Monday, May 14, 2012


 'Groendak', the Parker Douglas Handy estate designed by C.P.H. Gilbert c. 1900 in the North Country Colony in Glen Cove with landscaping by Ellen Biddle Shipman.  Handy was president and chairman of the board of Handy & Harmon, bankers and dealers in bullion.  Handy died in 1929 at the age of 71 and 'Groendak' has since been demolished.

Photos from Architecture, 1901.


magnus said...

For those of you who are interested, the Parker handy house either burned or was torn down in the mid 1920's to be replaced by a Harrie Lindeberge designed Tudor house for Henry C. Martin. The garage complex for the handy house still exists bordering Valley Road.

archibuff said...

CPH does a spin on dutch colonial revival? talented is he. Like the roof line, dormers and the wrap around porch.

A pretty contemporary floor plan with a nursey adjacent to the owners bedroom and the house has a fairly private servants wing with a separate servants sitting room and each bedroom has its own closet and large windows.

The Down East Dilettante said...

By gorry, I'm getting good. The minute the photo popped up on the screen I thought, 'oh boy, stiff and lifeless, and got CPH written all over it'---et voila!.

But guess what? I like this one. Yup, I do. bit of whimsy, nice play with the shingles. And an excellent floorplan.

Doug Floor Plan said...

Maybe the exterior was considered good looking in 1900; but at least it could have been made good looking today by some easy changes to those Dutch end caps which, to me, don’t look right on this house; but I like the dormers.

Thanks for the floor plan, Zach. I’m sorry to disagree with Archibuff & DED but the room layout seems odd to me. On the ground floor:
• The front door opens directly into what is really the living room (even thought it’s marked “Entrance Hall”) when you have a separate stair hall that would be a more appropriate entry point, especially if the weather turns cold.
• I understand this is a country house & its occupants would sit mostly out on the wrap around porch, which is good because the living room is the same size as the dining room – one is disproportionate in size with the other.
• I like the small den & appreciate there’s a half bath on the ground floor.

On the second floor:
• I also like the generous closets & proximity of the nursery but think it’s odd that it’s the only room on the second floor with a fireplace.
• Either the two guest rooms next to the servants’ wing are really small or the servants’ rooms are really large – just eyeballing the difference (the roof slope doesn’t make much difference in two of the servants’ rooms).
• A servant having to access the second floor of the main house via the servants’ bathroom & a guest room closet & bedroom (versus taking the main stairs) is bad design. This is especially so since the service wing stops at the second floor & there is a third floor over the main body of the house.

In spite of all my complaints I (like DED) still kind of like this house & think it could have easily been made comfortable for a family today. There, that’s my two cents.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Doug---the concept of a 'living hall' was very big in houses of the era.

archibuff said...

But guess what? I like this one. Yup, I do. bit of whimsy, nice play with the shingles. And an excellent floorplan.....

by DED???


Is today April 1st???

Did somebody gain unauthorized access to DED's laptop???

Archibuff scratches his head in disbelief.

Anonymous said...

My eye goes straight to that large blank expanse of shingle right smack in the middle of the facade where the window at the stair landing should be. Other than that I rather like this one too.

magnus said...

DFP- I read once (where I can't recall) that during an era in which even middle class families employed servants and restaurant meals were the pervue of the very rich or the very poor, the dining room was often the most frequented room in the house and generally equal in size to the living or drawing room. The Handy house also enjoyed a spectacular view of a neighboring marsh and the Long Island Sound,and my guess is that those porches were designed as an adjunct to the living room and were probably the most frequented area in the house during our hot and humid Long Island summers.

No great fan of Gilbert either, I happen to like this eminently manageable and strangely charming house. What gives with the horrible name, though?

Glen said...

I think CPH deserves credit for experimenting with his designs Other architects of the era were, perhaps, experimenting more successfully, but by taking less risk. It seems the turn of the century was a period of great transition in design and taste with some clients and architects holding to the past while others were forging new ideas. I have to agree with Doug's comments about the floor plan, but I like the overall composition and details of the exterior. I especially love the finials topping the gables and the brickwork on the chimneys. However, I think the front gable is awkward, especially the composition of the openings (from what little can be seen) and it seems to fight for prominence with the porte-cochure. I think the whole design would have been more successful if it had included the main point of entry. One last criticism, I think the stepped gables would have been a stronger design language and more timeless if they occurred only at the ends of the main block and not every gable.

BillinMI said...

Groendak translates to Green Roof, or green roof over bitumen. (wiki)

lil' gay boy said...

"...eminently manageable and strangely charming..."


With a minimum of reconfiguration, this house could easily have survived into the 21st century. The generous servants' quarters are admirable.

The Down East Dilettante said...

'experimenting more successfully but by taking less risk'. Huh? I have to, in the most friendly way, disagree, absolutely. experimentation is risk. Gilbert was not much of an experimenter---he was just a serviceable designer without a great idea of form, too fond of ornament, with an odd grasp of scale and proportion.

You want successful risk takers, look to Warren & Wetmore, who sometimes almost walked the tightrope, or McKim Mead & White, who took traditional forms and made them fly---just to name a couple of the two or three dozen ahead of Gilbert in the risk department.