15410 Windmill Pointe – childhood home of stage actress Julie Harris, and venue of the Junior League of Detroit 13th Designers’ Show house in 2000.
The sprawling estate on Windmill Pointe was commissioned by William P. Harris (an investment banker and father of Julie) in 1923. Harris hired prominent New York Architect Alfred Hopkins to design a grand home for his family on the shores of Lake St. Clair – Hopkins’ specialized in creating distinctive European-style estates for wealthy Americans – his clients included Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Hopkins championed the use of stucco in domestic architecture, and is noted for the architectural detail he included in the design of his homes, his project on Windmill Pointe did not disappoint –
The home, which features cut sandstone juxtaposed with rough stucco, provides a wonderful play of textures and colors. Rainspouts are capped off with elegant clipper ship carvings, and hand carved gargoyles watch over the archways. The initials of William P. Harris appear on a second corner stone of the house, while Alfred Hopkins left his own initials and professional signature on a high corner stone.
In 1929 Harris hired Detroit architect Hugh Tallman Keyes to double the size of the house and accommodate Harris’ growing family. The east wing was expanded upward and outward, additional bedrooms were added, along with a second floor nursery, basement game room, taproom and a sunken rose garden. Keyes ensured the original limestone details, windows and doors were reused in the new work, and the focal points of the living room and garden courtyard maintained their prominence within the property.
The Harris family lived at Windmill Pointe until 1951, and the property has since been home to many families who have shared the joy of living on this grand estate.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2014 Katie Doelle