Haven House – The Newport Mansion-inspired Italianate doll house that dominates the main entrance to the Music Room was named after the (fictional) ancestral home of its creator: John Paul Martin. Martin settled farmland along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania in 1789 and built himself a log cabin (located between Middletown and Marietta). He started a raft-making business and transported goods down the regional rivers. Business grew and he incorporated into J.P. Martin and Sons. The company eventually held interests in canals, railroads, shipping lines, power plants, coal mines, manufacturing and merchandising. By 1897, John Paul Martin IV lived in this lovely Italianate manor house in the same location as the family's original farmhouse, surrounded by a formal walled garden.
In 1992, Al and Peggy Smeriglio created not only the fictional account of the Martin family, but also began construction on their miniature Pennsylvania estate in the lowest level of their Harrisburg home. Initially intended as a small three or four room building, it continued to grow into the magnificent structure it is today. The initial inspiration for the house was as a place where Peggy could put on display the miniature antique furniture she desired in full-size but couldn’t afford. It was completed in 2009, and put on display in the Smeriglios’ home for five years, where over five hundred people came to admire it as they travelled from across the United States and from Germany to Harrisburg to see it. After the maintenance of their real home became too challenging, the Smeriglios decided to downsize. They moved into a smaller home that could not accommodate Haven House. They decided they had to put it up for sale.
Haven House was purchased in auction by the American Treasure Tour in 2014. Unfortunately, the furniture was sold separately and it proved impossible to keep the furniture with the majestic miniature mansion. Also, the house suffered damage during transport to the American Treasure Tour. When it arrived, much cosmetic surgery was necessary to bring its appearance to what it is today. We remain hopeful that Mr. Smeriglio will be able to come in and fix her up for us.
- It took the Smeriglios approximately 5,000 man hours to create the home.
- The Grand Entrance incorporates 870 faux marble tiles.
- There are 58 windows. 36 of them open and have shutters. There are also 45 working doors.
- The chandelier in the grand ballroom was homemade by Al Smeriglio and features 1,800 Swarovski crystals. It measures 7” high, 5’1/2” in diameter and holds 28 lights.
- The chandelier in the center entrance is a reproduction of one in the Jedediah Wilcox mansion, located in Meridien, Connecticut.
- There are four large and two small chimneys. Each of the four large chimney consists of approximately 3,000 bricks, laid on end. Approximately 2,500 real slate tiles cover the roof. 160 lights illuminate the structure, with 360 separate light bulbs.
- The parquet floor in the ballroom is made of 1,507 pieces of cherry and walnut wood.
- The spindles on the staircase were purchased from England in the George III style.
- The curtains on the windows and the canopy for the bed in the little girl’s room were inspired by designs from Victorian Home Magazine. The editors were so impressed with the design that they ran an article on the doll house in their magazine.
- The bathroom near the smaller garden was an afterthought. The Smeriglios had already placed the exterior walls, so the only way they could access it to assemble the design was through the ceiling.
- Haven House was inspired by the late-19th century estates found in Newport, Rhode Island, as well as mansions in the Hyde Park, New York, Williamsburg and the James River region of Virginia.
- Haven House is 10’ long, 30” wide and three stories high. The gardens and verandas make it 18’ long, 4’ wide.
- The large tree in the back garden was bought as an apple tree; however, the Smeriglios didn’t like the apples, so they were individually removed from the tree.
- The flowerpots that line the back garden are copied from those at Marble House in Newport, R.I.
- It is comprised of six modules that can be dismantled for easier transportation.
- The crepe myrtle trees in the back garden use whittled-down wheat shafts
- The Japanese Maple trees in the back garden are taken from the Smeriglios’ Rillas Red Maple. Glycerin was used to preserve the leaves. Al made the pergola and the wisteria vines.