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.