Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Robert E. Strawbridge Jr. Residence

The Robert E. Strawbridge Jr. residence designed by William Lawrence Bottomley c. 1935 in Old Westbury. Strawbridge was a partner in the investment firm of Reynolds, Fish & Company, was a prominent polo player in the '20s and '30s (rated at 9 goals) and served as chairman of the United States Polo Association for two decades. He married Florence J. Loew, granddaughter of George F. Baker and daughter of William Goadby Loew who lived next door at 'Loewmoor'. The residence is currently for sale for $5,750,000, click HERE to see the listing from Automatic Real Estate via the NYT. Click HERE to see the Strawbridge residence on google earth and HERE on bing.

Listing photos from Automatic Real Estate.

44 comments:

The Down East Dilettante said...

Pleasant house, with yet another Stupid Forecourt Trick. Long Island is in sore need of a new Innocenti and Webel, before there isn't a forecourt left without a stupid looking center motif.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Love the end Pavilion though. Wonder how it would look whitewashed?

magnus said...

Everything looks better with a coat of white-wash, to my mind.

It reminds me, for no particular reason, of an old southern expression used to describe decaying aristocracy: "Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash".

I may be too poor to paint. I'd never be too proud to whitewash.

Turner Pack Rats said...

vote #2 for the pavilion - a comfortable livable looking room with a fantastic domed ceiling. kitchen is not bad - modern but not so overdone as most kitchens are when updated in these older houses. i also like the loggia room which must be across from the pavilion. too bad the garage complex over the wall doesn't go with this house and its so surrounded by shacks.

security word def - "ingene" - polite word here in the colonies for a couple, altho divorced, who are still brother and sister.

lil' gay boy said...

Yes, whitewash, please...

Other than the rather overwrought master (that canopy has got to go), there's a gentility to the whole composition that lends an air of a home that's been in a single family for quite some time (although I do not know if that is the case).

At first blush it gives one the impression of Depression-era Hollywood's vision of upper-middle class; although decidedly a wealthy man's home, there is a downplayed domesticity that somehow makes it politically correct for its period. Very much a Lucille Watson, "shaken out of the magnolias" moment.

Security word - ditingsh: what one calls the potsherds discovered in a midden that turn out to be Sèvres.

jackgreen said...

Although I'm usually partial to white-wash, I feel there are some homes that look better plain brick...and this is one of them, I don't feel white-wash would do justice. This is a beautiful home....I love the staircase and the pavilion is a dream come true.

Do you know the original acrage? And do you have any info on the demolished tudor that once stood next door?

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

E. for Early??? Early???

Strawbridge Jr. was the grandson of Justus C. Strawbridge, a founder of the Strawbridge and Clothier department store chain of Philadelphia.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.7902774&lon=-73.6045414&z=18&l=0&m=b&show=/7625459/Robert-E-Strawbridge-Jr-Residence

I suspect but can not confirm the Trimble place next door is also a Bottomley design.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.7902774&lon=-73.6045414&z=18&l=0&m=b&show=/7625447/LIGC-Trimble

The Down East Dilettante said...

Poor house has lost two much of the back forty---neighbors uncomfortably close to the drawing room windows. The MBR is indeed tacky---those mirrors have got to go, but at least they left the interior architecture alone. But, who wants to be that close to the neighbor's tennis court?

Doug Floor Plan said...

FINALLY! I tried to post yesterday & kept getting directed to a 'Don't you want to set up a blog' web-site that had no 'Decline' option.

DED & TPR, I agree with you about the pavilion – it’s a great feature & my favorite room in the house … from what can be seen here. I also think the optical illusion marble? floor in the arched corridor leading there is a great feature, as is the corridor itself, & should have also been used in the entry hall. The floating staircase is beautiful but I think it’s a mistake to have it block the fanlight over the front door.

But I respectfully disagree about the ‘motif’ in the forecourt:
First, it is well-done, low-key foliage (my opinion) & does not include a fountain;
Second, since this forecourt is asphalt & not Magnus’s much-beloved pea gravel you’re literally looking at a parking lot without it.

Bing view: What the hell is that being built directly to the East of this house?

The Down East Dilettante said...

Asphalt a drive, if one must, but the forecourt must be pea gravel---or real cobble, or gravel impregnated concrete, even. Nothing like it for the 'right' look, and of course, the way it sounds under the wheels of one's Bentley.

As for the center piece, we'll just have a friendly truce and agree to disagree. A panel of grass would be nice....

Flo said...

"(that canopy has got to go)"

Ohh, a panini press.

Dig up the whole center court quatrefoil, all of it, including the 1970s oversnipped plant material and sad bedding plants. Widen that center section all the way around, put in some mature-ish trees to feather the view of the house on approach, underplant with aspidistra or something leafy, so that when one approaches it's like a little roadway to the front door.

I like the brick ok, but the white trim and shutters don't seem to complement handsomely enough.

Anonymous said...

HPHS -

The 1937 Trimble property next door is indeed a Bottomley design.

The Down East Dilettante said...

*too much* I meant TOO much, not two much.

Flo, I knew I loved you. That little clipped thing is just nasty.

As for the shutters, total accord also. In fact, I think this house cries out for a soft buff or putty trim, and dark shiny shutters, personally. Lower the contrast, up the chromatic harmony. And oh, the nice things that could be done with those interiors.

Flo said...

"As for the shutters"

The more I look closely at the paneled shutters'dead effect optically, the more I wonder if some optical relief would be achieved by switching out these shutters for a very good set of louvered ones, I say this because look at the pleasing effect of the louvered front door.

"I think this house cries out for a soft buff or putty trim, and dark shiny shutters, personally."

A very smart look, yes I think so too.

Anonymous said...

Even back in the day...this house looked as if it were rather close to it's neighbors. The stable from the since demolished tudor seem and a hand-throw away.

lil' gay boy said...

DFP, set yourself up a phony email account; Blogger is only going to get worse, and at least this way you can control their access to your info (did you know Google reads every word in gmail in order to find keywords to build a demographic profile on you, which it then sells? Try creating a new gmail account with a goofy name for your next online transaction & then see just how much junk comes your way).

My former boss always put February 29th, 1904 as her birthday just to play with their heads). Keep you primary email account private, and treat it as you would your cell phone number.

"As for the shutters"

I'm with you on that, Aunt Flo (are you the same Aunt Flo who came to visit my mama every month? Wouldn't it be a hoot if we were somehow related?)

;-)

Y'all know I love my whitewash, but if you take a careful look at a closeup of the brickwork you'll see some serious craftsmanship there, like jack arches over the windows & doors, subtle quoins and even a string course at the second floor level.

Personally, instead of the white I'd like to see anything from a semi-matte forest green to a high gloss black for the trim to compliment the ever-darkening patina of the copper-work.

Security work - sconsts: hardened, left over baked goods, soaked with whale oil, used to illuminate the hallways of the servants quarters.

Flo said...

"Aunt Flo (are you the same Aunt Flo who came to visit my mama every month? Wouldn't it be a hoot if we were somehow related?)"

I'm not that Aunt Flo, but let's be related anyway. I would love to be your aunt, I think Great Aunt might be more age-accurate. And since I'm your Great Aunt, you won't mind my correcting you on your security word:

sconsts: the plural of scone, scone being a single scont separated from a pair of sconsts

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Anonymous12:51 PM - thanks for the reply! I knew from the Spinzia book Trimble Sr. had a Bottomley design{not on wikimapia yet}. I can not recall now what more I had come across to hint to me that it could have been another Bottomley. The street names in the Spinzia book are different indicating to me we have two different properties. Or are they one in the same?


Link to the Cram replacement -


http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/mynassauproperty/viewphoto.jsp?txtSection=19&txtBlock=A&txtLot=143&txtSuffix=0&txtBldg=&txtCondo=&txtYear=2013

The allee of trees still survive from original. Can be seen in the HA link at the wikimapia link. SPLIA book has a tiny photo of this with the home in the distance.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.7902774&lon=-73.6045414&z=17&l=0&m=b&show=/14874126/LIGC-Stable-Garage-Cram

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

If your savvy enough to view the MyNas property card for the new Cram property you'll find a outline sketch of the first floor of the original house.

Anonymous said...

HPHS -

The Trimble house next door is 98 Wheatley Rd.
I had friends that lived there for many years. It used to be one of my favorite houses in O.W. Around 1980 the new owner added the heinous portico which he claimed was salvaged from a Stanford White house... yes, we've all heard this before. The final nail in the coffin was that he covered the entire house and perimeter walls with over 300,000 pink bricks.
Bottomley's original design was regency revival. The exterior walls were a combination of cement block with brick detail... all painted white.
Very similar to the exterior walls of "Chelsea" in East Norwich.

I've been told that both the Strawbridge and Trimble houses were built as wedding gifts. I honestly don't know if this is true. If I had to choose I'd take the Trimble house in it's former state.

Anonymous said...

HPHS -

Btw... I remember the old Cram house well. It burned down in the 80's, if I remember correctly. What a loss... and to add to the horror they replaced it with that plywood mansion. Not to mention they tore out nearly every tree on the property.
I'd like to get the address so I can look at the original outline sketch on the Nassau property card.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Pink bricks and a 'Stanford White' portico veneered over a smart looking streamlined design. The wrong people have the money, and they don't know when to leave well enough alone. Elegance is Refusal.

Repeat after me: Elegance is Refusal. Leave well enough alone. If it ain't broke, don't Fix it.

One more time:

Zach said...

DED...

I think the saying around these parts is more like

"If it ain't broke...break it".

lil' gay boy said...

Anon 9:26, the address is 88 Wheatley Road, 68 Wheatley for the new Cram house replacement ––– I think it shows some promise with the siting (hey, they can't all be Coe Hall, now can they?)

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

The question remains is Sr.'s house separate from Jr.'s or are they one in the same. Per the Spinzia book Jr. was found by his butler dead on the bathroom floor at the age of 37 in 1941. His father had passed away in 1924.

Not knowing the area... Does the rise of the land change the view from the the Strawbridge place to the Cram stables? re: as in many sightings of LIGC buildings what looks to be close quarters is actually high above anything offending.

Anonymous said...

DED...

Elegance is refusal, elegance is refusal. lol... nothing's happening! What's wrong with these new owners? The Trimble house was so majestic before the columns and pink brick. It had many unusual details inside as well, including tall narrow doors with tiny hexagon windows running down from top to the base. They played off all the hexagon and diamond shaped windows on the front and rear facade. Clearly the owner did not like regency moderne. He should have bought one of the many postmortem Standford White houses on the north shore.

LGB...

Thanks for the address of the Cram property. That thing that Steven Holl designed is an abomination, imo.

HPHS...

I'm not clear on whether Jr. and Sr. had separate houses... I only first made it there in 1974.

I don't quite remember if the Strawbridge house stands well above the Cram stables. It is odd that they built the house so close to those stables.

I'd like to know if there was any relation between the Strawbridge's and the Trimble's, as I had mentioned that years ago a friend that lived in the Trimble house told me they were built as wedding gifts... having been built two years apart and both Bottomley designs, it could be a possibility.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Winifred Loew married Richard Trimble II{not Jr.}. Strawbridge married Florence J. Loew. Both daughters of William Goadby Loew who lived at "Loewmoor". Wedding gift seems to fit the story. Did the estates have estate names?

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.7956058&lon=-73.6065075&z=18&l=0&m=b&show=/16110779/Location-of-Loewmoor

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.7917253&lon=-73.6026934&z=19&l=0&m=b&show=/19717115/Strawbridge-Front-Gate

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

"Loewmoor" location for sale -

http://www.luxuryportfolio.com/property/old_westbury/loewmoor_house.cfm

lil' gay boy said...

Today's treat?

An eclectic combination of sepia photos of Stotesbury's sorely missed Whitemarsh Hall set to "Ghostly Horses of the Plains", a guitar solo by Al Stewart.

In the meantime, I'm searching for higher-res pictures than the ones courtesy of the Whitemarsh Hall Home Page hosted by Serianni.

Security word - referele: the method by which a stepmother tries to appear impartial yet still favors her biological children.

Anonymous said...

HPHS...

Thank you very much for that interesting info!
So perhaps the Loews commissioned Bottomley?
Back in the mid 70's the Strawbridge residence was called "Pheasantry". The Trimble house did not have a name during that time. The private road leading to both homes was called Strawbridge Path. Both homes were oriented towards the large open fields that are now scattered with the shacks on Trusdale Dr. It looks very claustrophobic without those open vistas. The other boundary was Lewis Path that ran from Hastings Rd. to Wheatley Rd. You can still make it out on Bing. By the way... Hastings Rd. used to be Hastings Lane. The village changed it to Road in the late 70s. No idea why.

Anonymous said...

LGB....love all your youtube shots....!!!


Yes...I think it's very odd the Cram stables were built so close....but if you look at other estates....alot of them seem oddly placed to one another. Who did the zoning?

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Here is a postcard of the Cram Estate, in its heyday and after the fire that destroyed it.

http://garylawrance.blogspot.com/2011/04/john-sargeant-cram-estate.html

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.7845302&lon=-73.6062044&z=16&l=0&m=s&v=9&show=/9266946/Lewis-Path

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

Tried looking for the old outline on the tax map, what is the section and block number? Thanks

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

Section 19 Block A Lot 143
68 WHEATLEY RD

Instead of Map use Property Search and in the *Street Name Only: box I enter "Guys" for Guys Lane and maneuverer from there.

Or any close street name for the area your searching in.

Anonymous said...

MGA...

Thanks for the link... great pics!

HPHS..

Once again you were spot on with the Historic Aerials link to Lewis Path... enormously different with that huge open field, no? Both houses had significantly more property in 1966.

Anonymous said...

MGA...from your photos of the before and after of the Cram estate, it looks as if the windows were boarded up before the fire...was the house abandoned for a period? I guess, if so, that would explain the fire....seems many of these estates burned down for no apparent reason....makes you wonder..........

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

According to a Newsday clipping about the fire, it was believed to have been arson. The building had been divided up into apartments,but it was empty when the fire happened.

Anonymous said...

Arson doesn't surprise me... the property stood empty for some time.

HalfPuddingHalfSauce said...

MGA do you have a digital copy of the Newsday clipping?

Mansions of the Gilded Age said...

HPHS If you give me an email address, I can scan it for you.

lil' gay boy said...

OK, kids; contest time.

Before I start concentrating on some more MCM architecture, and, of course, FLLW, I have some shots of Old Westbury Gardens I'm preparing.

Your job? Come up with the music, between 2:30 and 4:00 in length works best, and if it's in the public domain even better.

Although I prefer instrumentals, and favor keyboards, neither is a requirement...

Get to it!

Security word - tridadro: colloquialism for Mother's third Brazilian toy boy.

Anonymous said...

How about something from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" ? I'm a sucker for Baroque.

Flo said...

"Come up with the music, between 2:30 and 4:00 in length works best, and if it's in the public domain even better."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl9_WB8kRcg&feature=related