Sterling Smith Modernist Property Open House
A Modernist gem of a family home is about to hit the real estate market. Join us for a preview open house to experience its well-documented legacy, current condition and probable fate. This is an exclusive opportunity for Columbus Landmarks members, and you will meet fellow member Tom Smith, who grew up in this special environment. Advance registration is required; we will email details and parking instructions.
Sterling Smith, Tom’s father, was a prominent Columbus artist in the mid-to-late 1900s. The property is associated with Sterling and his work. He painted in the detached art studio and lovingly documented family life through photography. Sterling and his wife, Marjorie, were good friends with Robert and Mary Gunning, who lived 3½ miles away, farther east, off of E. Broad Street. Completed in 1940 and known as Glenbrow, the Gunnings commissioned a Modernist-Organic Architecture style house for their wooded ravine property. The design was completed by Ted van Fossen, Laurence Cuneo, and Tony Smith.
Family history has it that Sterling and Marjorie commissioned Tony Smith, a former Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice and site supervisor, for the design of their 1949 house. Reportedly, Tony Smith completed a design for Sterling and Marjorie, which initially placed the house on stilts. However, Mrs. Smith, pregnant with her first child, was adamantly opposed to the raised house. Due to the Smiths refusal of the elevated concept, there was a parting of ways, and the house was constructed based uponhis design, minus the stilts. Warren L. Smith is listed as the architect on the plans and worked at the Columbus firm Benham, Richards & Armstrong, 1936-1950.
The Smith House served as a summertime gathering place for some of Columbus’ well-known mid-20th century artists. After studying abroad following WWII service, artist Sidney Chafetz relocated to Columbus in 1948 to teach at OSU. He was an internationally known printmaker and established OSU’s printmaking program. He became a good friend of the Smiths, enjoying picnics at the country house. Ted van Fossen was also a regular guest.
The Sterling Smith House maintains its historic integrity and looks remarkably like it did in 1949. Examples of Sterling Smith’s work from his private collection will be on display, as will family photographs, architectural drawings, and memorabilia. The property is an exclusive listing with Jason Hottle, Columbus Landmarks Trustee, who is founder/broker of Modern Columbus Realty.