Roughwood was designed as the home of Elva and Clifton Nicholson, Sr. in 1968 by Clifton, Jr. The house is a wood frame structure of approximately 45oo square feet built in the pasture adjacent to the families original home. Constructed by Clifton, Sr. from collected and recycled building materials, it received a Burlington House of the year award in 1973. The exterior of roughwood is 2 inch thick West Coast cedar cut from a discarded stack of burned pressure treated utility poles. Numerous native woods – cherry, mulberry, persimmon, walnut, cottonwood, oak, maple, poplar, cedar, yellow pine, sassafras – were used inside. Large areas of glass and natural river limestone left in a natural rough state are used throughout in floors, fireplaces and columns. Thus the name “Roughwood”.
Clifton bought Roughwood from his parents in 1990 and opened his gallery to the public that fall. After living in New York for 28 years, he sold his home there and moved to Roughwood. Clifton has been reworking areas of the house as well as the grounds. A new larger gallery has been created from an area that was originally the master bedroom. Glass sliding doors are being replaced by cypress French doors, bedrooms combined with baths eliminated. The “feel” of Roughwood has not been changed, just enhanced. Clifton brought many plants from his garden at his country home in Ulster County, New York. The gardens contain hundreds of daylilies, hostas and daffodils, dozens of varieties of magnolias and more than 100 specimen of wisteria, Clifton’s favorite. Many areas of the garden are highlighted by unusual weeping trees.
The gallery is open by appointment throughout the year. There are no set “open” hours. Our goal is to get back to our pre-covid routine of having 2 shows a year, but with no Sunday reception. This could change if things continue to improve.