Work will start soon on the restoration of Gustav Stickley’s Syracuse home, one of the founders of the arts and crafts movement in this country. It will become a museum dedicated to the Stickley Craftsman design, with a twist.
The Arts and crafts movement reflects simplicity. The furniture Stickley designed, often called mission, emphasizes simple horizontal and vertical lines that accentuate the wood. The interior of Stickley’s home on Columbus Avenue in Syracuse’s University neighborhood is filled with that simple woodwork and it will be renovated as part of a $2.5 million restoration.
The University Neighborhood Preservation Association and the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA) have joined together to convert the 112-year-old home into a museum. But OHA Executive Director Greg Tripoli believes it has to be more than that, noting that house museums, especially in the Syracuse area, can’t be sustained by visitors alone. So, the renovation will include turning the house into a kind of boutique hotel.
“The hotel component will provide the revenue that is necessary to sustain the museum component, and make sure the house is in good shape and stays in good shape and stays a part of our community forever," Tripoli said.
Tripoli said the idea of letting people interact with the materials in the home is something that very much fits into the Stickley’s view of craftsman furniture, that it should be useful and comfortable.
"It’s not just an historic house to look at, it’s an historic house to experience," Tripoli said.
The house has been vacant for 20 years. It’s most recent owner, the Audi family that owns Stickley Audi and Company in Manlius, donated the home to the historical association.