Once the summer residence of noted Cleveland architect, Benjamin Hubbell, Playmore sits atop Pierce’s Knob in Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio. A half mile serpentine drive flanked by wooded hillsides and sandstone outcroppings on both sides winds its way up to Play- more. Built from the sandstone it sits on and surrounded by 13 luxurious and extrava- gantly landscaped acres, Playmore has been restored and enhanced to a 13,000 sq. ft. residence reminiscent of a European villa.
Primarily a commercial architect, Hubbell is famous for designing the Cleveland Museum of Art, Garfield’s tomb in Lakeview Cemetery, and the West Side Market. He had a close relationship with Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Tiffany was responsible for interior design in Garfield’s Tomb and in the Citizens Federal Bank on Euclid Avenue. Hubbell was on the Board of Directors of Citizens, and when the bank closed, he used many of the design elements from the bank’s interior (cararra marble, Tiffany glass and brass work) inside Playmore. He also used the same kind of sandstone corner embellishments on every Playmore corner as those used in the West Side Market. These stone embellishments depict flowers, birds and small animals.
Hubbell completed Playmore in 1929, and all mechanical dated from that time when, in 1998 the present owner purchased the home. While updating the electrical, plumbing and hooking up to city water, original materials and fixtures were used whenever possible. The Tiffany brass, glass mosaics and cararra marble were incorporated into the interior renovation of the wine cellar. Chestnut oak doors with their copper and brass hardware (made from timber on the property), limestone flooring and wrought iron and brass lighting fixtures link the past with the present. The master bath addition was built from sandstone quarried on site, as were the new garden walls.
Respecting the past while celebrating the present, Playmore is quiet elegance and luxury. Its 30 rooms include a guesthouse. There are seven bedrooms, five full and three half baths, two kitchens, library, office, tv room and five fireplaces. Each room and its furnishings reflect attention and craftsmanship and attention to detail. Italian marble, onyx, antique tile, walnut, cherry and oak woods, antique fixtures, a stained glass ceiling in the dining room, and antique oak paneling in the living room and tv room are examples of using the perfect material for the perfect look. Hand painted scenes inspired by the
Renaissance painter, Raphael, adorn the 18 foot vaulted ceiling in the living room and Italian marble floor (patterned after one found in a Tuscan villa) adds to its European flair. The floor pattern extends into the tv room which has Italian leather ceiling tiles.
The gourmet kitchen has marble floors and counter tops, three sinks, top-of-the-line appliances, custom copper hood, large pantry and dumb waiter. All back splashes are marble inset with antique decorative tile. Adding to the ambiance are two hand painted murals.
All floors and counter tops are marble, and all floors have radiant heating. Multiple rooms in the basement were reconfigured. Open the bank door from Citizens Federal and walk down the hallway to the wine cellar and tasting room. The wine cellar and hallway have copper ceilings and slate and cararra marble and Tifanny glass mosaic floors; the tasting room has a cork ceiling and marble floor. At the end of this hallway is the «cave». It shows the slate outcroppings from which the house was built.
There is also a laundry room (with original ceramic sink), pantry and bath with shower in this area; these rooms have cararra marble floors from the original library and dining room. The original west patio (visible from the living room) was rebuilt and extended to wrap around the front entrance with new sandstone piers and laid with Pennsylvania blue- stone. Overhead, Chinese wisteria climbs the arbor built from chestnut beams found stored in the attic and logged from trees on the property.
The attached guest house has its own private entrance and three car garage. There are two bedrooms and baths, kitchen, laundry room, bar and game room. The great room has a 20 foot ceiling and beams of Douglas fir. It is enhanced by two moss riverstone walls and fireplace of red English sandstone. This is the remains of the red sandstone imported to Canada fro the Hockey Hall of Fame. It weights an impressive ton. The top of the turret offers a panoramic view of the entire back yard. Directly out the guest house is a modern, three level glass tile swimming pool (with a two foot, four foot volley ball area and six foot swimming area). The patio has its own cooking area and is paved with red and blackstone set in a dogbone pattern. His and her bathroom/changing rooms have a separate entrance off the patio. There is also a locker room.
To provide a harmonious outdoor setting, landscape architect Roger Dorer utilized concepts of English and Italian landscape design, along with the best of American style. The En glish style of outdoor «rooms» let you enjoy specific planting areas. There is a boxwood knot garden encircled with a sandstone wall from which roses and vines cascade. The horseshoe area is devoted to specimen trees and shrubs and special varieties of daylilies. An alee of European hornbeam trees lend an Italian atmosphere to these beds and provided privacy for the swimming pool patio. In June the Rhododendon «Ring of Fire,» with its 180 dark red Nova Zembla rhododendrons and 210 Wichita Junipers, forms a semicircle around grassed area. Perfect for large outdoor parties, it is capable of tenting 250 to 300 people. There is also a formal patio accessible from the dining room which is paved with Pennsylvania bluestone. Access to the fish and lily pond is from this patio,
and it is paved with the same stone. Four beds of flowering trees and shrubs surround the pond.
Enhancing every view are the thousands of rhododendrons and azaleas, other flowering shrubs, maple, oak and cherry trees. There is continuous bloom to delight the eye from spring to winter.