Home Highlight - Shirley & Chip Dawson

If you’ve faithfully followed our popular Home Highlight blog series, then you’ll probably notice that this installment makes a stark departure from our standard framework. Typically, this series highlights the homeowners’ three favorite features of the home, whether it is a specific room, a piece of art, etc. For this one, we’ve made an exception. That’s because there are far too many interesting nooks, quirks, and corners to be encapsulated in a bulleted list of three attributes. This agrarian chic home, built three years ago with the intention of encompassing all of the charm and antiquity found in an archetypal farmhouse, is magnificent. Perhaps the resemblance to our home in Hammondsport makes me a bit biased. Regardless, after visiting Shirley and Chip Dawson’s home for the first time a few weeks ago, I may have a new contender for my “top homes in Rochester” list… Read on to find out why!

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Both Shirley & Chip gave a big shout out to IKEA as the source for their kitchen pantry, closet fittings, nearly all the sinks in the house and those great light shades hanging over the dining table!

Both Shirley & Chip gave a big shout out to IKEA as the source for their kitchen pantry, closet fittings, nearly all the sinks in the house and those great light shades hanging over the dining table!


Salvaged Goods!

Shirley and Chip’s favorite question from inquisitive, curious guests is, “What exactly did this home used to be?” (I won’t lie. I asked it myself…) The surprising answer is that the home is actually a new build! Shocking, right? Chip and Shirley’s place certainly doesn’t scream “new” due to the fact that many of its best features were salvaged from the original red barn that sits on the property. This is the structure from which the majority of the interior magic was created! The barnwood beams, the chicken wire railing, the bead board in the powder room… all reclaimed from the original structure. Even the mismatched dining room chairs, (referred to by the Dawsons as “ditch chairs”) were found and rescued off of the side of the road. There is no home – and certainly no new build – that looks like this. How can I be so sure? Because Shirley designed and constructed it in her head over a decade ago. It wasn’t until just three years ago that the pair were finally able to see their vision come to life, and it was certainly worth the wait!

Pottery Barn furniture? Not in this house! Shirley and Chip combined items rescued both from the barn and the side of the road in order to create these unique headboards in their guest room.

Pottery Barn furniture? Not in this house! Shirley and Chip combined items rescued both from the barn and the side of the road in order to create these unique headboards in their guest room.

Paul Knoblauch constructed the frame and base of the dining room table & fitted the salvaged chicken wire for the stairs.

Paul Knoblauch constructed the frame and base of the dining room table & fitted the salvaged chicken wire for the stairs.

Shirley & Chip actually had no idea that the beams pulled from the barn had been "defaced" with graffiti until they were cleaned and installed. I guess, upon reflection, it seemed a bit too sacrilegious to take them down!

Shirley & Chip actually had no idea that the beams pulled from the barn had been "defaced" with graffiti until they were cleaned and installed. I guess, upon reflection, it seemed a bit too sacrilegious to take them down!

Art, art, and more art.

As Junot Diaz said, “Any art worth its names requires you to be fundamentally lost for a very long time.” In Shirley’s case, that time amounted to ten years of creative thought. As an artist, Shirley intuitively understands space, volume, and proportion. As an educated woman, she also understands the concepts of The Golden Ratio and Divine Proportion. B applying proportions that are found throughout nature, this former owner of The Dawson Gallery was able to design a structure that is both aesthetically pleasing and acts as a showcase for their extensive collection of art. Large areas of unadorned wall are necessary to accommodate the art – both high and low – that she and Chip have acquired through the years. Yes, there are spectacular canvases on display. However, there is also a “$40 Wall” of mirrors which came from a collection that Shirley began curating at a previous home. She vowed only to spend a max of $40 on each mirror and as fate would have it, the wall in her lower level was just dying to showcase the collection!

An amalgam of both Shirley's art and that of other artists that the couple has collected throughout the years...

An amalgam of both Shirley's art and that of other artists that the couple has collected throughout the years...

This incredibly cool piece actually came to the Dawson's doorstep in small, individual squares... Shirley and her granddaughter had to spend an entire afternoon following the instructions to assemble it.

This incredibly cool piece actually came to the Dawson's doorstep in small, individual squares... Shirley and her granddaughter had to spend an entire afternoon following the instructions to assemble it.


More Wallpaper, Please!

If you’ve sold a house with our team, then you’ve probably heard our spiel on why it is that you should remove wallpaper to appeal to the majority of buyers. Despite everything that I’m about to say, our maxim still holds true! Shirley and Chip Dawson have some of the most creative, thought-provoking wallpaper that I’ve ever seen in a home. That is probably due to the fact that one of Shirley’s favorite late night pastimes is pursing online galleries of wallpaper design. Some of her most coveted are proudly and beautifully displayed throughout their home. I personally loved the wall in their den/study. Remarkably, those are not real mirrors, pictures, and tables, as the wall is actually covered in very detailed wallpaper! Incredible!