The work of ceramicist and lamp designer Christopher Spitzmiller has become the standard of excellence in the design world. The talented potter and business man may spend his days in his New York City studio, but on the weekends, he drives 90 miles north to Millbrook. In the heart of Hudson Valley, Spitzmiller has carved out a little corner of rural paradise, the perfect place to unwind and forget about the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.
Back in 2005 he bough a dilapidated Greek Revival house that was so run down, it was in desperate need of a loving restoration. It took about 5 years to bring the house back to a glorious state, time in which Spitzmiller’s mentor and friend, Albert Hadley contributed with ideas on how to rework the dated floor plan into a practical, modern one.
”My house is a Greek Revival American farmhouse. Albert Hadley was a great mentor to me and I used as many of his wallpapers and designs [in the house] as I could. Albert made sketches from photos of the different rooms, and we worked out the floor plans together. The hook zebra rug in my living room is from his Parish-Hadley days and is one of my favorite possessions. Harry Heissmann, who worked for “Mr. Hadley,” helped me decorate it. Jeffrey Bilhuber has even affectionately called it “Hadleyville.””
The farmhouse ”before”:
”The house was a wreck when I bought it; there were honeybees living in the walls, rotten sills and all! But I fell in love with the grand moldings and well-proportioned rooms, which needed to be reworked so that they flowed better and made sense for today’s living. The door to the guest bath could only be accessed by stepping over the back set of stairs. I changed this, added fireplaces and crown molding. It was a long renovation, but Albert’s big motto was “Get the bones right!” ”
The evolution of the floor plan
Like pieces of a puzzle, the house came together and evolved into a cheerful estate filled with beautiful finds, old and new. Spitzmiller’s many friends in the design world have each helped out with tips and one of a kind pieces. In its present state, the interiors are a reflection of Spitzmiler’s love of color and traditional design. The result is a playful-looking farmhouse, sophisticated yet easy to live in!
The gardens have been designed by Spitzmiller in collaboration with Arkansas landscape designer, P. Allen Smith. Garden enthusiast Bunny Williams has also added a touch or two to the now expanded landscape.