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Architecture for Travelers

The Manor on Golden Pond
Holderness, New Hampshire USA
1903 -1907

Manor on Golden Pond - Photo

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In an era when wealthy industrialists were building ostentatious summer homes, Isaac Van Horn, a prosperous Englishman, decided to create a stately and dignified retreat that would reflect his heritage. Unlike the showy Gilded Age homes of Newport, Rhode Island, Van Horn's New Hampshire manor expressed refinement, restraint, and reverence for nature.

photo - carved oak at the Manor on Golden PondThe exterior of the home is unassuming. Sided in stucco and painted shingles, the house blends gracefully with the surrounding pines, gently rounded White Mountains, and sweeping lake views. A hipped roof and and wide eaves accentuate the long, low profile of the home. In a flowing floor plan, rooms, windows, and balconies are placed to capitalize on the beauty of the New England landscape. It's as though a traditional English Manor (usually a Tudor Revival without the half-timbering) merged with the popular Craftsman style.

Photo - wood corbel at the Manor on Golden PondVan Horn hired more than a hundred artisans from around the world to work on his summer home. Golden oak corbels support gleaming beams along the ceilings in the grand reception area, the library, and the billiard room (now an intimate dining room.) Imported tiles surround the fireplaces. Intricately carved banisters lead to the story.

The Manor remained a private summer home until the 1940s, when an editor for Life Magazine converted it into a colony for photographers. In the 1950s, the Manor became an inn, and for the next fifty years it passed through a succession on owners and a series of remodelings.

Photo - Mountain views at the Manor on Golden PondAnnexes were built; whirlpool tubs and other luxuries were installed. Nevertheless, the original design was preserved. Today, The Manor on Golden Pond (named after the Katherine Hepburn movie filmed nearby) has seventeen uniquely decorated guest quarters in the main house. Additional suites are located in the Carriage House, the Annex Chamber, and two adjacent cottages.

The current innkeepers plan to create formal English gardens on the hillside leading down to the lake. Isaac Van Horn would approve.

Photo copyright Jackie Craven

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