This Country Manor on Hunts Point, required an exceptional team of professionals to execute, and none more important than its general contractor Claremont Construction led by the project manager and general partner, Adam GreiszThe grounds of this Country Manor, created by landscape architect Richard Hartlage, recall the green serenity of an English country estate where a winding drive and footpaths wind under magnificent specimen trees and end at casual gardens. Massive trunks, three-lobed pointed leaves, and cherry-sized seed clusters distinguish trees that frame the west lawns. A beautiful stone wall surrounds the separate owners and guest's motor courts and unites the manor house with detached guest quarters above additional garages.



Planning and design


Kirby and Diane McDonald


Hunts Point, WA

A Country Manor

A Neoclassical Country Manor

Black Tie Optional


By D. Whittaker



The front door frames the view of the two-story entry hall. The library is on the left axis, flanked by the staircase. The Grand Parlor juxtaposes the axes, and the dark blue waters of Lake Washington lay dead ahead and beyond. This unique home will undoubtedly stand the test of time because of the quality of materials employed, the mastery of its construction, and the neoclassical design will be proof enough for that.

The term stately home is subject to debate and avoided by historians and other academics. As a description of a country house, the term was first used in a poem by Felicia Hemans, The Homes of England, originally published in Blackwood's Magazine in 1827. In the 20th century, the term was later popularized in a song by Noël Coward, and in modern usage, it often implies a country house that is open to visitors at least some of the time.

In England, "country house" and "stately home" are sometimes used vaguely and interchangeably. However, many country houses such as Ascott in Buckinghamshire were deliberately designed not to be stately, and to harmonize with the landscape, while some of the great houses such as Kedleston Hall and Holkham Hall were built as "power houses" to dominate the landscape and were intended to be "stately" and impressive. In his book Historic Houses: Conversations in Stately Homes, the author and journalist Robert Harling documents nineteen "stately homes"; these range in size from the vast Blenheim palace to the minuscule Ebberston Hall, and in architecture from the Jacobean Renaissance of Hatfield House to the eccentricities of Sezincote. The book's collection of stately homes also includes George IV's Brighton town palace, the Royal Pavilion.

Villa Diana consists of 9,800/SF of interior conditioned space. The home is gated and private; the baronial public rooms with 24-foot coffered ceilings and the extensive use of white oak herringbone plank floors allow this neoclassical Palladian Villa to stand out through its quality, luxury, and elegance.

Arriving at the domain, one passes through a pair of forged iron gates that lead to gentle access leading you to the guests and owners' separate motor courts and garages. The colossal and darkly stained antique entry pair doors are 4.5 inches thick with multiple panels, massive hardware, and iron scrollwork with fields of leaded glass.


Beginning at the front door foyer, Lake Washington is veiwed through a bisecting corridor and through the two-story great hall designed as a perfect square with 24' coffered ceilings, with a matching pair grand mantels that flank the south-facing wall, which, in turn, presents a significant steel and glass system bleeding interior space directly onto a magnificent stone and tile terrace.


The house features five bedrooms and six bathrooms, all with garden and lake views and privacy that rarely a drape will need to be drawn. There is a hidden owner's motor court facing east which provides access to a three-car garage.

Inside the home, one can enjoy an extensive wine cellar, a gourmet kitchen with French limestone counters that will make any mogul scream, "C'est Magnifique!"

The Villa occupies a 44,000/SF lot which uniquely provides  320' of waterfront, multiple docks, a sandy beach, and perfectly cultivated and landscaped; the estate has many wonders in store, setting a new standard for elegant living. With a beautiful yard covered with patios, lush green grass, fountains.

As surveyor of the Royal Works from 1615-1642, Inigo Jones introduced Palladian Classicism to a limited circle, but it did not become popular in Britain until the following century. Britain was so slow to wholeheartedly embrace the Italian Renaissance that by the time Jones emulated Andrea Palladio, Italian architects had passed from pure Classicism through the more theatrical Mannerism towards Baroque. These latest Italian styles filtered into British architecture more quickly, with the result that Palladianism, in general, follows Baroque in Britain.

There are no written terms for distinguishing between vast country palaces and comparatively small country houses; the descriptive words, including the castle, manor , and court, provide no firm clue and are often only used because of a historical connection with the site of such a building. Therefore, for ease of explanation, Britain's country houses can be categorized according to the circumstances of their creation.


"Consider the momentous event in architecture when the wall parted, and the column became.'                                            ~Louis Kahn

That’s my buddy, my best friend, and my companion, Axel. And that’s the UW Huskie row team practicing in the background, Sammamish Slough – August 2021.


Idol Worship

In the Shadow of Immortal Men

Outstanding architectural accomplishments and the individuals responsible for them have always had a considerable influence on me, but this has not been a static influence, made of mere admiration. The things that have inspired me have shaped my intellectual and creative skills and my emotions. I have been,  it could be said, literally "influenced" by the great men of the past, their genius, in its way, flowing into me, giving fluency and shape to my work and my very being. I wish to thank you, one and all.
And now, after four decades of concentrated study, effort, and self-reflection, on these very influences, I had come to know, perhaps only a tiny bit, what they were thinking, or thought, when they did what they did when it came to designing and planning the remarkable and classical buildings that they created. I am forever grateful to those who have influenced me, thereby teaching me the secrets and keys to classical architecture.

Yet, if I'm to be truthful to myself, that newly discovered personal creative enlightenment did not only illuminate my sources of influence, but it has shown me that the inspiration I have gained from them was, in fact, always 'within' me. I had just lacked the confidence to step off the diving board of the past into the bracing pool of the present, unencumbered by my insecurities as a designer and the invisible (yet often educational) boundaries set by others. Until that point, as a designer, I was doomed to mediocrity; miserable was I until that faithful swan-dive of mine into the pool of truth, and since then I have become a different person - 'enlightened' in regards to classical and traditional architecture, which I love so much.  

For the last forty years, I have had many passions, but only one addiction. To what am I addicted, you might ask? The commodity I crave is my collection of books on the subject of architecture and tradition. And while I grow my collection from many sources, my wife, Lisa, who always supports my pursuits in this field, is by far the greatest contributor to my library, as it is quite common for me to receive crates of books from various online sellers, ordered (unbeknownst to me) by her. These fantastic gifts occur randomly throughout the year, and opening them is like unlocking a great tomb as I discover the hidden and often priceless treasures within.

It was Lisa who introduced me to the work of Ken Tate by purchasing three of his publications. Before those gifts, I was unaware of him and his work and am now a devoted fan of his career. Lisa continues to embellish my shelves with the most newly released publications from Rizzoli and Amazon, especially those volumes that reference "New Classicist" or "Classicism." For when I originally developed this bibliophilic obsession, the selection of architects and architectural styles represented in my library were random. Still, as the years have passed, I have honed in on exactly what it is I am drawn to – The Classics. And fortunately for me, my wife has nailed this attraction and generously fed it with every imaginable book on the subject.

Now, on the eve of turning 63, I am surrounded by a hearty collection of manuscripts, drawing plates, and publications that span a great distance in time and echo the skills of the men I have come to admire and to whom I turn for inspiration during bouts of creative vacuity or confusion. Most of the authors and architects represented within these books are dead, yet they speak to me nonetheless through the architecture they have imagined and left behind. And boy, O boy do they tell! They have been my teachers, professors, and mentors, teaching me all that I know of the architectural craft of design.

The kind of inspiration I have received from the Classicists is not simply an external force garnered by reading, looking, and immersing myself in their legacy. Instead, this kind of influence began occurring before I attempted acquiring functional skills and knowledge sets. The inspiration I have gathered from the classical designers has its origins in the early childhood self-awareness of my interests in art and architecture in its most basic forms. Lego's and other assorted building blocks formed the embodying implements of my early journey into design and building - a never-ending journey in which tools and childhood fascinations have replaced toys by hardbound manuscripts featuring the work of great classical architects.

With all this said, there was always something lingering over me, like a dark cloud, that made me shy away from setting out on my own to practice architecture the way I wanted to practice it - a professional education. Yep, there you go, the cat is out of the bag. I am a self-taught, God-fearing, life-loving architectural designer. We do exist, and I am proudly one of them. 

“This is The Elms – the mansion that made me want to be an architect, and I have been in search of a similar commission ever since.”

I was seduced by the work of Horace Trumbauer the moment I first stepped into The Elms - a magnificent neoclassical estate he designed in 1899 in Newport, RI. Only later, after I learned more about him, did I truly become inspired by him because, like me, he was utterly self-taught (taking his place among other autodidacts such as Tadao Ando and Frank Lloyd Wright). In my young mind, I thought, "Well, if they, can do it, so can I."

Turning Vision Into Reality

Great houses are the largest of the country houses; in truth, palaces, built by the country's most potent, were designed to display their owners' power or ambitions to power.[9] Really large unfortified or barely fortified houses began to take over from the traditional castles of the crown and magnates during the Tudor period, with vast houses such as Hampton Court Palace and Burghley House, and continued until the 18th century with houses such as Castle HowardKedleston Hall and Holkham Hall. Such building reached its zenith from the late 17th century until the mid-18th century; these houses were often completely built or rebuilt in their entirety by one eminent architect in the most fashionable architectural style of the day and often have a suite of Baroque state apartments, typically in enfilade, reserved for the most eminent guests, the entertainment of whom was of paramount importance in establishing and maintaining the power of the owner. The common denominator of this category of English country houses is that they were designed to be lived in with a certain degree of ceremony and pomp. It was not unusual for the family to have a small suite of rooms to withdraw in privacy away from the multitude living in the household. These houses were always an alternative residence to a London house.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, for the highest echelons of English society, the country house served as a place for relaxing, hunting and running the country with one's equals at the end of the week, with some houses having their own theater where performances were staged.

The country house, however, was not just an oasis of pleasure for a fortunate few; it was the center of its own world, providing employment to hundreds of people in the vicinity of its estate. In previous eras, when state benefits were unheard of, those working on an estate were among the most fortunate, receiving secured employment and rent-free accommodation. At the summit of this category of people was the indoor staff of the country house. Unlike many of their contemporaries prior to the 20th century, they slept in proper beds, wore well-made adequate clothes and received three proper meals a day, plus a small wage. In an era when many still died from malnutrition or lack of medicine, the long working hours were a small price to pay.

As a result of the aristocratic habit of only marrying within the aristocracy, and whenever possible to a sole heiress, many owners of country houses owned several country mansions and would visit each according to the season. Grouse shooting in Scotlandpheasant shooting and fox hunting in England. The Earl of Rosebery, for instance, had Dalmeny House in Scotland, Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, and another house near Epsom just for the racing season. For many, this way of life, which began a steady decline in 1914, continued well into the 20th century, and for a very few, continues to this day.


Geometry is the study of space, and architecture, in the broadest sense of the word, is the creation of space by construction or subdivision. The two disciplines are virtually inseparable with one distinction. Geometry can exist without architecture, but architecture cannot exist without geometry.

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