February 5, 2015
Recently I went on a cross-country road trip. Along the way I stopped in Flagstaff AZ at the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park. The park includes two nearly identical homes constructed in 1904 by architect Charles Whittlesey for brothers Michael and Timothy Riordan, prominent lumber barons. The structures encompassed almost 13,000 square feet, and were connected by a large billiard room. The Riordan brothers married the Metz sisters, Elizabeth and Caroline. Caroline and Tim resided in the East Wing of the home which is open to tours; the West Wing, the lower level of which is open to the public, was occupied by Michael and Elizabeth.
The former occupants left much of their belongings in the home when they deeded the property to the State of Arizona. An enormous billiard table complete with crocheted ball pockets sits at the end of the Billiard Room, and by the fireplace, a large pair of wooden baby shoes, said to be Paul Bunyan’s by Tim, the family storyteller. Aside from spinning tall-tales, Tim loved to entertain, and had a football-shaped dining table constructed so that he could view all of his guests with ease. In the living room hangs a viridian, wicker swing that faces the hearth in the winter and the view outside of the windows during the warm summer months. Tiffany style windows and light fixtures can be seen throughout, and central to the structure, a light well allows natural light, and fresh air in. In the kitchen, there is a self-draining icebox with six doors, and in the space between the vestibule and the kitchen, Caroline’s custom-made Steinway piano. The Riordan family’s gorgeous collection of furniture includes many pieces by Gustav Stickley.
The American Arts and Crafts style mansion was constructed from materials that merge seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. Rough, log-slab siding, volcanic rock, and wooden shingles make up the homes’ rustic exterior.
Sarah A. Blank
Sarah Blank Design Studio is a high-end architectural design firm that specializes in high-end kitchens, butler’s pantries, libraries, and master bedrooms, bath suites. The firm works predominantly in Fairfield County and Westchester County. Our award winning firm, with 33 years of experience, often works beyond the kitchens and baths of a client’s home, and designs the architectural interiors for many of the projects that have been commissioned.