Cheekwood Mansion

Our visit to the Cheekwood Estate included a tour of the mansion, at least the parts open for visitors.  The 55-room mansion construction began in 1929, and took until 1932 before the family could move in.  The architecture is simply wonderful if you like details like I do.  Sadly, only 9 rooms are restored from the huge mansion, and available for view.  For some reason, I didn’t get a view of the whole front of the house, I think because we came through the gardens to get to it and I missed the overall view.  But you can see a picture of the three story mansion and read the entire history of the construction HERE.  I did get a picture of the stonework and lovely wrought iron on the left side.  Note the ornate cement work too on the decorative urn along with the curved windows and details.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

According to our guide, the family had an affinity for eagles and angels, and these can be found in a lot of the architecture and furnishings.  In many rooms, large posters of reprints of an article from a decorating magazine published in 1932 showing how it looked at that time.  The restoration is attempting to find original pieces to restore to the space, or something of the time frame that has a similar look.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The eagles are seen in the staircase ironwork.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Also in the foyer, this fireplace mantle, intricately carved with a working clock with angels on either side.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The architect was Bryant Fleming, and he put a cornerstone behind the front door with his name and the date 1929.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Much of the upper floors is devoted to offices instead of restoration.  But the tour was good, with lots of little details, and I should have taken notes, LOL!! This is the upper hallway leading to the library, with the loggia to the right.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The story on this marble urn is the family saw one in Rome at the Vatican, and had it made to match the design they saw.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Along the upper hallway, trompe l’oeil alcoves with in ‘gilded’ frames are actually wallpaper.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Here is the large, ornate mirror of fun family legend.  Apparently Mabel Cheek was a strong willed woman with a mind of her own far ahead of her time.  She purchased the mirror, and it didn’t fit in their home in the town.  So it was said that her husband joked that she needed to sell the mirror or build a bigger house, and she took him up on the bigger house.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Angels dance on the top of the exquisitely detailed mirror.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The main living parlor was huge, full of light from the windows, furnished with elaborately detailed furniture and lamps.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The fireplace had a gold eagle at the top of the detailed columns.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This portrait is one of the family, but I cannot remember which Cheek family members these are.  I really should have taken notes, but I was enjoying the day too much.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Lovely wood work in the library.  The guide noted that there is no ladder to get to the upper shelves, and we speculated that this room too was built more for making an impression on guests than to actually get to the upper shelves.  But, it is known that the Cheeks were readers, and one of the gardens is has a literary theme.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Just look at the ornate detail in this woodwork and clock.  Marvelous craftsmanship.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Back to the loggia, this room is available for events, connected to the outdoor patio.  There was a set up going on for an event so we couldn’t go out the doors.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

A table in the long hallway to the dining area had a large eagle base.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The dining room was all done in blues to complement the fireplace.  Note the eagles on the mirror over the fireplace.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The ornate valences over the curtains were gilded.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

That is actual lapis lazuli stone on the fireplace.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Around the next corner in the butler’s pantry, was a display of glassware.  Sadly, the kitchen has long been converted to other use and the original construction is gone.  I think the kitchens in old homes are one of the most interesting rooms, but seldom are they open to view even if they are still in existence.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

They loved ornate things didn’t they!

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

A large part of the Cheek fortune came from the sale of the Maxwell House coffee brand to what was then Postum Foods for $45 million dollars in 1929 before the stock market crash.  No wonder the depression didn’t touch them.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This view from the front of the house shows the art museum built later along with other outbuildings and the stunning view.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This view from the left side of the house is beautiful.  There is a covered stone patio there.  The trees had not yet begun their leaf turning.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Looking down from that same patio, the reflecting pool can be reached by the stone stairs.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This patio is near the art museum, down the small stairs to the right side as you face the front of the mansion.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

One of the sculptures at the beginning of the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail, we had to skip this as we were out of time.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The Cheekwood Estate is just outside of Nashville, Tenneessee.  I highly recommend the visit if you are in the area.

I think our home is ready for the long holiday weekend.  We are having our usual Thanksgiving day plan, with another dinner on Saturday night.  The turkey is defrosting, and will be put in the brine on Wednesday for baking on Thursday and leftovers all weekend.  We plan to have a spiral sliced ham for Saturday with my cheddar onion potatoes.  I think I need to share that recipe!  Oh, I have a wonderful breakfast recipe to share soon too.  Are you ready for the holidays to start?


Take Me Away!

16 thoughts on “Cheekwood Mansion

  1. I love going through old mansions like this they are so beautiful and you see how the other half lived and know not in your wildest dreams would you be living in a place like that – and I always remind myself how much it would cost to heat or cool a place like that – probably a yearly income for more for us “plain every day people”

  2. Debbie Miller Meyer

    Beautiful estate for sure. I especially love the library! I would love to just sit in there a read a good book. I love visiting mansions like this. One of the prettiest places that I visited was the Eisenhower Farm at Gettysburg PA this past summer. I took lots of pictures of the inside and outside grounds. Just gorgeous! Thanks again for the tour!

  3. Hi Carole,
    WOW – how beautiful this estate is. Just stunning. I really enjoy looking through places like this – you never know what kind of inspiration you will see/find in these homes. It certainly looks like you had a very good time. ~smile~ Roseanne

  4. Phyllis Smith

    Good morning Carole,

    Lovely home but I wouldn’t want the heating bill of the up keep of such a beautiful home. People had these homes way before income taxes, what a luxury! When I was a bell ringer the group went to Jeckle Island for a hand bell convention and we visited some of the mansions thee. I was more interested in the hand bell concerts than the homes at the time. What an experience to hear so many hand bells ringing. There use to be a handbell group from N. C. I seen on T.V. several years ago and they were fabulous. Wish I could find them again, think they were a church group and it was a very large group, must have had

    At least 25 to 30 members in it, do you know of any such group, if I remember they were from the Raleigh area, I may be wrong on that though.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and smile and tell all kinds of stories ya’ll remember and share your precious time together.


  5. 1929, that would be a massive amount then.The furniture, so beautiful, the ornate gilding and even the curtains, what a home. My pick was the oval table in the dining room, with blues padded seats on the chairs.

  6. Wow, what a gorgeous place to visit! I can’t imagine actually LIVING in such a large home, but it would be an awesome place to have a party, for sure! Am I ready for the holidays…..NO!! I’m pretty excited to put up the tree, though….I love the sparkly lights in my cozy home! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yes, please share the recipe for your cheddar onion potatoes!

  7. Kristi

    Beautiful! What an exquisite home! One of my favorite estate homes is the Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon. It was built in 1909, so a little bit older. Homes are such an interesting window into the past, I think because they are so personal. Every Christmas they decorate each room with a different Christmas theme done by local businesses. That’s a wonderful time to visit!

  8. Gwynette in NW Arkansas

    It’s a shame more old mansions weren’t preserved. They are a window to the past. Thank you for another wonderful tour. We love visiting the Thomas Edison/Henry Ford estate in Ft. Myers, FL. It is renowned for the exotic plants from around the world. We are planning to visit next March to see a different group of blooms. We usually visit our friends in November. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and enjoy your friends and family.

  9. dezertsuz

    I can’t even begin to imagine living in a house of 55 rooms. The library, though, THAT I can imagine spending a lot of time inside! I never even heard of this place, and here it is 4 hours down the road from me. I will have to look it up. I have a friend who would absolutely love seeing this. Thanks.

  10. rawsonjl

    I just love touring old houses and seeing how the other half lived back then. We often take trips into Newport Rhode Island to visit the “summer cottages” of the Vanderbilts and their contemporaries.

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