A historic home on New York's majestic Hudson River is transformed into a rustic respite for its owner and her twelve grandchildren. Tour Midwood and the many benefits of its sophisticated camp setting.
Joan K. Davidson has made Midwood, her house in Columbia County, New York, a haven for family and a crossroads for all who are dedicated to the Hudson River Valley. With architect Harry van Dyke and master carpenter Bob Dolfax, she has restored this beautiful home and its surroundings to their former glory.
The 87-acre grounds surrounding the commodious 1888 house are continuously enhanced by Davidson and Boston-based landscape architect Eleanor McPeck.
What Davidson calls her "tourism desk" stands under the main stairway, piled with books about the Hudson Valley, maps of the area, and board games; the table, in Livingston hands for three generations, is a "carpenter design of 19th century New York, when anything went," she says.
An antique Spanish rug, given to Davidson by her mother, the renowned collector Alice M. Kaplan, drapes the living-room library table, which is piled high with books on art, photography, and architecture. Davidson's son Peter, at 18 gazes from a portrait painted by his cousin Bruno Fonseca at 19. The bronze sculpture to the right of the doorway is by Elie Nadelman.
Ebonized faux-bamboo beds in a guest room are two of the "eight crazy pieces" Davidson snatched up years ago at an Armenian church auction; the set was made in 1888, the year the house was built. ("Some instinct told me there would be the right room to put them in someday," she says.)
On the second-floor landing, a floor-to-ceiling bulletin board serves as a changing autobiography of the house. It is overflowing with family art, photos, outlines of original plays, and notes from almost everyone in the clan. The freewheeling spirit of Midwood resounds in a "to-do" list made by Davidson's grandson Jack, at 9, whose plans for one day included "swimming, running, soccer, climbing trees, twirling, swinging, and cartwheels." The previous owners' massive gilded pier glass "took five men and a week" to move upstairs, says Davidson.
Get inspired by ultra-organized spaces and beautifully-designed rooms.Take the Tour