I just went to the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio in Lenox, MA and, as I’m someone who loves anything to do with interior spaces and art, it was simply a dream. The house is situated on a big wooded lot and it’s a ten-minute walk through a little forest from the parking lot to get to the house. A fairly nondescript building from the outside (as is typical of that modern international style), it is boxy, white, and has old metal frame windows. George Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen, the couple that built the house and studio, were both abstract artists inspired by Braque, Leger, Gris, and Picasso. The house is full of their own works, along with works by artists they looked up to.
The entrance to the house includes a beautiful small circular staircase with an abstract black metal railing. On the curved wall behind the staircase is an abstract fresco painted by George Morris in vibrant colors. The dining room, off to the left of the entrance, was designed by Suzy Frelinghuysen and it is rather dark. There are only two small light sources, the idea being to use candles and the fireplace for light. On the way to the living, which is to the right of the entrance, is a little bar with very cool shelving along the curved wall for the liquor bottles. The living room has a leather-tiled floor, a spacious 12-foot ceiling, zebra print sofas, two frescos by Morris on the main wall, one on each side of the fireplace, and an abstract stone carving above the fireplace, also designed by Morris. Upstairs are three bedrooms and a small gallery space displaying works of art. The narrow hallway is also lined with abstract works of art. I can’t forget to mention Morris’s studio, which is a large space at the end of the hallway with lots of light. Now a gallery space that only displays works of art, it was once Morris’s studio where he, and probably his wife Suzy, spent a considerable amount of time working on their art.
Because the couple was very affluent and of a certain social class, descendants of our nation’s founding fathers, they didn’t have to worry about holding traditional jobs and were able to focus their lives on painting and introducing modern art to the United States in the 1940s and 50s.
The house is a spectacular example of modern architecture and design and it was simply a feast for my eyes. Every turn and every room contain surprising and interesting details to gawk at. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the house, but you can see a nice gallery of the interior on the house & studio’s website. It’s definitely worth the visit if you ever find yourself in western Massachusetts!