Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jeffrey Bilhuber's Hay Fever

Jeffrey Bilhuber.
Photo:  Bilhuber & Associates.
No, this is not about the interior designer's allergies.  Hay Fever is the name of Jeffrey Bilhuber's house on the North Shore of Long Island.  With the original portion of the house dating from the 17th century, it has been enlarged over the years, including an expansion by noted architect Maurice Fatio to create connections to the outbuildings.  Bilhuber completely renovated the house, saving existing features and adding other details salvaged from a nearby house being razed. 

The article from the August, 2009, issue of
Vogue magazine.
Photo:  Francois Halard.
The story of Bilhuber's search for the house was documented in an article by Hamish Bowles in the August, 2009, issue of Vogue magazine.  Although Bilhuber has an apartment in Manhattan, he also wanted a house within an hour's commute by train, located on a village green.  This house fit the bill.

The entrance hall of 'Hay Fever'.
Photo:  Francois Halard for Vogue magazine.
The house had once been a boy's school and later home to antiques collector and dealer Jane Teller Robinson.  (The Robinson's 1799 stone house in Manhattan is now the Abigail Adams Smith Museum).  Jane Robinson operated a museum and restaurant in this house which she called the Stage Coach Inn.

The living room.
Photo:  Francois Halard for Vogue magazine.
After a period of bank ownership, it was home to Edith Hay Wyckoff whose father named it Hay Fever after the Noel Coward play.  (Ms Wyckoff was a chronicler of the Long Island Lifestyle and how it changed after World War II).

Jeffrey Bilhuber with his son Christoph
in the kitchen of 'Hay Fever'.
Photo:  Francois Halard for Vogue magazine.
The bedrooms are named after
Revolutionary War generals.
Photo:  Francois Halard for Vogue magazine.
The master bedroom of 'Hay Fever.'
Photo:  Francois Halard for Vogue magazine.
Improvements in the 1920s by architect Maurice Fatio
connected the outbuildings to the main house,
creating a rear courtyard.
California landscape architect Nancy Goslee Power
designed a garden to replace the parking area.
Decorative Arts Trust, a support group for Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, will sponsor Jeffrey Bilhuber's talk "The Way Home:  Atmosphere or Object" at the museum auditorium, Friday, November 9, 2012, 10:30 am. A book sale and signing will precede and follow the talk.  Advance tickets for the talk are suggested as it is anticipated to be a sold-out event (as the luncheon has already reached capacity).  See the Trust's website (in flash format not viewable on iPhone, sorry) for more information.


  1. The country house bedroom is marvelous and the grand bed would seem
    to have been inspired by the one from Ashburnam Place that ended up
    at Basildon Park. Now I need to consult Cornforth's book to see whether
    that is the case! But my point happens to be, how refreshing it is for a modern day designer to be unabashedly inspired by the past.

    1. Toby, it IS refreshing, I agree. I appreciate Bilhuber's relaxed approach without it being just a display. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Best wishes on the talk. Is Mr. Bilhuber Atlanta bound?

    1. Terry, no this is a NYC-Memphis-NYC trip this time.

  3. So, do tell is there a General NATHANAEL GREENE bedroom?He was my great great great GRANDFATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!I would love to know!

  4. I do love the work he did at this house-especially charming. pgt

    1. These photos don't really do it justice.

      Jeffrey said he planted 3,500 'black' tulips, so it should be especially striking next spring.

  5. Yes, Elizabeth, there is a bedroom named in honor of General Greene, Jeffrey said.


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