2233 Devonshire Drive (2001)


This Mediterranean-style stucco villa, with its flat roof, dentils, wrought iron door and decorative tablets under the eaves, was designed by Howell and Thomas1 for Amos Noyes Barron, a manager for the National Carbon Company, and his wife, Jane Carson Barron. She was a patron of the arts; a master silversmith, who twice took first place in the silver division of the Cleveland Art Museum's May Show; and an entrepreneur who opened her own studio in 1905, where she employed only women. One of her pieces was recently acquired by the museum for its permanent collection. The 1920 city directory shows eight people living in the new home, including two grandparents and four servants.


The house was literally built around an organ, whose 747 pipes sit in the basement and, after forty years of silence, now resonate throughout the house via brass grillwork in the floor of the central hall. Seventeen inches of tile and concrete constitute the first floor of the house and serve to protect the foundation from the organ's vibrations. The console sits in a corner of the spacious living room. Believed to be the oldest Skinner residential organ still in use, the instrument is a smaller companion to the recently restored Skinner organ (6025 pipes) at Severance Hall. Both organs were restored by the same company at the same time.


The spacious living room is an ideal venue for musical gatherings. It is augmented by the dining room across the hall, which has been transformed into an 18th-century music room, complete with harpsichord and fortepiano. A handsome solarium with triple-vaulted plaster ceiling opens off the living room and provides a splendid view of the gardens and swimming pool, the latter a 1986 addition. The game room on the first floor, next to the Japanese garden, was originally Jane Carson Barron's studio. The 3-story elevator was installed in the 1930s.


Much of the decorating was done by the immediately previous owner, who remodeled the kitchen, using dark granite counter tops. The present owners converted the adjoining laundry room into a separate baking kitchen, where one of them frequently bakes bread with his grandchildren. Laundry equipment has been relegated to the basement, which is dominated by the massive organ pipes and where a spectacular wine cellar has been created from a coal bin.


Every approach to the gardens surrounding this home is thoughtfully composed. For this family, a yard with opportunities to garden was as important as the home. In two years, this garden, designed by Ann Rosmarin, has been transformed to an extraordinary garden demonstrating a strong aesthetic and an appreciation for unique plants.


The driveway, walks, and paths guide the visitor from one area to the next, with an occasional surprise around a bend in the path. Along the front sidewalk, sandstone boulders imbedded in the slope form naturalistic outcroppings. Repetition of plant groupings provides continuity. In the foreground, grassy textures repeat: blue-green tufts of Dianthus, flat blade-like leaves of Iris, and then grassy Carex. Mugo pines, miniature boxwood and Birch provide winter interest. Red spikes of cardinal flower, blue Salvia, and white Veronicastrum, punctuate the garden in summer. Near the road, an impressive specimen of Daphne Carol Mackie' boasts elegant green leaves edged in cream. The May blooms are pale pink and jasmine scented. Along the cobblestone drive to the courtyard, green spikes of Lily grass play in the shade with Hosta, Astilbe, Peony, and Hydrangea.


The elegant simplicity of the courtyard is enhanced with elegant plantings of antique roses on arched, sage green trellises, and apple trees espaliered in the French style. Turn to face the side of the house. Geraniums, petunia, potato vine, coleus and begonia cascade from hayracks at every window. The passage under the pergola invites the visitor to the back yard. This beautiful space holds a vegetable garden and Victorian greenhouse, serpentine stone wall with perennial garden, and pools for lilies, koi, and people. A narrow walk off the back terrace and awning, leads to the driveway. Don't miss the variegated hemlock or the blackberry lilies.



1 Architects Carl Howell and William Thomas designed many other distinguished Cleveland Heights homes in the Deming allotment on the site of the Euclid Golf Club, including that of B. R. Deming himself at the intersection of Fairmount and Cedar.