In Refinery29’s Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial families. This week, we tour the breathtaking gut renovation of a converted 19th-century barn in the Catskills, two hours north of New York City.
Fans of shelter magazines and home-focused websites know the story well: couple buys affordable, rough-around-the-edges rural getaway and transforms it into a sublime, aspirational retreat. The subject that’s rarely addressed in these glossy spreads are the cold hard costs behind such endeavors: aka how much time and money does it really take to transform a living space from rundown to spruced-up? That’s why we were thrilled to talk with Danielle and Ely, who told us exactly what they paid for their Catskills crib ($235,000) how much they spent overhauling the space and outfitting it with rustic, inviting home accents ($50,000). They spent seven months pulling up old floors, replacing dated cabinetry, plus painting, and wallpapering every surface in the house — all while taking turns caring for their 10-month-old, Ellie. The results are pretty breathtaking: a high-ceilinged, white-walled space overflowing with plants, records, and natural materials, for a vibe that’s vintage-inspired but still sleek and unfussy. Watch the full video above and scroll down for a closer look at the goods the couple bought to make their space feel like home. (And, if you want to take a much closer look, you can book this spectacular getaway for your own weekend retreat on Airbnb.)
The Living Room
Danielle and Ely added a wall of windows to the main seating area, showcasing the brilliant greenery that surrounds the house. The addition of the glass expanse “just brings in so much more natural light,” Danielle points out. In addition, she says, “we really love plants — and a good plant wall especially,” so the couple took advantage of the added outdoor exposure and adorned the living room walls with West Elm’s sconce-like planters. “It may not be the easiest thing to water,” Danielle admits, “but we just love what it brings to the space.” The organic, live-edge slab coffee table was custom-made using wood that had been discarded on a nearby roadside, and a rattan hanging chair creates extra seating while a vintage-inspired design statement. “We knew we wanted a lot of really comfortable places to sit and just relax with a book or enjoy music,” she explained.
The Fourth Bedroom
The couple converted a former workshop on the ground floor into a scenic fourth bedroom, building a massive barn door (“[It was] challenging to find a door that was big enough to fill the space,” says Danielle) and laying custom tile from San Francisco-based Fireclay. “[The tile] is my favorite part of this room,” explains Danielle. “There’s a hint of blush, a pop of this mustard yellow color, and it’s just such a statement for the space.” It’s rounded out with bold yet minimal showpieces like a modern dark walnut bed and a horizontal window that puts the natural world on display.
The minimal hearth area is outfitted with bohemian accents, including a minimal rattan pouf, sand-colored rug, and rope swing — plus the requisite burst of greenery housed in one of West Elm’s standing Ilya planters. The open area showcases the home’s breathtaking original wooden beams. “They’re actually about 175 years old,” explains. Danielle, dating back to the house’s original construction as a hay barn in 1845. The effect is a cozy oasis that’s part Lauren Canyon, part Federalist farmhouse.
The Third Bedroom
The third bedroom boasts a more maximalist theme, thanks to an eclectic salon wall outfitted with colorful prints and moody photos. “For this bedroom, we wanted to do something a little bit different,” explained Danielle, “so we filled all of these West Elm frames that we love.” An organic cane chair, kitschy floral pillow, and sloped ceiling add to the feeling that you’ve stepped into a modern, light-filled artist’s garret.
Tuft and Needle mattresses and luxe linen bedding from Parachute outfit every bed in the house. “It‘s so soft and sophisticated,” says Danielle of the neutral, naturally-driven linen line. (The gleaming brass bed frame is from West Elm, and if you’re in search of a more affordable version, check out the Wayfair option that we dug up below.) “This bedroom has such cool details,” says Danielle — right down to the ridged vase and brass-accented mid-century nightstand.
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