There are two irreplaceable treasures of American interior design in Syracuse, New York. Arguably, the most important is the interior of Gustav Stickley’s own home on Westcott Street. On the exterior, it is an unassuming Queen Anne Home but the interior is likely the first American Arts & Crafts interior and was a veritable laboratory of wood treatments and finishes for Stickley. In my opinion, the second treasure is the dining room designed for George and Rebecca Barnes by Joseph Lyman Silsbee.
After Rebecca and George died, the home was occupied by their daughter, Mary Elizabeth and her husband Frank Hiscock. The Hiscocks renovated the home once more in the 1890’s and the exterior was updated from it’s original Italianate design to a commanding brick Classical Revival structure.
Few examples of lavish residential interiors by any architect of this period exist in Syracuse. Any extant interior work by Silsbee is even more rare and of those that do exist, none are as remarkable as the Barnes Dining Room. The Barnes-Hiscock Mansion is currently occupied by the Corinthian Club of Syracuse and restoration efforts are overseen by the Barnes Foundation.