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The Woodhouse Lodge: Designer Megan Pflug’s Catskills Motor Lodge Makeover

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The Woodhouse Lodge: Designer Megan Pflug’s Catskills Motor Lodge Makeover

August 10, 2018

The Woodhouse Lodge dates to 1962 when the Catskills were the Borscht Belt (aka the Jewish Alps). Unlike so many neighboring resorts that went belly up decades ago, this modest joint—a welcoming A-frame with wings—carried on. But it had seen far better days when New York interior designer Megan Pflug and her artist husband, J. Penry, were tipped off by a realtor that the owner might be interested in selling. “We were looking for something like the lodge, but we weren’t thinking we’d end up with a sixties motor lodge,” says Pflug, who studied fine art at RISD before realizing she was “as interested in the spaces where art would live as much as the actual pieces of art.” She currently runs her own design firm and notes that she grew up in Missouri in a family of women with “pioneer resourcefulness,” by way of explaining that she and Penry took on the remodel of the establishment largely on their own.

It was, for the most part, a cosmetic job, but required an enormous amount of recasting and painting—plus the fabrication of “a zillion Shaker peg rails” (Pflug did that job; look for them in nearly every room). The makeover is newly complete and the establishment is back in business. Join us for a look around.

Photography by Genevieve Garruppo, unless noted, all courtesy of the Woodhouse Lodge.

The lodge is in the town of Greenville, New York, 30 minutes west of Hudson and will be open year-round (there’s nearby skiing). It has a new front patio with a canopy that shades wicker furniture from Stori Modern’s Novel collection, plus a new asphalt roof. “The roof made a huge difference in the overall look of the building,” says Pflug. “It’s not something I ‘see’ anymore, but the overall effect made the building look new.” (Scroll to the end to see the structure as it was.)
Above: The lodge is in the town of Greenville, New York, 30 minutes west of Hudson and will be open year-round (there’s nearby skiing). It has a new front patio with a canopy that shades wicker furniture from Stori Modern’s Novel collection, plus a new asphalt roof. “The roof made a huge difference in the overall look of the building,” says Pflug. “It’s not something I ‘see’ anymore, but the overall effect made the building look new.” (Scroll to the end to see the structure as it was.)
Rather than taking a modernist tact, Pflug furnished the lounge with classic pieces, such as this Chesterfield sofa from Perigold, and enlisted a specialist to apply clay plaster to the walls in a moody gray (they used American Clay; read about the finish in Remodeling 101: Modern Plaster Walls).
Above: Rather than taking a modernist tact, Pflug furnished the lounge with classic pieces, such as this Chesterfield sofa from Perigold, and enlisted a specialist to apply clay plaster to the walls in a moody gray (they used American Clay; read about the finish in Remodeling 101: Modern Plaster Walls).
“I design pretty intuitively and one thing I knew going into this project was that I did not want it to be overly midcentury,” Pflug tells us. “The impulse with modern architecture is sometimes to decorate very literally with pieces from the era, but to me, that approach often feels cartoonish and ultimately doesn’t let the space evolve. I tried to honor the heritage while mixing it up. I used Shaker rails in most of the rooms—the Shakers were the original modernists, after all, and they lived in this part of the country. I also collected a lot of vintage and antique pieces from the area, so they’re regional and I think help the mix feel grounded.”

The lodge came with a recently installed kitchen, stainless-topped island included (see a Before photo below). “The last owner was a building manager in a fancy New York City apartment building, and brought the kitchen up from the city,” explains Pflug. “He installed it according to the footprint of its former location without considering the lodge floor plan, and the result was that it was shoved into a corner with very little counter space. We reused the cabinets, but reconfigured them and opted for no uppers.”
Above: The lodge came with a recently installed kitchen, stainless-topped island included (see a Before photo below). “The last owner was a building manager in a fancy New York City apartment building, and brought the kitchen up from the city,” explains Pflug. “He installed it according to the footprint of its former location without considering the lodge floor plan, and the result was that it was shoved into a corner with very little counter space. We reused the cabinets, but reconfigured them and opted for no uppers.”

Formerly black, the cabinets are now painted a Behr semigloss called Night Club and have new knobs from Emtek. Snacks are on offer here, and plans are under way to expand the food and drink offerings. Photograph by Frank Frances.

Pflug replaced the existing wooden counters with Alberene soapstone from Polycor: “I choose soapstone because I love the look. It’s resistant to etching and much less fussy than marble, and because it’s a soft stone, it can be cut with a wet saw on site. We DIYed the sections with the help of our contractor.” The matte black pull-down faucet is the Align One Handle from Moen.
Above: Pflug replaced the existing wooden counters with Alberene soapstone from Polycor: “I choose soapstone because I love the look. It’s resistant to etching and much less fussy than marble, and because it’s a soft stone, it can be cut with a wet saw on site. We DIYed the sections with the help of our contractor.” The matte black pull-down faucet is the Align One Handle from Moen.
Admiring the antique landscapes? We, too, are fans of art in the kitchen—see The New Gallery: 12 Favorite Kitchens with Paintings on Display.

There are 10 guest rooms, all furnished with local finds and dramatic felt-and-leather panels that serve as headboards. The wooden ceilings are original and newly painted: They used Behr Shoelace throughout. Photograph by Frank Frances.
Above: There are 10 guest rooms, all furnished with local finds and dramatic felt-and-leather panels that serve as headboards. The wooden ceilings are original and newly painted: They used Behr Shoelace throughout. Photograph by Frank Frances.
The custom bed curtains are the work of Brooklyn leather studio Moses Nadel; they hang from Pflug’s DIY Shaker pegs (she uses closet rods as dowels; in a blog post about another project, she details how she makes them). The knotted merino blanket is from Etsy seller Texturable Decor of Uruguay.
Above: The custom bed curtains are the work of Brooklyn leather studio Moses Nadel; they hang from Pflug’s DIY Shaker pegs (she uses closet rods as dowels; in a blog post about another project, she details how she makes them). The knotted merino blanket is from Etsy seller Texturable Decor of Uruguay.
Each room has a different headboard pattern. The sheets are from Brooklinen—see Bedding Disruptors: Luxury Linens for Less—and the mattresses are by Luft. The couple unearthed the 1970s snowmobile race posters in the attic when they were insulating.
Above: Each room has a different headboard pattern. The sheets are from Brooklinen—see Bedding Disruptors: Luxury Linens for Less—and the mattresses are by Luft. The couple unearthed the 1970s snowmobile race posters in the attic when they were insulating.
The bathrooms have their original 1962 fixtures newly restored. The toiletries are from Catskills apothecary Village Common and Winter Water Factory supplied the Canvas Pouches.
Above: The bathrooms have their original 1962 fixtures newly restored. The toiletries are from Catskills apothecary Village Common and Winter Water Factory supplied the Canvas Pouches.
The wooden folding chairs on the porch are original to the lodge.
Above: The wooden folding chairs on the porch are original to the lodge.
Get your hammock here: There are four acres of shady lawn. A new event space will be coming in 2019.
Above: Get your hammock here: There are four acres of shady lawn. A new event space will be coming in 2019.

Before

The lodge was built on the grounds of what was a large, family-owned resort that opened in 1917. “We’re excited to be bringing some of the Catskills history back to life,” says Pflug.
Above: The lodge was built on the grounds of what was a large, family-owned resort that opened in 1917. “We’re excited to be bringing some of the Catskills history back to life,” says Pflug.
The kitchen as it was. 
Above: The kitchen as it was. 
Work in progress. 
Above: Work in progress. 

For more details and reservations, go to the Woodhouse Lodge.

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