For a Wyckoff family of six, skiing is a passion meant to be shared. Therefore, the redesign of their Catskills vacation home needed to lodge a small army of snow aficionados, besides shedding an outdated chateau image. And while nearly doubling its space, the reno couldn’t lose that spectacular mountain view.
Initially, the retreat lacked curb appeal and looked small inside and out, recalls Rina Capodieci-Quinn, owner of Ramsey-based RCQ Design. The plan was to gut the entire house and “give it a feeling of grandness,” she says. “We opened up a lot of ceilings. The entire main portion of the house is two-story living.” RCQ’s mission: see to it that architectural plans for the renovation/addition said “vacation” through and through for this couple, their four children and friends.
A spiral staircase, extending from the boot room (think skis) to the loft, inspired the home’s design with its railing featuring a twisted iron base, tree-branch-like tips, a bronze handrail and spalted maple posts (that is, posts of a maple that has been dried to preserve the picturesque lines and streaks that reflect fungal discoloration). Working closely with custom ironmaker Spademan Fabrication, Capodieci-Quinn designed a life-sized sample and presented it to the client in a “ta-da!” moment. “I knew it was such a major element…and we ran from there,” she says.
One of the most stunning details can be found in the great room, where a ski-lodge-caliber fireplace is made of hefty chunks of local fieldstone because, as senior designer Amanda Arditti says, “It was important for us to stay with the region the home was in.” An outsized wood mantel is both rustic and sturdy enough to carry the stones’ weight, says Capodieci-Quinn.
Within the warmth of the fireplace, the custom chess table—paired with two wing chairs of mohair and embossed leather—is more than a conversation piece. “The client loves to play chess with his family,” explains Arditti. Completing the look is a mix of fabrics and leather on the two Stanford sofas over an abstract (not contemporary) rug, all in earth tones, as well as an immense iron chandelier with the effect of melted candles from Fine Art Handcrafted Lighting.
The main floor boasts several eating areas to feed the whole gang. An atypical island arrangement designed to maximize seating includes chestnut leather stools at bar high-top counters in granite—durable but far from blah, with topaz and hints of black and beige. Stained-cherry, black-glazed cabinets (Signature Kitchens) round out the look.
“We used brick and hexagon tile as a focal point behind the stove,” says Capodieci-Quinn of the decorative shelving. “It brings your eye through the kitchen. It’s like a fireplace with a mantel on top of it.”
Embracing their mission to highlight the scenery, the team designed a rotunda next to the kitchen with “stunning views you can see for miles,” she adds. There’s no TV in this custom, earth-toned seating area. Who needs it with a semicircle of windows climbing clear to the loft celebrating the mountain vista?
Contributing to the home’s rustic vibe are the floors throughout (Hoffman Floor & Home/DuChateau) in engineered hardwood with knots and imperfections, just like the real thing. And, best of all, there’s radiant heat.
Scrabble, anyone? On the comfy lower level, RCQ created the perfect spot to snack and play board games, with a concrete tabletop (it looks like inset stone) and spalted maple banquette seating. The upholstery by Alan Schatzberg & Associates is as cheery as they come, made from a Dhurrie rug runner and large, bronze hammered nailheads.
And because every invigorating day of skiing should end in a peaceful night’s slumber, there are sleeping accommodations for 15, including bunk and trundle bedding by Hitchcock Builders, general contractor.
Though they lost a ski season during the remodeling, the family decided it was worth the wait. Recalls Capodieci-Quinn: “Their words for me were that I nailed it.”