A SALUTE TO TIMELESS ELEGANCE
Written by Amelia Jeffers
Photography by Dale Clark-Arc Photography Aerial photos by Prestige Pro Photo
Thirty years ago, Jack Kessler’s Jaguar was taking a beating. Off-road tours for future residents through the fields of what would become the most prestigious gated community in central Ohio were a regular for the real estate developer in the earliest days of the New Albany redesign and build-out. Fewer than 20 home sites ranging from 3 to 20 acres have been offered for sale in the New Albany Farms community, with the final parcel selling in 2015. Residents come to “The Farms” (as locals refer to the neighborhood) intending to stay a while, citing the perfect combination of community, security, privacy and proximity to all things “white fence” lifestyle. Buyers looking to move into the coveted area are forced to wait until a home becomes available, and according to information from the Columbus Board of Realtors, only two homes have sold in The Farms in five years, with two on the market now.
One of those, located at 19 New Albany Farms Road, stands as an icon to timeless design. This spectacular Georgian estate sits on 11 of the most private acres, with a large pond on one side and thick woods in the back. Positioned at the end of a long pea gravel drive, with beautifully manicured lawns surrounding the residence and wildflowers filling the generous lawn in front, the home typifies the English countryside aesthetic to which New Albany planners aspired. In fact, the exterior was fashioned after (and bears remarkable resemblance to) Salutation House in Sandwich, England, designed by famed British architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens in the early twentieth century.
With rich red brick offset by crisp white limestone, the impressive front elevation speaks to historical elegance and grandeur, while the rear of the home is distinctly twenty-first century luxury. With a stunning terrace, a magnificent pool surrounded by lush landscaping, an exquisite loggia with opulent furnishings for a crowd and a comfortable pool house, visitors are transported to a chic European spa.
Stepping into the casual family living quarters from the back patio, I was impressed to learn that the renovated chef ’s-grade kitchen is in regular use by the charming couple who live here. Having built the home with a mind for elaborate entertaining, the pair has settled into a quieter lifestyle these days and enjoys the coziness of the open floor plan at the “family” end of the substantial structure. Make no mistake, staff for the residence are just steps away in an adjacent two-bedroom apartment, but, by and large, dinners for close friends and family are held in the relaxed dining extension overlooking the pool, while football games and holiday parades can be shown on the big screen just a few feet away. An updated home operations center leads to the appropriately proportioned six-car garage.
More formal areas of the nearly 14,000 square feet of living area remain largely as-decorated in the 1990s when the seminal New York design duo known as Hadley-Parrish took on the massive project. Not only a graduate from but a teacher at the famed Parsons Design School, Albert Hadley was a classic southern gentleman who worked fluidly and comfortably in the Georgian style. Considered to be a true intellect, Hadley was known for perfectly drafted drawings and an eye for detail that was instrumental to following his projects through to completion. In stark contrast, his counterpart, Sister Parish was a well-connected socialite who launched an interior design business when family finances tightened up just after the Great Depression. She shot from the hip with a natural instinct and keen sense of style, but with no formal training on which she could rely to translate her vision to a team of installers. In fact, when she went in search of a talented draftsman to fill this void, rumor has it that a friend introduced her to Albert Hadley, whose studied approach provided a measured professionalism to Parish’s business.
The pair connected just as Sister Parish was finishing up her work redesign the White House for the young Kennedy family, and together, they developed a signature transitional style: Hadley working with ease in the open, architecturally clean lines of modern living, while Parish anchored the spaces with classic and refined antiques and fabrics. The result of their work is a relaxed elegance that appears to be straight out of a modern apartment in Versailles. Sometimes referred to as a yin and yang partnership, their designs are absolutely timeless, and their client list boasts names like de la Renta, Astor, Kennedy and Rockefeller.
In this house, the Hadley-Parish hand is evident in the opulent parlor, painted in soft chartreuse and brightly lit by three walls of nearly floor-to-ceiling plantation doors and windows. The generous room is anchored at one end by a handsome antique mantle (one of two purchased from Sotheby’s and installed in the home by the designers) and at the other by steps leading to double doors that open onto the home’s center colonnade. With sleek marble floors and rich tonal wainscot, the spacious central hall opens to a number of formal rooms, including a huge formal dining room that overlooks the balustraded stepped terrace and gorgeous span of lawn.
On the second floor, a graceful balcony overlooks the front entry – “The perfect spot for sweet little girls in nightgowns to peek at the fancy party,” said the homeowner with a smile. That little girl may have referenced one of several granddaughters who have frequented the residence, often camping as young children on the floor of the spacious master bedroom (“Despite the fact that we have 8 other bedrooms they could have used!” he laughs). Bordered by coordinating his and her spa baths with adjacent walk-through closets and dressing areas, the master takes advantage of the private lot with plenty of windows overlooking the back of the property.
Several other bedroom suites and an enviable laundry center round out the second and third floors of the main house, with a bonus office and fitness room adjacent to the atrium, which offers striking views through all three floors to the large, light-filled cupola. An elevator alleviates a few steps when we finish our visit in the well-designed home theater at basement level.
Feeling ill-equipped to adequately pay homage to the care and planning that were invested in the home by minds far greater than mine, I am grateful for the photographers who did a far better job of capturing the essence and spirit of a home built to last for generations to come.