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The Hartshorne Mansion in Little Silver combines stately Tudor design with contemporary amenities

By JENNIFER VIKSE Photos by Amessé Photography

Stepping into the Hartshorne Mansion is like taking a step back in time. Designed in 1929 by famed architect Roger Bullard, the Brick Tudor sits regally on four and a half green acres along the Shrewsbury River.

Today, the 11,000-square-foot mansion mixes classic charm with modern amenities. Original woodwork, original iron hardware, and leaded stained glass windows mesh deftly with updated bathrooms, a new, sparkling gourmet kitchen, a new master bath, and an expanded conservatory (built in 1988).

Bought by its current owner in 1987, the rejuvenation of the Hartshorne Mansion was from the first a labor of love. Once updated, the owners enjoyed it for many years, and two years ago were approached by the Visiting Nurses Association to feature it as a Show House (a major fundraiser for the organization), which would allow the home to be redecorated room by room by different designers and shown to over 10,000 people who would pay to see the new looks. With those series of events in 2013 (including house tours and a gala) came a renewed interest in the historic property.

The mansion’s original owner was Champion Ice Dancer Harold Hartshorne—the property a gift for him and his wife from her father. In addition to building the house, he created a pond on the property for practice since he was unable to skate on the frozen river. (Tragically, Hartshorne and his wife were killed in a plane crash in 1961 on their way to judge an ice dancing championship in Europe.)

Among the Little Silver home’s many attributes are no fewer than 217 leaded glass windows, some bearing coats of arms and other adornments, a bell tower dated 1888, nine-foot ceilings, an elaborate water distribution system on the roofline (no longer in use, but once used to cool the house in summer and heat it and melt ice on the roof in winter), bricks imported from England, and “HH” inscribed on a drain pipe (for owner Harold Hartshorne).

“The house has all of these emblems… all of this detail, and you’re always noticing something new. There are so many of these handcrafted things,” noted realtor Sarah Pomphrey, who has been around the house for more than 25 years and is representing the current owner in a sale.

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The home’s foyer is large, and has sight lines directly into the dining room and adjacent living spaces. Hand crafted wood paneling ascends with the stairs, which are illuminated by original windows. In the foyer, an antique sleigh greets guests, and what looks like a phone-booth-meets-wooden confessional sits adjacent.

“They think it’s from a monastery in Europe,” said Pomphrey, adding that the wooden “booth” is a real conversation piece among guests.

The living room has exquisite woodworking throughout, from fireplace mantle to wall paneling to cathedral ceilings—with the main beam brought from Germany’s Black Forest. Throughout the house, original woodwork graces everything from the staircase near the foyer (which also boasts wooden beams) to a profusion of hardwood floors.

The dining room has lightly stained wood panels, a limestone fireplace, and an ornate ceiling with a floral beveled pattern, lending the space a cheerful aspect.

The newly redesigned kitchen is an improved version of the original, with increased accessibility and flow. By removing a wall between the office and the room, light passes and there’s now space for a cozy eatin banquette. The hues selected for the walls illuminate countertops and white cabinetry. Two islands give way to a breakfast nook, then stove and hood. Lanterns hang from the ceiling and recessed lighting completes the space. The entire room is illuminated by the windows at the far side of the room and another original door, now painted white, opens into the dining room.

The conservatory, added by the owners in 1988, is done in expansive areas of glass, with breathtaking vistas of the grounds and river. Softly accented with sheer curtains and delicately decorated with a simple breakfast table, the space feels as though one is enjoying morning coffee al fresco. Also on the main level is a recently renovated sun room with bamboo shades and grass cloth ceiling—the result a light, beachy feel.

“It opens out onto the terrace and pool,” noted Pomphrey. “And is used as a bar.”

The library is decked in wood paneling and plush furniture. A fireplace is at the center of the room, handsome windows balanced on either side.

The home—which boasts eight bedrooms (all of which have a view of the water), 12 bathrooms (ten full, two half) and a remarkable 11 fireplaces—mixes modern touches with tradition.

The master suite, on the home’s second level, is bright and airy with its dark wooden beams accented on the ceilings and walls. An expansive fireplace is covered by a fabricated facade (offering another textural element), while lush drapery and a window seat supply additional charm. Adjoining the suite is a large bath, with soaking tub, glass shower, his and- hers sinks, and marble accents. Original windows bring together old and new.

Adjoining the master bath is a large closet. Originally the home’s organ room, which sat above the great room on the level beneath—it is now storage fit for royalty. A luxurious additional touch is the sauna, and to complete the lavish master suite, a balcony overlooks both pool and river.

The estate has an attached three-car garage, with what was once a servants’ quarters above. (That space has since been transformed into a media room and billiard room—the media space finished in contemporary metallic.)

The grounds consist of a circular drive, pond, tennis court, pool, poolhouse, dock, an additional detached one-car garage and storage space, and acreage on the river.

The house is a Monmouth County Historic site, and is available from Coldwell Banker for $4,495,000.

Coldwell Banker Sarah Pomphrey, Sales Associate / 17 W River Road, Rumson / 732.841.8913