Hudson Valley Mill is located in Dutchess County in Upstate New York just 2 hours north of NYC, offering a quiet vacation rental retreat from city life.
How would you describe The Hacienda in a nutshell?
It’s an 18th-century hacienda in the creative community of Galisteo. Stepping inside is comforting and like being in your mother’s womb.
What is the story behind the Hacienda, what was your inspiration to create it?
During the pandemic, I was living in California and it was very stressful. So I decided to sell everything and go on the road. I stayed in short-term rental properties for a year and a half, not sure where I was going to land.
When I arrived in Santa Fe, I got in contact with a realtor, as I felt that if I was going to buy, this was the lifestyle I wanted. It’s a place that’s surrounded by creativity and the light is incredible. I was a commercial photographer for 23 years and wanted to transition into fine art, either photography or painting.
The realtor thought I would be interested in this village, Galisteo, so we went down to have a look. I instantly fell in love with it. It feels like you’re in Mexico but you’re in the United States. You have extreme wealth (Tom Ford owns a 70-million-dollar ranch down the road) and extreme poverty and everyone’s living cohesively. It has a beautiful spirit.
The Hacienda dates from around 1750 and is said to be the first home built in the area. It originally belonged to one of the founding families, then fell out for a time, before returning to the family. The woman I bought it from had been living there for 63 years but half of the house had been shut down after her husband passed.
I immediately knew how I wanted to reconfigure it to take it back to its original layout and make it flow better. But as it’s built out of mud and stone, it’s not a traditional build and you’re never going to have straight walls.
As I spend a lot of time in Austin with my daughter and grandkids, I decided to rent it out. I feel it’s a house that needs people and needs energy in it. I don’t want it sitting empty. I want people to enjoy it. I welcomed my first guests in September 2023.
How would you describe the atmosphere and the interior design of the Hacienda?
I’m a huge fan of Patricia Larsen, an artist and interior designer, who I asked to help me. She has a knack for pulling lots of different elements together and bringing outdoor colours in, as well as stopping before something is “perfect”. I wanted someone who wasn’t into “over-designing”. So the two of us did it and it worked out really well.
A woman once said to me that living within double adobe walls is very much like being in your mother’s womb. That’s exactly how it is. You feel very safe, comforted, protected.
To you personally, what is so special about the Hacienda?
I love history and knowing that people have really lived in a house — that generations of people have walked those floors (and in the hacienda, they were once dirt floors). I particularly love old homes and the older the better. When you walk in, there's an energy in the house. In the Hacienda, you feel it and it's a good vibe.