The Rural We: James Crisp
The founder of Crisp Architects, a prominent architectural and design firm based in Millbrook, New York, Jimmy Crisp was born in Pumpkin Center, Louisiana. While he was working in the city after graduating from Louisiana State University, he renovated a one-room schoolhouse in Dutchess County, and started getting work in the area. He thought, “Why am I commuting when I could live here?” He opened his office in 1985, and now the firm includes about a dozen people. The staff is gearing up for its tenth annual FineHome Source, an “exceptional” home show that gets bigger and better every year. On Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., FineHome Source will be at its customary location: 3327 Franklin Avenue at the bandshell in the Village of Millbrook, New York.
We live in Poughquag, which sort of reminds me of Pumpkin Center. We have a 1790s house that was added on to in the 1860s. Our kids are in 4H and raise sheep. We also have a couple of sheepdogs, bunnies, chickens and cats.
We didn’t intentionally set out to create a home show. Years ago, one of my clients asked me to be in a boutique home show, some sort of fundraiser in Connecticut. At the show we met a number of people who we’ve since worked with, and we even met a client there. I was gung-ho for the next year, but they never did it again. Someone in the office said, “Well, why don’t we do it?” We had just moved to a new location, with a big field next to the office. We rented a giant tent and brought in all the people we work with. They got booths, and we had a home show. Ten years ago, we started with 30 vendors. Now we have over 60.
It’s a wonderful way for us to have a one-stop shop for clients to look at people who might be working on their homes. It’s also a good place to meet potential clients. This year there will be culinary tutorials — someone from the Culinary Institute of America is going to demonstrate how to make winter soups and other things. Some of the other food vendors will be Soukup Farms with their maple syrup, Peony Vodka, Zoe’s ice cream, and Shunpike Dairy with its cheese.
This year our office manager, Annette Santacroce, who coordinates the show, was talented enough to get Tesla as an exhibitor. They’re flying in people from California to promote their cars and solar shingles.
We have a fine fashion show that we started last year, and a Plein Air Art Event & Auction. Ten artists will be on site and create paintings inspired by their surroundings. People will be able to buy their favorite painting at a silent auction. Larry Hamm, a jazz pianist, will be playing on a Yamaha baby grand.
We get around 1200 people, and expect that there might even be more this year. I always say I think it’s going to be our best one, and I think this one will be.