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08 June 2010

Timeless Elegance: The Anson Pratt House

If my first born is named Darona, it will be in honor of my dear friend Daron Builta. Six fateful years ago, Daron generously offered his New York apartment as the setting for a Merchant's House Museum benefit where I ended up meeting Mr. EEE for the first time.

This weekend we will be visiting Daron and his partner Steve at their glorious country house in Columbia County. The house, built c. 1802 - 1812, is a graceful example of the Federal period and accordingly is on the National Register. Daron, who has worked in the offices of Sills Huniford, Peter Marino and David Easton, has applied his characteristically restrained elegance to the house's interior decoration and agreed to let me share a few glimpses.

The Entrance Hall - although we always come in through...

...the kitchen. Mr. EEE is always up for a conversation on how we seldom use front doors anymore, if you're interested.

When it comes to period styles and connoisseurship, Daron really knows his stuff. But while he was guided by the house's history and his own traditional inclinations, the house is fresh, comfortable and suitably formal without being pretentious.

The dining room with Adelphi "Pebbles and Flowerpots" based on a document paper from the Lexington, Kentucky Pope Villa c. 1815

Farrow and Ball paints and Adelphi wallpapers provide a warm, organic palette punctuated with blue gingham checks and emerald green silks, all with historical basis.

The front sitting room

The furniture is a combination of period-appropriate American and English neoclassical antiques with contemporary armchairs pulled up here and there.


I'll never forget discussing the David Mlinaric book with Daron when it first came out. While I initially found it a bit lackluster, Daron pointed out that Mlinaric didn't add anything to a scheme that didn't contribute to its overall design. This gave me a whole new appreciation of Mlinaric's work and Daron's as well as he is beautifully adept at editing a room to its essentials.

The back sitting room

A central oval staircase spires up the middle of the upper floors, off of which the bedrooms are arranged.

A view of the Master Bedroom with a "pillar and arch" Adelphi paper

We usually stay in this stately guest room complete with Palladian window

Just as in the Federal period, Daron has furnished the bedrooms with more humble antiques, such as rush-bottomed "fancy" chairs...


and simple rag rugs.

Without a doubt, Daron and Steve's house is a grande dame. While many may have been tempted to turn her into a museum, Daron has used his light touch to keep her a timeless and classic beauty.

21 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

That staircase looks so effortlessly elegant.
Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I love the use of historic wallpaper styles - thank you for sharing this great house with us. KDM

Square with Flair said...

What a charming home. It is wonderful to see something so restrained and unpretentious. I am tired of achitects and designers trying to make statements. In this instance, it was wise to let the beauty of the quality, details, and proportions show, and not be smothered in heavy drapes, trendy concepts, and distracting co-ordinated schemes. The homeowners were so sensitive to the aesthetics and history of the residence.

home before dark said...

Fascinating what we take away: I'd love to hear Mr. EEE talk about the devolution of front doors; I'd love to hear Madame talk more about naming first borns; I'd love to hear the wide floorboards creak; I'd love to have the feeling of history as I climbed these stairs and watching how life unfurled.

p.s. if you are interested my word verification was kiddose.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Lost between Stockbridge and Hudson one day years ago, I went past this house and nearly drove off the road---so thrilled to have gotten lost, meant to be with this little Palladian/Federal concoction appearing---googled myself silly when I got home, finding out more about it, and it's near twin cousin nearby, not as fortunately restored....marvelous to see the interiors, and yes, yes to the Mlinaric quote.

little augury said...

Joyous and rich in spirit, an opened window. I find these rooms so overwhelmingly "new," Not unlike aspects of the home I grew up in. Beautifully handled- All.Have a glorious weekend and "Anson Pratt" has an extraordinarily refined ring to it. Gaye

Toby Worthington said...

Wonderful house, Emily, but I was distracted by Mr
EEE's observation to do with how we enter houses
today. That seems to me a topic worthy of discussion,
since most of us no matter how inviting our front halls might be, tend to slither into our homes via unprepossessing garage passages or dreary mud rooms. Think of Don Draper coming home every evening (well, almost every evening) through that mean little back hall and having to put his hat down
on the nearest available surface. We've not gone much beyond that, it seems to me...

Reggie Darling said...

I have the great good fortune to have spent many happy hours in this lovely house and in the company of its charming owners. They have lovingly burnished what was already a handsome house, and made it a truly beautiful one. Reggie

Rose C'est La Vie said...

Emily, I envy you staying here. I have just lingered amongst the Adelphi wallpapers on their site and feel I've been deprived of something I've always wanted.

Courtney Coleman said...

EEE, thanks for this post about one of the world's most charming houses. The Federal period architecture is perfection, of course, but it's Daron's brilliant decorating - and gardening, by the way - that really make it sing. The dining room, with its "Flowerpots and Pebbles" is one of the most beautiful rooms and best arguments for wallpaper I've ever seen!

The Down East Dilettante said...

EEE, I just revisited this post for the pleasure of seeing it again, and more focused this time, I have a couple of comments. First, Mr. EEE's observation about back doors. Here in rural Maine, they're almost all we ever use, regardless of grandeur or not of house---it's been ever thus. In fact, taking a tour of architectural historians through a friend's very grand georgian summer house, I was excorciated by one of the group for taking them through the kitchen entrance rather than the front door so they could experience the house as the architect intended---the reason being that the front door key hasn't been seen in 25 years.

On another note, have just had the wonderful experience of working with Adelphi reproducing a paper for our local historical society (which might be next to the antiques shop of someone your uncle knows well). The paper is called Blue Hill Stripe. cheers.

Helen Young said...

The Federal Style is my favorite! We built a Federal "new old" house in Atlanta in 2007. Thanks so much for posting these photos.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Just so there's no confusion, I may be fluffier these days, but it is due to too much vino - all my children name musings are mere whimsies. BUT lest any one worries, Daron has insisted that he does not want to be responsible for Darona and has suggested Darla.

Pamela - the curve of the staircase is absolutely lyrical.

Lady West, Mr. Worthington, KDM, et al - Aren't Adelphi's offerings delicious? The brilliant colors and patterns of the past trump most of what's new, IMO.

And everyone has so resonated with the death of the front door - wander over to Dominique Browning's slowlovelife.com soon - she will be examining this and I may as well....

Dear Down East, I can just see your head spinning and car careening at the sight of the Anson Pratt house- there's nothing like a great set of fanlights to get the heart racing. And I think a trip up to Blue Hill to glory in the new wallpaper will be warranted!

24 Corners said...

Lovely home...and so thoughtfully cared for in it's entirety. Had to visit several times to soak it all up.

We just moved into our home that we've been building for the last four years and my husband is quite amazed that he is continually drawn to using the side laundry room door, to enter and exit! So ironic that this was part of your post...looking forward to further discussions on this phenomenon.

Jessica~

Ellen said...

Beautiful....thank you....smiles.

pve design said...

My bags are packed for a weekend stay.
pve

The Designer said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful home! The painted floor in the kitchen is fabulous!

The Designer Insider

victoria thorne said...

How lucky we are that you have shared this much with us -- it is, every bit of it, breathtaking (and very fortunately so, in keeping with the gift of being "beautifully adept at editing a room to its essentials") -- and I'll admit to being utterly smitten by the bedrooms and their "more humble antiques." Wishing there could be chapters written on this alone, with pictures furnished to record each and every exquisitely thought-out detail...

Thank you for this, and thanks to Daron and Steve; it looks to be a house that dreams are made of.

susan said...

Just the beautiful windows are enough for me!

Emile de Bruijn said...

Those gutsy wallpapers are fantastic.

Landon Shockey said...

Emily, I LOVE your blog! So glad that I just happened upon it! I am definitely following! The Arkansan Anglophile