Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Natural Instincts: An Interior Designer’s Weekend Home, Built for Tranquility

Search

Natural Instincts: An Interior Designer’s Weekend Home, Built for Tranquility

November 23, 2018

Like so many other real estate stories about moving to the suburbs or buying a second home in the country, this one can be traced to an interloper: a new family arrival in the form of a tiny baby girl named Matilda.

Sheena and Paul Murphy had toyed with the idea of buying a second home in upstate New York, but truth be told, “it wasn’t an idea I was very excited about at the time,” says Sheena, an interior designer and founder of nune. (See her work in Rehab Diary: Monochromatic Luxe in Park Slope.) “But then we fell pregnant, and I became more interested, because we lived in a small two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn with no outdoor space. The prospect of both interior and exterior space suddenly became much more appealing.”

The couple explored various options—renovating an existing property, buying a prefab, or building from the ground up—but since both were extremely busy professionally (he’s a tech entrepreneur and she had just launched her interiors business), they feared they’d be overextended. Enter: Hudson Woods, an anti-development development of 26 homes on 131 acres in the wilds of Ulster County from architect Drew Lang (see A House United: Reimagining a Brooklyn Brownstone).

“A friend mentioned Hudson Woods to us on one of our weekends up to the area, and so we checked out the model house. Drew did a lovely job on the quality and style of the homes, and that was an instant draw. I just didn’t have the bandwidth to manage another construction project. So the stars were aligned; we decided to go for it,” explains Sheena, who left the house design to Lang but chose the finishes herself.

Just a year after signing the paperwork, they were able to move into their newly built Catskills escape. “It is our refuge from our busy city lives” says Sheena. “Being surrounded by so much nature—a good distance from neighbors and with no commerce in sight for 15 miles—was the perfect contrast to the city. The environment really forces us to slow down, which is exactly what we wanted. We hike, swim, practice yoga, have drinks by the fire (indoors and outdoors), cook a lot, read, play and sleep really, really well.”

Sounds appealing? See for yourself.

Photography by Matthew Williams.

Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility &#8\2\20;The interiors are a bit of a mishmash of things we had in storage, new purchases, sample sale deals, and local vintage finds,&#8\2\2\1; says Sheena. &#8\2\20;This home was never intended to feel refined or even complete, and for that reason, it&#8\2\17;s utterly imperfect in the way we intended it to be.&#8\2\2\1; A Hans Wegner sofa, positioned in front of the wood burning stove by Wittus, anchors the open living area.
Above: “The interiors are a bit of a mishmash of things we had in storage, new purchases, sample sale deals, and local vintage finds,” says Sheena. “This home was never intended to feel refined or even complete, and for that reason, it’s utterly imperfect in the way we intended it to be.” A Hans Wegner sofa, positioned in front of the wood-burning stove by Wittus, anchors the open living area.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility Floor to ceiling windows in much of the open living space put the focus squarely on the outdoors. &#8\2\20;Because of the expanse of windows in the house, you almost feel like you’re outside when you’re actually wrapped up warm by the fire,&#8\2\2\1; says Sheena. In the dining corner, Hoffmann chairs from Design Within Reach contrast with the dark vintage dining table. The Waldorf light is by Lambert & Fils.
Above: Floor-to-ceiling windows in much of the open living space put the focus squarely on the outdoors. “Because of the expanse of windows in the house, you almost feel like you’re outside when you’re actually wrapped up warm by the fire,” says Sheena. In the dining corner, Hoffmann chairs from Design Within Reach contrast with the dark vintage dining table. The Waldorf light is by Lambert & Fils.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility &#8\2\20;It&#8\2\17;s a vintage piece that functions as a bar and was made in Belgium,&#8\2\2\1; says Sheena of the striking wood cabinet next to the dining table. &#8\2\20;I found it via one of my favorite vintage dealers in the Netherlands. The wood has been beautifully restored and refinished.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: “It’s a vintage piece that functions as a bar and was made in Belgium,” says Sheena of the striking wood cabinet next to the dining table. “I found it via one of my favorite vintage dealers in the Netherlands. The wood has been beautifully restored and refinished.”
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility  Tucked into the walnut kitchen island are Mitre stools from Souda. The appliances are by Fisher & Paykel.
Above: Tucked into the walnut kitchen island are Mitre stools from Souda. The appliances are by Fisher & Paykel.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility Sheena chose finishes and colors that reminded her of the outdoors. The green tiles are by Heath Ceramics, the faucet by Delta.
Above: Sheena chose finishes and colors that reminded her of the outdoors. The green tiles are by Heath Ceramics, the faucet by Delta.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility The flooring (and much of the ceilings and walls) is oak. Brass accents can be seen throughout the home, including in the guest bedroom, where brass Wallace sconces by onefortythree flank a black Alchemy bed from CB\2.
Above: The flooring (and much of the ceilings and walls) is oak. Brass accents can be seen throughout the home, including in the guest bedroom, where brass Wallace sconces by onefortythree flank a black Alchemy bed from CB2.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility Matilda&#8\2\17;s tiled bathroom features a Kohler sink, lighting by onefortythree, and a Stump stool by Kalon Studios.
Above: Matilda’s tiled bathroom features a Kohler sink, lighting by onefortythree, and a Stump stool by Kalon Studios.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility The second floor den is outfitted with custom upholstered Sierra chairs by Crofthouse in LA (the fabric is from StudioFour) and Stick System shelving from Menu.
Above: The second-floor den is outfitted with custom-upholstered Sierra chairs by Crofthouse in LA (the fabric is from StudioFour) and Stick System shelving from Menu.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility The double sink in the master bath was custom made using fiber reinforced concrete.
Above: The double sink in the master bath was custom-made using fiber-reinforced concrete.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility  &#8\2\20;I found the wall sculpture at a local vintage shop in Hudson,&#8\2\2\1; Sheena says. &#8\2\20;The shop owner didn&#8\2\17;t know what it was, but I loved the material, scale, and 3D nature of the piece.&#8\2\2\1; The Rod+Weave chair is by LA designer Eric Trine.
Above: “I found the wall sculpture at a local vintage shop in Hudson,” Sheena says. “The shop owner didn’t know what it was, but I loved the material, scale, and 3D nature of the piece.” The Rod+Weave chair is by LA designer Eric Trine.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility A built in bench in the entry. The Wook wall hooks are by Blu Dot.
Above: A built-in bench in the entry. The Wook wall hooks are by Blu Dot.
Natural Instincts An Interior Designers Weekend Home Built for Tranquility  The house, painted in black Benjamin Moore Arborcoat semi transparent stain, fits in nicely in this neighborhood of trees and more trees.
Above: The house, painted in black Benjamin Moore Arborcoat semi-transparent stain, fits in nicely in this neighborhood of trees and more trees.

For more Catskills inspiration, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0