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 (Autumn 2014)
Jimmy and Jill Went up the Hill

Jimmy and Jill Went up the Hill

Text by Louis Postel

Seeking the perfect site for a year-round home, architect Jimmy Crisp and his client bushwhacked their way up a steep hillside armed only with thorn-proof leggings and machetes. When they finally arrived at the top huffing and puffing, there it was — a commanding view of meandering streams in a wide valley with its far rim embracing the scene at a level almost directly across.


“We had to carve everything out of the hillside,” said Crisp who heads up one the dominant firms in the area, “starting with the road. As you can see, the materials themselves take little care: the stucco walls have the color impregnated into them, so there’s no repainting. The Marvin windows are all high-efficiency e-glass which prevents the sun from over-heating the place, and they’re also in maintenance-free, aluminum-clad casements. Spray-foam insulation keeps the temperatures even. And the stone walls, of course, require no upkeep.”


Crisp wrote the book on porches, literally. On The Porch: Creating You Place to Watch The World Go By (Taunton Press) makes a persuasive argument that these outdoor living rooms not only make a house look beautiful but make it much more beautiful to live in. The only thing missing is Crisp’s southern accent pitched for long afternoons drinking ice tea…on the porch. The Valley View house has three such areas, a guest porch, a main porch and a master terrace held up by the pillars of the master porch.

Another hallmark of a Crisp home is that the footprint is long and narrow, rather than deep. That’s why when you enter the house and proceed through the pocket doors of the vestibule, there’s cathedral-like light spilling into all the spaces along the long hall, with valley views dominating the left side: a home office at the very end, a stairwell and elevator midway and a family room with a mahogany veneered arch. (One might wonder whether the extra-wide arch separating the family room and hall occupies too much real estate, even in this 5,500 square foot home. Not to worry. Tucked inside its mahogany veneer, there’s an enviable wine cooler display and wet bar). Crisp connects these spaces with rhythmic patterns of windows, floor tiles, LED’s in a coffered ceiling, and perhaps most importantly, strategically placed selections from the homeowners’ extensive art collection.

(end of excerpt)

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What Our Clients Say

I have been working with Jimmy Crisp and his firm for over 10 years. He has transformed our 240 year old home and property and we continue to work with him on multiple projects. His sense of style, creativity and attention to detail is unparalleled. We renovated and expanded our main house, built a large barn and guest house, a wine cellar, pool area and our current projects include a pergola, stone house addition with a game room, pool house and gym. I trust Jimmy implicitly and depend on him as I live in a different state than my weekend home. He is a wonderful collaborator, always respectful and truly takes the time to get to know you, your lifestyle and your taste. Our home has been featured in "O Oprah" magazine and is also home to many events. I hope we can keep working with them for the next 20 years!

- Mindy Grossman

We had a wonderful experience with Crisp Architects. We wanted a pool house the reflection our love of Italy and food and we totally achieved this. I would highly recommend Crisp Architects. They were wonderful to deal with and we love our pool house. Would love to use them again for a future project.

- Piedmont1

Jimmy designed our home, from the ground up, and he and Lin Chamberlain built it. We could not be happier. It was a wonderful and easy experience working with them, and the result is a great, comfortable, and charming home. Jimmy and his staff were at all times helpful and responsive, and Lin and his crew were the same. The house was built on time, in spite of difficult conditions (unseasonable ice, and cold) and it is solid, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and easy to live in. Jimmy was and is flexible and responsive in his approach to our needs, while maintaining a wonderful design aesthetic that is garnered many complements. I highly recommend Jimmy for any project.

- SZ Kronovet

I found Crisp Architects' website many years ago, forging our dream of hiring Jimmy Crisp to design our hypothetical addition to our small house built in 1785. Ten years later, with a comparatively small budget than their norm, located across the river, in Orange County, New York, I wrote an email to ask if we were worthy. Almost immediately, I was treated to a personal phone call from Jimmy Crisp, and began to feel the kind, white glove treatment they naturally provide. From that first conversation, to where we are today at mid-construction of an incredible addition and renovation that Crisp Architects designed, I cannot say enough about the entire team and level of expertise. They are not only the sweetest people, but they are true experts in their trade, and particularly with historic architecture.
Communication with Crisp Architects is immediate, reaction to your ideas is open minded and responded to with honest, valuable feedback, usually adding a new way of thinking to consider. My husband appreciates how Crisp successfully blended our old house architecture with the addition so beautifully, and how the team remains engaged with you and the project until its completion. We could not be more thrilled and we only hope to be able to hire them again for additional building on the property!
Never once did I feel like we had the small project across the river, and they have kept us in our modest budget. We love Crisp Architects!

- Laura Bryson

Crisp Architects are a wonderful team headed by James Crisp. They listen well and then go off and create a beautiful plan. Remodeling can be very stressful but with Crisp Architects as your partner you can be sure all the details are taken care of. We could not be more pleased with results.

- Margaret Van Sicklen

Jimmy Crisp and his team did an outstanding job designing our screened in porch, expanding family room, and new kitchen. Jimmy's plan provided us with an improved indoor and outdoor living space that better accommodates the way in which we live, and in addition, allows us to maximize the use of our home. Jimmy and his team could not have been nicer and more professional as we progressed from the early stages of this project through the construction phase. I will not hesitate to use Crisp Architects in the future.

- Louis A Parks

We hired Crisp Architects to design and oversee the renovation of our 100 year old barn and carriage house home. Their design was respectful of the historic nature of the house while bringing it up to date with all the necessary modern conveniences. I have nothing but positive things to say about our experience with Crisp Architects from the level of service of every employee to the beautiful end product. In fact, since our renovation, we have been asked several times to include our home in the Historic Homes Tour in our area.

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