This imposing Southern style house, with a long colonnade porch and second-floor veranda, is a landmark home on the border of Novi and Northville. It sits on a prime site in a hot area — 15 open acres close to Northville’s historic downtown.
Joe Louis was a guest here in 1939 while he trained for the successful defense of his world heavyweight title. Owners have been a succession of entrepreneurs — most recently the late Cadillac King auto dealer Don Massey, said to have been the largest Cadillac dealer in the world.
The original estate dates to 1830. When the early house burned, owners built this one in 1922. It has matching white outbuildings that include a smokehouse, a carriage house, a tool shed, a greenhouse and a two-bedroom guest house. A vintage gas pump is from the 1920s.
The heated carriage house can hold six cars, so it suits a buyer who collects them. Massey wasn’t exactly a collector, his family said, but he kept a few prized Cadillacs as well as a bright yellow Chevy convertible truck that had a Corvette engine and a white-and-cream Rolls Royce convertible.
Besides the handsome house, Realtor Anthony Gargaro emphasized the value of its open land. “It would be very challenging to recreate that opportunity, especially close to hot cities like Northville and Novi.”
Several past owners made changes and additions to the house that range from Georgian to Colonial to Federal style. It was Massey — out of Tennessee — who built the distinctive Southern style wrap-around porch with plantation-style palm-leaf fans, pillars and the overhead veranda.
Inside you’ll find the full complements of luxury details typical in a fine older house. Crown moldings are deep; chandeliers are crystal; the staircase could suit a bridal party photo.
It has wainscot paneling, French doors and handsome double-hung windows. The bright, white kitchen is 27 feet long.
The office or library has rich wood paneling, including an elaborate coffered ceiling. It has wide French doors that open out to a paved terrace that’s under the roof of the porch. The owners’ suite includes a 20-foot-long sun porch.
The walk-out lower level has a large, all-brick wine cellar.
Outside, the acreage is kept mowed under the mature trees, which makes a park-like setting. The driveways, motor court and paths around the buildings are all paved with brick with an arched stone bridge in the driveway. There’s accent lighting around the grounds.
A set of brick and iron gates stands at the end of the driveway that is closest to town. From this spot, according to Google, the walk to Center Street in Northville is eight-tenths of a mile.
Former Massey estate
Where: 801 Griswold, Novi (with a Northville mailing address)
How much: $3,495,000, partly influenced by land value
Bedrooms: 4, plus a two-bedroom guest house
Baths: 3 full, 3 half
Square feet: 6,253
Key features: Handsome landmark house in very good condition comes with 14.79 acres within walking distance to downtown Northville. Guesthouse, carriage house, smokehouse, greenhouse, park-like setting, all brick pavers, Southern style colonnade porch, and upper veranda.
Contact: Anthony Gargaro, Keller Williams Advantage, 248-388-2444.
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