a letter from Hartwell House
owner, Robert Hartwell

One of my biggest cheerleaders growing up was my Aunt Paulette. When I lost her to Covid, I was completely devastated by the loss. 

The day after her passing, my stepmom Ilene said “Rob, grab a magazine, go to the park, find a bench, and enjoy this beautiful Spring day. You have to get outside and keep living.” 

As I sat on a park bench, reading House Beautiful magazine through swollen, tear-stained eyes, my gaze landed on a photo of a white farmhouse with pink shutters. 

The family shared it was their “sanctuary property”.  That hit me.  George Floyd had just been murdered. I along with every other Black man in the country desperately needed a sanctuary property.   

That magazine article inspired me to peruse Zillow–where I found my house.  At that moment, I knew I needed to transform that house, make my ancestors proud, and fill it with love.

Buying this house was a generational move. I was building my own table, one that would honor all of my ancestors and generations to come. 

After I bought the house, life changed in magical ways. 

I shared my story on social media, and that post went viral, reaching millions. 

Pharrell Williams, Jay-Z, and Calmatic invited me to guest star in their music video for their song Entrepreneur

And I landed a TV show with OWN Network and HGTV, which we are still filming, that chronicles the challenging, room-by-room renovation of Hartwell House. 

And I owe all of this to you, the millions of people who double-tapped that Instagram post and made this all happen. The millions of people cared enough to be part of this legacy. 

Hartwell House is a place to honor our ancestors and ensure that their losses were never in vain. It exists to make the world better than it was before. 

And in order to do that, I need your help.

We are so close to the finish line on the renovations, and I have so many love-soaked, world-shifting plans for this house. Unfortunately, between Covid delays, fee hikes, and supply chain issues, our budget has ballooned to nearly 3x of the projected investment. 

I can’t get over the finish line without you.

And truthfully, I wouldn’t want to do it alone. 

Hartwell House is a celebration of us ALL, and your support would mean the world to me, our ancestors, and generations to come.

If your heart is calling, here are some ways you can support this mission. 

3 ways to support

Garden Gospel Brunch

Saturday, April 13th, 2024

11am–1pm et

Hartwell House Front Lawn - Great Barrington, MA

Limited Tickets Available

A day-long celebration honoring our past legends and paving the way for a future filled with love, beauty & soul.  

Your ticket to the VIP Garden Party includes: 

Exclusive dinner event

Saturday, April 13th, 2024

7–9pm et

Hartwell House - Great Barrington, MA

Limited Tickets Available

We are building tables. And you have a seat at mine.

Enjoy stimulating conversation, exquisite cocktails, endless inspiration, and a decadent dinner, lovingly prepared by renowned Chef Klancy Miller, author of Cooking Solo

All attendees will receive a signed copy of Klancy’s book and a swag bag full of gourmet treats. 

Big things happen when you gather around a table and devote yourself to honoring and building a legacy. 

Only 12 seats are available at this once-in-a-lifetime experience.



Honorary bricks are a fabulous & meaningful way to pay homage to loved ones, family members, friends, and ancestors, and to become a part of the Hartwell House Legacy. 

Secure your place in the Hartwell House garden and let us shower your loved ones with light.

All proceeds from the VIP Garden Party, Seat at the Table Dinner, and Commemorative Bricks will help move this home renovation over the line, allowing us to bring forth our broader mission of legacy & generational joy.

Meet Robert

Robert Hartwell is a Storytelling Expert, Professional Speaker, Award-Winning Broadway Performer, Director, and CEO of Strength On Stages in NYC. He is the Host and Executive Producer of Taking Back the House, a television show presented by OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, HGTV, and Scott Brothers Entertainment premiering in 2023.

From screen to stage, Robert makes jaws drop and hearts sing. He’s performed in 5 Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals and starred in Pharrell and Jay-Z’s hit music video, “Entrepreneur.” Robert’s work has been featured in countless media outlets, including Good Morning America, House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, People, and more. 

Robert’s story of purchasing a 200-year-old colonial mansion (which was built back when slavery was still legal Federally in the US), went viral, reaching millions of people who were touched by his message of reinvention, liberation, and hope. As a Black gay man, he vowed to fill this home with love, honor his ancestors, tell their stories, and say their names.

When Robert isn’t telling stories and helping others do the same, he’s obsessing over NPR, latte art, and chasing the perfect chandelier.  He divides his time between New York City, Los Angeles, and his new home in Massachusetts.


Absolutely not. We understand that not everyone can attend the brick-laying ceremony, so we’ll capture a group photo of the event and share it with you.

Proceeds are dedicated to the ongoing restoration of Hartwell House. Your contributions directly support the preservation of our shared legacy.

Yes, if you’re a Tier 3 supporter. This tier includes an exclusive tour of the Hartwell House. We’ve reserved this special experience exclusively for our highest-tier supporters, providing an intimate and privileged experience.

We understand and respect dietary needs and restrictions. Our Chef can accommodate various diets. 

Not at all. Gospel music transcends religious boundaries and brings us together through a shared, uplifting experience. We welcome people of all faiths and beliefs.

Chef Klancy is a writer and pastry chef deeply fascinated by all things French. After graduating from Columbia University and working in international development in French Polynesia, she earned a Diplôme de Pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Klancy stayed in Paris to apprentice in the pastry kitchen at the Michelin-starred Taillevent restaurant, and was later hired by Le Cordon Bleu Paris to join the recipe development team. During this time, Klancy was featured on Food Network’s Recipe for Success in an episode about American culinary professionals in Paris. Now in New York and Philadelphia, she continues to write about food. She was a commentator on the Cooking Channel’s show Unique Sweets and has been a contributor to the online magazine Food Republic. When she’s not writing or cooking, Klancy takes hip-hop dance classes, throws waffle parties, obsesses about her next vacation, and searches for the perfect cookie.

Yes, please email elizabeth at bwaycollective dot com and we will be in touch!

You can reach out to press at bwaycollective dot com and we will be in touch! 

tier 1


RSVP Deadline: November 1st @ 11:59pm et


tier 2


RSVP Deadline: November 1st @ 11:59pm et

tier 3

Highest Honor

RSVP Deadline: November 1st @ 11:59pm et