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Family Turns Grand Old Ballroom Into Livable, Viable House

The January issue of Town & Country runs a profile of Tuxedo Park, the 5,000-acre NYC bedroom community that's credited with the modern dinner jacket of the same name and will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year. Names such as William Henry Poor, Emily Post, Harry Truman, and Dorothy Draper—whose parents' grand stone manor is currently asking $3.3M—made Tuxedo Park famous, as do its many impressive estates (ranging from lakefront manses to lots and lots of Tudors). After the Great Crash of 1929, certain properties fell into disrepair and were converted into unconventional spaces—and in the realm of the unusual, it doesn't get much crazier than living in what used to be a ballroom.

Enter the Kilgore family, who in 1999 paid $1.3M for a freestanding 75-by-45-foot ballroom that had been built in the mid-'20s and once faced Villa Blanca, a manse likely designed by McKim, Meade & White. (It was torn down in 1937.) The place was converted into a residence in the '60s with the addition of a second floor for the bedroom and bathroom, renovated again by actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg in the late '90s—she was in contract to buy the ballroom but eventually settled on a larger actual house in town—and again by the Kilgores, who divided the bedroom so their daughter would have a place to sleep, too. Other changes were made on the surface level to make the place look like it stepped out of the 18th century. As to what life actually feels like there? See this kicker from an old NYT story: "Although Mr. Kilgore can’t quite explain why, whenever he returns to the ballroom and opens the elaborate iron gates at the entrance to its driveway, he feels as if he should mix a shaker of dry martinis for a party that is about to begin."

· Town & Country [official site]
· A Small Slice of the Grand Life [NYT]