Martha’s new home is more like a small village, with a series of houses and out-buildings dotting the expansive grounds. Martha resides in the 1925 farmhouse (the Winter House), shown above – a three-story abode fronted by a long porch and dormer windows on the third level. Adjacent to the farmhouse is the property's original structure: a 1770 Colonial house, known as the Summer House. There is also a nearby tenant’s cottage, where her daughter, Alexis, lives when she is visiting. The property also contains a guest house, known as the Maple Avenue House, and a contemporary house deeper on the property. You will see photos of these below. All photos are from TheMarthaBlog.com.With wide fields and swaying sycamore trees, the property is one of the finest in the region, adjacent to the home of fashion designer Ralph Lauren.
Westchester County was once famous for its Republicanism and old money – money that bought huge parcels of land and big stone houses on hilltops.
Today, the attitude here is decidedly casual and laid back with traditional roots still intact. The 1939 clock tower at Sutton Corners, for instance, is wound by hand each week by the neighbors. Many of the wealthy landowners are farmers, too, tending to their land and livestock in dirty dungarees.
Old money still lives on, though. Francis Kellogg still lives in his family’s 18th Century house at Mill Pond, and Robert F. Kennedy lives there with his family, tending to the region’s pollution control and water sanitation regulations.
Martha, who adores new projects, snapped up Cantitoe Farm when it went up for sale and she immediately wrote a mission statement for the property, a manifesto of dreams, as it were, outlining all of her desires and plans for what she hopes will be her main residence from now on.
Borrowing design and homestead philosophies from the Shaker communities in New York and Maine, Martha envisioned a farm of unparalleled practicality and style. “I want to have a new kind of house, a smart house,” she told Vanity Fair last year. “This is going to be the future. That’s what I’m trying to do here.”
Memrie Lewis, a long-time friend of Martha’s, elaborated on Martha’s dreams in the same Vanity Fair feature. “She’s creating a magical place,” says Memrie. “Her concept is that it’s going to be a self-sufficient American farm. You never have to leave your land. She tried to do that at Turkey Hill, but it was just too small. This is the dream she’s had for a long time: to have everything you need to eat or drink – vegetables, milk, eggs, meat, fruit, everything you can think of – right there in those acres.”
Martha is already quite close to achieving this dream.
In 2001 she hired famed architect Allan Greenberg to co-design many of the new plans, including new garages, stables, greenhouses and barns, as well as a 4,500 square-foot addition to the main farmhouse.
The houses on the lot have been refurbished with hand-cut clapboard siding, stained gray. In fact, the entire palette of the property is gray – Bedford Gray, which is now a paint color sold through her Martha Stewart Living paint line at the Home Depot. Gray stone stables, gray fencing, gray siding and barns dot the landscape.The interiors have also been re-worked using shades of gray. The kitchen is comprised of dyed-gray sycamore veneer cabinetry with gray lacquer trim. The white and gray marble floor was cut from stone taken from the Gordon Bunshaft house she once owned on Long Island. The overall effect is of serenity and monochromatic harmony. To see the interiors of the Winter House, click here.
Outdoors, she has had four miles of carriage roadways built on the property and she imported 100-year-old white cedar paddock fencing from Canada to create grazing paddocks for her five Friesen horses, also from Canada. Courtyards on the property are paved with cobblestones that once lined the streets of Elizabeth, New Jersey (Martha's home state) and were originally used as ballast on old wooden cargo ships.
There are more than 45,000 daffodil bulbs planted along the rock walls that line the property (45 different varieties) and nearly 3000 new trees have been planted since her arrival, including a hedge of Korean lilacs. There is a peony garden boasting 200 different plants and a 'boxwood room' next to the Summer House.
In spring 2007, the host of Animal Planet's Backyard Habitat, Dave Mizejewski, designated Martha's Bedford property as a Certified Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. Martha encourages birds, owls and bats on the property by setting up bird houses in the woods on the property.Martha in the stables with her horses and donkeys, all from Canada. The stable interiors were designed and built by a British company called Lodden.
The entrance to the stables.
The stone used to build the stables was quarried in Vermont.
The greenhouse where Martha keeps her collection of tropical plants.
Martha inside the greenhouse.
Behind the greenhouse is the expansive vegetable garden.
Martha displays her tropical plants during the summer in the sunken garden, which connects the main Winter House to the Summer House.
The entrance to the Summer House.
The Maple Avenue House, which Martha uses as a guest house.
The tenant house in the spring.
The contemporary house on the property.
The formal garden leading up to the porch of the Winter House.