An interior designer and her husband created the perfect winter getaway in upstate New York by letting nature do the talking…
A three-bedroom new build in the Catskills, upstate New York. The ground floor has an entrance hall, open-plan living, dining and kitchen area, a guest bedroom and bathroom. The first floor has a den, a bedroom with en suite, the main bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and the main bathroom.
The owners, whose main home is in Brooklyn, found a vacant plot of land to build a weekend getaway. For them, it was a chance to disconnect from the city grind and realign themselves with family, friends and nature, in a location sandwiched between state parks.
The idea was to create a contemporary cabin that would reflect – and almost disappear into – its setting, with huge windows, local materials and lots of wood, which is stained black on the exterior to camouflage the house among the trees. The location is all about being close to nature, so they wanted the house to feel casual and relaxed, and not detract from the spectacular light and views outside.
Designed by Lang Architecture (with interior design studio nune, choosing the finishes), the house took 12 months to complete.
Although only two and a half hours from Brooklyn, the house feels like a world away. The huge windows and lack of light pollution makes the stars visible and deer, raccoons, foxes are regular visitors. The couple have even seen a bear’s paw print in the snow.
A large picture window frames a view of the surrounding trees, like a painting. The couple wanted plenty of windows. Their aim was to feel like they are in the woods and to see the wildlife outside.
Neutral colours and natural materials tie the house to its setting. Even the light above the dining table branches out like a twig. Everything is focused on nature and wildlife, and deer often appear outside while the owners are having dinner, adding a magical feel to the setting.
The black chest next to the table provides accessible storage for plates, glasses and dining accessories.
The aim was for the house to feel soft and humble. Material selection was an important factor in creating a feeling of serenity and connecting with nature – the wooden coffee table in the living room looks like it’s been cut straight from the roots of a felled tree.
Art books and stylish ceramics line the white bookshelf, which is softly illuminated at night by the black and wall lights.
The colours, textures and shapes echo those outside. The kitchen wall tiles are the colour of moss and the custom-made island has a walnut lining. Natural elements are layered throughout the space in a beautifully restrained way.
Brass has been used as an accent throughout the house, as seen here in the bedside lights. It’s in keeping with the home’s elemental, mostly wooden material palette, but adds a touch of lustre and luxury.
The long-haired sheepskin rugs look like they could have been shorn at a local farm.
The double basin was custom-made using fibre-reinforced concrete. The warm brass and timber elements soften the look.
Lang Architecture sourced wood locally to build the house and used oak for the floor and ceiling, complemented here with soothing grey walls. A simple wooden chair, timber-framed print and charcoal hued bed-linen pull the room together.
Photography ⁄ Matthew Williams