Brecknock Hall, Southold, NY
I’m in NY this week visiting family and today we got a private tour of Brecknock Hall. It is an amazing building. Brecknock Hall is currently being lovingly renovated by a small group of volunteers. We were fortunate to get a tour because it is not currently open to the public. According to Uncle Bob, our guide, each floor is about 4,000 square feet. There are four floors. As we were being shown around I was struck by several things.
The first thing was the difference in size between the servant’s quarters and the family’s quarters. Four servant’s bedrooms would fit into one of the family’s bedrooms. The cook’s quarters were right off the kitchen and amazingly small. On the right-hand side of the picture you can see what appears to be an addition...that is were the servants lived. Sleeping quarters were on the second floor and there was a recreation room in the basement.
The second thing I found interesting was a very large open space on the second floor at the top of the stairs in the main house. The open area was enormous and was made to improve air circulation. The bedrooms off the open area had levored doors; these doors allowed air to flow into the family bedrooms but still provided privacy.
Some other interesting things: the doors are all different sizes, there are wooden pegs holding many of the support joints in place (cool), there is a safe the size of a small closet, there was an incredible amount of attention to detail with a scroll motif that goes up the main staircase and can also be found on the cornices, every single window in the house has shutters on the inside that fold into the window casing when not in use, there are areas in the attic that look like jail cells with wooden bars (not actually jail cells), there is a small room above the attic where one can get a 360 degree view of the area (Uncle Bob says that birds often fly into the north facing windows), because the boiler made a lot of noise there is actually about 2 inches of dirt in the ceiling over the boiler area, actual window inside the servant’s quarters between a bedroom and the hall (to increase air circulation in that area), the house is solid (thick brick and stone walls).
This house is absolutely amazing. And it is enormous. It really doesn’t look that large from the outside, but once you add a full basement and attic, well...it is. There is still a lot of work to do on it and if you happen to be inclined to contribute to the renovation fund...I’m sure they won’t turn down the money.