Lloyd R. Smith House Building Description Lloyd R. Smith House, Milwaukee Wisconsin
In plan the Smith house follows ancient Mediterranean custom, with living quarters on three sides of an arcaded central courtyard that is--on the fourth side--protected from the street by a high wall. In style it resembles Italian villas of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In design and spirit, it embodies both simplicity and luxury, ease and formality.
The house measures 108 feet 10 inches north-south by 128 feet east-west; north, east, and south wings consist of two stories plus basement; there is an attic above the east wing; the arcaded west wall is one story in height.
An intricate wrought-iron gate set in the arched doorway in the west wall opens onto the courtyard. The main entrance to the house proper is a rectangular four-panel walnut door opening off the southeast corner of the cortile and leading into the foyer-stairhall in the east wing. At the northeast corner is a second four-panel door opening into this wing; a third panelled rectangular door (in this case a six-panel unit) joins the courtyard and north wing. French doors connect both east and south wings with the courtyard and the second story, east wing, with the balcony overlooking this space. In the east elevation, east wing, are French doors giving access to the first-floor terrace and second-story porches, while French doors on the second floor, north, south, and west elevations, open onto iron balconies. In addition, there are two sets of French doors in the south wall of the former library (south end, east wing). In the north elevation are two basement entrances--both panelled rectangular wooden doors, one of them located in a recessed vestibule--and a service entrance on grade consisting of a panelled rectangular wooden door, glazed above the lock rail, and having rectangular sidelights and an elliptical transom. On the south side, at basement level, is the broad, arched opening leading to the garage and, within the garage vestibule, a panelled wooden door opening into the basement.
The Smith house is arranged about a central courtyard. The north, south, and east wings are two stories high, while the west arcade is one story. The enclosed courtyard is surrounded with low walls of brick and stone, forming pedestals for the columns of the arcade.
The laundry, heating equipment, storage area and cellar are located in the basement, which extends beneath the north, east, and part of the south wings. The garage is located under the terrace on the east side of the house.
The North wing, which is presently housing the caretaker, this wing originally contained the servants' area, the kitchen, and pantrys. On the first floor, from west to east, are the cook's rooms, the storage pantry, kitchen, and the butler's pantry. The caretaker's suite occupies the western portion of the second floor.
In the east wing the former living room (Great Hall) is located in the center of the first floor of this wing, which is oriented along a north-south axis. To the north is the dining room with a service hall that has access to the kitchen. Immediately to the south of the Great Hall is the foyer-stair hall and--separated from the stair by a north-south wall--the flower room, which is a small room facing the terrace and connecting the Great Hall to the library. The library is located in the building's southeast corner. The dining room, living room, flower room, and library all open onto the paved terrace to the east, which has vaulted, colonnaded porches at the north and south corners. On the second floor of the east wing are three bedrooms; the center of these is separated from the other two by small rooms on its north and south sides. The north and south bedrooms have sun porches and balconies opening to the east and all second floor rooms in this wing are located off of the corridor on the courtyard side of the building.
The first floor of the south wing, running from east to west contains a powder room, a bathroom, a bedroom, another bath, and, terminating the hallway, another bedroom. The second floor, from east to west, contains three bedrooms. These rooms, as well as those in the east wing, are now used for exhibition space and administrative offices.
A circular staircase of gray stone, with wrought-iron stair rail, is located in the foyer near the south end of the east wing and joins all three levels of the house.
The attic is reached, at this end, by a wooden stairway. Another wooden stairway, in the north wing, joins the three levels of the house. Short flights of four stone steps with iron handrails join the north and south vestibules of the second floor, east wing, and the corridor of this wing. A three riser stairway in the north vestibule, second floor, of the east wing leads to French doors which open onto the balcony above the courtyard.
Stone fireplaces are at the north and south ends of the living room; fireplaces are also located in the library and the dining room; the middle room, first floor, south wing; the bedroom at north end, and the guest room on second floor, east wing.