The 1920s evokes visions of modern skyscrapers and streamlined design but it was also a time that saw a bit of Old England get translated into a housing style fit for the tycoons of the modern era. Tudor-style homes, with their asymmetrical massing, picturesque half timbering and peaked roofs began dotting the emerging U.S. suburbs in the late 19th century and continued to be popular until the start of the Depression.
The renewed interested in the medieval architectural style emerged, fittingly of course, in England and gained popularity in the U.S. where its baronial charm was adapted to smaller homes for the middle class but made its grandest impact with manors for the rich. The style eventually earned the moniker Stockbrocker Tudor because so many of the newly wealthy were adopting the style — perhaps to lend a bit of gravitas and history to their homes.
In the U.S. the style evoked Anglophile visions of hunts, dark paneled libraries and the stability of generations — all qualities that could create the illusion of old money for the newly wealthy. In a 1913 article in the Architectural Record, Richard H. Dana Jr. noted “What is more natural, then, that we in America, whose traditions are so largely English and whose country life is more and more becoming like that in England, should find this Tudor style suitable to our needs?”
Perhaps it was a bit of romantic thinking at a time of great industrial and societal change in the U.S.
In New York, the picturesque houses popped up in Tuxedo Park, Bronxville, Scarsdale and Pelham which were, thanks to train routes and the auto, easily accessible to the city, making them popular as bedroom communities for the Wall Street crowd.
Tudor houses large and small are plentiful in Westchester County, and we spotted two splendid variations of the style on the market.
In Scarsdale is a quintessential Stockbroker Tudor by one of the great practitioners of the style, Lewis Bowman. A native of New York and resident of Bronxville, Bowman designed scores of houses in Westchester, including the home of stockbroker Peter J. Murphy at 1 Hickory Lane.
Completed in 1929, the house has all the hallmarks of the style: half timbering, diamond-paned windows and tall chimneys rising high above a complicated roof line.
Articles published in the Scarsdale Reporter in 1928 and 1929 mention Murphy purchased several plots of land and was erecting a house “in the English Manor type” designed by Bowman. The resulting house was not one designed for modest living — and the illusion of an aged manor is created as soon as one walks through the front door. A stone floor, paneling and a beamed ceiling all add to the illusion, and balconies offer an opportunity to gaze upon those entering, or a vantage from which to admire the armaments.
The living room has rich dark paneling and a decorative plaster ceiling.
No floor plans are available but the photos show large formal spaces and the listing mentions the house, set on a 1.6 acre site, also includes 10 bedrooms, staff quarters, patios and a pool.
The house also has 5.5 baths and two of those shown in photographs are a treat for the vintage tile lover. One green and one blue, they both have Art Deco sinks and tubs.
In the basement is what the listing describes as a playroom, but it seems fit for a 1920s medieval masquerade with its stone walls and a grand fireplace.
The house is listed for $4.595 million by Sheila Stone and Lisa Weissman of Houlihan Lawrence.
In Bronxville is a circa 1932 Tudor style with a French twist at 31 Edgewood Lane. The house has the asymmetrical massing and half timbering typical of the Tudor style and also includes a rounded tower typical of the French-influenced variations on the style.
This one’s not originally the home of a Wall Street tycoon, but of a crime novelist. Charles Francis Coe was the author of novels with blunt, but descriptive, titles such as Hooch and Swag and he was described in a dust jacket blurb as “a writer equipped with the facts of underworld life. He knows and dares to tell.” He lived in the house until 1936 when he hoofed it out to Hollywood to work on screenplays — he had already written one based on his 1927 book Me, Gangster.
Smaller in scale and slightly more restrained on the interior than the Scarsdale house, it still has touches of Tudor.
The house has a large living room, dining room and a dark paneled room the listing calls the family room.
There are four bedrooms, with a fireplace in the master, and three baths — most of baths seem to have been recently renovated.
The kitchen too has been renovated with modern touches such as stainless steel appliances and a Carrara marble island — no haunches of meat over a turning spit to be found here.
This house is listed for sale by Susan Kelty Law of Houlihan Lawrence for $2.38 million.
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