Hudson Valley Home & Garden

Home & Garden

Hudson Valley homes are set in an ideally balanced location—it’s an easy commute to the city, but it’s also far enough away to enjoy nature and the outdoors. The cultural diversity of the Hudson Valley towns and cities complement the serene natural setting, with mountains, rivers, lakes, and trails. Local residents enjoy homes and properties that range from historic buildings to modern houses with innovative architecture and design. Hudson Valley real estate is sought after for its spacious, comfortable, and distinctive homes.

Our home and garden content is underwritten by Williams Lumber.


The Talented Christin Ripley: A Master Ebru Marbler in Catskill

An Ancient Artisanal Textile Technique Finds a Home in the Hudson Valley
In a Catskills shop ans studio, a Cooper Union-trained mistress of the marvelous art of marbling is busy helping build the community as a maker's hub and re-inventing the pillow. "The artists were the original gentrifiers," she says. But Christin Ripley, proprietor of Hand Printed & Sewn Here and Christin Ripley Studios, looks more like a revitalizer thn a gentrifier from where we sit.

Tags: Design & Decor

Catbird Cottage: A Hudson Valley Farm-to-Table Airbnb Experience

Chef Melina Hammer and photographer Jim Lafferty have tapped into their talents to create a meal-centric, farm-to-table Airbnb experience.

Tags: House Profiles

4 Luxury Home Rentals to Fuel Your Hudson Valley Vacation Dreams

Looking for your next Hudson Valley getaway? Red Cottage Inc. is a local vacation home rental agency that specializes in Upstate houses that are a destination on their own.

Tags: Lodging

5 Questions to Ask Before Building Your Own Home

Jennifer and Pascal Smith Couti from Atlantic Custom Homes, the Hudson Valley and Connecticut's independent dealer of Lindal Cedar Homes, answer 5 questions they use to help their clients determine what they need when starting on a home-building process.

Tags: Home Improvement

Modern Family: Building a Shared Home to Meet Everyone's Needs

When Erik Schmidt and Sequoia Neiro decided to build a shared home, they spent time considering the needs of everyone who would live there—children and adults—and let the design grow out of that.

Tags: House Profiles

Let There Be (Really Cool) Light: Workstead's New Architectural Lighting Collection

The team behind Workstead design studio consists of three RISD-trained architects. So it's no wonder that their new lighting collection, Archetype, which debuted November 1, have a structure-ly feel, with architectural references and proportions that are refined and functional.

Tags: Home Improvement

Lindal's Custom, Pre-engineered Homes: The Best of Both Worlds

Jennifer and Pascal Smith Couti, the new owners of Atlantic Custom Homes, the Hudson Valley dealership for Lindal Cedar Homes, help their clients create their dream home with a transparent budgeting process.

Tags: Design & Decor

A Midcentury Modern Temple: At Home with Musicians Hilary Davis and Jordan Moser

Musician-designers Hilary Davis and Jordan Moser build a temple to Mid-Mod sensibilities out of a Mount Beacon A-Frame.

Tags: Design & Decor

Improving the Guest Experience: Mohonk's Architect Offers Advice

Architect Andrew J. Allison and his firm AJA Architecture, which is responsible for the multiphase expansion plan at Mohonk Mountain house, offer planning and expansion support to the Hudson Valley's current and prospective inn-keepers and hoteliers to help accommodate the surge of tourism.

Tags: Design & Decor

Redefining Luxury in Woodstock

A 7,000-square-foot Contemporary home for sale in Woodstock, NY is situated on 6 acres, boasting vaulted ceilings and bay windows, a state-of-the-art kitchen, zoned heating and cooling, an in-ground pool and more amenities.

Tags: Real Estate

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Tradition at Red Hook

There’s no exact definition for what the architectural structure of a “traditional” neighborhood should be. For Tradition at Red Hook, the plan was always to create a village-style community that was walkable, first and foremost, with access to local businesses and amenities while still fitting seamlessly into the landscape and farmland that’s been preserved around the development.

Tags: General Home & Garden

A Heartfelt Anniversary at Woodland Pond

On September 25, 2009, a shared dream of became a reality when Woodland Pond opened its doors. At the area’s first—and still its only — Continuing Care Retirement Community, more than 1,500 people have lived at Woodland Pond, enjoying an atmosphere arranged to maximize convenience and joy.

Tags: Lodging

Mid-Century Modern Revival: To Many Millennials, Frank Lloyd Wright was Right

When architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Paul Rudolph first threw off the shackles of tradition and began building homes with flat roofs, large expanses of glass, and open floor plans, it was a revolution and a revelation for some, an outrage to others who felt that too many rules were being broken. But, for a brief shining moment before tract housing and McMansions began to dominate the landscape, they were the thinking person’s alternative: houses that were carefully sited for intuitive passive solar, full of light and space to bring the outside in. “For a while people were just tearing them down, but people are seeking them out now — they’re the anti-McMansion,” says Ellen Hilburg, co-founder of the real estate resource Mid Century Modern Hudson Valley. “For some people, it’s a nostalgia factor. But Millennials are discovering them, too. It’s an aesthetic that appeals to people who are aware and environmentally conscious.” Hilburg grew up in such a house, then studied art and architecture in San Francisco and then at the Art Institute of Chicago. That background, honed by decades of Hudson Valley real estate experience and a longstanding love of the mid-century modern aesthetic, makes her uniquely well positioned to help you find the perfect mid-century beauty for yourself. “I track interesting mid-century modern homes, from Scarsdale up to Hudson, and help the people who love these homes to find them,” she says. “We work with contractors who are experts at retrofitting and renovating them without destroying the original vision. They’re inherently livable—light and bright, often on one floor. You can update the original large expanses of glass, redo the radiant heating in the floor, and add whatever cutting-edge amenities you love—the bones of the house, the basic design, will work with you and not against you.” If you’re in the market for a mid-century modern — or just dig great architecture — head over to Hilburg's website, email her at or give her a call at 914-772-5858...

Tags: Real Estate

2019 Kingston Design Showhouse: A Design Destination

A Look Inside the Second Annual Kingston Design Showhouse
Kingston Design Showhouses returns for its second year spotlighting 18 professionals.

Tags: Design & Decor

4 Ways to Enhance Your Hudson Valley Home as Soon as You Move In

Lisa Halter, broker and owner of Halter Associates Realty gives tips on how to make your house a home.

Tags: Real Estate

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Amanda Sanchioni

Amanda Sanchioni sowed a love of interior design through an uncommon byway: psychology. While attending Wentworth Institution of Technology in Boston, she researched how humans interact with their environments — specifically, how a calming, pleasingly designed hospital could affect a patient’s healing time versus a disorganized and uncomfortable-looking one. “[Design] has a huge, huge impact on mood and emotion,” Sanchioni tells Chronogram. “I’m not saying the [2019 Kingston] Design [Connection] Showhouse is a hospital, I’m just saying it’s crazy how much impact a well-designed interior can have.” Sanchioni curated the door color for the showhouse and designed the front facade, which includes the doors and all trimwork. She got her foot in the door through a working relationship with showhouse developer Maryline Damour, who she met at the showhouse’s 2018 iteration. “It’s such a great mentorship / networking opportunity as a young designer who just entered the field,” Sanchioni says. Sanchioni was initially hired on a marketing business, but when Damour learned she worked for the Vocon Design firm, the younger designer got a huge opportunity — designing the front facade of the historic building. “I work primarily in corporate interiors [with Vocon Design],” she says. “So, the key is to design a workplace our clients can grow in for many years.” Sanchioni decided to apply this principle to the showhouse exterior. For inspiration, she strolled Warren Street, the main drag in Hudson, New York, which boasts myriad antique stores and boutiques. There are many 19th century Italianate buildings along the Hudson River — and the Kingston Showhouse is one of them. “I think that’s where I drew my overall color inspiration, just seeing buildings of that [Italianate] style,” she says. “They all have these crazy pops of color.” Far be it from Sanchioni to pick something gaudy or flashy, though — for the front door, she went with Benjamin Moore’s Bermuda Turquoise, a soft and refreshing shade that contrasts the building’s earth tones. “From the beginning, it was important to me that I introduced a cool color juxtaposed against those soft warm brick tones,” she says. “[It invites] visitors in while also not [feeling] too modern or out of place, given that this is on the National Register of Modern Places.” That honor—the showhouse being deemed worthy of preservation by the federal government—also proved to be a major challenge when it came to designing the facade. “There are so many regulations about the door color,” she says. “My design intent was to create a sophisticated yet bold entrance while also respecting the historic nature of this building.” Despite any legal and aesthetic hurdles, Sanchioni designed a tasteful exterior for the showhouse, and an eye-pleasing first impression for showhouse guests. Her work displays her talent for modest, inviting color schemes, rather than succumbing to mile-a-minute design trends of 2019. “Honestly, it can transform your whole day to visit a space that is well-designed,” Sanchioni says. “I think the key is to take these tools and emulate a feeling rather than displaying too many competing design elements.” ...

Tags: Kingston Design Showhouse 2019

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Ana Claudia Schultz

Ana Claudia Schultz’s design style is all about equals and opposites: old/new, modern/transitional, bold/subtle. And all of those visual binaries are on display in the dining room of the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse, which she designed. “Thoughtfulness is very important in my design,” she tells Chronogram. “[And] each piece and maker is thoughtful in their approach as well.” Schultz lists off the upstate New York galleries and furniture stores she commissioned for the dining room, like Black Creek Mercantile & Trading Co. in Kingston, Gallery & Goods in Pine Plains and Gestalt in Hudson. First, she noted the dining room’s considerably high ceiling and chose to install customized Camellias wallpaper overhead. Then, for the contents of the room, she says, she “played with the yin and yang of masculine and feminine.” “The lines of Black Creek Mercantile are minimal and the natural oak finish also adds softness from what can be a heavy-looking material,” Schultz says. “Art and accessories from Gallery and Goods are very considerate and raw. Mixed and matched dining chairs from Gestalt are masculine in color, but their Japanese silhouettes are soft [and feminine].” When she had struck the right balance with the furniture, she commissioned custom rugs from Rowan Willigan, a visual artist and muralist based in upstate New York. “[They] wink to the liking of the wallpaper but in the shape of a hide that leans towards the Hudson Valley and masculinity,” she says. For the final touch, Schultz added living and dried flowers from Athabold, a floral design studio in Germantown. Schultz spent years honing her design style in spite of self-doubt; for much of her life, she didn’t believe she’d be in the design field at all. She was taught about interior design by her mother, a natural decorator who, nonetheless, doubted the value of the art form and discouraged her from going down that road. “Maybe because she was a great decorator, she didn’t believe in the institute of interior design,” Schultz says. “If you went to someone’s home that was designed, she thought of it as impersonal. That really impacted me and delayed my path to interiors.” Taking her mother’s advice to heart, Schultz put interior design out of her mind and enrolled at Florida International University to study business and architecture. But ultimately, nothing could divert her from her true passion; it would just take a few years to get where she belonged. For five years, Schultz decided to pivot from architecture and work as an interior designer for Ligne Roset, a French furniture company. While staffed there, she started her own jewelry company, ACD Jewelry, before committing fully to interior design. And now, her talents are on full display in the dining room of the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse, where thoughtfulness, balance and contrast reign. “No matter how hard I tried I was always an interior designer,” she says. “But every path I took led me to where I am now, so no regrets.” ...

Tags: Kingston Design Showhouse 2019

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Simone Eisold

The transition between a baby and a toddler is a crucial one — the space between ages one and two where the child grows their own feelings, personality and interests. Interior designer Simone Eisold is keenly aware of this; she hopes her children’s bedroom of the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse can provide a fun, welcoming haven for youngsters while preparing them for the next stage of life. “I choose to design a bedroom that would fuel a young child’s imagination,” Eisold tells Chronogram. “Each piece in the room specifically allows for individual storytelling, comfort and joy.” The room started out as a master bedroom, but as showhouse season rolled around, the homeowners decided to keep it as a kids’ room or classroom. Eisold approached the look of the room with the owner’s Irish heritage in mind, and with the goal of creating the illusion of “expansion” with her design choices. She did so by choosing a large plaid strié pattern, in which paint is dragged with particular brushes to create a streaking pattern. With its woven fabric look, this was meant as a subtle nod to wool production in Hudson Valley. The room is mostly painted Wedgewood Gray, from Benjamin Moore’s Historic Collection. To contrast the gray, Eisold used warm browns, ink blues and cream colors around the room, with subtle flashes of orange and mint green. For the furniture, Eisold went in a custom direction, commissioning Kingston woodworking company Von Miller Workshop for a bed, a shelf with hooks and a dresser. The bed features a quilt by Trudi Roach of Stitch Brooklyn and quirky, mid-century-inspired decorative hanging drop shelves by The Wavertree Co. in Brunswick, Maine. Eisold’s journey to the Kingston Showhouse began in Germany, where she was born and raised in a family of architects and furniture makers. She graduated from the University of Pforzheim School of Design with a BA in Fashion Design, before travelling back and forth between Germany and New York City working for luxury menswear brands Hugo Boss, Ermenegildo Zegna, Canali and Paul & Shark. From there, Eisold pivoted from fashion to interior design — and developed a terrific eye for proportion and scale with a healthy dose of emotional import. “It felt right to come full circle as a designer,” she says. “In today’s lifestyle-driven society, [it’s important] to design homes that truly and authentically represent the people [that] inhabit them.” The Kingston Showhouse came on her radar while working with Jessica Williams of Hendley & Co. on a historic home in Newburgh. Williams, who helped design one of the showhouse’s second floor bedrooms, encouraged Eisold to contact its developers, and she jumped at the opportunity. Above all, Eisold’s main goal is to “create an emotional connection between the space and those that will live in that space.” And she hopes that the Kingston Showhouse will create fertile ground for collaborations in the future. “I’ve enjoyed meeting all of the other designers who worked on this project,” she continues. “[I] hope that visitors will be inspired by how the space sparks imagination, embraces the heritage of family, and celebrates nature, life and living in the Hudson Valley.” ...

Tags: Kingston Design Showhouse 2019

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Jon Sherman

Jon Sherman had been designing bedrooms since 1983, but he was ready to take the next step in his interior design career—by starting a boutique hotel. He decided on a building in New Orleans with an eye on renovating its interior, and eventually got to the point where a date to sign the lease was set—unfortunately, to September 13, 2001. “It never came to fruition,” he tells Chronogram. “We pulled the plug since all the financing dried up after 9/11.” However, Sherman had a house he was designing, too, in the Treme neighborhood at the edge of the French Quarter. Not only did it win an award from the mayor of New Orleans, it was featured on the cover of New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazine. Knowing he was on the right path, Sherman found a defunct wallpaper company in the Bywater District and reanimated it into the company he runs to this day — Flavor Paper. “Can’t tell you,” he says when asked about the business’s old name. “The founder had passed away and given it to his brother who ran it until the wallpaper glut of the 1980s.” In 2009, Flavor Paper migrated from New Orleans has a showroom on Pacific Street in Brooklyn, with a goal to, as their website puts it, “explore unexpected visual narratives that stay ahead of trends [and create] interior stories that are captivating and totally personal.” And now, Sherman has designed the the third floor main space of the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse. Sherman describes his main design goals as creating a sense of proportion and scale, creating color harmony and playing with modernity versus tradition — all while avoiding dated trends. (“I like to create timeless patterns and concepts that will never get tired even as they grow old,” he says.) Naturally for a wallpaper designer, Sherman uses repeating patterns and colors to gently instill a theme with his images. To home in on the history of the building, he chose a wallpaper from Flavor Paper’s Elysian Fields collection in a “shimmery lavender” color, featuring bats and Venus fly traps hand-screened on linen clay coated paper using water-based inks. Sherman aimed to “address the needs and interests of the family as they live and play on the third floor.” He began by taking a 1614 pastoral etching scene and turning it into a massive mural, complete with an etching of a griffin and a family name and crest. For the ceiling, Sherman chose his Camellias line of wallpaper, with a twist on the background color: “We switched out the chrome background for something a bit more classic and classy for the dining room,” he says. All in all, Sherman doesn’t see his approach as fundamentally different from the other showhouse designers—for good reason. “I'm really excited to see how all of the designers followed their own path,” he explains. “But generally, [all the designers] came to the same conclusion that respecting the historic elements of the house while pushing forward modern elements and concepts, which unites the entire house." ...

Tags: Kingston Design Showhouse 2019

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Jessica Williams

Growing up in rural Maryland, Jessica Williams’ working-class parents—a contractor and baker—were always looking to beautify their home in an affordable way. Since then, she’s gone from a teenager working at spas and bakeries to the founder of Hendley & Co, a full-service interior design studio based in Brooklyn and Newburgh, New York.  Williams didn’t know until college that interior design would be the path she would follow—but looking back, it all made sense. “I was enamored and never looked back. I feel completely understood and fulfilled on this path,” she says. “It makes great sense when I reminisce on my monthly bedroom rearranging as a teenager, and asking Dad to repaint every season.” With her parents’ eye for simplicity and affordability in mind, Williams aims for a palette both “complex and calming” while adjusting to the needs of each client. She and her Hendley and Co. teammates Taylor Bailey and Cindy Ortiz designed the Airbnb bedroom suite on the second floor of the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse. She boils down their design principle to three points: 1) study the context, 2) listen to the needs of the client and 3) prescribe solutions or design ideas. Williams sees the sitting room as a place to read or put together a puzzle, relax and unwind. “We love that we can incorporate the opposite function that the bedroom serves,” she says. “It should instill the same calming effect as the bedroom yet feel like the next step in a productive day.” Continuing under the principle of “context first,” Williams finds it crucial to always pay homage to the house at hand. “We do not find our inspiration in trends, but rather motifs that are appropriate for when a house was built,” she says. For the Kingston Showhouse, she says, her team gathered aged items appropriate for when the house was built in the mid-1800s and mixed them with “graphic qualities of today.” Her interest in the history of the Hudson Valley came naturally from her life experience, when Williams and her husband “followed their work hustle” from Maryland to Brooklyn. Like many city-dwellers with an eye for design, they were attracted to the possibilities in the Hudson Valley—and settled in the town of Newburgh, about 60 miles north of the city and 40 from Kingston.  “The architecture, history, diversity, and access to nature were a few of the many reasons we took the leap, she says. “I've personally been drawn to Newburgh's influence in early homes and how it remains a tastemaker city—the creative community and collaborations here are unmatched.” And when it comes to the Kingston Showhouse, Williams thinks back to her parents seeking functionality and beauty in equal measure—and connects it to how she can apply that to the Airbnb. “We are most excited at the potential of our design staying intact for future guests to stay and enjoy,” she says.  “It's more meaningful to us when our mark can become more permanent in a person's life,” she continues. “And in this case, part of their experience in the Hudson Valley.” ...

Tags: Kingston Design Showhouse 2019

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Melvin Jones and Maryline Damour

It’s a fact of life that the average New Yorker can’t afford a sprawling, spacious home. Rather, it’s a point of pride to not only survive, but thrive, in a cramped, cubby-like space. Interior designer Melvin Jones learned all about decorating in confined spaces, not in the city, but on the water. Cutting his teeth designing on yachts in the Chesapeake Bay, Jones learned that living at sea and on Avenue C aren’t totally dissimilar. For 20 years, Jones worked for his father in an upholstery refinishing and custom furniture design company in Baltimore. Later, when he lived in New York, he put two and two together. “It didn’t take me long to discover that a lot of New Yorkers don’t have enough space or storage,” he tells Chronogram. “You don’t waste one inch of space on a yacht, and you don’t waste one inch of space in a New York apartment.” As it turns out, working in pint-sized areas helped Jones design for large homes. Today, he’s the senior designer for Damour Drake, a Hudson Valley design and construction firm founded by Maryline Damour and Fred Drake—themselves the developers of the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse. They designed the first floor master suite, a combination bedroom, bathroom, and closet with a yoga and meditation twist. Damour Drake may work in larger spaces today, but they still value the organization-first tactic that small spaces demand. For Maryline Damour’s part, she homed in on the booming Airbnb industry in the Hudson Valley, and posed a question: how do you make a space both a fully livable home as well as a temporary vacation abode? As it turns out, it started with reorganization and the same principles that could apply to a yacht or a tiny apartment. “You want to make it more of an experience than the way you traditionally decorate your house,” she says. “For those who are [designing] in private spaces, they should take into account [the homeowners’] functional needs for those spaces.” After striking that balance between temporary and full-time living, Damour took it a step further by developing the bedroom into a yoga and meditation studio, even using the closet as a sauna. “You’re going to have a mini-spa in your house, if you will,” Damour says. She and Jones are most excited about the piece de resistance: a large-scale sculpture of hand-dyed fabric made to look like leaves bursting from the ceiling and down the wall, made in collaboration with designer Sienna Martz.  “The average person doesn’t really think about the ceiling,” Damour says. “It’s an interesting way to bring the outside in, in a way we haven’t seen before.”  And, Jones insists, these bold statements are earned by staying cued in to the tiny details, which he picked up early on in those yachts and New York apartments. “If anything describes me, it’s attention to detail,” he says. “That’s the consistent thread. And we really enjoy what we do. We have a lot of fun.” ...

Tags: Kingston Design Showhouse 2019

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Heidi Feiwel

In the flourishing Airbnb industry, an over-reliance on neutral, even bland colors seems to have emerged: a drab symphony of white and tan. New York-based interior designer Heidi Feiwel aims to buck this trend—by not being afraid of bold, potent and saturated hues in her rooms. “So much of what you see nowadays is grey, black, white and cream,” she tells Chronogram. “All these neutrals. I can do that, but I also like to infuse color. It’s unexpected, it makes a statement and it’s something unusual.” Feiwel designed one of the two second floor Airbnbs of the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse — Jessica Williams of Hendley and Co. helmed the room with the sitting room, but Feiwel designed the bedroom with a new bath off the kitchenette. Inspired by her past surroundings as a fashion stylist for Elle Magazine in Italy and Germany, Feiwel applied a very European love of color with two key principles: balance and contrast. For example, she chose a “really pretty, warm, gold” cumin yellow bed, with the headboard and rails painted the same color. (“It’s a very simple bed,” Feiwel says. “You don’t see all the pillows.”) To continue the theme, she hand-painted tables from New York’s Brothers Painting & Decorating cumin yellow as well. As a visual counterweight, she used a dark blue linen duvet and positioned a tomato red chair near the bed, courtesy of Blu Dot in New York. As for the furnishings, Feiwel went with a “modern retro” look. A custom rug from Edward Fields features a loop pile/cut pile design. She chose vintage highboy-style American walnut dressers, estimated to have been made in the 1950s or 1960s. She had Slave Imperative Painting from Bayonne, New Jersey, handle the wall coverings, and Bronze Hill Inc. from New York City paint the trim and doors and install the crown moulding. Knoll created the almond-colored relaxed roman shades, and Custom Decorators installed them. Overall, Feiwel says there’s a “little bit of a theme of curves” in her second floor Airbnb. “The headboard is slightly curved. The rug has a curve. The armchair from Blue Dot has a curve,” she says. “The 1950s vintage Italian travertine table lamp that’s on the dresser, it has an elephant shape, that has a curve. I really embraced the curve!” Some designers working on Airbnbs get caught up in the temporary, transitory nature of the space. In the 2019 Kingston Showhouse, Feiwel paid it no mind, opting to approach the room with the care and attention to detail of any guest bedroom. And no matter the color or shape of the room she’s working on, she seeks “aesthetic elegance with layers of visual generosity,” as the website for her design firm, Luxemark, puts it. “All the architectural elements — the walls, the floor, the ceiling — they’re all kind of neutral and soft,” she says. “And then on top of that, I lay these bolder shapes and colors. It’s like a balancing act.” ...

Tags: Kingston Design Showhouse 2019

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Jen Dragon

For Cross Contemporary Art curator Jen Dragon, the plan was to provide paintings and sculptures to the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse. But when a small vestibule on the second floor became available, Dragon jumped at the opportunity — not just to fill it with her unique art pieces, but design the room from top to bottom. “More than 9 months ago, I responded to an appeal for applications to participate in the showcase and I was accepted!” Dragon tells Chronogram. She had participated in a showhouse before, participating in the Holiday Design Showcase curated by Haynes Llewellyn at Kingston, New York’s, Loughran House in 2016 and 2017. But, she admits, her work at the Kingston Showhouse is a far bigger undertaking. “It encompasses an entire house and not just a few rooms,” she says, marveling at its scope. “It really took my breath away—both the ambition and the scale!” She decided to not just take on the art installation—but the fixture choices, wall colors and overall remodeling of the space. Whereas most designers would let the color of the walls and ceiling dictate the contents of the room, Dragon approached her vestibule from the perspective of a gallery curator: art first. She began with two paintings requested by the showhouse’s owners — one painted by Kevin Paulsen, the other by Kathleen Griffin. “I let the mood of a painting or sculpture determine what the rest of the room will become,” she says. “This is directly opposite to how many designers work but I enjoy the inspiration of the client’s art collection — or I introduce new artworks into their lives.” Because both Paulsen and Griffin’s were nature-inspired paintings, Dragon decided the design theme would be “Nature Moderne”—which, to her, means evoking the natural world through a contemporary lens. To that end, her next step was to invite artist Jeff Johnson to create two pieces — a bench that conveys river boulders, and an undulating walnut shelf fastened in the wall. Inspired by burbling Catskills mountain streams, Dragon commissioned a light fixture from Niche in Beacon with small bubbles in the hand-blown glass. There was another factor for Dragon to consider: the tiny space had no windows or natural light. To circumvent any problems this could cause, she kept the wall colors subtle and light as to not glaringly contrast the artwork — and chose a clear minaret chandelier from Niche Modern Lighting in New York to maximize the light she had to work with. Dragon once worked as part of the Ann Singer Interior Design firm, and she credits her time there for learning the value of cooperation and friendship with other designers. “One of the few ways we can express ourselves as artists — and make any money doing this — is by collaborating with others,” she says. “[And] there are so many reasons to be excited [about the showhouse],” she continues. “I’m eager to share some of my favorite artists with the design community and communicate my love of art with the world.” ...

Tags: Kingston Design Showhouse 2019

Light Up Your Life: Niche's Fall Factory Sale

There’s nothing like the mesmerizing experience of watching colorful glass blown into a variety of unique and stunning shapes—only to become truly one-of-a-kind light fixtures in a matter of hours. It's not every day that you get an inside look at the meticulous artistry behind crafting glass. At the semi-annual Fall Factory Sale, located at Niche’s design studio in Beacon, Niche welcomes the public for an inside look at their artisanal process and inspiring selection of products offered at 50-80 percent off retail price. The Fall Factory Sale happens October 12 through October 13 and includes a behind-the-scenes look at how their glass is crafted daily by the experts. Enjoy live glass blowing demonstrations, giveaways, and bask in the glowing light of Niche’s hand-crafted beauties. From chandeliers to pendants, to table lamps, Niche has everything you need to light up your life. “We look forward to the Factory Sale every year," says Niche Sales Associate Diana Dominguez. "It gives us the chance to meet and interact with our customers on a more personal level and help them select the perfect pendant lighting for their spaces.” The founder and CEO of Niche, Jeremy Pyles, has been designing the unique lighting fixtures since 2003, when he designed his first glass pendant shade for his East Village homeware store. And, in the years that have followed, the Niche team has taken immense joy in giving back to the Beacon arts community, and has continued to welcome patrons to their atelier space twice a year to see their unique process and watch their products come to life. For a wonderful weekend in a world-class Hudson Valley maker space that will kick off your fall season, head to Niche for all your luminous needs. Niche Fall Factory Sale Saturday, October 12th, 9am-4pm Sunday, October 13th, 10am-2pm Visit Niche's website to learn more about the Fall Factory Sale. ...

Tags: Design & Decor

Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Catherine Gerry

Catherine Gerry was a set and interiors stylist still finding her voice when she boarded a plane from New York to New Mexico to visit her parents. For reasons she can’t remember, Gerry was bumped up to first class that day. And parked in front of her, deep into her 90s, was Georgia O’Keefe, the modernist who put New Mexico on the map of the art world. Gerry hadn’t found many other Southwestern transplants in the city, and she was homesick, so the surprise encounter was especially heartening. “I would tell people where I was from, and they would respond as if I said I was from the moon,” she says. “She looked very much like my Hispanic grandmother with her headscarf, Gerry says. “Knowing she was in front of me was exhilarating.” The two briefly said hello once they landed in New Mexico, and the meeting stuck with Gerry forever. “Georgia O’Keeffe brought [New Mexico] to people’s awareness,” she says. “People’s curiosity and appreciation of the magical place I came from soothed my soul.” Eventually, the meeting turned out to be a launching pad for Gerry to communicate her New Mexico roots to the interior design world. Known for her deceptively simple paintings of New Mexico cliffs, New York skyscrapers, and everyday objects, O’Keefe masterfully worked with light and shadow, which influenced Gerry’s approach to interior design. “Often it is the bold color choices that grab peoples’ attention,” she says. “But for me, it is the subtle power of light and texture that informs most of my work.” While her influences shine through, Gerry isn’t wholly beholden to them; rather, she’s willing to rewrite the rulebook each time in collaboration with clients. “The next and biggest trend does not interest me,” she says. “I design for the long-run. My clients invest in their homes; they want my work to last for many years to come.” And as for the old battle between functionality and aesthetics, Gerry sees it as specific to each house. “A bird’s plumage is not designed for sheer beauty but for flight, for water resistance,” she says. “In everything that exists, function and beauty go hand-in-hand.” Soon, Gerry will bring her 25 years of expertise to the second annual Kingston Design Connection Showhouse in Kingston, October 11-27. Given Gerry's previous work in the Hudson Valley, visitors can expect a mix of modern and traditional decor with a tasteful, signature Southwestern flair. Gerry is thrilled to share the showhouse with designers from all over the Hudson Valley; in particular, she’s ready to show off a selection of special vintage and modern furniture pieces. “Some are newly crafted by Appelson Designworks, [others] by my lovingly selected local artists,” she says. “The rest is a surprise.” Whatever surprises Gerry has in store, expect home designs of utmost subtlety and meticulousness. “I have no rule of thumb,” she says. “I am a person of detail. I think it’s instinctual to me. I look and I see, and I look deeper and I see deeper.” ...

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Elizabeth Mercer

Many interior designers get stuck on the ratio between functionality and aesthetic appeal—whether a space should be more usable or more beautiful. For Hudson Valley designer Elizabeth Mercer of Mercer INTERIOR, it all comes down to a design principle from famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan that dates at least back to the 1800s: “form follows function.” “[It’s] the guiding principle in our kitchen,” Mercer tells Chronogram regarding the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse. “My designs are completely informed by how each space will be used; this project is about utilizing all the space we can for storage and making it accessible.” In the case of the kitchen, this means its function—accommodating a large family to cook three meals a day—dictated its form. With this necessity in mind, Mercer knew she needed large amount of surfaces for food preparation, and an oven that would last. She decided on an AGA (or, Aktiebolaget Gas Accumulator, named after a Swedish company) range oven, supplied by Earl B. Feiden, Inc., an appliances store in Latham, New York. “They got really excited,” Mercer says of the homeowners when they found out about the Feiden oven. “They actually knew what it was, because they had done their homework and that adoration of quality was appreciated.” For many parts of the kitchen, Mercer was at the mercy of the showhouse’s vendors, like Jay Teske Leather Co. and the New York Heartwoods furniture company. In other respects, though, she took control, like the decision to use cane for the cabinets. (“I found a paper cane that was used in another time whenever there was a shortage of actual cane,” she says.) Mercer is also effusive about the “deal of the century” she struck with Albany Marble to find the perfect countertops; she went to the owner, Frank Orciuoli, and specifically asked to see a piece of marble that hadn’t moved in decades. “I stopped short in front of some stone he said had been there since about 1989,” she says. “It felt like we rescued something. It was a mind-blowing treasure.” Taking new cabinets donated for the project by James Bruyn of Bruyn Designed, Mercer found the ideal carpenter: Dave Jones Designs, based in Brooklyn, to transform them to match her vision. “Dave modified the drawer and door fronts in addition to custom-building all the upper cabinets,” she says. “Without his contribution we would have been stuck using basic prefabricated cabinetry,” she says.  All in all, the New Orleans-bred Mercer has been realizing that designing the Kingston kitchen is a much different — and very rewarding — experience than she’s used to. “I'm usually given a direction from the client and a budget to support their desires and I interpret that,” she says. “In this case we had to sort of work backwards — starting with vendor relationships to make something that shows how we can elevate a space.” “And [this time], I had the privilege of determining the aesthetic and the budget,” she says with a laugh. “If only that were all our projects!” Read up on more participants in the Kingston Design Showhouse 2019. ...

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Brooke Nelson

Brooke Nelson’s design is defined by fearless leaps, seized chances and bold combinations, all without losing sight of creating an inviting, comfortable living space. She calls her style “whimsical steampunk,” combining antiques with offbeat art, colors, and decor, and in the kitchenette (or, small dining area) of the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse, she balances those funky elements with floating shelves and a mercury glass installation. Really, her journey to the 2019 Showhouse itself was another leap well taken. “I heard about the Kingston Design Showhouse a year ago. I remember thinking how amazing it would be to be involved in something like that,” she tells Chronogram. “It seemed so far-fetched, [but] I took the leap this year and applied. I’m so grateful I did.” For Nelson, it was a long road to becoming a Hudson Valley interior designer. After studying theater and media arts at the University of Arizona, her career swung from TV to running a local non-profit, and she moved 11 times in 12 years to support her then-husband’s job. “Life happened and I chose love over my career,” she says. “I worked as a kitchen and bathroom designer for a little bit, but [I] felt something was missing. I thought about starting my own business, but it was never feasible.” But growing up with an interior designer mother had influenced her deeply, and in 2019, she took a chance and started her own business: Transformative Spacing, a home staging and interior redesign company. “I love that I can work one-on-one with people,” she says.” [I can] understand their needs and goals for the space, make a few changes and help them see their dream become a reality.” While designing the kitchenette, Nelson, like other designers, looked around the local landscape for inspiration. She was taken by one structure down by the water: the Historic Cornell building, owned by the Historic Kingston Waterfront Revival real estate company. “I try to constantly look around for color inspiration, [and] I love the rust colors on the metal against the brick,” she says. She stayed true to that metallic color scheme while using a variety of materials in the decor: crystal, metal, wood, velvet. This was all to give the kitchenette a striking look, given it’s a high-traffic area used by four Airbnb guest rooms. “Design and staging for bed-and-breakfasts is a different approach,” she says. “With so many options out there for travelers in this area you have to create a space that gives the guests an experience—one that stands out.” In the end, Nelson was able to put self-doubt to bed and let her bold aesthetic lead the way. “I started second guessing myself. I had multiple color samples up on the wall and hated all of them,” she says. Instead of giving up, stuck to her guns and went back to her original idea. “You have to trust yourself, she says. “I was brought on because of my previous work. No one else’s. Not everyone is going to be in love with what you do and that’s okay. It took me a long time to learn that [and I’m] still learning. I guess it’s part of the journey.” ...

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Alexandra Collins

Alexandra Collins’ military brat upbringing gave way to her love of art and design, her frequent moves teaching her about crafts from Germany and the U.S., England and Holland. She collected wooden puppets in German markets and clunked around Swiss tulip fields in wooden clogs before moving stateside at age 10. All that impermanence didn’t result in culture shock for Collins, but instead in an appreciation for the history and subtle in-betweens of culture. “I've [always] loved creating, collecting products and art that bring me joy or made me feel some kind of emotion,” Collins tells Chronogram. “The mix of past and present, the used versus untouched has become everything to me.” In 2019, Collins and her husband uprooted once again, from Seattle, Washington, to the Hudson Valley—and she found a niche in interior design that seamlessly connects the old and new, domestic and foreign. While designing the second floor Airbnb (styled as a home office) of the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse, she decided to evoke history through subtle techniques rather than obvious signifiers. Her biggest influence is never designer x, y or z—but the four walls she happens to work with. “I've started to realize how important a house and its state of being is to my design process,” she says, considering the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse’s original front door, brass lions’ head knocker and marble molding. “The home was built in 1890 and you can feel it, even when you walk up to the front door,” she says. With the character of the house as a springboard, Collins headed for local antique hole-in-the-walls. “I really wanted to find the perfect antiques from the area and blend them with more modern pieces,” she says. This includes a new Scandinavian storage armoire by designer Braxton Alexander, contrasting against more antiquated details like vivid green batten walls. For Collins, evoking the past has everything to do with scale and harmony. “Rooms and people were all generally much smaller back in the 18th and 19th centuries,” she says, and, to that end, she positioned a large wooden desk in the center of the home office to create a “homey, inviting” atmosphere. “I want visitors to notice the old versus new, but feel like they mesh smoothly and comfortably,” she explains. A visit to Collins’ Instagram shows her clever dance between the past and present—antique books and paintings by a minimalist bed frame and shelving unit, aged picture frames offsetting a beachy-chic sitting room. Some of these items were picked up at her favorite antique shop, the Coxsackie Antique Center in Coxsackie, New York. Her favorite find for the showhouse on these antique jaunts? “A vintage cast-iron gooseneck lamp from the 1930s,” she says. “It has an art deco/steampunk look to it that I find incredibly fun to add, especially layered with a modern floor lamp.” Although vintage touches are everywhere, expect her Airbnb/home office to err on the side of minimalism; it won’t be a museum. And for this upstate New York transplant, the Showhouse will be a fitting introduction to a fresh , worldly new local designer. All in all, Collins’ work is marked by a sense of exploration, play — and a love of local history. “I'm having such fun exploring all the antique stores in each small town and taking in the area’s history,” she wrote recently on Instagram. “Who knew I’d be such a history junkie?” ...

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Marla Walker

From its scenic mountainscapes to its watery vistas, Hudson Valley is known for its spectacular natural beauty, so it’s only natural when regional interior designers are inspired by it. But the Hudson Valley’s industrial past and present is also essential to its character. Designer Marla Walker wants to reflect the human-made aspect of the area just as much—its bridges, its brickyards, even the town seal of Kingston, New York. Today, she’s channeling all these references into the entryway and entry hall of the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse. The city seal of Kingston depicts the sun peaking over mountains on a Hudson River sloop; partly inspired by its bold color choices, Walker dreamed up a tricolor theme of deep reds, rich blues and verdant greens for the entry hall.  Other ideas from Hudson history are expressed via a hand-painted, stenciled motif, a mid-1800s decorative technique given a 2019 twist with the help of Rhinecliff visual artist Ruby Palmer. The motif will be strictly Hudson Valley, celebrating its flora and fauna as well as its artificial aspects. “Taking inspiration from the local landscape [and] Kingston history, we’re creating a custom, contemporary iconography,” Walker says of the pair’s work together. “[It’s] something they used to do during the time the house was built. We’re having fun with that as a concept.” Walker channels Kingston’s industrial history both in both broad and specific ways. The stairs, painted blue, along with a wave-patterned wallpaper, abstractly represent the Hudson River—first discovered by Henry Hudson as a hub of trade in 1609. In the motif, though, Walker got more detailed, adding local nods like wheatsheaf and crown vetch twisting around brick from the local Hutton Brickyards. From there, Walker worked with a local potter, Christopher Brody, on the fireplace tile to accentuate the theme further. She even thought of adding beaver tails to the motif; the sky was the limit to communicate Hudson imagery. “You’re going to spend some time looking at it and thinking, ‘Wow, what’s going on here?’” she says of the finished product. “I really wanted to have a space that had a lot of impact right away.” Also important to understanding Walker’s work is her strong attraction to flowers; true to the entryway’s color scheme, her mood board pops with local flowers in bright red and white. “My grandmother always had fresh flowers in her house — every room," she told Chronogram in 2019. "It just made you feel special, like someone was thinking of you." But Walker’s thoroughline of all these references, from bricks to bridges to beaver tails, is a deep attention to detail. “We might even make a little key for people so they know what everything is,” she says regarding the showhouse’s opening in October. “It could be a handout or something.” “Because everything is very considered,” she continues. “The flowers that we chose. The leaves that we chose. Every single thing is intentional. I’m using wallpaper, paint colors and local art to celebrate the region’s industrial past and present.” ...

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Michael Cox

When Yves Saint Laurent needed a retreat from the frenzy of the fashion world, he often fled to Morocco. Specifically, Villa Oasis, his exquisite home away from home in Marrakech, filled with elaborate art and furnishings and framed by garlands of bougainvillea. He visited the country in 1966 and fell in love with it — and along with his business partner Pierre Bergé, he made a plot that was set to be demolished into his personal paradise. In 2019, interior designer Michael Cox made his own excursion to Villa Oasis and saw its beauty for himself. “Morocco had been on my bucket list for a long time, and I saved it for a special occasion, [turning] 50 [last] April,” he tells Chronogram. “It really is this magical oasis of really sophisticated, charming, elevated Moroccan design.” And when the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse rolled around, his recent trip to Marrakech was fresh on his mind. “Well, that’s an easy one,” he says about the visual direction he decided to take. “Being in the house and the garden was just amazing. [So I came] up with something that was a very recent source of inspiration.” First, Cox took stock of the parlor’s proportions — although the space is small, the high ceilings and ample windows give it a sense of majesty. “The fabulous proportions of the room [inspired me],” he says. “Soaring ceilings and classic plaster moldings for grandeur, balanced by a charming, humble scale for intimacy and human connection.” His design firm, Foley & Cox, is more known for subtle, understated rooms than sprawling abodes. But inspired by his visit to Villa Oasis, he decided to bring its rich, potent and regal look to the Kingston Showhouse. “More is more,” he says, regarding the color scheme. “Really deep, saturated colors and layers on layers of pattern. You’ll find deep blues and deep reds and deep oranges.” To achieve his “eclectic mix of ancient and modern Marrakesh,” as Cox calls it, he went through three main vendors: Anglo Raj Antiques and Mason Gerard in Manhattan, and Newel Warehouse in Long Island City, Queens. He promises that the period pieces will be “mixed with surprise and exuberance” and “infused with a sense of humor, drama, and the unexpected.” Cox is most excited to show a custom-created mirror from Miriam Ellner in the verre eglomise style, in which a design and gilding are applied simultaneously to the finish. And, he says, the hand-crafted fireplace surround by Christopher Brody is bound to be the focal point of the parlor. (“It will take visitors’ breath away!” Cox adds.) His dynamo style wasn’t just a product of his Morrocan experience, but years of hard work. 27 years ago, Cox climbed his way up the ladder at Ralph Lauren Home, evolving from the Design Director of Furniture to Director of Ralph Lauren Interiors, a then-new imprint. “[It’s] affectionately referred to as my masters from Polo University,” he says. In 2002, he and interior designer Mary Foley started Foley and Cox, with the stated goal of “[creating] bespoke interiors from the widest palette of possibilities.” And when it came to the 2019 Showhouse, that meant bringing the unearthly beauty of Marrakech—so beloved by Yves Saint Laurent—all the way to Kingston. ...

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Preservation and Presentation at Valentina Custom Frame

Nothing shows off your personality and design-sense quite like the art and design elements you choose for your walls. And, of course, it can be difficult to decide which one of your favorite pieces you should frame and to find a framer that can keep your art (or other beloved possession) safe throughout the process. Valentina Veranes, owner of Valentina Custom Frame in New Paltz, has worked in custom framing for more than 20 years. As an artist herself, she knows first-hand how important it is to give your art (or any keepsake you want to feature) the protection and presentation it deserves. “I frame everything. Not necessarily just art, but also photos,” Veranes says. “I frame whatever the people want. For example, some big carpet that they want to keep on the wall—because the carpet is so nice. I can make frames for things that people what to keep for a long time: medals, jerseys, everything.” And, while aesthetics are a matter of customer preference, she says she can work with them to find the look that makes the statement they want to make. “Some customers choose white frames to keep it simple, which sometimes gives it more power and more value. For photos, my recommendation is to use the white glass, the conservation clear glass, 99 percent UV filtering,” Veranes says. “People make mistakes framing with regular glass—plexiglass that doesn't have any quality. Then in a couple years, the photo has totally changed color and there's damage.” For Veranes, custom framing is worth the investment when it comes to preserving something you want to keep and display forever. “When you frame something, it's something you want to keep and see for many years,” Veranes says. “If you want to preserve this art or preserve this photo, you can find the right frame and for the rest of your life it will be preserved.” For more information on custom framing, visit Valentina Custom Frame's website or make an appointment to visit her shop and gallery in New Paltz....

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Embracing Nature and Modernist Design at Rhinebeck's Newest Residential Community, Brooklyn Heights Farm

When Christopher Dierig and Doug Maxwell first purchased the 200-acre former dairy farm that follows the length of Brooklyn Heights Road (named by weekenders from the borough), they knew the land, with its breathtaking vistas and close proximity to the village of Rhinebeck, was special. The land has inspired a limited collection of modernist homes in a community focused on conservation, embracing and protecting the land’s natural beauty. “We love the story, and the land is incredible. So, we wanted to make sure we treated it with thoughtfulness and respect for the land’s natural features,” says Dierig, the registered architect of S3 Architecture, a New York based studio and the now-named Brooklyn Heights Farm residential community. Each of the four luxury, Modernist homes is one-of-a-kind and specifically designed to respond to the natural characteristics of the land, such as the mountain views, woodlands and water features while preserving sight lines and natural landscapes. Dierig and Maxwell, managing partner, purchased the property two and a half years ago and placed a conservation easement on it with the Dutchess Land Conservancy, which established a preservation focused plan maintaining open spaces with defined building footprints on large tracts of land. “We want to ensure the incredible natural beauty of these lands are protected for generations to come,” says Dierig. “The overriding theme is conservation and preservation of the natural features of the land and a focus on sustainable features,” Dierig says, which includes the use of locally obtained natural building materials, geothermal heating and cooling, and pre-fab and modular construction. There’s also an opportunity for renewable energy power including solar, wind, and home battery systems. “Most important to us is the interrelationship between the home design and the land itself,” Dierig says.“ The estate-sized homes are between 2,500 to 3,381 square-feet and sit on parcels that range in size from 16 to 26 acres. Three of the Brooklyn Heights Farm homes are still available and include three-bedrooms, two and a half to three bathrooms and a den and start at $1.55 million. For more information, visit the Brooklyn Heights Farm website. ...

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A Stunner in Shokan: Views, Location, and Room for the Whole Family

Located in Shokan, New York, this 3337-square foot custom-built home comes with stunning panoramic views of the Ashokan Reservoir and Catskill Mountains.

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Make this Hudson Valley Playground Your Home at Grape Hollow

Situated in total seclusion without a single neighbor in sight in Dutchess County, Grape Hollow is a Hudson Valley dream property: A renovated, rambling farmhouse with four bedrooms on 47.3 acres, complete with an in-ground pool and pool house, idyllic orchards, and a Tesla charging station in the barn. If this oddly-specific dream sounds like your oddly-specific dream, read on. The Colonial-style farmhouse was built in Holmes in 1993 and recently renovated with exacting attention to detail. In addition to Italian limestone flooring, the 3,080-square-foot interior includes reclaimed wall panels, Carrera and penny bath tiles, and an open floor plan featuring a living room stone fireplace. Multiple gathering areas make this an ideal home for an avid home entertainer. Style and function combine in the home’s country kitchen with ebony cabinetry, soapstone countertops, and mini-subway tile backsplash. Take your breakfast and casual meals in the kitchen dining nook overlooking the lush yard and gardens. Spa fixtures in the home's two and a half bathrooms and spacious, breezy bedrooms take the luxury levels over the top, making this house feel like a full-time retreat. Do you love to play in the dirt? Here, you can garden to your heart’s content. The 300-tree diversified orchard, syrup-yielding maple trees, and big greenhouse mean you can bring farm-to-table dining straight into your own gourmet kitchen. Jill Rose, Real Estate Agent at Houlihan Lawrence, believes that Grape Hollow’s next owners will feel “connected to nature” on the property. “From the minute you enter the property and drive up the private drive, you'll see the fruit trees, gardens, greenhouses, the barn, all with a backdrop of gently-forested land,” Rose says. “The sellers did a fantastic modernization to the farmhouse, touching every surface with fine finishes.” Located just five miles from the train station in Pawling, commuting is a breeze. The property is also convenient to Beacon, I-84, western Connecticut, the Taconic State Parkway, and a multitude of parks and acres of state land. For more information on 62 Paine Road, Holmes, NY, visit the listing at Houlihan, or contact Jill Rose, Real Estate Agent, at 845-473-9770 ext. 303, 914-204-0124, or ...

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Jennifer Salvemini

When Jennifer Salvemini first stepped into the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse, the first thing she noticed was the floor-to-ceiling windows flooding the interior with natural light—and she decided to let the showhouse’s empty spaces do most of the talking. “I’m a minimalist at heart,” she tells Chronogram. “I love clean lines and negative space, [so] I wanted to utilize the breath of space the windows create.” Tasked with designing the sitting room in the kitchen, Salvemini took the natural light to its logical conclusion: plants, and more plants. “A Victorian atrium or conservatory immediately came to mind,” she says. “All the plants and custom art that [are] inspired by nature give the space the impression of an atrium.”  But a designer can go over the top with a natural theme, like any other—and true to her minimalist streak, Salvemini decided to often allude to nature, not outright revel in it. To that end, she hung a series of paintings by artist Katie Westmoreland, depicting dappled light cast from a canopy of trees. One of Westmoreland’s pieces, painted on ultralight cotton voile and hung on a rod, moves with the air current from a nearby ceiling fan. Originally, Salvemini wanted to create a “living wall” (or, vertical garden) above the fireplace, but realized it’d be too much of a hassle for the showhouse’s owners once the show wrapped. Thinking on her feet, she worked with Chris Anna of the NYC landscape company Terraform to get plants up on the wall in a workable way.  “[Chris and I] stared at the wall above the fireplace, and at the same time, practically in unison, said "What if it's a frame?”, she remembers. “It was so great, because it was as if the wall told us what it wanted and we both heard it and saw it. The mantle piece is a plante, a lattice and a frame!”  Beyond the use of plants, Salvemini works by two guiding principles: intention and repetition. She had a barely detectable lattice pattern painted on the walls and then repeated the lattice on the seats of chairs and in a custom-cut frame, powder-coated to match the walls and hung over the fireplace. A minty-green, lichen color is repeated everywhere — the walls, the furniture, even the foliage. In the big picture, Salvemini avoids “taking interior design too seriously,” and never wants to create an overly curated, antiseptic look in a room. “If a space doesn't have something unexpected, or playful, or even a bit off, it can feel overly staged and sterile,” she says. “Rooms, like people, should have personalities with quirks and multiple dimensions.” To Salvemini, the smell, feel and overall vibe of a room can supersede picking the correct throw pillows. “The highest function of art is to shift consciousness and compel you to higher thinking,” she says. “This is also the effect of being immersed in nature. Why not integrate these elements into your home and let them make you happy?” ...

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Gabriel de la Portilla

When Gabriel de la Portilla first climbed into the attic bedroom of the Kingston Design Connection Showcase, he wasn’t struck by its beauty—but its awkwardness. He had no wide-open spaces, no standing room, just a severely sloped ceiling. To compensate for this, he decided to make “a room within a room,” with an unconventional inspiration: African safari tents. “These modern luxury tents, you can put an air conditioner in them and outfit them with whatever furniture you want,” he tells Chronogram. “I decided to make the room look like a tent, where you could dream you’re in a safari somewhere exotic or in your own backyard.” By creating a tent-like enclosure and filling it with colorful antiques and quirky art, de la Portilla flipped a cumbersome space into what he calls a “fantasy room.” He began by covering the walls with drop cloth — more of a housepainter's tool than a decoration, but the canvas evoked an old-fashioned tent. He kept the color scheme close to the beige cloth, calling it “soothing … I didn’t want anything to jump out at you.” From there, he threw careful, surgical detail to the wind and filled the room with whimsical furniture and art. Some interior designers swear by minimalism as a guiding principle; de la Portilla doesn’t quite buy it. “The less-is-more maxim is actually really difficult to get right,” he says. “Often, minimalism just looks boring.” On the neutral backdrop, he filled the room with diverse furnishings: fur throws and Oriental rugs, an 18th century Italian sunburst fixture, a neoclassical chair. “Stuff you wouldn’t find in a normal tent,” he says. When it came to art, de la Portilla opted for mixed media art he created himself, as well as quirky touches like a stuffed canary in a bell jar. “Little things like the canary really stand out,” he says. “I could have made it very minimal, but I wanted to create more of a fantasy.” The New York-based designer didn’t start his career thinking he’d be designing whimsical attic spaces; de la Portilla began as an undergrad hitting the books for an English doctorate. “I became dissatisfied with academia,” he says. “Post-structuralism gets old really fast.” When an interior designer friend came over and admired de la Portilla’s decor, the idea was floated to go into the business full-time. “I always had an innate interest in design,” he says. “[but] that career choice never occurred to me.” Now, de la Portilla designs everything from downtown lofts to weekend houses on both sides of the Hudson River, and swears that a fantasy-level space can be attained without breaking the bank.  “Luxury can exist anywhere, even in the smallest of spaces and where’d you least expect to find it,” he says. “In this case, I’ve made a shell of a very prosaic tent but filled it with eclectic and eccentric furniture and art, creating a luxurious but welcoming room.”...

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Kelsey Ter Meer

Kelsey Ter Meer got into floral design by way of farming. In 2011, she had a fresh degree in environmental studies and public policy, with a focus on agriculture, and was toiling the earth of an organic vegetable farm in rural Connecticut. Every Friday, her daily chores included harvesting flowers and making farmstand bouquets for the weekend farmers' market. It was a simple task, but Ter Meer relished this small creative moment during a hard day’s work. Now, Ter Meer runs her own floral and landscape design team—Heart & Soil Flowers—and continues to take inspiration from the jagged, imperfect patterns of the natural world. “Just look at the way different wildflowers grow in a meadow,” she says. “Mother Nature designs in the most beautiful, humble, unassuming ways.” After continuing to garden everywhere from Argentina to Greece, Brooklyn to Queens, Ter Meer decided to take her interest in floral design to the next level. She freelanced for florists in the hubbub of New York City, including for Queens County Farm Museum—and used her growing resume as a springboard to start her own company, Heart & Soil Flowers. She curates full-service arrangements for weddings and social events, as well as quirkier, more low-key offerings for DIY weddings and small gatherings. The natural world is, by definition, unpredictable, and Ter Meer says that working with natural objects as a medium is no different. “Each stem is different, each week is different,” she says. “Working with natural, living, perishable ingredients always keeps you on your toes.” It’s also important to Ter Meer to work in harmony with the time of year and natural backdrop of any job—not with contrived varieties or overly foreign specimens. “We have such a strong focus on using locally grown, locally foraged, and native varieties,” she says. “It's important to me for my designs to feel in season and a part of the larger surrounding landscape.” Ter Meer’s approach to the Kingston Design Showhouse front garden is of a “natural meadowscape,” mixing native and edible plants in a way that mimics natural growing patterns. She’ll focus on perennials—though most don’t think of fall as the season for gardening, it turns out to be a fantastic time to plant flowers that pop up yearly, like peonies, daylilies, and delphiniums. “It gives the plants time to establish good root systems before winter, giving them a leg up in the spring on other plants as they are already somewhat established,” she explains. “You can look out for lots of textural grasses and fall-blooming flowers at the Showhouse in October!” No matter the season or the task at hand, Ter Meer hopes to evoke an “ebb and flow” found in a hillside in bloom, and avoid a “symmetrical and intensely manicured” look common in suburbia. “We grow in mysterious, non-linear ways,” she says of her creative process. “[I want to] create what people haven't seen and convince them they want that.” ...

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4 Rental-by-Owner Properties to Obsess Over Before Your Next Vacation

While there’s a wealth of sites to choose from when starting your hunt, the folks at New York Rental by Owner Vacation Rentals are advocates for the model that lets you rent a space—as their name implies—directly from the owner, ensuring fair pricing (no traveler fees), strong communication between property owners, and transparency from the moment a trip is booked.

Tags: Lodging

FineHome Source: A Gathering for Discerning Tastes

Looking to build your dream kitchen? Does your home need an appliance upgrade? Maybe it’s been years since you indulged in new furniture. Whether you desire to remodel, repair or upgrade your home, you’ll find vendors to talk to at the FineHome Source—An Exceptional Home Show that takes place on September 28, from 10-5 pm at the Millbrook Bandshell in Millbrook. “It’s a great place to bring together people we like to work with, so you can go to one place and meet people who design mechanical systems, home elevators, custom furniture, appliances and more,” says Jimmy Crisp, founder of the FineHome Source show and owner and principal architect of Crisp Architects in Millbrook. Since founding the show 12 years ago, Crisp said the amount of exhibitors and vendors have doubled. “You won’t find shammys for your car at this type of home show, but you will find things that go into a fine home,” he says. “We have new vendors this year, including one that makes padded fireplace benches and they are sold all over the world. And we have a water garden vendor who can make beautiful koi ponds in your backyard.” Nothing says fine home like an incredible work of art hanging on the wall and The 2019 FineHome Source show will feature a Plein Air Art Event & Auction.  There will be exhibitions and demonstrations throughout the day and food vendors offering locally made ice cream and wine made by local vineyards. Don’t miss the wine and cheese tastings! The show is free to attend, but a $2 suggested donation will benefit The Millbrook Rotary Shelter Box program. “The Shelter Box comes with a tent, cooking materials and blankets for a family to live in, sometimes for weeks, after a disaster,” said Crisp. “The high school group Interact will be there to explain the program.” For more information, visit FineHome Source's website. ...

Tags: Design & Decor

Tent, Deconstructed: Math and Nature Redefining an 'Open House'

Making a Home Between the Amazing, Sublime, and Domestic Space
Inspired by geometry and nature, two architects redefine the concept of “open house.”

Tags: House Profiles


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