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Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum (Lloyd Smith House, “Sopra Mare”)

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1924, David Adler. 2220 N. Terrace Ave.
  • (HABS)
  • (HABS)

This bluff-top mansion, originally called “Sopra Mare” (Italian for “above the sea”), was designed by Chicago architect Adler in the then-popular Mediterranean Revival style. As typical for the style, the house is oriented around a central courtyard, surrounded by an open-arcaded gallery, a pattern often incorporated into the design of Italian and Spanish villas during the Renaissance. Although a charming and functional feature for houses in mild climates, open-courtyard houses are rare and impractical in colder regions like Wisconsin. Nevertheless, in the center of the courtyard, an eight-foot-tall stone statue of the Greek god Hermes braves the winter cold. Cyril Colnik forged the fine wrought-iron gate, sconces, and door hardware. The villa’s interior contains further Mediterranean-style decorative features, such as the living room’s beamed and hand-stenciled cypress ceiling, stone fireplaces, handmade door hardware, handsome period furnishings, and original lighting fixtures. The house became a decorative-arts museum when the owners donated the building to Milwaukee County in 1966.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


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Marsha Weisiger et al., "Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum (Lloyd Smith House, “Sopra Mare”)", [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 143-143.

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