Home visit: a chic zen house in the woods

THE GOTS OF DECORspouses can be antagonistic. Not so with the couple who commissioned Manhattan designer Magdalena Keck to finish the interiors for their young family’s weekend home in Hudson Woods, a community in Kerhonkson, NY. unusually compatible ingredients. Referring to the simple construction and lack of ornamentation of Scandinavian design, Ms. Keck said, “These mid-century designers have returned to Japanese design. [whose] the goal is clean simplicity and elegance.

A unifying factor in the project? Wood bushes. The house itself, from Lang Architecture in New York, had already prioritized another key tenet of Japanese beauty: local materials. White oak, abundant in the Catskills and on the property, covers the walls, floors and ceilings. Mrs. Keck made more use of the humble wood. “We made a ton of built-in items – walk-in closets, shelving, desks, bunk beds – that all seem to come out of the house because we used white oak where the architect had made it.”

The built-in elements contributed more than a calming continuity. “We spent a lot of time organizing, to eliminate any possibility of clutter,” Ms. Keck said. “A Japanese interior is quite serene and sparse. Walnut inserts in kitchen drawers, for example, store each utensil in its own special place. In addition to wood, she looks for neutral and textured materials: artisanal wools, linen, leather, rattan, raw brass which will gracefully patina.

Large windows let the family devour nature; the surrounding landscape is not challenged by the distracting interior color. “We wanted to appreciate the forest outside which changes almost daily,” said the designer. Thanks to the home’s seclusion, the views aren’t cluttered by window treatments except for the blackout blinds installed in the bedrooms for beds-slug-a-beds in the morning.

Here’s how Ms. Keck’s embrace of her clients’ simpatico sensitivity resulted in a peaceful mountain getaway.


Photo:


Jeff Cate

Barely there kitchen

In the kitchen, the wall, ceiling, cabinets and refrigerator, all covered in white oak, are courtesy of the architect. “We envisioned a very nice sort of fancy, industrial island, but it was rejected,” Ms. Keck said. “It was quite open and the customer didn’t want the kitchen items to be visible from the great room. Instead, the designer had an enclosed island built, its wood veneer matching the existing panels and cabinets. Backless bar stools from local furniture maker Michael Robbins have quietly joined the scene, and tiny light fixtures hang from the ceiling. “We have a substantial Allied Maker lamp above the dining table,” Ms. Keck said, “and a strong lighting element in a space like this is sufficient.”


Photo:


Jeff Cate

Non-forced entry

“Part of the Japanese philosophy is to use what is available nearby,” Ms. Keck said. So, in the entrance, she chose a console created by the furniture maker Catskills Samuel Moyer. A vase contains holm oak branches and sumac from the property. “It’s what’s always in the house, not accessories,” the designer said, “very organic and natural and easy.” On an adjacent wall hangs a Japanese broom, used to brush cobwebs, honeycombs, insects and dust from outside the house. “Customers brought it with them. Fulfilling their mandate did not mean finding specific objects linked to the couple’s heritage. “The ones we used are completely functional and inherent in the way the house is used. “


Photo:


Jeff Cate

Get in line

In the children’s room, seen down the hall, Ms Keck installed white oak shelves against panels of the same material and thickness, one of many steps she took to maintain continuity. And from the perspective of the living room, where the family watches TV from the comfort of an Article sofa, the shelves visually echo the slats on the staircase wall. Created by home designer Lang Architecture of New York, the transparent divider adds to the space and highlights the steps. “To me, stairs are by nature always very interesting, beautiful objects, a sculptural element,” Ms. Keck said. A pair of Hans Wegner stools offers an organic touch. The seats are woven from Spanish paper cord but have the same grassy quality as cane or rush, she said.


Photo:


Jeff Cate

Master of Crafting

In the master bedroom, a white oak headboard with integrated nightstands, from Oregon’s Chadhaus, continues the celebration of the home’s natural materials. “We asked the manufacturer to select boards that had slight sap streaks, which really brought out the beauty of this common material,” Ms. Keck said. The luminaires of the Finnish brand Secto emit light through strips of wood. “It reminds me of the screen downstairs, intuitively from a distance. “


Photo:


Jeff Cate

Cathedral feeling

In the great room of the 3,000-square-foot home, low, horizontal mid-century furniture stands out from view: a Finn Juhl dining table and a Hans Wegner walnut sofa, whose black leather connects to tree bark. outside. A rattan armchair is the only truly vintage mid-century piece in the room. Ms. Keck chose it in keeping with the Japanese philosophy of cherishing and reusing things. All the furniture rests on bare feet, which reinforces the impression of immensity. The negative space under these rooms, she said, “adds to the volume of the open space. [and] makes the room even more grandiose.

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