By Jamie Larson
Photos by Shannon Greer.
One of the most enjoyable things about the ongoing small business renaissance in Hudson is its vast diversity of style. Each shop, guesthouse, restaurant and cultural center is a reflection of the unique style, and often caprice, of the individuals involved.
The Hudson Milliner
, one of the city's newest guesthouses, is a perfect example. At 415 Warren Street, the building, right in the center of it all, is both a beautiful expression of the honed taste and professional eyes of artist-owners Charlotta Janssen
and Shannon Greer
, and the strong historic aesthetics of Hudson itself.
“People come to Hudson to create exactly what they want," says Janssen, who owns two funky Brooklyn restaurants -- Chez Oskar
and Lola BKLYN
. “That’s what we did. We wanted to make spaces that really work, for us and our guests."
From 2010 to 2013, Janssen and Greer toiled over every detail of a massive renovation. As a painter, Janssen fell in love with the exposed brick and old beams they uncovered after gutting both upper floors, marveling at the surviving 19th-century hardware. Greer, a photographer who also uses the rooms as sets for shoots, fixated on the natural light that pours into the spaces, formerly apartments and offices. The downstairs, now a handsome furniture store by Chris Lehrecke
, was a millinery, hence the name and those of the suites: The Top Hat, Bowler, Fedora and Cloche.
“I looked at the design like a photographer, how I would shoot there," Greer says. “Finding the right furniture is important and I’m always thinking in terms of lighting. But we also wanted to preserve the idea of Hudson. We wanted to keep the sense of place."
It just feels like Hudson in the Milliner. The couple made bold design choices that at times border on the whimsical, but nothing is over the top. The exposed structural elements bring the feel of the small city into the room; the Hudson-sourced antiques provide guests with a personalized experience and the industrial elements and use of white add a slightly modern feel. That all may sound busy, but it’s not. Every space has been meticulously thought out and fits together like a strange, elegant puzzle.
“We tried to imagine what we would like in a bed and breakfast," Janssen says. “We designed it for ourselves and wanted everything to be unique. Anyone coming up to Hudson wants space and sun and to be alone with their lover or family and feel comfortable."
They said they hate the idea of going to a hotel where every room is the same, every lamp and every mirror bought by the dozen. Janssen and Greer painstakingly selected and fought over every design element. For what you get, plus location, the rates are a steal at $250 to $300 a night. But we’ll keep that between us.
For Janssen and Greer, the journey to open the Milliner was a circuitous one that started not as a business venture but a search for a country home in the area where Greer spent some of his school-age years. “We had this whole romantic notion of living in a barn," she says, her arms wrapped around Greer’s shoulders. “But we are too urban."
“We fell in love with Hudson," Greer remembers of their 2010 property search. “It’s everything we liked about the country but you still have that urban feel. There’s music, art and amazing farm-to-table food."
If, while staying at the Milliner, you feel like cooking in to take advantage of the beautifully retro kitchens, or hosting some friends for dinner, The Farm Box
will deliver a fully stocked supply of locally grown goods ready for cooking right to your suite. Call it farm-to-table room service.
Janssen and Greer now live about half the week in NYC and the other half in their place off the back of the Milliner. With renovations complete, the two are now settling in. Janssen will be showing her paintings in October at the R Wells Gallery
at 725 Warren; Greer is trying to shoot more and more of his work in Hudson. The couple has made a home for themselves at the Milliner and they’d be happy to have you as their guest.
“It is too big to be just our place but we fell in love with it," says Janssen. “Now everyone can love it, too."
The Hudson Milliner Guesthouse and Inn
415 Warren Street, Hudson, NY