Friday, February 22, 2013

The Country House of Francis L. Hine Esq., Glen Cove

 IN the professions, honeycombed though these are with specialists, we still do find the general practitioner facing and solving new problems as they present themselves and occasionally putting to shame the specialist by incursions into his own particular field. This is true particularly of architecture; since here the specialist most frequently develops in direct response to the demands of a clientele and as a result of a definite successful accomplishment arising conspicuously out of a broad general experience. The judgment to be passed upon the work of a specialist is perforce limited in its scope. His problem is definitely set; is solved by methods made familiar by constant use, and is judged with corresponding stringency.

  With regard to the general practitioner the case is somewhat different. He must be prepared to attack each new problem from a fresh point of view, to take advantage of all special features of the location and surroundings and to render himself susceptible to the influences— dramatic and historic—which are present in the site. In accordance with the extent to which he takes advantage of these suggestions is he to be acknowledged a master of his art. This provides us with the corollary that in so far as he fails to make the most of the suggestive features inherent in the problem, just so far should blame fall roundly on his shoulders.

  Among general practitioners in the profession of architecture there are few whose works have embraced in an equal number of years so many and varied subjects for study as have those of Walker & Gillette. Their work has been domestic, commercial and ecclesiastical; it has been urban, suburban and rural. Into the last named category falls the country residence of Francis L. Hine at Glen Cove, Long Island.

  Country life in America, in the main modeled upon that of our English forebears, has had a gradual and uninterrupted growth dating from pre-Revolutionary times, when the great estates of the Atlantic seaboard were the centres of a brilliant social life. These establishments provide the antecedents from which has developed the American country life of today with its cognate architectural expression. A distinctly modern phase of this development is the weekend residence, characterized primarily by easy access from the city by motor and rail. The gently rolling country of Long Island provides for New York City a wealth of building property, thoroughly adapted to the demands of this type.

  In such a country the Hine residence is located; and from a general survey, the property would seem to possess many suggestive possibilities. The immediate neighborhood is made up of the large and often elaborate country estates which abound on the north shore of Long Island. In many of these, the property lies between the highway and the Sound, with the result that the water view is towards the north—a disadvantage to be overcome at the outset. There is a gentle slope leading upward from the main road to a knoll some three quarters of the distance to the water front, and on this knoll the house is set. From here the land slopes down again to a good sized pond at the north, which is separated from the open water beyond by a strip of sand bar. The place is studded with many fine trees, singly and in groups, in the midst of which lies a sink-pool of the type so characteristic of this low-lying country, forming an interesting detail in the garden scheme.

Ground Plan - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.

  From the accompanying plot plan, the architects' solution will be readily seen. A group of farm buildings, ranged to the east of the entrance drive, is served by a special roadway: and the roomy garage, with its doors opening away from the house, is reached by a branch of the main driveway. The long entrance road skirts the south grounds of the house on their east and swings into the entrance court from that side. The house has been placed on the summit of the knoll, as before mentioned, and has been drawn out to considerable length on its major axis, running east and west. The south elevation of the house is the garden front, the knoll being built out here to the necessary distance and level to receive the gardens. To the north of the house well kept lawns lead down to the pond at their foot. Here is the bathing beach, for which the sand bar, forming the far side of the pond, serves as a natural breakwater from the open sweep of the Sound.

  The harmony created between the house and its surroundings is a decided accomplishment, to which its architectural genealogy, deriving as it does from New England rather than from the south, is largely contributory. The usual balance between vertical and horizontal has been freely and instinctively adapted so that, while the horizontal is predominant in the line and mass of the building, for the necessary verticals dependence has been referred to the many tall trees on all sides. In general, the effect of the exterior has been gained by mass and spotting rather than through an elaboration of detail, pleasant texture and judicious planting being relied upon for close-up interest. The brick exterior has been painted white, with the result of a softened wall coloring and a neutralization of any harsh contrast of materials.

  The entrance court is bounded, on the north, by the long service wing and, on the west, by the end wall of the main house. Here the task has been to keep the entrance dependencies sufficiently separated from the gardens to injure absolute privacy to the latter, heavy planting being relied upon to accomplish this purpose. The entrance court serves well its utilitarian object without suggesting too forcibly the charm and attractiveness which await the bidden guest within. The entrance porch and hall occupy the southeast corner of the main house.

  The kitchen wing is happily tied into the general mass by the dark line of slate roof that breaks the end wall and to produce their steady geometrical shadows; with the exception of the great unifying shadow of the heavy eave in the center, all the shade is living, moving and elusive, thrown by vines and trees blown in the breeze.

  The west end of the house is given over to the library and the roomy outdoor living porch with its views west over the country and north to the Sound.

  The north front, apart from the subordinate kitchen wing, resolves itself into a series of three symmetrical compositions, of which the tall portico dominates. This elevation lacks the warmth of the garden front, but possesses a dignity in keeping with its position overlooking the open Sound. The fenestration of the central portion is similar to that of the garden elevation and echoes its three tall windows of the living room; while the dark iron balconies, so artfully designed and placed, provide the sharp contrast of black and white furnished to the south front by the sun-cast shadows which on the north are lacking.

  The plan of the main house shows a simple and straightforward answer to the demands of a bifacial arrangement. By lengthening the building towards the west a maximum of southern exposure is obtained for the living room and library, and a western exposure for the living porch and long side of the dining room. The desirability of these exposures has had to meet the competition of the sea view to the north, and we find the happy compromise of many windows in this direction. The porch from the entrance court opens into the hall, which runs north and south along the end of the main house and is equipped with coat rooms and dependencies conveniently arranged. To the north of this hallway lies the dining room with direct access to the service wing; and to the west extends the great living room, beyond which are the library and the living porch.

  This entrance hall is particularly charming; its wood paneled walls being detailed with a naive freedom and a beautiful disregard of T-square regularity. A glance at the photograph of the departure of the stairs shows in the treatment of the variously shaped wall spaces a remarkable freedom which is planned unstudied. This little glimpse is one of the most charming bits in the house.

  The dining room possesses more conventionality, with a consistent formality and a judiciously restrained elaboration. The finish of the woodwork is very soft and is particularly successful where carving occurs. The mantel has all the decorative value of its eighteenth century English prototype, and the little nichelike china cupboards are beautifully designed with just enough savor of originality. The bits of old Lowestoft, of Staffordshire and of Derby afford for this side of the room delightful color accents, which are enhanced by the flanking pressed glass sconces.

  The great living hall is a room of generous proportions, comparatively low ceiled and full of repose. Its tones are soft and low, and its three long windows on either side bring the out-of-doors very close. The details of the woodwork and paneled walls are charmingly in keeping with the general Colonial spirit and are enhanced by the very simply treated plaster ceiling. The wide fireplace focuses the attention and impresses itself by its simple boldness. The room is so wide that ample space is left before the fireplace between the flanking doorways which lead to the library and to the living porch with its pleasant terrace and overhanging balconies. The creation of an atmosphere of quiet ease and the elimination of that sense of newness which is the fear and dread of every architect contribute to the spirit of hospitality, focusing in the living room, which, with its views north and south, plays an important part in the successful adaptation of the house to its location on an eminence with competing aspects in opposite directions. The long low mass of the exterior simulates that of an ancient house remodeled through a century or two and binds convincingly into the contour of the land, while the many chimneys bespeak as many cheerfully lighted hearths.

  The whole structure shows creative imagination on the intellectual side of its production and a masterly finish in its execution, which manifests the general practitioner's broad experience as applied to a problem that taste dictates should be solved in idiomatic terms.

Entrance Court - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects. 

A decorative window group is found at one end — a stairs arched window flanked by small windows. Below is a one-story passage with an entrance porch leading to the south terrace.  The roof lines are unusual. H&G

The entrance driveway reaches the house by one end of a wing. It is unostentatious and simple. The house has been placed to command a view of the Sound which can be had from three sides. H&G

Entrance Porch - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects. 
Detail of Entrance Porch - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.
The value of Colonial work lies in the perfection of its details. That very perfection accounts for the architectural success of this entrance porch.   Its lines, scale and setting are happily chosen. H&G
Entrance Court from Garden - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects. 
 Americans have become so accustomed to getting immediate effects that even our architecture has been obliged to accomplish in a short time that which heretofore only age used to give. Here is a Colonial house, recently built—the residence of Francis L. Hinc, Esq., on Long Island. The architecture required a semblance of age. Therefore, in building up these terrace steps and path, the architects built the steps up dry and laid the path in broken slabs. The nature of the stone and the nature of its treatment brought the desired effect. H&G
Living Porch - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects. 
Garden Front - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects. 

Variety is given the south terrace side of the house by indented units with wide overhanging eaves and an indented arched door. Interesting shadow play results. The house is painted straw color with green blinds and white trim. H&G

North Front(Sound) - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects. 

From the house on this side the lawn stretches down to the gardens and thence to the Sound. This view of the entrance is taken from the garden. A judicious use of wrought iron balconies lends color to the portico facade. H&G

Much of the character of such a house depends on its surroundings—the stretches of lawn, the immediate foundation plantings and the trees, to the shadows of which the beauty of the lawn is largely due. H&G

The house is an extended balanced structure of the classic Colonial type executed in brick. The wings flank a "pediment-and-portico" entrance, ending at one side in a broad enclosed porch, and on the other in service quarters. H&G

Portico on North Front - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects. 

 - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.

 - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.

The dining room of the Hine residence is finished in soft yellow with ivory woodwork. The furniture is 18th Century mahogany. H&G

 Dining Room Detail - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.
 Dining Room Mantelpiece - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.
Living Room - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.

Living Room Fireplace - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.

- New Life For A Glen Cove Estate -  A 16-acre estate in Glen Cove, L.I., built for financier Francis Lyman Hine in the early 1900's, is being turned into a condominium community that will include the transformation of its Georgian-style mansion into six apartments and the construction of 10 new town house units.

The Hine estate, which stretches from Lattingtown Road to Long Island Sound, was designed by Walker & Gillette, a team of architects responsible for several well-known buildings in Manhattan, including the Fuller Building.

It was last used as a single-family residence in the late 1950's, before becoming the Bayberry Bath and Tennis Club and later the Fidel Day School. Last year the property was purchased by Longmeadow Associates. While zoning for that part of Glen Cove permits no more than one residence per acre, it does allow cluster development so that the builders were able to put a total of 16 homes on the property.

The residences now being built in the main house will have many of the building's original architectural and decorative features, such as French doors, moldings and pediments and fireplaces. The new two- and three-story units, designed by the firm of John M. Scarlata Architects of Glen Cove, will be of red brick with white clapboard trim. They will be arranged in clusters of four and six. The homes will range in size from 4,000 to 6,200 square feet and prices will start at $470,000.

The project, to be known at Longmeadow, is to be completed next spring. The New York Times September 1, 1985

Click HERE to see "Mayhaist" at wikimapia. BING.

Stables - 1997 - Converted into a Private Dwelling - Country House of Francis L. Hine, Esq., Glen Cove, L. I.
 Walker & Gillette, Architects.


  1. I hope someone who has been there will prove me wrong, but the Bing view looks like a completely insensitive development.

  2. ^ I live there now and its exactly what BING shows it is…

  3. I worked and lived there in the early 70's. Our 3 man maintenance staff had a wing of the mansion. Our bathroom was 3 rooms. There were 5 clay tennis courts & an olympic sized pool with diving boards of 3 heights.
    Everyone else left at 3 o'clock and we had the place to ourselves on weekends too.
    Ivan Feidel's Son is Brad Feidel, who composes soundtracks, including Terminator. We moved some electric pianos together.

  4. I went to schooland camp at Fidel nduring that time and learned to play piano on the grand in the ballroom and on those electric keyboards in the basement.

  5. I went there for summer day camp in 1976/77. Loved it. I remember the grand staircase in the building, and the geodesic dome building that was down near the pool, I think.