The MacKenzie-Childs Estate For Sale in New York

by hookedonhouses on July 24, 2011

Mackenzie-Childs-house-exterior-with-Richard-and-Victoria-MacKenzie-ChildsHere’s a kind of property you don’t see every day. This historic home near Aurora, New York, was built in 1790 and restored by Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs, the artists who founded the home-decor company MacKenzie-Childs.

The main house has 7 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and sits on 42 acres in the Finger Lakes region. The press release says, “This is the exact location, the spawning ground, of the earth shattering discovery, vision and genesis of the company, MacKenzie-Childs Ltd.”

The couple sold the company after declaring bankruptcy in 2000 and started a new home-decor brand under the name Victoria and Richard Emprise.

If you’re familiar with the kinds of furniture and home decor sold by MacKenzie-Childs, then you probably recognize a lot of the influences in this house, such as this black and white-checkered dining room:

The kitchen has a lot of patterned tile, too, but the colors are so pale that they don’t jump out at you as much.

The house is being used as a Bed & Breakfast now. This bedroom looks like it could be a luxury suite in Disney World’s Polynesian Resort, doesn’t it?

Check out the birds sitting on top of the bed posts–wonder if they wake you up in the morning by singing, Disney-style?

Every room is unusual in its own way.

This looks like the Dixon Road Bed from their line.

One bedroom has a fireplace…

…and a free-standing tub behind a screen:

(Does that lamp remind anyone else of the classic leg lamp in A Christmas Story?)

This sunroom has floor tiles that were individually hand painted:

You can see them better in this photo:

The outdoor patios, paths, and arbors are really beautiful:

The back of the house:

There’s a 2,300 square-foot Carriage House on the property, too. The upper level has a “guest suite.” The lower level is used as a gift shop that sells the couple’s products:

This bathroom features paper dolls hanging from the ceiling, something I can’t say I’ve seen before:

Here’s an aerial view of the property, which is near Cayuga Lake and has “sweeping elevated views” of it:

It’s on the market for $1.1 million. Visit the Sotheby’s listing for more information. 12/13 Update: It just sold for $595,000. Details at

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Alison July 24, 2011 at 9:09 am

it is a spectacular home…not decorated to my taste, but lovely nonetheless…i was thinking ‘mary engelbreit’ whilst looking at the various rooms.

A.Men July 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

Crazy house! Not to my taste either! Too chaotic!

Nicole Mulvany July 24, 2011 at 9:11 am

Not to tell you how to decorate…but you need that glass top table with the bunnies for your new room. I love the house. The decor is over the top. Surprisingly the kitchen was in good taste. I am not for eclectic decorating that changes so drastically from room to room. Tiki into garden into French country but all kind of wacky. Not my taste. The house though and property are to die for.

Heatherly July 24, 2011 at 9:11 am

Yeah, I will pass on that decor but if you look past it, that house is lovely! Only $1.1 million?

Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady July 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Exactly! And I totally love some of the rooms, like the pastel kitchen. And I love the wooden floors and the garden too. Now I just need to find myself 1.1 million dollar :p

Luciane at July 24, 2011 at 9:13 am

This is such an amusing place! It’s not a place I’d like to pay this much for, but can you imagine living in it? You’d discover something new every day! Interesting!!!

Wishing you and your family a very blessed week!


Luciane at

Laura July 24, 2011 at 9:15 am

The best attributes of this house, is most definitely the garden. That’s where this over-the-top whimsical look can fly, but in the house it’s way over done. I wouldn’t mind being in the position to buy this place and tone it down! Lx

sivyaleah July 24, 2011 at 9:19 am

Some of it I could live with, some not. Overall, lovely and if you took out the over-the-top furnishings and chachkas, I could easily see myself in it. The price seems reasonable for what you’re getting considering the property, size, care and detail that went into the home.

Deb! July 24, 2011 at 9:26 am

That’s a hell of a lot of house and gorgeous grounds for only $1.1 million!

Handy Man, Crafty Woman July 24, 2011 at 9:30 am

it’s a great home. I really don’t like the way it’s decorated, but that could be changed. It would take a LOT of money to change it though; as it’s not JUST the furniture, it’s the walls, floors, etc. too over the top for me. It almost looks like the 1980s meets Alice & Wonderland.

Kelly Ann July 24, 2011 at 9:32 am

Yep…gotta say I’d gut this house, kind of makes ya dizzy…

Barbara Parsons July 24, 2011 at 9:54 am

Whew! I was dizzy, too. Each piece would look good in another home
not all together in this one. Nice house though.

Tiffany in Topeka July 24, 2011 at 9:34 am

I think I have to agree with the previous comments. It’s not to my taste and I would want to redecorate. I’m more of a history buff, so I think I would want to take it back to it’s 18th century roots! BUT – it is a splendid house and a good amount of land. Thanks for sharing! It’s beautiful!


Karena July 24, 2011 at 9:34 am

I have always adored the MacKenzie-Childs designs! This property is beyond amazing. I would redo part of the home and keep many of the decorative elements!


Art by Karena

Last day to win a lovely painting by Mary Maxam!

Neesha July 24, 2011 at 9:36 am

I love the architecture and the grounds are so lovely! I also love the outdoors. The decor is very kitschy, I kinda like it but I don’t think I can live with all the stuff.

Carol M July 24, 2011 at 9:41 am

Yes, I thought that lamp in the bedroom looked like that famous one — before I read your comment! The house and gardens are beautiful. The decorating though, is definitely not my style. Your description of the Disney Tiki Room was spot on hysterical. That room sure doesn’t fit with the rest of the house.

hookedonhouses July 24, 2011 at 10:39 am

Glad I’m not the only one who thought that, Carol! Maybe I’ve just seen “A Christmas Story” too many times… :-)

angfreda July 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

OMG I LOVE M-C . Does it come fully furnished?
Sigh- the latticed ceiling on the sunroom, this room:×408.jpg… the details, details, details!
I wonder if M-C ever made wallpaper? The reason the property is ‘cheap’ is that there are no jobs in that area

hookedonhouses July 24, 2011 at 10:39 am

It doesn’t come furnished, but I think that’s negotiable, according to the listing.

Pascale Steig July 24, 2011 at 10:03 am

This house is fabulous, and I wish the inside were decorated in a style to match the outside. Yeah, I also thought “Mary Engelbreit”; the decorating looks contrived and very 80s dated… I wanted to see one of these great early house kitchens with a huge fireplace, a farm-style prep table and an original wall oven still used for bread baking… Thank heavens, at least they didn’t paint the original beams in the ceilings of the attic.

LindaSonia July 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

The home and property is indeed to die for… the decor not so much. I couldn’t live with it – bits and bobs of it, but that’s about it.

Someone should buy it, leave it as is, and offer tours through it. I’d go on one for sure!

Jan Tanis Designs July 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

I can’t believe the price – $1.1 million? For that, if I had it, I’d buy it in a heart-beat and put the time and effort into changing the entire interior, since it’s not my taste AT ALL!! It would be worth it – especially near Cayuga Falls and 42 acres – not to mention the size of the house…and that there’s a Guest House!!!

Deborah Peterson Milne July 24, 2011 at 10:15 am

Hi Julia ~ Happy Sunday. What’s that old saying, “to each their own?” I love the grounds, the architecture and the homes history, but that’s where it stops. In my humble opinion, the decorating is horrific. A great example as to how to ruin a home, I’ll leave it at that!

MissCaron July 24, 2011 at 10:49 am

Ohmygoodness… what a shame… it could be quite charming. I hope that someone buys it and changes just about everything in the interior. It really could be something wonderful, especially if they keep it as a B&B.

Ricki Jill Treleaven July 24, 2011 at 10:54 am

I love it! I would so buy this house if I could! We love MacKenzie-Childs, and we registered for it 23 years ago when we married, so we are long-time collectors. I can honestly say that I have never tired of the Taylor or Wallcourt lines, although I have changed my mind about which patterns I like best over the years. Thanks so much for posting this, Julia!

By the way….I love the eighties colors in the kitchen. I want a return to “pretty”….I want Mario Buatta interiors again!!!! ;P

Amy S. Rybacki July 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

It is over the top, but it is done well so it works!

Sheila Krehbiel July 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

Looks like someone’s got a serious case of ADD. Great bones, needs some love and patience. Happy Sunday!

Teacup Lane July 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

A lot of house and land for 1.1 million. The results look like they were on HGTV’s “Design Stars” and went wild decorating every room differently but with a very huge budget and lots of time. They may have used ME’s colors in some rooms but not her fantastic style. It makes one wonder how much money they spent decorating…walls, floors, furniture etc. You find the most interesting homes to view.

Farmeress July 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm

It would be a fabulous place to visit! I am sorry the B&B is giving up for that is the perfect venue for this whimsical historical record of a creative design team! I am also regretting I did not know it existed before. Intend to check area C of C to see if it is still accepting guests. I pass that way from Ohio to Capitol district NY about twice annually and my new camera & I would love to record this beautiful masterpiece of creativity! Lovely country side as well. I am completely taken with the carriage house!!! I wish HGTV would quick get their cameras there for a tour and possibly an interview with the designers. Would hate to see it undone but understand not everyone’s eye would enjoy living with this well done whimsy daily! House & grounds have Beautiful bones and I hope it finds itself a Good Home with loving caretakers!

Colette July 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I LOVE IT!! I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the different themes, it would keep it from getting boring for me. But then, I’m a Gemini….and maybe just a little ADD. :)

Donna July 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Oh, my goodness–I need a dramamine. I own exactly one MacKenzie-Childs plate and I love it. I love it because it’s just one. A whole house of that would make me feel like I was on a never-ending carousel ride. But it does seem like a bargain for someone.

Cori Heffernan July 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

The house and outside are beautiful. I could live with most of the inside with some calming down of patterns and creamy white paint. The dining room is too much and the bathroom where paper dolls go to die looks like something my brother might have done!

Bridget July 25, 2011 at 2:08 am

Cori, I was thinking that my brother would have done the very same thing. Poor paperdolls!

Kim July 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

To tell you the truth, upon looking at the nice outside, I was expecting an interior like the March house used in the 1994 version of “Little Women”. To my disappointment, it wasn’t. In fact, like the others, I think what they did to the interior is hideous and it doesn’t reflect the historic eras at all, accept the attic. That room is absolutely gorgeous and I wish they had put that style throughout the rest of the house.

A side from that, I love the carriage house. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I would much prefer to live there instead of the house. I also love the land. The Grounds are beautiful and it’s the type of property I would love to live on.

Pam July 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I love the exterior and the carriage house is beautiful but the interior UGH!! I could not live with it. I have always liked the Mackenzie-childs smaller pieces but a house full of it is a bit much for me. The exterior is just beautiful though.

Jenny Allworthy July 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Anyone else get nauseous looking at that dining room? A bit of black and white check is cool but that would take my appetite away.

Too bad the clutter takes away from the gorgeous bones of the house. The individual elements may be good to but are so OTT this way.

The finger lakes area is breathtaking as is the outside of the house and the bones of the house. 1.1 mil is a bargain for the right buyer!

Smooches Darling July 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I’d give my eye teeth to have this, just the way it is. Unfortunately my eye teeth are worth considerably less than 1.1 mil. *sigh*

Megan July 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I usually try to see past the furniture and paint when I look at these listings, but this was just too much. It felt very contrived and over-the-top, and it felt more like a showroom than an actual home. And that’s a LOT of house for that much money – I wonder why?

Brandon @ Southgate July 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I love the “bones” of the house, I am a sucker for the classic old “five over 4 and a door” places. The interior? Well…I’ll be kind and say it certainly must reflect the tastes of the current owner…and that’s what a house ought to do, isn’t it?

Douglas Arthur July 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm

This house is magical, the exteriors seem like something out of an English novel and yet the insides resemble a walk through Wonderland (wouldn’t Alice and her parade of characters fit within this decor. The amount of time and care it would take to make this sort of home opens me up to appreciation for it and the whimsy of those who have occupied it. What an amazing childhood it would be to live somewhere so fun and colorful. I would like to see what they might do if they were to install a pool….bet it would be checkerboard style

Jessica July 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I love the exteriors of the house as well as the beautiful land surrounding it…but I most definitely would re-do the interior. Some spaces like the bathroom with the clawfoot tub need only a slight touch where as others would need quite a bit more…but the house is amazing though and I think it would be wonderful to live there.
Sounds kind of funny but 1 mill. sounds a bit low for this place.
xo J~

Janice Mahon July 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm

As comedian George Carlin once said, “A house is a pile of stuff with a lid on top.” And there is so much stuff in this place, you can’t see the forest for the trees. Nice house, nice price, nice location. Enuf said. :)

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints July 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm

wowza…that’s all i can say!

Michelle July 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I have been in this house on several occasions (my sister-in-law and son have both worked for Richard & Victoria, as did I for a short time). I love the grounds and the carriage house. The main house is a bit much too much for me personally. It is very Alice in Wonderland, neat, but I don’t know that I would want to live there. I do love the Aga stove in the kitchen!

Michelle July 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I also meant to add that being very familiar with the house and the area that the price seems to be on the money.

Nita July 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Love the house and the land. This is such a great price for what you get. Lottery, come on!

Su Martin July 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Where do I sign?

Lisa July 25, 2011 at 12:16 am

Wow my step mother-in-law would love this house! She loves Mackenzie-Childs.

Yeah I don’t know about this decor. Definitely not my taste but to each their own I guess.

anna honey July 25, 2011 at 7:39 am

Oh my – certainly an eclectic mix…I think it would over stimulate my senses. Bloody awful really.

Beverly Palmer July 25, 2011 at 8:19 am

The house is beautiful but the decor is just bizarre! Paper dolls hanging from the ceiling, free standing tub in a bedroom, and a lamp that is similar to the famous “leg” lamp from the Christmas story. I mean, what were they thinking?!!! The outside of the house and the arbor are absolutely amazing! I could totally live outside while the decorating inside was being redone.

Autumn V July 25, 2011 at 8:25 am

Love this house, love everything about it! And I 100% did a double take when I saw the lamp next to the bed in the room w the tub behind the screen! Thank god I’m not the only one who sees leg lamps at every turn…

cbean July 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

Poster Pascale Steig sums it up perfectly: “contrived”.

However the brick path with the arbor over it is lovely.

ann July 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Beautiful house but the decor is, well I don’t think it fits a lot of peoples style. To be able to redecorate it ground up would be so much fun! The outside patios are really nice.

Holley July 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I love the hand painted tiles in the sun room.

Everything else would be fun for a bed and breakfast, but not for everyday.

handbright July 26, 2011 at 4:37 am

Pure whimsey, which is what the artists are known for! I always wondered how much they used in their own home, which, judging by the photos is quite a bit! Thank you for this one. I sure wouldn’t want to keep that clean though-

Michelle July 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm

They are back and forth a lot, Richard is here much more often. Richard & Victoria live almost full time on their ferry boat which is docked in New Jersey, just across the Hudson from Manhattan.

jimmygfitz July 26, 2011 at 5:47 am

Gorgeous architecture would be enhanced by far less clutter. Why do Americans have to have so much “stuff” in their houses? Claustrophobic !

Bette Farley July 26, 2011 at 5:58 am

Love the house, decor not so much.

Caron White July 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

wow. I do like MacKenzie and Child designs, but maybe not in such a concentrated manner – I am a little bit dizzy!

Fun post Julia!

Arie July 26, 2011 at 10:55 pm

That is simply a travesty what they did to that home. I hated every room. I would have to gut it and start all over, making it more period correct with some modern conveniences.

HollyM July 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm

What a horrible thing to do to an authentic colonial property. They need to sell. To a purist.

I’m thinking I know why their business went belly up.

Gadabout October 27, 2011 at 2:46 am

This place is so fantastic – the grounds – the structures – the furnishings – the decorating – just so much to enjoy. To bad I am a pauper – I would love to live in this house just the way it is.

Carol October 27, 2011 at 3:29 am

Oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE every datail of the home and specifically the fabulously well-designed furnishings & accessories. Victoria & Richard are artistic geniuses with rare eyes for designing, implementing & then combining unique design elements! True, true geniuses and talent beyond description! I would love to be able to acquire the entire estate AS-IS…what a rare opportunity!

Best, best, best to you always, Carol

Joni Klein November 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I Love this house just as it is, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Linda November 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I would love my friend Joni to buy it so I can stay there. I tried to stay there during an Ithaca graduation but it was booked already. I love, love , love it.

Susan November 24, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I love every inch of this place and everything in it. I wouldn’t change a thing either.

Sharon November 25, 2011 at 10:03 am

That would be my dream home – as is! Love the decorating. I spend my days trying to make my house look like that. I just know I would be the perfect steward for that home. Unfortunately, I don’t have a spare million but I can dream!!!!

Helen Alford December 30, 2011 at 7:33 am

1.1 M for all that house and land? An absolute dream come true for me. I could spend every minute of every day marveling at the crazy beauty of it. Has it sold?

hookedonhouses December 30, 2011 at 9:37 am

Looks like the listing is still up, so I guess it’s still available!

Mary St George January 26, 2012 at 11:32 pm

The home can be purchased for an additional amount that would include the furnishings, many of which are originals to the copies sold in their retail centers. The grounds are to die for and the carriage house stands out on its own. There are actually a few properties of this stature in the area for sale, some with actual lakefront on Cayuga Lake. I am a lakefront realtor in the Finger Lakes.
visit myblog for info in the Finger Lakes

And yes, house is still available ! Iwould be happy to set up an appt to see !

hookedonhouses January 27, 2012 at 7:31 am

Thanks for that additional info, Mary. I thought it was sold since the listing was taken down. Good to know!

tippy January 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm

That’s an amazing home done in a designer’s signature style. I wouldn’t change a thing and would love to live there. Fortunately not everyone is a minimalist…which is why this designer is a very rich woman and the rest of us are not.

catt January 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm

i’d love to see the tastes of the critics here. i’m sure it’s just *to die for*.

anita mccrae February 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Love it.

Stevenkh February 11, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Their aesthetic makes me nauseous but nice restoration.

davito August 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm

SOOO freakin’ OVER with! This crap is nauseating…reminds me of a mad hatters tea party on crack!!!


claire ulsch September 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I would love to live in this mythical house. Iam 72 years young and when i saw the pictures it gave me such a feeling of never growing old. p.s. is it still b&b love claire

Elizabeth England November 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Whimsical and wonderful…I wouldn’t change any of it. As a matter of fact, if it’s been sold, I don’t want to know if someone has undone the magical Alice vibe and made it “tasteful”…cheers!

Linda (Leslie) Shwartz March 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

It’s not just the estate for sale, the MC Ferry Boat is for sale too!

What if you had to pick one? (I’m floating away on the boat, I actually like the design better anyway)

hookedonhouses March 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Didn’t know that–thanks!

Susie May 9, 2013 at 12:58 am

All their stuff is stunning, but it’s as much a fantasy as their prices. I’m not surprised they went into bankruptcy. Though perhaps the handwork is worth the expense, perhaps they should have made it piecemeal by order instead of mass-production to ship out and not sell. Tassels go for $35.00,furniture $5k and up. And several years later, it doesn’t look like any of it has sold yet? Victoria was on an HGTV show recently, 4 Houses, and showed the boat. Her wierd behavior on tv was again, fantasy. She acts like she’s not really in tune with reality. But again, I love the stuff, just won’t pay such ludicrous prices and obviously most ppl won’t.

Sara Izod May 7, 2013 at 8:41 pm


Donnie MacKenzie July 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm

You should have seen the house when they bought it. You could be inside and see outside without having to find a window. The mice and cows were basically living in and around it. Amazing the vision they had!

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