My Stay at The Inn at Kenmore Hall
I’ve mentioned many times how hard it’s been not being able to travel or even go to a museum for inspiration in New York since the pandemic began. We are so lucky that we were able to flatten the curve and now many of us are feeling more comfortable venturing father afield. Last weekend, I drove up to the Berkshires with my friend Marguerite Wincek who was nice enough to do the actual driving bit since I’m very out of practice. We stayed at The Inn at Kenmore Hall which you might remember seeing on the blog before but it was so fun to finally experience it in person.
Let’s start with the history of the house. Henry Sherrill, a Revolutionary War Minuteman turned successful merchant, commissioned Jeremiah Peirson to build a home across the road from his bustling trading post in 1792. The home remained in the family for several generations. In the late 1880s, the property became home to a reputable boarding school and was named Kenmore Hall. At that time, in affiliation with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Kenmore Hall became a prominent Summer Art School. The property hosted students such as Newton MacIntosh, Robert Lewis Reid, and Daniel Chester French, who enjoyed his time in Richmond so much, he would later return to build a home and studio, Chesterwood, in nearby Stockbridge.
In the decades to come, Kenmore Hall would return to being at times a private home, a parsonage, and, in the thirties, a Summer Guest House. Ties to the Koussevitskys forged a long-standing connection to Tanglewood and the Boston Symphony. Musicians and composers filled the house with life, creativity, and the sounds of their craft. Leonard Bernstein spent summers in the guest cottage, and dined with friends such as Aaron Copland in the main house.
Frank and Antoinette Scaduto purchased Kenmore in the early 1960’s and continued offering their home as a summer guest house for symphony members and friends. Frank played the mandolin and grew tomatoes in the fields, their daughters picked flowers from the meadows, and tables were laden in a legendary fashion for all who were lucky enough to join them at mealtime.
In January of 2018, fashion designer Frank Muytjens and artist/restaurateur Scott Edward Cole made their plan of opening a hotel a reality by purchasing the home and turning it into The Inn at Kenmore Hall. They painstakingly restored and subtly enhanced with modern updates for guests who appreciate such things.
The Inn at Kenmore Hall is about a two and a half to three hour drive from New York City. in Richmond, Massachusetts. As anyone knows, most of that time is spent getting out of the city but our drive straight north was pretty easy. There are also a lot of wonderful surrounding towns to visit such as Lenox, Stockbridge, and Great Barrington. I’ll be putting together a guide to the Berkshires but until then, you can find out where we went in my saved highlights on Instagram.
If you stay at the Inn at Kenmore Hall, give yourself time to explore the public spaces and the 20 acres of grounds and orchards. It looks like weekends are booking up quickly but if your schedule is flexible, I’d consider a mid-week stay.
I had a little chat with Frank and Scott on our first morning to talk about how they came to be bed and breakfast owners. It was something that was on both of their minds and they talked about it but thought it would be something that would happen farther down the road. A series of events led to fast forwarding that dream especially after they found this property. When I asked if they had any advice for others who dream of owning a hotel, they said to only do it with a partner. Because Scott had already owned a business in the area, he was more familiar with the process of securing a loan. They were actually lucky that the historic designation of the house didn’t hurt them but they said that sometimes it is harder to secure a loan for a history property so keep that in mind.
It’s also good to divide duties. Frank takes care of front of house responsibilities and deals directly with the guests while Scott stays behind the scenes. Scott cooks breakfast for the guests each morning which Frank is the one who cooks their meals. I dream of owning a hotel as well but I’d prefer to decorate, arrange flowers, and bake than deal with guests. I already get enough complaints about the blog and Instagram and both of those are free.
There is a great view of the property from every window.
My friend Marguerite and I agreed that wandering around downstairs felt like you snooping in someone’s home. It has a very personal feeling.
I featured Frank in my book Creativity at Work and it was nice to see it on display.
Frank and Scott told their contractor that they didn’t want things to look too new after the renovation. They wanted to keep some walls and trim a little imperfect so there was still a sense of history in the building. They also became part of the crew doing work themselves which they say helped keep the project on schedule.
The screened porch leads out to the new terrace that was completed last year.
Don’t be surprised if things change during your stay. You might even see in some of these photos that flowers were changed out and moved around.
They purchased much of the furniture and accessories at The Great Barrington Antique Center and the Red Chair in Hudson. We went to both and I bought a few things for myself at each location. They were also able to purchase a few pieces from the former owners. Other things were taken from their own homes or found at flea markets and estate sales.
Don’t forget that if you decide to open a hotel, you will be required to follow many rules and install things like handrails and other safety features.
We didn’t realize how busy restaurants in Lenox and Great Barrington would be so I suggest making reservations as soon as you book your stay. Frank also said that if guests don’t feel comfortable eating out and want to pick up take out meals, they are welcome to eat at the Inn. You would just let them know and they would supply you with plates, silverware, and napkins.
Normally, a buffet breakfast would be served each morning in the dining room but they’ve given guests the option now to eat outside on the terrace or in their rooms.
Breakfast runs from 8:00-10:00am and you just let Frank know what time you plan to eat. You are presented with a delicious cider donut from Bartlett’s Orchard in Richmond while you choose your breakfast option. And don’t think it will be the same menu each morning. We were delightfully surprised that the omelet ingredients changed during our stay.
Breakfast was delicious and the perfect way to start the day at The Inn at Kenmore Hall.
If you rounded the corner after breakfast, you would come across the mudroom. This is part of the private area but I’m very happy I was able to see where the flowers are arranged.
Frank said they bought these cabinets even before the deal to buy the house was finalized.
There are lovely little moments in every room of the Inn.
Another look at the mudroom that leads up to the kitchen. Frank and Scott have created their private space in the old servants quarters that have back stairs down to the kitchen.
The butler’s pantry leads from the hallway to the kitchen on the right and to the dining room back on the left. The cabinet paint color is the perfectly named Country Life.
There was empty wall space above a Shaker style bench but I love how the artwork was propped up against the floor instead.
Branches and fruit from the orchard make their way into the kitchen and the decor.
There are five rooms inside the main house and a separate guest cottage on the property. We were able to view a few rooms that weren’t occupied. Number one is to the left after you enter the front door. The walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s Northern Cliffs.
The paint colors and decor of each room is very soothing.
I think most all rooms have a desk which is nice if you need to use your laptop or write everyone to let them know you’re never coming home.
Due to hotel building codes, fires are not allowed to be lit in the rooms.
Here you can see some marks left even after the mantle was painted.
In a couple rooms, the sink and toilet are in a separate room on one side of the fireplace and the tub and shower are in a separate room on the other side. They were able to give these rooms bathrooms by closing up hallways that were probably once used by the servants.
I love these architectural details on the stairs.
I’m so glad I took a photo of this area the first day because later the stool was moved somewhere else.
On the stair landing looking up and down.
Even the public space upstairs has been beautifully decorated.
When we checked out, one of the guests was seated on a sofa working on his laptop.
This area of her room might be my favorite place in the entire Inn. It’s just so pretty.
It was so nice to have fresh flowers or branches in every room.
Her room had a beautiful fireplace that separate the two halves of the bathroom. I actually like them separated. If you check in with a significant other, one person could be showering and the other could still use the toilet and sink.
It’s been fun to look back at old photos from when they opened in 2018 and see what decorating changes have been made in the last two years.
They even thoughtfully offer two robe sizes in each room. If you came in the winter, I would pack slippers but I read that there is radiant floor heating in the bathrooms.
I had room #3 that I already told my friend Eleanor she has to book for a couples weekend with her husband. It’s pretty romantic so I hope I get to come back here with a man someday too.
The Hancock Shaker Village is a quick drive from the Inn and you can see their design influence in some of the furnishings.
I was pleasantly surprised to find an iron and a full sized ironing board in my closet to the left of the fireplace.
I loved the flowers and books in my room. The daybed is from Room & Board.
The rooms are pretty spacious so if you do check in with a partner, you will have room to spread out and give each other some space.
The folder in each room has the Covid-19 precautions and also great recommendations for restaurants and places to go near the Inn. They won’t refresh or clean the rooms during our stay unless it is requested.
I had the best bathroom in the Inn and was so happy to take a bath the first night. Unlike some tubs, it kept the water hot for my full bath. Scott said that they had to level the floor and reinforce it in order to add the freestanding tub. I had a feeling they did but I still had a quick vision of the tub falling through the floor like in The Money Pit.
It’s a shame you can’t take a bath with a fire since it would be insanely romantic. The walls are painted in appropriately titled Twilight Zone since it feels like we’ve been living in The Twilight Zone this year.
There were two little gold stools in the closet and you could use one to hold your wine while you soak away your pandemic problems.
They were incredibly lucky that they added this terrace last year so they can have socially distanced breakfasts outside now. I think the pandemic put plans for a pool on hold until a later date.
More greenery from the orchard. Did I mention they have 20 acres that you can explore during your stay? There are also a lot of hiking trails in the Berkshires too.
An espalier fruit tree along the terrace with antique edging.
There are so many perfectly placed chairs and benches on the grounds in which to contemplate life or your new move to the Berkshires.
The view from The Inn at Kenmore Hall.
The foggy view from my bathroom window Sunday morning.
The Inn at Kenmore Hall is so fabulous that even a Robin family decided to check in and themselves a home above the front door. A change of scenery was exactly what I needed and I want to thank Frank and Scott for their wonderful hospitality. I can’t wait to return.
All photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic.