As owners of Hayfield, one of the Catskills’ most stylish wedding venues, Christiana Mavromatis and Scott Arnold know a thing or two about love. So when the couple first laid eyes on Minwawa, a grand Arts and Crafts home in Tannersville, NY, they knew it was a perfect match made in heaven. Not only was the couple attracted to the stunning views overlooking a mountain valley in Catskill State Park, they were also drawn in by the home’s sense of history, which was palpable in every nook and cranny.
Designed by Canadian painter and architect George A. Reid, the house was built in 1890 as part of an artist community founded by Candace Wheeler, known as “The Mother of Interior Design.” It was later converted into a private home, remaining in the same family for more than 100 years, until Christiana and Scott purchased it in 2015. Before the couple could write their own tale of the home’s storied past however, Minwawa needed a lot of work.
For Christiana and Scott, there was only one design firm that they trusted with such a labor of love: Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co., whom they discovered via Remodelista. “I love that Tara and Percy embraced the history and the whimsical quirks of the house. Their enthusiasm and respect for both those elements is what made us so excited to work with them and so confident in them.”
Photography by Nicole Franzen.
Before Tara and Percy set foot in the house, Minwawa’s owners had to tackle massive structural problems, as well as “insufficient plumbing, outdated electrical, a complete lack of insulation, and a rotting exterior,” hurdles that were handily surmounted by Lovell Kuhn Construction, whom Christian credits with taking the time to understand their vision, as well as for working creatively and efficiently and with an eye toward sustainability. Finally, after six months of structural work, Jersey Ice Cream Co. was ready to take over on the inside.
In their designs, Tara and Percy let the home be their guide. Thus, every choice was about enhancing soul. Original detail such as the antique light fixtures and some pieces of furniture where repaired and restored. Worn out features, such as the flax on the ballroom walls, were replaced with replicas. Modern inconsistencies were ditched in favor of more traditional elements. Throughout, antique furniture was employed to create a seamless sense of history, while at the same time adding character to each room.
The kitchen is located in a newer wing and required a complete redesign to better reflect the character of the house. Here, a vintage sink, subtle duo-toned plaster walls and marble-topped cabinets, again in Devonshire Green, help conjure an old-world, yet still contemporary, feel.
Minwawa is available for rent for special occasions. Inquire here.
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