Tour the Architecture
This historic Paine estate features a mansion with more than two dozen rooms and many surrounding architectural structures, such as outbuildings, walls and gates. A selection of architectural highlights is featured below.
Designed by architect Bryant Fleming, the Paine mansion is a 1920’s Tudor Revival-style house inspired by English country estates. Fleming varied the house’s interior and exterior architectural features to give it the appearance of being built over three centuries in evolving English styles.
As the “living room” of the house, the Great Hall was designed as the central space for leisure and entertainment. Halls like this descended from sparsely furnished rooms in medieval castles, which over time became more comfortable and elegant. The features of this room are strongly influenced by the Tudor and Elizabethan styles of the 16th century.
The Stair Hall, with its magnificently hand-carved oak staircase, forms the central corridor of the house. Although this space does not represent one specific historical period, the staircase’s acorn and oak leaf motif was popular in the 1500s in England. The staircase was hand-carved in the Michigan workshop of Alois Lang, a Bavarian-born master craftsman.
Mr. Paine envisioned this room as an enclosed porch linking the outside landscape and Wisconsin’s changing seasons with a garden-like interior. The Breakfast Room’s early 20th-century American influences create a setting that is less formal than other first floor rooms. The tinted glass panes in the windows, here and throughout the mansion, were created to look as if they were made hundreds of years ago, with varying bubbles, streaks, and color.
The Georgian period (1714-1837), the “golden age” of English country houses, provided the stylistic influence for the formal Dining Room. The walls are paneled in walnut, and the elaborately carved boxwood and pine swag over the fireplace was purchased from an estate in England. The ceiling features an ornate symmetrical floral design in carved in plaster.
The impressive stone, wood, and plaster architectural features of this room were influenced by England’s Jacobean period (1660-1688). The rose, a focal point in the plaster ceiling decoration, was a symbol of the English Tudor family, and is a decorative motif employed throughout the estate. The wood paneling is walnut. Like much of the mansion’s woodwork, the Paines left it unvarnished to highlight its natural beauty.
This room was to serve as Nathan and Jessie’s bedroom, but it was not completed during their lifetimes. In 1993 a substantial bequest of exceptional 18th and 19th-century English and French furniture from the estate of Arthur Liebman of Lake Forest, Illinois, provided appropriate furnishings for this room. Drawings by the Paines’ decorator Phelps Jewett were used to arrange the room in a character similar to the original plans.
Nathan and Jessie Paine always intended their estate to be open to the public. This large gallery was designed to showcase their art collection as well as changing exhibitions. Its location and entranceway would have allowed the public to visit while the Paines occupied other parts of the house.
This smartly designed and situated building provides both utilitarian and aesthetic functions. The west façade provides a dramatic backdrop for the Rose Garden, and the building conceals the Carriage House courtyard behind, where garden work activities would have been undertaken. The east side of the shed has three sets of double doors opening into the courtyard for easy access to the gardening equipment inside.
The Tudor-style Carriage House was designed as a four-car garage with two apartments for staff above. The first floor was extensively renovated in 2012 to create a multi-purpose room on the first level, and to house administrative offices on the second. A large addition was also built to provide a public entrance while connecting the historic building to the new conservatory.
Built in 2012, the conservatory is the first new structure added to the Paine property since the estate was first constructed in the late 1920’s. The exterior was built with the same materials as the historic Paine architecture–Kasota limestone and artisan stucco. Designed in the style of a garden conservatory with a large skylight and tall windows, the light-filled building functions as a multi-purpose space for events and programs.