Diamonds, diamonds everywhere, miles of slinky white silks, everything tight, taught, and gleaming. At your elbow you find fizzy drinks in coupe glasses and boards of charcuterie looking for fingers and stomachs to fill. It’s 1961 and you’re at an end of summer soiree at the country residence of the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom; in the drawing room, looking out over the reflecting pond and rolling lawns, everything is just right, you are sated. This sleek, sleek Modernist residence, built in 1935, was the home of Ambassador John Hay Whitney, a Mayflower descendant, from 1938 until his death in 1986, and served as a vital link in transcontinental cultural and political circles.
Designed by architect Oliver Hill, a one-time disciple of Edwin Lutyens, Hill handily developed his own skill for spatial awareness and transferred it from the English vernacular to Modernist style during the 1930s. The result, with its elegant, sweeping, spare interiors, clean, clinical exterior, and situation and relationship with the landscape create a splendid setting for this exceptional home—a true artwork, an ornate jewel box from which further treasures emerge.
The brochure provided above—marketing material from the listing agents, James Crawford and Paul Cockerham of Knight Frank—provides an in in-depth study of the home, past and present. Among the most unique aspects of the brochure are the exterior line drawings of the house, which are a welcome and informative addition to the sales material, and make the home that much more concrete and real—a true designer or collector’s touch.
The interiors of the estate have been transformed into airy, glassy spaces where art, furnishings, and the out of doors all intermingle on the same plane; a greater weight is not given to the views nor interiors, but is instead layered and woven throughout, thereby creating a multidimensional, playful space for the ages. When paired with the deep azure blue indoor pool and masterful kitchen, there would never be a need to leave the walls of this home. I would just need to carve out a space for a library in these magnificent rooms. Also, the mistress’s bathroom, with its wonderous, curved zebra-veined Calacatta marble walls, is the room in the house.
The below pieces, all from various Sotheby’s auctions, could all easily reside in my future concept of this home. From an Art Nouveau thistle lamp or Lalique snake vase to painted ladies by Matisse and van Dongen, this home is the perfect backdrop for interior art appreciation, a much needed, and built-in, feature of the house, a feature which creates an equal playing field between the indoors and the out.
The rear façade, with its very ocean-liner-esque styling, is clean, crisp, and dominating—very England 1935. The contemporary exterior water features and green, minimalist landscaping firmly anchor the house as the fundamental piece of the landscape and its integration with the surrounding golf course, wooded landscapes and neighborhoods. The integration of the curves as well as multiple right angles on this façade is truly delightful, pairing well with the breathtaking curved glass staircase on the front of the home.
The significantly enlarged floor plan of the home is stunning; the long, lean, low wings tendril out from the home in a very organic, inviting way. This effect is achieved through the use of curved walls, intersecting angles, continuous lines and axes, all centered around a touch of green turf and tall, sturdy tree, spot lit. Cherry Hill continuously enfolds in the most tantalizing of ways, using all of its wiles to keep you snuggled up inside its curved walls.
Another unique feature of this estate is the (now not so) secret subterranean tunnel running between the main and the guest houses—how cool is that! So many unexpected amenities around every twist and turn!
This artistic, and art-centered, home desires an owner of similarly discerning disposition. The six bedroom, six bathroom home, spanning roughly 15,000 square feet, located in 4.1 acres, and listed by James Crawford and Paul Cockerham of Knight Frank has a “guide price” of £30,000,000.
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