In the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains lies the home of the entrepreneur and founder of 1stDibs, Michael Bruno.
Only a half-hour drive from the edge of New York City, the road to it winds around a frozen lake with the snow-covered pine trees reminiscent of an Alpine landscape.
‘I typically like to move every eight years so that I can redecorate and I’ve looked around but I can’t find another house that makes me as happy as this one does,’ says Michael.
It's an extraordinary home, packed, as you would expect with curious and beautiful artefacts. Take the tour – and when you're done, don't miss more of the world's best homes on our dedicated page.
Michael’s original motive in finding a new home was to move closer to his office in the city. ‘I lived 40 blocks away and it could take forever to get there,’ he says.
Tipped off about the historic houses in Tuxedo Park, Michael viewed five in one day, returning to buy one a week later.
‘Tuxedo has so many beautiful old homes it’s almost like living in a historic house museum park,’ he says, laughing.
He now shares the house with Alexander, his partner of 20 years, and two handsome retrievers, Boris and Natasha.
Built by the notable American architect John Russell Pope, the red-brick mansion is credited as one of his first domestic works.
‘It’s like owning a great piece of history and architecture at the same time,’ says Michael. ‘The house has a very modern floor plan for one built in 1901. There’s a lot of circulation and connecting doors as well as doors to the outside.’
Much of the house’s appeal was that it retained its original state with only the kitchen and two bathrooms altered.
Famous for his aesthetic sensibility, Michael determined that the kitchen had to be gutted immediately.
‘I couldn’t even live with it temporarily, but I didn’t get to finish the new kitchen for two years, as I was busy with other things. I created a temporary kitchen that was rustic and more my style. It gave me the feeling that I was camping, which I always like when I move into a new house.’
Underneath the modern cosmetic alterations, Michael was delighted to discover original windows, floors and doors.
‘I peeled back this layer of bad make-up and the house sprung back to life,’ he enthuses. ‘For the floor, I went for an extremely dark ebony finish as it disguised the nail heads where it had been sanded over the years.’
The house was initially such a riot of colour and pattern that Michael painted everything white introducing colour gradually, asking his friend the interior designer Windsor Smith to contribute ideas.
One of Windsor’s epic challenges was working out where to place each of Michael’s beloved pieces of furniture from his collection.
‘I’m a compulsive buyer but I buy without considering where things might go. When I was developing the market place for 1stDibs, I would meet dealers all over the world. If I saw something I really liked, I couldn’t help myself. I thought, if I’m asking them to be one of my customers, I should be one of their customers, too.’
Consequently, pieces of Michael’s haul are shifted and moved, some going into storage. ‘We move things around constantly because I get bored and like to switch things out,’ he explains.
For conjuring a festive mood, when surrounded by snow, the house is difficult to beat.
‘It’s an amazing place to be for the holidays. We typically get snow in December and over half our Christmases have been white. We light many of the fires.’
- See more: Obama house: don't miss Barack and Michelle's Martha's Vineyard home
With the two retrievers basking in front of the roaring flames, a meal on the table and the house decked out in its finery, this sumptuous home summons the mood of Christmas in breathtaking splendour.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
What should you never do when staging a house?
A professional home stager names the things you must not do when staging a home
By Anna Cottrell •
Blue dining room ideas – 12 beautiful ways to decorate with this soothing color scheme
These blue dining room ideas are perfect for a cool and sophisticated look
By Nicky Morris •
This English 18th century mansion is full of modern comforts – and surprises
As the owners updated this gracious Georgian home they realized they were taking it back to its starting point as the ultimate party house
By Karen Darlow •
A light-filled San Francisco condo gets a Copenhagen-style makeover
An open-plan room with a view is the star attraction of this Scandinavian-inspired apartment in the Golden City
By Ailis Brennan •
Inside Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott’s sleek West Hollywood apartment
The rocker has snapped up a Stateside pied-à-terre for $2.3 million
By Ruth Doherty •
Inside Al Capone’s $10.75 million Florida beach house
The Chicago crime boss lived at the upscale address until his death in 1947…
By Ruth Doherty •
This elegant Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh showcases a beautiful display of color and pattern
Interior designer Jessica Buckley has brought life to a Georgian townhouse by layering vibrant tones, textures and patterns
By Vivienne Ayers •
This antique dealer's historic 17th century home is full of color and character
Restoring a 17th-century malt master’s house has given collector Ambrice Miller the space to turn her passion for arts and antiques into a business
By Pippa Blenkinsop •
Writer John Steinbeck’s beautiful Sag Harbor oceanside home is on sale for $16.75 million
The property was the Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winner’s ‘Eden’…
By Ruth Doherty •
Ellen DeGeneres buys iconic Robert Skinner-designed mid-century modern home in Beverly Hills
This timeless classic is situated in the Beverly Hills 90210 zip code…
By Ruth Doherty •