This past summer I made good on a longtime promise to myself: to visit as many historic homes as time would allow. The roads took Thomas and me far and wide. From the Green Mountains of Vermont to the rolling hills of New York State wine country, I don’t know that that there is a historic house unvisited on our route. It was an enriching experience in the decorative arts, architecture and garden design.
One of the stand outs of the houses we visited is Hyde Hall. The country manor is located outside of historic Cooperstown, N.Y. in Glimmerglass State Park. This house was by far the most awe inspiring. Its classic English three story facade was designed to impress and convey the magnificent wealth of the owners (the family owned a 120,000 acres of land ). The grand house sits high above the Otsego Lake with a commanding view towards Cooperstown. Built by George Clarke starting in 1817, the fifty room house was designed by noted Albany, NY architect Philip Hooker.Today it maybe better know for its feature episode on Ghost Hunters. I didn't see any ghosts when I was there, but did see the beauty of the march of time. In particular, the servants wing fascinated me. The time worn patina of the walls is a faux finishers garden of inspiration if there ever was one.
The imposing limestone facade of Hyde Hall
The drawing room is a soaring space. The walls are painted to resemble marble another cue that Mr. Clarke wanted to impress.
The dining room shares the dramatic soaring ceilings as the drawing room. It was originally white, but was repainted in the mid 19th century to red.
The china is the original collection to the house according to our tour docent. However, what really fascinated me were the crystal glass rinsers.
The dressmaker detailing of the dining room love seat slipcover is intriguing. It would look just as good today on a sofa or chair.
The families library is painted apple green which is one of my favorite colors and looks fantastic with the collection of blue and white porcelain on the tea table.
In the servants wing is where one of my favorite rooms is located. The china room. With a room like that for storage there would be no end to what one could fill it with. The distressed wall finishes are clearly the work of time, but that blue is magical.
The back hall - The patina of time.