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Smell the Roses

Nick Churton of the Houlihan Lawrence London office receives a New York lesson in how to live in the now while enjoying the look of the past

In 1846 North Salem in New York was quietly witnessing the building of a pretty Georgian style farmhouse. It would become known as Grant’s Corner. Not that you would have noticed it too much as it was then, as now, screened by the lush woodland that clothes the local hillsides. That year, elsewhere in the US, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia cracked while being rung to mark George Washington’s birthday and, way out west, the Donner Party, heading for Oregon, became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

No such shattering events in North Salem. All things considered, not much has changed in the area over the past hundred and fifty years or so: it maintains itself as a blissful retreat from a busy Manhattan working life and an environment where there are almost as many horses as people.

But changes have been made. One of them is Grant’s Corner itself. Not that you would tell very easily from the exterior, but inside is an example of how to transition a nineteenth century house into the now. It is not easy. There are plenty of examples of how not to do it. But this is not one of them. In fact this is an object lesson in skilful and understanding renovation.

The work has been done softly. The new layout and finish don’t shout at the past but takes its hand and leads it calmly and willingly into the present. It is a magnificent job and the result is a truly lovely home that is not too big, but somehow neither is it too small.

Outside are a beautifully envisioned and maintained garden and a barn that has been used as the ideal base for a highly successful floristry business.

You will see quite a few houses in the area during a serious house hunt. Many wont pass muster. So I suggest that you save a lot of time and head straight to Grant’s Corner and smell the roses.

To see full details of this gorgeous home click here.