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.
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.
The eagles are seen in the staircase ironwork.
Also in the foyer, this fireplace mantle, intricately carved with a working clock with angels on either side.
The architect was Bryant Fleming, and he put a cornerstone behind the front door with his name and the date 1929.
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.
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.
Along the upper hallway, trompe l’oeil alcoves with in ‘gilded’ frames are actually wallpaper.
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.
Angels dance on the top of the exquisitely detailed mirror.
The main living parlor was huge, full of light from the windows, furnished with elaborately detailed furniture and lamps.
The fireplace had a gold eagle at the top of the detailed columns.
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.
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.
Just look at the ornate detail in this woodwork and clock. Marvelous craftsmanship.
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.
A table in the long hallway to the dining area had a large eagle base.
The dining room was all done in blues to complement the fireplace. Note the eagles on the mirror over the fireplace.
The ornate valences over the curtains were gilded.
That is actual lapis lazuli stone on the fireplace.
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.
They loved ornate things didn’t they!
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.
This view from the front of the house shows the art museum built later along with other outbuildings and the stunning view.
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.
Looking down from that same patio, the reflecting pool can be reached by the stone stairs.
This patio is near the art museum, down the small stairs to the right side as you face the front of the mansion.
One of the sculptures at the beginning of the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail, we had to skip this as we were out of time.
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?