Old-World Modernity


This majestic, two acre New Albany estate mixes old world charm with comfortable finishes uncommon to the details of Georgian architecture.

In the United Kingdom, east of Exmoor National Park in Somerset County, lies the village of Wiveliscombe. This centuries old establishment is rich in history and structural design, boasting manors, estates and castles. Wiveliscombe’s diverse architecture, including a street of Georgian homes, ironically influenced a Columbus area developer who named a planned community in New Albany for this old-world settlement.

The history of this featured home in New Albany’s Wiveliscombe is just as rich.  After settling on the design of their dream home, the owners learned of the planning and construction of the community adjacent to their vacant lot.  At the selection lottery, the owners were fortunate to purchase the lot next to Wiveliscombe, giving them two-acres, lined to the rear with a heavy forest of trees.  Such a setting in suburban New Albany is a rare combination.

As the couple met with John Hyer, head of the New Albany Architectural Review, they found a set of plans that were designed for another lot never built.  These plans had enough similarity and could easily be modified to accommodate the owners’ preferences. Architect Brian Jones and builder Gary Turnbull collaborated in the creation of an estate one could actually imagine exists in Wiveliscombe, England.

Upon entering the grand foyer of this home, visitors can immediately see the old-world charm that welcomes them.  A grand piano with candelabras, a large French tapestry and the spiral staircase enriches the warmth of this home.  The formal living room to the right of the foyer and the formal dining room to the left are both furnished with period pieces, antiques and original artwork.  Throughout the home, the French tapestries are a recurring theme, which become focal points in many rooms, blending well with the portraits and other artwork.

The gathering place and heart of this gracious home is undoubtedly the kitchen and family room, located to the rear of the home.  A curved stone wall, adorned with one of the many tapestries, subtly divides the kitchen and casual dining area from the family room.  The warm colors, wall-to-wall stone hearth and slate tile floor are inviting and relaxing.  This area opens to a gorgeous limestone terrace with magic gardens, walkways and pure natural beauty.  Settings like this are typically found outside of planned suburban communities, not within them.

Climbing the stairs around the corner from the butler hall and powder room, the second floor offers two oversized children’s bedrooms, each with a walk-in wardrobe and sharing a split lavatory.  Opposite the children’s rooms is a marvelous guest suite with a Jack and Jill bath, white brick-style ceramic flooring, white walls and a double-vanity.  Adjoining this suite is a fourth room, which, in its current use, serves as a media room for multiple family needs.  This two-room suite would also make for a wonderful mother-in-law apartment, if grandmother did not want to live in her 800-square-foot unit already built above the garage. 

Taking the grand staircase back to the first floor and walking the span of the main hallway will take guests to the most magnificent portion of this manor—the master bedroom.  However, bedroom is such a lacking term for this two-story suite, which can be closed off from the rest of the house.  This suite is beyond spectacular, featuring a lofted sitting room and study overlooking the 20 X 23 bedroom, his and her walk-in closets, and his and her master bathroom.  This bathroom rivals any found in 5-star luxury hotels, with marble tile floors, his and her vanities and linen closets, a soaking tub, and walk-in marble double shower.  With a master bed and bath of such proportions and comfort, one could understand if the owners were to claim permanent residency in this portion of the home alone.

Built in 1999 as the owners dream house, this New Albany mansion has the ambiance and hospitality of a home or manor in the real Wiveliscombe, England.   The owners have done a tremendous job of furnishing and decorating this home as if it were 107 years old, rather than 7.  Design elements like the French tapestries, period furniture and curved stone walls and arches give this house an old-world charm, but the modern conveniences make it a true 21st century family home.