Historic Homes to Own in the Lake Geneva Region | Local news


Every now and then a property is presented to the market that is so well-known, so revered, so celebrated that it doesn’t need a description of superlatives. These are the old properties that not only occupy the most beautiful lots on the best streets and have the highest quality architecture and finishes, these are the iconic properties so respected for both their characteristics and importance. Today, probably for the third time in its 115-year history, Glanworth Gardens, the pre-eminent 40-acre estate on the best lake in the Midwest, is for sale. In the early 1900s, famous Boston architect Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge was hired to design a new lakeside retreat for the Harris family, the founding family of Harris Bank and Trust. The location chosen for this new vacation home was an idyllic, hilly, lakefront property on the north shore, where Snake Road plunged and meandered through the rolling countryside, just beyond Newport Of The West, the city on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The Olmsted Brothers provided the landscaping with ponds and gardens, winding paths, and rest areas that led all visitors through the thick native woodland to the flat shore. This current chapter in the history of Glanworth Gardens is perhaps the most compelling. The new owner, motivated by a desire to restore and respect the architectural and natural pedigree of this rare property, began a multi-year renovation that touched almost every piece of this vast property. At times there were more than 100 craftsmen on site, all with the sole aim of getting this property into a condition that corresponded to its importance. When the pool house was moved to the house later known as the children’s village as an anchor hut, the thatched roof was built by Irish craftsmen. Such attention to detail may be rare, but it became the expected norm during this lengthy reconstruction process. While the initial renovation was completed in just over two years, the owner never stopped improving and perfecting this most valued lakefront home. The pretty gated entrance is perhaps the most impressive entrance along this private stretch of iconic lakeside houses. Passing these gates, visitors will be amazed by a playful and unforgettable drive through the forest, with a view of the ponds and manicured lawns, past the children’s village and through the formal motor place made of crushed granite. Inside, guests are greeted by the grand staircase and entrance hall, which immediately proves the original intent of this home: entertainment by the lake. Behind this ornate room is a sunny western family room with expansive views of the gardens and reflecting pool, and a lakeside library with rich oak paneling flanking the walls and ceiling. The office is quietly away from the large hall and offers the owner a quiet view of the truck stop and its fountain. Adjacent to the kitchen are formal and informal dining rooms anchored by a La Cornue row and bespoke cabinets. Thirteen chimneys line this floor plan and warm rooms that, despite their generous size, still appear intimate and cozy. As you climb the grand staircase, you will appreciate the closer look at the ten meter high ceiling with its intricate plastering and piping. The master bedroom corridor leads to the west, with several guest candies and the ultimate master suite with fireplace, dressing room and modernized full bath. The guest wing contains additional lakeside bedrooms, most with en-suite bathrooms, bringing the total number of bedrooms in this home to 13. Other property structures include a four bedroom guest house, carriage house, personnel offices, boathouse, children’s village, and more.


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