MAster ceramist by vocation and gentleman farmer by vocation, Christopher Spitzmiller charms as much in person as in his recently published delight. One year at Clove Brook Farm. During his presentation at Texas Design Week Houston at Found, he was captivated by a broad account of the 15-year effort that turned an abandoned dairy farm into a showcase and his relationship with lifestyle diva Martha Stewart. . The story printed in Spitzmiller’s book is so compelling that it’s already in its second printing, just two months after the initial release.
Despite torrential rains, a sold-out entourage of interior designers, decorators and fans of Spitzmiller’s richly glazed lamps, table collections and other ceramics lined up for the book signing that preceded its engaging presentation. Among them were friends, including Sir Mark Haukohl and his stepmother, Olive Hershey Spitzmiller.
“I put all my heart and soul into it and did it the way I could afford to,” Spitzmiller frankly sharing. “I took parts like new windows, exterior paint, new heating and air conditioning. . . during all this time I was spending huge sums of money.
Fortunately, his ceramics business is so successful that it paves the way for the continuous improvement of the five-acre plot. “I like to think that we make jewelry for your living room or for your bedroom, some really good accents Verdura earrings, ”says Spitzmiller.
He explains that he spent six years renovating and reconfiguring the farmhouse, whose kitchen dates from 1700 and the main house from 1830. Then it was a year and a half to decorate, with each room containing something of his mentorship under the spell. direction of a renowned designer. Albert Hadley.
“We used Albert’s wallpaper wherever we could, the best came out of Albert’s house in Connecticut. Every room in my house contains a piece of Albert. These magazines (on the screen he tells) happen to be all from the old ADs, House Beautifuls and Verandas in which it was published.
Among those to whom Spitzmiller also attributes special advice throughout his career is Mario buatta, from which he purchased spaniel paintings during the sale of the property of the revered creator. They hang in the living room of his Clove Brook farmhouse in Millbrook, New York, about 90 minutes from Manhattan.
BFF with Martha Stewart
Spitzmiller laughs that many think he worked for Martha Stewart at one point, so similar are their interests. No, he says. They are friends introduced by mutual friends.
“But it was our love of chickens and peacocks and now geese and gardening that bonded this friendship. So every year we load the car up and go to the congressional poultry show and fight for the best chickens, ”he quipped.
At the start of the COVID shutdowns, Stewart gifted Spitzmiller eight goose eggs. “Then the geese hatched and they were so cute and I held them every night and I held them every day and then I gave them names like Carolyne Roehm, Bill Blass, Clare potter and Joan Rivers, which turned out to be a peek, ”he says.
Gardening at Clove Brook
“Gardening is really my new invention”, quips Spitzmiller. He loves the methodical work of planting in which he and his partner, Anthony Bellomo, put their hands in the soil. Their floral plantings correspond to the seasons starting with 3,000 tulip bulbs planted at the end of winter for spring flowers, then sweet peas and finally dahlias. The garden is full of peonies this time of year, 450 bushes, he adds. The couple also plant huge amounts of daffodil bulbs around the pond. Last year, they planted 13,000.
The next project is to transform the dilapidated dairy barn into a showcase barn with housing for chickens, a central reception room and storage space for farm equipment.
Texas Design Week events continue for the rest of the week. For the full schedule of events, check out Texas Design Week Houston Full Website.