The Saratoga Six: Lisa Bates

Six inquisitive questions with Saratoga’s most interesting people.

By Chelsea Silver

With the Saratoga Preservation Foundation's Historic Home Tour moved to it's new spring slot of May 14th, I decided to check in with Lisa Bates, of LisaBatesDesign. Lisa is yet another Skidmore alum that just couldn't resist our fair city's charms after graduation and has been striving to make it an even prettier place ever since. With many a gorgeous Saratoga house restoration under her belt, Lisa is my go-to-gal to talk with about local design, real estate, and antiques (she'll be selling at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck again this year- a must see if you've never been!). Check out her answers to our Saratoga Six below: 

1. What’s your earliest memory of Saratoga? 

Some of my earliest memories are of the old campus when I was an art student at Skidmore college, the buildings that remain between Spring St. and Regent St. were my home away from home. I fondly remember Saratoga as a funky college town with architecture and history quite different from my hometown of Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island.

2. The Saratoga Social was created to highlight the work of our local nonprofits. Which organization is most important to you? 

The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and Saratoga PLAN are the most important to me. I believe strongly in their mission to preserve the character of this city and the rural landscape of our county. My company, LisaBatesDesign is committed to likeminded endeavors. Whether I’m restoring an old house or salvaging a barn door, I stand with them in upholding their values. 

3. You have restored and redesigned many homes in Saratoga. Is there a certain design element that you consider to be characteristically yours? 

Well, my most inspired and challenging project to date has been Nichols Garage on Mitchell Pl.   The open, lofty space allowed me to utilize my trademark Scandinavian design within the old, salvaged mechanic's garage.( Funny- I remember pulling up for gas back in the 70's while I was at Skidmore.)

4. Where’s your favorite spot to grab a casual bite at the bar, in town? What do you order? 

I go to Hattie's and I order a mojito and the chicken livers (when they haven’t run out!). I have taken countless family members and friends there over the years. It’s old, charming character has remained fully intact; depression green walls, checked tablecloths, original bar… still feels like Hattie is sitting at the next table. It gets harder and harder to find the old Saratoga these days.

5. What’s the first app/ website you open in the morning? 

I wake up every morning to NPR, I try to avoid opening my computer before noon. 

6.  There’s a lot of renovation and building projects going on in Saratoga right now. Which one are you most excited to see completed? 

Two projects come to mind. One is the building to be erected on the corner of Phila and Henry, I’m a big supporter of Caffe Lena and happy to see the coffee house live on for another 47 years. The other, I’m sad to say, was Moore Hall (affectionately known or not so much as The Pink Palace). I loved that it was a part of the Union Avenue landscape and I wish the owner could’ve found a constructive reuse for it and for the common good.

Posted on May 5, 2016 and filed under the saratoga six.