Elm Court's Library and Architectural Detailing

Project: Modular Mountain Retreat, Episode 11, Part 4



Bob makes his first visit to Elm Court, a historic home in Lenox, MA, that was abandoned for 50 years before being reclaimed and restored.

Sonya and Bob Berle, whose ancestors originally built the massive home in 1886, bought Elm Court to save it from continuing decay. Bob joins Bob Berle outside to take a tour of the exterior.

Elm Court is the largest Shingle Style home in the country. Berle points out what has been done so far, as well as what is still under construction.

Inside, Bob meets Sonya Berle for a tour of the magnificent foyer, learning how the house looked when the couple originally began the project. Next, the pair head to the basement to learn more about what had to be done to the infrastructure of the home before work could even begin upstairs.

The mansion's structured wiring and mechanical systems have a definite 21st-century feel. Back upstairs, Vila and Berle rejoin Sonya for a look at the library and the adjoining conservatory.
Part 1: Shingle Style Architecture at Elm Court
Part 2: Elm Court Foyer and Fireplace
Part 3: Adapting New Technology to Historic Properties
Part 4: Elm Court's Library and Architectural Detailing
Bob meets with Sonya and Bob Berle in the library of Elm Court to discuss the interior design and preservation of this magnificent example of turn-of-the-century design and opulence.

Many of the home's themes draw from other Vanderbilt residences. For example, the colors of the painted wood walls in the library are from a blue in an antique oriental rug. The rug originated in the parlor of the Vanderbilt mansion on New York City's Fifth Avenue (which is now the Bergdorf Goodman department store).

Part of the charm of Elm Court is in its rustic appeal, including the real grizzly bear rug in front of the fireplace and the terrific vista from the conservatory overlooking the lake called Stockbridge Bowl.
Beautifully sited on wooded acreage with breathtaking views of some of the most beautiful countryside in New England, this Arts and Crafts style bungalow certainly doesn't look factory-built. You'd never know it was a modular home unless Bob took you to the Pennsylvania factory where it was built, almost from start to finish.

The house goes down the assembly line from framing, through wiring and plumbing, all the way to the installation of flooring and priming for paint.

The house is trucked to its pre-fabricated foundations on the lot, and start all the finishing touches that will prove that a modular house doesn't have to be a cookie-cutter affair.

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