Few men of influence have stamped a community more than the way real estate and pharmaceutical titan William Van Duzer Lawrence did Bronxville:
- Houlihan Lawrence, the real estate market leader in New York City’s northern suburbs for some 125 years;
- Lawrence Hospital — home to a new cardiac cath lab, the joint replacement center and the only bloodless medicine and surgery program in Westchester County;
- Lawrence Park — a culturally and architecturally significant community that was added to the National Register of Historic places;
None of these would exist without Lawrence (1842-1927) — the source of the two beautifully landscaped properties WAG is featuring this month.
Perhaps his greatest achievement was Sarah Lawrence College — founded in 1926 as a junior college for women in honor of his wife, the former Sarah Bates. Today it remains a leading liberal arts college, acclaimed for its intimate, creative approach to education for those with questing minds (including the author of this article).
Much of the campus was once part of Lawrence’s estate, including the stately brick, gabled house Westlands, which serves as the administration building. But more than 35 years before the college, Lawrence carved 20-acre Lawrence Park out of his 86-acre Prescott Farm, which in turn had once been part of a larger tract of land belonging successively to the Mohicans, Thomas Pell and 10 Fairfield County families. Lawrence then commissioned architect William A. Bates (no relation to Mrs. Lawrence) to design several houses on spec. Among the first was the house Lawrence built for himself, Grey Arches (1889), which epitomizes Bates’ early shingle style and dramatic use of topography.
Constructed from boulders high on Sunset Avenue, the house, which lists for $3.5 million gets its name from its porte-cochere and verandah, a stone arcade overlooking the village that captures stunning western views and sunsets.
The 5,500-square-foot interior features a broad center foyer, a distinctive stairway, large comfortable rooms, four fireplaces, dozens of light-filled windows, a cozy den, a large eat-in kitchen with a butler’s pantry, seven bedrooms, sitting rooms, four baths and a powder room. The three-room apartment above the two-car garage is a nice bonus.
The interior is matched by the exterior. Renée Byers’ design brings expanded outdoor living space to the hillside setting with stone walls and terraces, meandering downhill paths and delightful gardens. As Kate Douglas Wiggin — author of “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” and a onetime owner — described it, Grey Arches is “a beautiful house.”
In 1901, Lawrence built Tanglewylde Cottage on Tanglewylde Avenue as a wedding gift for daughter Anna. Ten years later, Homes and Gardens magazine called it “one of the loveliest suburban homes in America” — a description that is only enhanced by today’s amenities.
A front porch provides a gracious entrance to the 4,500-square-foot interior featuring four fireplaces, high ceilings, a multitude of windows and a comfortable flow. The principal rooms include a large, comfortable library and a cook’s kitchen with an adjoining family room that opens onto a spacious decked terrace overlooking a stunning pool. A pretty powder room, a mudroom and a back stairway complete the first floor.
Upstairs there is a spacious master bedroom with a serene en-suite bath plus three more bedrooms and two baths. The lower level offers a finished playroom, a wine closet, a full bath and lots of storage. In addition, a multifunctioning garden room/bedroom opens onto the lower terrace and the pool.
The oversized garage surprises with a mechanic’s work station, hydraulic lift and room for six cars, creating a car collector’s dream. A renovated guest apartment with a private balconied entrance overlooking the pool and lushly landscaped surroundings offers an added bonus.
Steps away from the main house is the original carriage house, now a two-car garage with a studio for guests or home office use.
Artfully composed, Tanglewylde Cottage ($4.75 million) offers an idyllic retreat minutes away from the Bronxville schools and Sarah Lawrence and Concordia colleges as well as the Metro-North Railroad station.
Like Grey Arches, it’s only a half-hour from Manhattan — a moment away from history.
For both properties, contact Rita Steinkamp at 914-337-0400, ext. 225, 914-337-5245 or at Rsteinkamp@houlihanlawrence.com.