All Photo credits: Dannette Merchant
By Jillian Risberg
Tyvan Hill is that jaw-dropping property you just have to immerse yourself in to grasp. The gracious country estate built by the Castles family of New York City has a long and storied history.
“When I think of Tyvan Hill my mind immediately conjures up a vision of a winding drive off a stately country road, leading to a magnificent estate on a hill surrounded by over 20 tranquil acres,” says co-chair, Pat O’Connor. “A setting that cries out Mansion in May. It has everything a mansion Chair could ever ask for, including enough wonderful spaces inside and out for almost 50 designers.”
The Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center (WAMMC) chose the 10,000-square-foot Tyvan Hill in New Vernon as the site of its 19th Mansion in May. After being sidelined for months due to the Coronavirus pandemic they are now presenting it as Splendor in September.
Tom Salaki, principal of Square Acre Studio in Madison recreated a landscape design for Tyvan Hill based on the original plan designed in 1928.
“The Courtyard will enhance but not detract from the gorgeous entrance of Tyvan Hill and the back of the mansion is a tranquil setting,” Salaki says. “Our landscape designers have created spaces to appeal to your enjoying a relaxing day in the country!”
Since its inception in 1974, Mansion in May Designer Showhouse and Gardens has raised over $11.5 million for worthwhile causes at Morristown Medical Center. Proceeds from Tyvan Hill will benefit the expansion of the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute.
“It is a cause which is very personal to us, each having lost a parent to heart disease way before we should have, and I lost my husband to a very rare heart condition,” O’Connor says. “When the WAMMC Board unanimously chose the expansion of Gagnon as our cause, I was overwhelmed with joy and, quite honestly, moved to tears.”
According to O’Connor, without Gagnon’s expansion project the facility would have only been able to handle an estimated ten-percent of projected new patient volume based on our aging population.
“Going forward, whenever I drive past MMC and see the newly expanded Gagnon facility, I will be filled with a sense of pride that I had a little something to do with making sure our community has access to world-class cardiovascular care,” the co-chair says.
For WAMMC President Katie Nolle, September can’t come soon enough.
“The joy of opening the doors and welcoming visitors on Tuesday, September 8 to Tyvan Hill will be wonderful,” Nolle says. “I am looking forward to thanking patrons for supporting our cause and seeing the hard work that our volunteers, interior designers and landscape designers have put forth to make Tyvan Hill a beautiful country estate.”
In an effort to provide guests with a pleasant and safe visit, they have established new admissions protocols and will be enforcing state and local mandates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
MIM is such a beloved event — Nolle attributes its success over the past 46 years to their commitment to the WAMMC motto of “Contributing with Passion” and apply this passion to every detail.
“We open the doors to historic homes that have been neglected and embrace the aura of each mansion. This mystique appeals to the patrons who are always curious to view these grand estates,” Nolle says. “We have a loyal following of designers as well as patrons who support us as we raise funds for Morristown Medical Center.”
According to co-chair Kathy Ross, people may not know that they never rent or lease a house to transform it into a Mansion in May.
“We rely on the generosity of homeowners who graciously share their homes with us to transform and present to the public,” Ross says. “Without homeowners’ kindness, there would be no Mansion in May.”
And there are pieces of a mansion puzzle that fill her with joy.
“Witnessing the transformation of a ‘house’ to a mansion, thanks to our designers’ deep skill set; their creativity and vision set the bar high amongst designer show-houses throughout the country,” Ross says. “It is an honor to work on a project that benefits Morristown Medical Center, a true pillar of healthcare in our community.”
Tyvan Hill means hundreds of talented people working tirelessly together, while being as flexible as possible to make sure this Mansion can move seamlessly from what was to be in May to their newly envisioned Splendor in September.
“It’s the Mansion that just won’t quit, as it continues to press on towards its goal to benefit the much-needed expansion of Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at a time when our hospital’s resources have been stretched by an unexpected pandemic,” O’Connor says. “It’s an opportunity for our greater community to say thank you to the hospital community that was and is always there for all of us.”