Home LifestyleGlobal Design Mega Mansion: This Gigantic Historical Home is So Big, It Spans Two Towns

Mega Mansion: This Gigantic Historical Home is So Big, It Spans Two Towns

by creativehomex

The Gilded Age left its mark on the Berkshires in western Massachusetts with grand estates called “summer cottages” by the wealthy. Most have been lost, but one of the largest, Vanderbilt’s Elm Court, has endured. Recently sold for $8 million to investor Linda Law, the 55,000 square-foot, 106-room mansion spanning Stockbridge and Lenox is being restored. The home is now being restored and may be transformed into a luxury resort development. Resort possibilities include 112 guestrooms, a 15,000-square-foot spa and a 60-seat restaurant.

Built in 1886 for Cornelius Vanderbilt’s granddaughter Emily, Elm Court was designed by Peabody & Stearns with grounds landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted, known for New York’s Central Park. The shingle-style home is the largest in America and resembles a Colonial estate. Its namesake elm at the entrance fell to disease. In 1919, world leaders gathered at Elm Court for talks leading to the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. To afford upkeep, the Vanderbilts converted it into an inn in the 1940s. It held events and overnight guests before closing in the 1960s. Descendants renovated Elm Court in the 1990s and briefly operated it as a wedding venue in the 2000s before it closed again.

Now renovated with 13 bedrooms restored, Elm Court retains original details like carved plaster ceilings and herringbone floors. A new kitchen suits grand-scale entertaining. The grounds hold staff housing, greenhouses, barns and stables. The original details such as the intricately carved-plaster ceiling in the dining room, the herringbone-wood floors and the fireplaces have been preserved and a new chef’s-island kitchen installed. There is a large mahogany butler’s pantry with a charming window seat and room for casual dining.

All rooms are spacious enough for grand-scale entertaining. The grounds contain more buildings including the larger butler’s house, gardener’s cottage, and multiple long greenhouses with one large enough to grow taller fruit trees. There is a caretaker’s house, carriage house and stable and two barns.

Photo Credit: New Interior Photos Tricia McCormack; Other Photos from Elm Court Archives

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