John Dransfield and Geoffery Ross's Stately Georgian Revival in New Jersey
Built in 1929 by a famous New York architect, the historical estate lends an air of hospitable warmth and impeccable taste.
Ten years ago, when designers John Dransfield and Geoffrey Ross, owners of the celebrated home furnishings and accessories company that bears their names, purchased a small 19th-century farmhouse in posh Somerset County, New Jersey, it was merely intended as a weekend retreat, an occasional alternative to the couple’s homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons. But as they settled into the Garden State’s Hunt Country, a nearby house captured their imaginations: Cherryfields, a stately Georgian Revival with a storied past, built by famed New York architect A. Musgrave Hyde in 1929.
At the time the couple first became enamored by it, Cherryfields was still owned by Nancy "Princess" Pyne, who’d lived there for half a century, and who, along with her friends Sister Parish and Albert Hadley, had transformed it into a residence of renowned style and grace.
A couple of years later, when Dransfield and Ross heard that Cherryfields was up for sale, they quickly arranged a tour. On the morning they arrived at the house and were greeted at the door by the silver-haired, Chanel-suited Pyne, they became certain of two things: that Cherryfields would be theirs, and that its patrician proprietor would become a permanent fixture in their lives. Within a year, the couple had traded houses with Pyne, who still freely roams her old home and grounds, supplying spry counsel and choice anecdotes about her old compatriots Malcolm Forbes and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (who used to weekend next door).
As Dransfield and Ross began stocking their new home with rare and exquisite finds—a sinuous settee that once belonged to cosmetics mogul Helena Rubinstein, a silver-painted staff that Tony Duquette crafted by hand for tobacco heiress Doris Duke, a pair of pale wood trestle tables designed by Syrie Maugham—they happily parted with their other residences and moved full-time to Cherryfields. "It’s a special, beautiful place," says Dransfield. "We feel so lucky to live here."