The country house in Greenville, NY offers so many opportunities to draw and paint that it’s hard, well, not to. Fred considered the whole property to be his “masterpiece.” Every square inch of the place, the house and the property, reflects his taste, efforts and unfailing eye.
When we first spotted the property in 1970, this was the image that sold us. That stately “back barn” was irresistible. We had the thought that we might build a house within its century-old walls. Only seven years prior it had been an actual working dairy farm, so the barn in its present condition was, well, you can only imagine. When we priced out our plan, it was quickly obvious that this was completely unrealistic, so today, it’s as it was pretty much as we found it
Oil on mounted linen—18″ x 24″
The back barn in summer..
The back barn in winter.
This is a view of the living room, which is dominated by the amazing piece that we call “Fred’s Folly.” In my painting it’s backlit, thus you can’t see the details he painted so meticulously, so here’s a photo of the valance itself.
The dining room has its own charms. When we purchased the property in 1970, there were any number of antique shops in the area, and the merchandise was affordable, even given our meager financial status. We couldn’t stop buying things.
Above the dining room table, Fred, without much thought, hung a basket. It was corn harvesting season, so he did a little arrangement with husks and wild flowers. It remains intact from many years ago.
Paint peels, wicker furniture disintegrates, and we love it all. Everything improves with age.
When we first bought the property, there was a large area that was completely unusable, a swamp. The Environmental Protection agency was invited to advise us on the feasibility of turning it into a pond. They did some testing and determined that there were underground springs that would assure an excellent location for the purpose, so Fred designed a bit of country paradise.
As the pond was being dug, Nico, who was about ten years old at the time, noted that, as the workman moved his bulldozer along in concentric circles, toward the end a pancake of land remained. It had two little trees on it. He said, “Look! We could have an island!” And so we do. Fred designed a gazebo and bridge. We call it “Isola Nicolo.”
Here’s an image that would be familiar to anyone who’d ever visited the property. Inevitably, a visitor would have at some point sat at just that table, and gotten just this view. It’s the “other barn” as seen from the “other gazebo.” The title is just “Gazebo.”