9. The Grand Hall is Based on the Entryway of a Vanderbilt Mansion

  • Grand Hall at Lynnewood Hall
  • Lynnewood Hall

The Grand Hall at Lynnewood makes a statement. With soaring ceilings over 40 feet high, intricate carvings, and a wide central staircase, it was an entrance befitting the grandeur of the exterior. While the classical exterior design of the home was inspired by Prior Park in Bath, England, this room was inspired by the entryway at The Breakers, the Newport Estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Comparing photos of the two entryways, you can see the similarities. They are both ringed with arched entryways topped by marble accents. There is a central staircase emerging from one of these arched portals in both homes. The Corinthian pilasters are nearly identical and details on the coffered ceiling and moldings are strikingly similar.

What sets these two spaces apart is the floor. Lynnewood Hall has a checkered black and white floor while the floor at The Breakers is all white, but Lynnewood’s floor was also originally all white as well. When Joseph Widener made renovations to the home around 1915, he added the checkered pattern. It was a popular element in French chateaus. Joseph sprinkled many elements of French influence throughout the mansion.