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“Born Into Yesterday”: 11 Quirky Ideas to Steal from Little Cat Lodge in Upstate NY

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“Born Into Yesterday”: 11 Quirky Ideas to Steal from Little Cat Lodge in Upstate NY

November 8, 2022

All fall we’ve been admiring the just-opened Little Cat Lodge in Upstate New York, with quirky, fresh interiors by design co. LoveIsEnough. Here are 11 design details to borrow from the mountainside inn and tavern.

Photography by Chris Mottalini, courtesy of LoveIsEnough.

1. Add elements of the alpine.

The \100-year-old, seven-acre site is tucked at the base of Catamount Mountain in Hillsdale, New York. The building was previously the Swiss Hutte Inn & Restaurant, and drawing from this inspiration and the inn&#8\2\17;s mountainside perch, Loren Daye, founder and principal of LoveIsEnough, infused the inn with design elements that nod to alpine culture.
Above: The 100-year-old, seven-acre site is tucked at the base of Catamount Mountain in Hillsdale, New York. The building was previously the Swiss Hutte Inn & Restaurant, and drawing from this inspiration and the inn’s mountainside perch, Loren Daye, founder and principal of LoveIsEnough, infused the inn with design elements that nod to alpine culture.
&#8\2\20;A postcard sent from Little Cat Lodge might remind you of Hokkaido, Japan&#8\2\17;s winter refuges, \1950s and sixties Western Massachusetts ski culture, or rural cabins in the Swiss Italian Alps,&#8\2\2\1; the design team says. &#8\2\20;Domestic, collected, and gathered, the property presents as a classic family compound full of discovery and charm.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: “A postcard sent from Little Cat Lodge might remind you of Hokkaido, Japan’s winter refuges, 1950s and sixties Western Massachusetts ski culture, or rural cabins in the Swiss Italian Alps,” the design team says. “Domestic, collected, and gathered, the property presents as a classic family compound full of discovery and charm.”

2. Paint it red.

Wood paneling painted tomato red greets guests and diners at the entrance to the tavern. (Note also the tiny flower painted at the top of the wooden post.)
Above: Wood paneling painted tomato red greets guests and diners at the entrance to the tavern. (Note also the tiny flower painted at the top of the wooden post.)
Above: The team preserved much of the original structure, adding color, eclecticism, and surprise. (See the black cat?)
The furnishings draw from alpine cultures both near and far—the Catskills and Hudson Valley, the Berkshires, Switzerland, Germany, and Japan—with details sourced from Hancock Shaker Village, Holler and Squall in Kingston, Battle Brown in Hudson, and elsewhere.
Above: The furnishings draw from alpine cultures both near and far—the Catskills and Hudson Valley, the Berkshires, Switzerland, Germany, and Japan—with details sourced from Hancock Shaker Village, Holler and Squall in Kingston, Battle Brown in Hudson, and elsewhere.

3. Choose chunky over clean-lined.

The design team sourced maple from Catamount Mountain and enlisted local woodworker Megan Offner of New York Heartwoods to create custom furniture for the tavern, bar, and dining room. Instead of slim and minimal, the resulting forms are appealingly sturdy.
Above: The design team sourced maple from Catamount Mountain and enlisted local woodworker Megan Offner of New York Heartwoods to create custom furniture for the tavern, bar, and dining room. Instead of slim and minimal, the resulting forms are appealingly sturdy.

4. Lean into unexpected textures.

A dining spot for two. In the tavern, as throughout the inn, unexpected textures mix: herringbone brick floors with rough wood paneling, plum-colored leather with black-painted brick. Not pictured: the two-tone river rock terrazzo bar, a nod to the creek that runs through the property.
Above: A dining spot for two. In the tavern, as throughout the inn, unexpected textures mix: herringbone brick floors with rough wood paneling, plum-colored leather with black-painted brick. Not pictured: the two-tone river rock terrazzo bar, a nod to the creek that runs through the property.

The inn is the project of longtime friends and restaurateurs Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman, and the Tavern is helmed by James Beard Award-nominated chef Jason Bond.

5. Paint little surprises.

Everywhere there are small hand-painted surprises, as here, with another black cat and a botanical sprig illustrating the yellow banquettes. &#8\2\20;We approached this project like a storybook village mountain house,&#8\2\2\1; says Loren of LoveIsEnough. &#8\2\20;It’s its own mountain world.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: Everywhere there are small hand-painted surprises, as here, with another black cat and a botanical sprig illustrating the yellow banquettes. “We approached this project like a storybook village mountain house,” says Loren of LoveIsEnough. “It’s its own mountain world.”

6. Drop in a patterned daybed.

&#8\2\20;Checkered daybeds and rustic architecture with riots of color speak an alpine language property-wide,&#8\2\2\1; the designers say. The common areas have views of the grounds.
Above: “Checkered daybeds and rustic architecture with riots of color speak an alpine language property-wide,” the designers say. The common areas have views of the grounds.
Another riotously patterned daybed (and chair).
Above: Another riotously patterned daybed (and chair).

7. There’s always room for a Noguchi light.

The inn&#8\2\17;s \1\2 guest rooms feature &#8\2\20;hints of Japanese ski fantasy, mixing species of wood with Noguchi lights, butter yellow gingham, and vintage objects sourced all over New England.&#8\2\2\1; The light is Isamu Noguchi&#8\2\17;s Akari VB-\13C.
Above: The inn’s 12 guest rooms feature “hints of Japanese ski fantasy, mixing species of wood with Noguchi lights, butter yellow gingham, and vintage objects sourced all over New England.” The light is Isamu Noguchi’s Akari VB-13C.

Much of the guest room furniture was custom built by Primary Visual; some have “Swiss/German-style floral fabric on the bolsters behind the beds.” Each room also includes “a storybook scene painted by local artist Esmé Shapiro on pieces of wood that were culled from Catamount.”

8. Try scalloped trim.

The guest rooms are finished with a very subtle scalloped molding. (See Trend Alert: \2\1st Century Scalloping for more ways to incorporate the trend.)
Above: The guest rooms are finished with a very subtle scalloped molding. (See Trend Alert: 21st Century Scalloping for more ways to incorporate the trend.)

9. Get out the vintage embroidery.

Further evidence of the Grandmillennial/granny chic trend? Vintage mix-and-match embroidered cushions appear on the built-in sofas in the guest rooms.
Above: Further evidence of the Grandmillennial/granny chic trend? Vintage mix-and-match embroidered cushions appear on the built-in sofas in the guest rooms.

10. Bring braided rugs into the bath.

We&#8\2\17;ve previously noted rugs in the bath, but Little Cat Lodge takes things a step further, with hardy braided rugs underfoot. Note also the sweet valance above the window.
Above: We’ve previously noted rugs in the bath, but Little Cat Lodge takes things a step further, with hardy braided rugs underfoot. Note also the sweet valance above the window.

11. Say yes to wood paneling.

More is more when it comes to wood paneling at Little Cat Lodge. Guest room walls are clad in reclaimed mushroom wood sourced by The Hudson Company; elsewhere, there&#8\2\17;s all-over knotty paneling.
Above: More is more when it comes to wood paneling at Little Cat Lodge. Guest room walls are clad in reclaimed mushroom wood sourced by The Hudson Company; elsewhere, there’s all-over knotty paneling.
The ground play host to activities year-round. &#8\2\20;In warmer months, a path from the woods leads guests to a summertime swimming pool and bar, and lush hiking trails connect to the adjacent Catamount Mountain Resort,&#8\2\2\1; according to the designers. &#8\2\20;Come winter, barrel saunas can be discovered in the forest.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: The ground play host to activities year-round. “In warmer months, a path from the woods leads guests to a summertime swimming pool and bar, and lush hiking trails connect to the adjacent Catamount Mountain Resort,” according to the designers. “Come winter, barrel saunas can be discovered in the forest.”

Little Cat Lodge is pet friendly and now accepting bookings; head to their site for more info.

And for more particularly design-forward destinations, might we suggest:

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