I always wonder, when it comes to older homes, what the original owners would think of the present-day families living inside. I imagine some of them would be surprised to see how we live and decorate today, but when it comes to this beautiful stone house in Western Massachusetts, I feel confident that the original owners would be thrilled to know who is living there now.
Artist Emily Billings and software engineer Max Shay recently moved from a small, fifth-floor apartment in Boston to the tiny town of Cummington, MA (population 800), where they now rent an incredible home with a rich artistic history. Their new house used to be the home of The Cummington Press (an influential literary printing company) and the Cummington School of the Arts, which housed artists like Diane Arbus, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning from the 1930s until the 1990s. The basement still holds the remnants of a darkroom and the main house originally held both a printing press and a photo studio. The barn next to the house dates back to the 1800s and once held the school’s painting studios and wood shop and a tiny building deep in the property’s woods was once devoted entirely to sculpting. The home’s history of such incredible creative energy and talent makes it the perfect place for a young, artistic couple to work and live.
Emily and Max are taking their time decorating their space and are excited to let their home evolve as they live there. Their goal is to fill their space enough to make it welcoming and comfortable, but not too much to distract from the architectural details and history of the home. I can only imagine how inspiring those views are for both Emily and Max’s work and I’m thrilled that we get to take a peek inside such a special place today. xo, grace
Photographs by Max Shay