Monday, December 16, 2013

Fairy Tale Houses

I spent some time recently in my home town of Westfield, New Jersey....

I wandered around the streets and neighborhoods of my childhood, 
my mind flooded with memories of growing up there, 
of the friends and families I had known 
and the places that had made marks on my memory.

On one walk with my sweet sister in law, Maureen, 
I am sure I embarrassed her by insisting we stop so I could photograph this house....
Call me snoopy, but it had sold recently and it was vacant 
and I just couldn't resist the chance to look at it more closely.

It's the Wychwood Gate House.
Everyone from Westfield knows this house.
I never really knew anything about it growing up there.
It always seemed so mysterious and enchanted.

It's set way back from the road, in a very wooded spot.
It was built as part of a very swanky development in the twenties-
"Oh, they live in Wychwood..." 

So exclusive that they need a Gate House with a towering gate 

and a giant key

It's hard to get the scale of this house across through photographs.
It's so tall and dramatic and intricate.
And Maureen was waiting patiently for me to get the heck out of her neighbors yard...

The texture and the detail are amazing.

I love the leaded glass and the copper finials.

The treatment of the overhangs is very dramatic and enchanting.
Love the color of the mullions.

This is the dining room nook... 
Looks like something straight out of an English village.

This door leads into the kitchen.
(I know this from snooping at one of the websites that had the home listed. 
There is a link at the end of this post)

In this photo, you can almost get a feel for the height of the house.  
I wonder how the views are from those uppermost windows...  
I bet you can see New York City.

The main Gate House has a companion gate house, in miniature, 
on the opposite side of the road, with it's own gate.

Look at the amazing brick work there.  

And this window and terrace...

I would have loved to snoop around a bit more in this yard, but this home is occupied, 
and I didn't want Maureen to have to explain anything to her neighbors about me...

The details of the Gate House everywhere are wonderful 
but homes like this need constant care.  
As I peeked into the windows, I thought the new owners would have their hands full 
if they wanted to bring it up to today's standards...

Astonishingly, as I was doing a bit of Google research 
to share with you about this house,
I discovered that it burned the week after I was there!!!
They say it can be saved, and I truly hope so.

You can read more about the Wychwood Gatehouse from a Real Estate Listing here.
This amazing website has beautiful interior and exterior photos 
and floor plans and maps. 
Just Wow.

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  1. Just wow to see what you have here. WOW, love all the intricate twists and turns. Seeing it is like reading a great novel. I am off to check out the two links . . .

  2. Beautiful, intriguing home. Love everything about it, it is quite mysterious yet so elegant. So, So sorry it burned, ugh!!!

  3. Beautiful, intriguing home. Love everything about it, it is quite mysterious yet so elegant. So, So sorry it burned, ugh!!!

  4. Beautiful, intriguing home. Love everything about it, it is quite mysterious yet so elegant. So, So sorry it burned, ugh!!!

  5. Beautiful, intriguing home. Love everything about it, it is quite mysterious yet so elegant. So, So sorry it burned, ugh!!!

  6. Oh wow. That is beautiful. What incredible and thoughtful details someone lovingly built into this house. It made me sad to read that a week after these pictures, it burned.

    I'm off to be 'snoopy' and look through the links you provided.

  7. This is an absolutely awesome house and garden -- thanks so much for posting this. Hope you can ditch your sister (ha) and get some pics of the neighborhood the gatehouse is guarding. Bet it's equally interesting (1920s houses are the best).

  8. What a fabulous houe! It is magical! I was sad o see that it suffered damage in a fire, I do hope that it is repaired and restored. Thank you coming to visit.

  9. I have some additional information about these two houses, because my great grandfather, Aurthur Rule, had these houses built and insisted that they be done fit for a fairy tale. My father lived in the little gate house for a few years growing up. Recently I asked him about the houses and he described the little gate house. The round part is a living room and the kitchen and dining room are underneath, downstairs and they are round, too. His bedroom was in a turret type room on the second floor. His mother (daughter of Aurthur Rule) grew up in Westfield, on a gentleman's farm, while the development of more than 30 houses was being built. At the time WWII, she and some of her brothers and sisters returned to Wychwood and lived in various houses there with their families, while the men were off to fight in the war. We often wonder if there is ever a tour of these houses? My parents have been back and my father feels as nostalgic as you do. He told me about that giant key and the windows with iron sillouhettes of characters from the Canterbury Tales (Thus Canterbury Drive) and it sounds magical. Kudos for a great blogpost and contact me with amy questions. -Jennifer

    1. Thanks, Jennifer, for the info and the compliments. I can't reply to your email as a no-reply blogger... Sorry if the link no longer works, but you can google the Wychwood gate house and lots of info comes up. Sadly, they will probably tear it down. It has been over a year since the fire and it has been left uncovered.

  10. The owner did not fix it and tore it down.


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