Dunix, Cornwallville Road, Cornwallville, New York

Fresh to the real estate market is Dunix, or Do Nothing Farm (Do Nix), the 1855 summer retreat of "Soda Fountain King" John Matthews (1808-1870). 

But after Matthews invented seltzer water as we know it, if he intended to come here to the Catskills and do nothing, well, he didn't exactly do that. 

His ideas to improve the original farmhouse seemed to bubble up like so much soda water, eventually earning the house a spot on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2017.

First up, he added a water tower. 

Then came the carriage house with a Dutch windmill-inspired icehouse (to cool the drinks, naturally) and rooms for 8 servants. 

Finally, out of necessity, came a picture perfect privy.

There was also a nine-hole golf course and a casino/recreation building on the property's 19 acres. The house itself became a blend of Queen Anne, Neoclassical, and Arts and Crafts styles.

The English-born Matthews also added leaded glass windows and inglenooks. 

But what really put his house over the top was the work of his in-law (some sources say brother, some say son) porcelain artist Karl L H Müller:

Maybe Matthews did "do nothing" while he watched Müller paint and woodworkers craft a jewel box of a dining room out of quarter-sawn oak.

Maybe Matthews supervised from the living room fireside:

With 8 servants, he probably wasn't watching the house progress from the kitchen.

Not that the kitchen would have looked like that in his day, but it's probably truer to the original than how it looked when the house was on the market in 2014: 

In 2016, Jayme and Barbara Kuhn moved in and together with Jayme's brother Andrew of Twin Restoration and Millwork began restoring the house. Unfortunately, their website doesn't give all the juicy details of what they've done, but at least we can get an idea from the new listing photos.

There are 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in 3,500 square feet.  (I thought the house looked bigger than that, too.)

Knowing me as you do, I bet you think the room above is my "if it were mine" space. Nope, that would be this room:

I would keep it as an office, but lighten it up like this:

That would make the room the perfect spot to do something in a do nothing summer house. 

So, where did Matthews live the rest of the year when he was busy doing things? This house on Riverside Drive on New York's Upper West Side. It was demolished in 1921.

Finally, you would think Matthews would be famous enough for his fantastic residences and his innovative soda machine...

...but he's equally well known for his final resting place in Brooklyn. He and Karl Müller had collaborated on the dining room and other projects, and Karl designed this spectacular monument, a "story in stone," featuring Matthews' wife and daughters, woodland animals and gargoyles, and panels depicting various events of his life, including his idea for soda water. 

The Old House Dreams listing is here. Thanks to Kelly and her great community of commenters for leading me to want to make this one mine!

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