12.9M) designed by the great Roger Bullard. Expensive yes, but I'm shocked no one has snapped it up yet. Drive through the gates and go back 80 years to real splendor.

http://www.sothebysrealty.com/en/PropertyDetails.aspx?R=104250070&N=12+149&curr=USD&No=380&PSeq=376

Anonymous said...

Here's a real bargain in Mill Neck for sale:

http://search.danielgale.com/IDXDetail.aspx?mlsnum=2130915&city=Mill-Neck&page=1&mlstableid=LIBORMLSDGALEOFFICERES&sp=y&segmentid=2682685&uid=65331&htmlfile=765474.html&origurl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.danielgale.com

...and a very intact house in Laurel Hollow:

http://www.danielgale.com/IDXDetail.aspx?mlsnum=*1083754&city=Laurel-Hollow&page=1&mlstableid=LIBORMLSDGALEOFFICERES&sp=y&segmentid=2682685&uid=65331&htmlfile=property_properties-for-sale_shell.html&origurl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.danielgale.com%2fproperty_properties-for-sale.html

The Ancient said...

TDED/Stefan --

I agree with both of you.

Unfortunately, as Stefan noted earlier, you are at the mercy of all that may have been done before. My new kitchen replaced something that was just not very functional or compelling. (I have been in many, many 200-year-old houses in the neighborhood, and I can't recall a single attractive pre-WW2 kitchen, even in the largest houses.)

(BTW, I regret that the pics Zach finds of these old houses seldom seem to include kitchens, which I'm always interested to see. The last time I was at Edith Wharton's house, I spent more time looking around the kitchen and the pantry than I did upstairs.)

Anonymous said...

I hear the second Templeton on I.U. Willets is back up for sale.

Anonymous said...

Sorry...forgot to post the sites. You'll find some photos attached with the articles.

http://habituallychic.blogspot.com/2010/08/templeton.html

http://realestalker.blogspot.com/2010/08/cornelia-guest-puts-templeton-back-on.html

lil' gay boy said...

For those of you who are interested in "time capsule" kitchens, check out the one in Le Beau Chateau, the New Canaan home purchase by the ├╝ber reclusive Huguette Clark.

Daughter of the (in)famous Senator Clark of Montana, (builder of the extremely fanciful Clark Mansion in New York City, purportedly the most expensive at the time, taking 13 years & 11 million dollars to complete), Huguette bought Le Beau Chateau in 1952 as a haven during the cold war, expanded and updated it, but never moved in.

It has sat empty, but ever ready (there are live-in groundskeepers), for almost sixty years.

At 104, Huguette Clark (a modern day Howard Hughes type) has become the focus of attention recently due to the suspicious actions of her lawyer & accountant (a convicted sex offender).

You can read more about her here.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

The Down East Dilettante - can you confirm - if you check the HistoricAerial link I added to the wikimapia site for Bayberry Downs the driveway{now Dorchester Rd.} came off Brookville Road. At the entrance is what appears to have been a farm grouping that belonged to the estate. The Bing link shows a turreted structure that might have been the barn. Do you know? Or anyone else?

Zach said...

I'm glad people enjoyed the sales listing so much. I'll do more of them from here on out.

ChipSF said...

Beautiful house!