The Model Farm mansion was purchased by Berkshire Money Management last year.
DALTON, Mass. — Berkshire Money Management mixed the new with the old Friday night.
The company opened up the doors to its new offices in the historic Model Farm property on Main Street for an art exhibition and to show off their new home.
The company purchased the former Crane and Co. Mansion for $1 million last February and spent much of 2017 renovating the interior to fit its needs.
"We tried to preserve it the best we could while still making it functional," said Berkshire Money Management Co-founder Stacey Carver.
The mansion was originally built by Frederick Crane Sr. in 1898. And on Friday, Berkshire Money Management spruced it up with new art for an open house. The "New Art in an Old Building" was a free open house in which the work of 22 local artists was put on display.
"New Art in an Old Building is about celebrating the work of local, living artists," Berkshire Money Management Founder Allen Harris said. "We all love the masters, but there is something special about looking at a beautiful piece and being able to see the person who created it, knowing that you occupied a shared time when they developed their work."
Hundreds of people visited the mansion for the event, which featured work from Scott Taylor, Andrew DeVries, Grier Horner, Mike Carty, John and Sandra Houseman, Megan Buratto, Ed Pelkey, William Casper, Susan Robinson, Mary Anne Pellegrini, Barbara Patton, Candace Cimini-Farrell, Michael Fabrizio, Crystal Martin, Julie Morgan, Anna Dupont, Kathryn Stocking-Koza, Michelle Iglesias, Catherine Foster, Carol Lew, Joe Goodwin, and Suzanne Stefanik.
The company gave the artists were given a stipend for being chosen to exhibit the work at the open house and the artists were encouraged to list the pieces for sale. Berkshire Money Management also incentivized its clients with a 50 percent reimbursement of the price, encouraging the clients to buy from local artists.
"We connect with art - whatever the medium. It adds color to our lives," Harris said. "When we moved into our new offices I brought in sixteen pieces of new art. My favorite pieces are from living artists, new art."
The event also gave an opportunity for those in the community to see what they've done to the property. The property had been in Crane and Co.'s hands for most of its history. In 1980, the property was deeded to Berkshire Health Systems after the passing of Frederick Crane Jr. but his wife, Thekla Crane, continued to live there until 1990.
The company converted the old bedrooms into offices.
Berkshire Health Systems then looked to use it as a conference center for just a few years. In 1993, BHS put it on the market but a clause in the will gave Crane and Co. the first right of refusal. Crane and Co. then purchased it back from BHS and had used for various functions over the last two decades.
In 2016, Berkshire Money Management caught wind that the property was back on the market. They teamed up with another company and looked at the purchasing and sharing the property.
"We fell in love with it. Fortunately for us, the other party decided it wasn't really for them. Allen was excited about that because he wanted the whole thing," Carver said. "It worked out because we tried to preserve it without having to break up the rooms too much and the two companies would not have really fit without having to do a lot of that."
They closed on the property in February of 2017 and turned it into offices. They kept the original floors and woodwork but spruced up the appearance. They turned the bedrooms into offices.
"We brought back some of the original stuff. They put in some extra bathrooms and things like that that weren't needed so we put the original hallway back. The upstairs had been kind of neglected so we tried to bring back that as best we could," Carver said.
On Nov. 12, the company moved in, leaving behind its former offices on Merrill Road in Pittsfield, and now it is home.
Carver said the Model Farm property is significantly bigger than its former location but already the offices are filled - and that is partly because the offices are larger than most. There are some 10 people working out of the new space now and one more office to be filled. But, the company looks to grow more and the plans than would be to put in modular walls to create offices in the music room.
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