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‘Weirdness and Charm’ in an Upstate New York Farmhouse

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‘Weirdness and Charm’ in an Upstate New York Farmhouse

September 11, 2017

How to combine a humble 19th-century farmhouse and an edgy contemporary art collection? Husband-and-wife architects Maria Berman and Brad Horn of Berman Horn Studio, members of the Remodelista Architect & Designer Directory, approached the job in stages. Step 1: Shore up the house. Step 2: Situate the outsized art. Step 3: Devote three years to assembling an odd lot of furnishings—rose-colored modernist sofas, embroidered pillows, Americana quilts—that telegraph an “anti-trophy house,” comfy vibe.

The results? A quirky, completely personal home.

Photography by Rush Jagoe, courtesy of Berman Horn Studio.

 &#8\2\20;at the beginning, this was a sweet and modest but rather unexcit 9
Above: “At the beginning, this was a sweet and modest but rather unexciting little 19th-century Federal-style house in Columbia County,” says Berman. “It’s approximately 2,500 square feet and had been well-maintained.”

The designers painted the exterior in Benjamin Moore’s muted, dusty Classic Gray, with a roof of Eastern white pine shakes in place of asphalt shingles.”Its modesty is offset,” says Berman, “by a vibrant yellow door, Fine Paints of Europe‘s Van Gogh Yellow, and a romantic and exuberant garden.” Explore the house’s outdoor design today on Gardenista.

curiouser and curiouser. the house belongs to a manhattan couple who use it as  10
Above: Curiouser and curiouser. The house belongs to a Manhattan couple who use it as their half-time residence. Their ask? An inviting and unpretentious setting for them to live amid their art (which they have asked us to leave unattributed).

“The first thing we did was to clarify all of the interiors by painting out most of the woodwork and unifying the color scheme into a single color throughout: Benjamin Moore’s Cloud Cover,” explains Berman. Shown above, a contemporary sculpture displayed on an antique painted drop-leaf table. The yellow sconce is Charlotte Perriand’s Applique à Volet Pivotant.

the eclectic living room. 11
Above: The eclectic living room.

“Our clients didn’t have a sense of wanting to make the place look finished or polished,” Berman tells us. “They were after a general embrace of weirdness and charm.” In the living room, that embrace encompasses a custom tuxedo sofa in a Bergamo plum silk-velvet (with a madcap array of needlepoint pillows), an artist-made traffic drum hanging light, and a vintage magician’s chest.

a sculptural slice of burled wood that the clients owned was raised on lucite l 12
Above: A sculptural slice of burled wood that the clients owned was raised on Lucite legs to create a coffee table in the rear living room.

in front of the hearth, a charlotte perriand daybed is upholstered in melbury e 13
Above: In front of the hearth, a Charlotte Perriand daybed is upholstered in Melbury Ebony, a black-and-white check from Romo (initially, it was in Melbury Cilantro, a green-and-white check, but “in the end, the room needed a more punchy graphic, so we redid the cushion,” says Berman). It’s topped with a long pillow embroidered with a silhouette of a body.
Where did they find all of these things? “We shopped everywhere: Chicago, Mexico City, Europe, Los Angeles, 1st Dibs, Etsy, eBay, Brimfield, junk stores, resale shops, salvage places—and we’re still looking.”

Berman happened upon the 14-foot-long Vladimir Kagan–style sofa at a Westchester estate sale. “It was in the basement on the last day priced at about $100.” As for her choice of Romo’s Linara Flamingo, a bright cotton-linen: “The room is quite dark, so we needed saturated, fearless colors. Neutrals in this setting turn to mud.”

mixed company. for the dining room, with its stone hearth and classic sash wind 14
Above: Mixed company. For the dining room, with its stone hearth and classic sash windows, Berman and Horn designed a Parsons Table finished in Bacterio, a since-discontinued Memphis laminate by Ettore Sottsass. They found the wire-and-glass-flower chandelier of unknown origin on 1st Dibs. The potted palm is an art piece as is the standing broken window.

above : &#8\2\20;we were really inspired by several historic homes of dear  15
Above : “We were really inspired by several historic homes of dear friends designed in the sixties and seventies, and perfect to this day in the way they create spaces full of antiques and Americana to completely contemporary effect,” says Berman. “We also looked at the great book Billy Baldwin Decorates.
The dining room opens to a little reading area with a shelf of cookbooks and an antique rope farm bed.

the otherwise original pantry is now adorned with nakai, a pierre frey wallpap 16
Above: The otherwise original pantry is now adorned with Nakai, a Pierre Frey wallpaper patterned with what Berman describes as “murderous flowers.”
farmhouse mod: in front of the master bedroom fireplace, a milo baughman circul 17
Above: Farmhouse mod: In front of the master bedroom fireplace, a Milo Baughman circular love seat (in its original Jack Lenor Larsen velvet) is paired with a Raymond Loewy molded plastic dresser from the seventies. (A Raymond Loewy DF 2000 Dresser is currently marked down from $5,500 to $2,100 on Chairish.)
berman and horn assembled an antique swedish writing table, christian bell lamp 18
Above: Berman and Horn assembled an antique Swedish writing table, Christian Bell lamp, Prouvé Standard Chair, and Fornasetti wastebasket in the upstairs office.
In the study, the floor is painted Arsenic from Farrow & Ball, one of our Happiness-Inducing Paint Colors. The rug is a Ukrainian flat weave from Berman and Horn’s favorite NYC carpet source, Symourgh International.contemporary art in an americana setting: gallery space in a new york farmhouse 19

Above: Contemporary art in an Americana setting.Throughout the house, the architects preserved the original wide-plank pine floors—”we worked hard on the stain to get to a color without any of the dreaded orange or honey tones”—and painted the walls Cloud Cover from Benjamin Moore’s Off-White Color collection.

the bedroom off the back stairs has a blue and white les indiennes esme/brigit 20
Above: The bedroom off the back stairs has a blue-and-white Les Indiennes Esme/Brigitte Quilt layered with an antique American quilt. The floor is painted Farrow & Ball’s Cinder Rose, one of the colors singled out in Expert Advice: The 10 Best Pink Paints.
a kids&#8\2\17; room has a trio of vintage quilts found at brimfield and a  21
Above: A kids’ room has a trio of vintage quilts found at Brimfield and a pie safe for extra bedding. Here, the floor is painted Farrow & Ball Blue Ground.

a room with a closeup view. &#8\2\20;a bat also lived in that window during 22
Above: A room with a closeup view. “A bat also lived in that window during construction,” says Berman.
patio pavers retaining walls grasses russian sage outdoor dining columbia county ny berman horn studio
Above: An outdoor dining area; see more of the gardens and the exterior over on Gardenista.

Here are two more adeptly remodeled farmhouses:

Product summary  Item 7 145Item 8 146

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