Officially known as Santarella, the peculiar estate is tucked away in the lush hillsides of Tyringham, Massachusetts, where today it tempts folks to the mountains for weddings, honeymoons, vacations and country retreats. Onsite is a four-bedroom colonial home, a converted barn, a pair of converted silos and a cottage, offering seven bedrooms in all.
But it didn't always play host to city slickers in search of a getaway. Built in the mid 1700s, Santarella welcomed famed English sculptor Sir Henry Hudson Kitson through its doors in the early 1900s, and he spent the last 25 years of his life making it his own.
That meant converting the barn into a studio where he could continue his sculpting, which has now been repurposed as the storybook-like banquet hall that invites the Gingerbread House tag. He also integrated stain glass windows throughout, applied carefully patterned shingles to the exterior, and also added a pair of old grain silos outside for extra workspace.
But a major overhaul of the barn roof would be Kitson's biggest acheivement. He had initially imagined a rolling thatched roof like those found in Britain at the time, and even teamed up with local farmers to raise crops of rye for material, but he wound up using asphalt shingles instead.
To create the look he was after, each piece of asphalt was cut by hand into a wavy-shaped shingle and then laid down to form multi-colored layers that mimic the reddish shades of fall. The whole roof weighs 80 tons and took three workers a total of 12 years to put together.
While all this was happening, Kitson's full-time gardener was busy doing some sculpting of his own. Surrounding Santarella was an extravagant garden filled with exotic plants, a stream and a goldfish-filled lily pond. Today the four-acre (1.6-ha) landscaped gardens remain well maintained, with bridges, brooks and blossoms.
If you're looking to step back in time and have a cool US$2.2 million to put towards the cause, then more information is available via the source link below. For the rest of us, this enchanting gallery will have to do.
Source: Sotheby's International Realty
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