Luther Lashmit, of the offices of Northrup and O'Brien was undoubtedly commissioned to lead the Adamsleigh project, because of his great success with Graylyn, the home of Natalie Lyons and Bowman Gray of Winston-Salem. Northrup and O'Brien had maintained close communication with the local Lashmit throughout his education and career. Receiving his architecture degree from The Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, PA., Lashmit went on to win the prestigious Fontainebleau Fellowship, studying at the revered Ecole des-Beaux-Arts, traveling extensively to survey the great houses of England, France and Italy. Having taught architecture in Georgia and Pittsburg, Northrup and O'Brien brought Lashmit home to create the Gray's magnificent Norman Revival estate which was to be the second largest house in North Carolina after Biltmore.
|Graylyn Rear Facade|
Harvard trained landscape architect, Thomas Warren Sears, who had worked with Fredrick Law Olmsted was introduced to North Carolina and Virginia industrialists via his Reynolda House Commission through Charles Barton Keen, chief architect of the earlier R.J. Reynolds estate, across the street. The collective design team was easily transferred to the Adamsleigh project. While there are many vernacular similarities, adaptations were made to create a unique estate.
|Unusually this house remained in the original family from inception to 2003.|
Employing a brick veneer versus Graylyn's stone facade, makes Adamsleigh more Norman English than French Norman. Characteristics of these European houses adapted for 1920's tastes included fewer, but more spacious rooms for grand entertaining with open floor plans. Picturesque, French style estates were designed to look as though they had grown organically over time transitioning from fortifications to homes. To achieve these ends, Lashmit massed irregular outlines along asymmetrical wings. Graceful, quaint chimneys rose above round, square or hexagonal towers pierced by narrow windows enclosing spectacular vertiginous medieval staircases. The Graylyn stair tower has holders for plants and flowers that are reminiscent of Addison Mizner's Worth Avenue. Creative cribbing is common in design, and my friend, Tom Gray who wrote his Master's Thesis on Graylyn discovered an identical previous image from the Newbold house in Laverock, PA.
Grayln stair tower
Adamsleigh has come through a remarkable era of singular family ownership. The current asking price of $4,000,000 will hopefully attract a preservation minded buyer. Meanwhile, we will tantalize you with the empty rooms that are being reinterpreted by this talented roster of designers building on the legacy of the great Country Home architects, landscape designers, interior architects and artisanal craftsman.