Friday, October 29, 2010


'Beechwood', the John Teele Pratt Jr. estate designed by William Platt c. 1934 in Glen Cove. Click HERE to see the brochure from when 'Beechwood' was for sale. Click HERE to see 'Beechwood' on bing.


magnus said...

The house is so much more attractive white-washed than it is today with its brick facade looking as if it had just been delivered from the kiln. The original landscaping also gave the house charm and balance. it's recent owners have committed that cardinal sin committed so often by proud and clueless new owners of large houses: They have reconfigured the front drive as an enormous asphalt "forecourt". If they didn't add a fountain in the center, it certainly looks like they wanted to. I'm sure the idea was to add to what they perceived as the "drama" and grandiosity of the house. Instead, it lends an incredibly unattractive commercial air to the whole thing- like a catering hall or nursing home- "plenty of parking available".

The Down East Dilettante said...

Migod Magnus---I'm not the only one! I'm driven to near madness by this syndrome, the one where something subtle and lovely gets the plastic grandeur upgrade. Even up here in the land of the subtle and understated we are no longer free of this dangerous trend.

Incidentally, I nipped into Newport yesterday to catch the wonderful gothic art exhibit at Marble house, and a quick tour of that poor town reveals that spray on stucco french country is the favorite for new construction on Bellevue avenue. It makes one cry.

magnus said...

DED: I have to get to Newport to see the Marble House installation. Fascinating bit of detective work in re-assembling the Gothic Room, and i gather that the treasures head back to Sarasota shortly.

lil' gay boy said...

I always thought of this lovely home as the poor stepchild of the Pratt family ––– well constructed by hardly well known.

It's also sad to see what a devastating loss Dutch Elm Disease proved to be; the loss of all those stately old trees had quite a negative impact on the property, along with asphalting the gravel drive and removing the whitewash. At least the walled garage court remains.

Mercifully, these are easily remedied by those with the inclination and money ––– there is nothing so luxurious as the sound of a substantial car's tires on gravel...

I particularly enjoy the restraint common to post-depression Gold Coast construction; although generous in size, one could hardly call it grandiose; twelve acres was modest even in the stripped down '50s.

Zach, two questions; what does the brochure mean by a "French Fence" and when was the pool installed?

Security word - bionosmi: a memoir ghostwriter.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine what they did to the interiors.

There is a house in my home-town that looks like a smaller version of this house...and on much,much less property.

Zach, not to get off subject, but I was at a conference at SUNY Old Westbury today, and I wandered into the libray, there I saw a broken statue of a goddess and the plaque stated that the she was rescued in 1970 from the Thompson estate. I always thought that Old Westbury was on the estate of the Clarke family. Do you know the name of the Thompson estate and was it a neighbor of the Clarke estate?

Zach L. said...

LGB...I wish I could answer your questions but I don't know the answers. I know using the historicaerials site you can get a general idea of when the pool was put in.

To Anon...the Thompson estate was right next door and it was called Longfields:

Clark eventually bought it and I believe was the one responsible for the demolition...and just absorbed the property into Broad Hollow SUNY OW.

Anonymous said...

Magnus, I grew up up in Brookville and now live in Sarasota; for the last six years. My Grangfather had a wonderful home on Siesta key in the 30's and 40's. The house, very sadly, fell prey to the wrecking ball in 76. Living here, I feel Sarasota is the demo capitol of the U.S , but it's not. We here in the U.S. need a Prince Charles, at least to speak up.

The Ancient said...

Those gravel drives are indeed lovely, but they are very expensive to maintain. (At one of our family houses, there was a long, straight drive -- perhaps 300 yards -- made of pea gravel, and every morning one of the gardeners would get up early and rake it to perfection. Almost no one spends money that way any more.)

And I agree about the white-wash.

magnus said...

Ancient- It's not the absence of gravel that grates- it's the graceless, commercially scaled courtyard that too many owners of these wonderful houses must think adds gravitas to the whole. Whether rendered in asphalt or composition Belgian Block, they give the most beautiful house an arid, lost feeling. Platt knew what he was doing in bringing the landscaping right up to the house.

I, alas, still have a gravel drive- raked weekly and i won't begin to describe what it looks like when the snowplow has been through. But, like many good things, I think that it's worth the effort (probably because I don't do it).