A cen­turies-old farm­house gets a so­phis­ti­cated up­date from its de­sign-savvy own­ers.

Belle - - Belle Promotion - Pho­to­graphs RICHARD POW­ERS Words DO­MINIC BRAD­BURY

This cre­ative cou­ple brought city so­phis­ti­ca­tion to the ren­o­va­tion of a ram­bling, cen­turies-old farm­house in up­state New York.

This page In the din­ing area, painted in Far­row & Ball ‘Card Room Green’, is a wall-mounted con­sole de­signed and made by Hol­ly­mount. On top sits a Mai­son Martin Margiela bot­tle lamp, and a vin­tage ‘Mush­room’ sculp­ture from An­twerp. The art­work hang­ing above is by Ma­rina Abramovic. Vin­tage chairs, up­hol­stered in a Paul Smith plaid, sur­round a cus­tom ta­ble by Hol­ly­mount. Silk rug is from ABC Car­pet & Home. Op­po­site page The farm­house dates from 1827 and sits in a vast ex­panse of wood­land. Its gen­er­ous pro­por­tions are ideal for the cou­ple, their three-year-old son, and their golden re­triev­ers.

This page The con­sole ta­ble and the round mir­ror in the hall­way were found at a lo­cal an­tiques store. ‘J Arm’ wall lights from PW Vin­tage Light­ing. The two stone cor­bels are vin­tage pieces sourced from City Sal­vage. Tum­bled mar­ble oor­ing from Al­bany Mar­ble. Op­po­site page A cus­tom sofa by Hol­ly­mount sits on a striped wool dhur­rie from ABC Car­pet & Home. Vin­tage co‚ee ta­ble from Liza Sher­man An­tiques. The wing­back arm­chair is vin­tage, the slip­per chair was found at the Marché Aux Puces. Sheep­skin throw is from Toast. The cus­tom faux bois bench was de­signed by Michael Fogg. Art­work by Damien Hirst. Jean Prouvé ‘Po­tence’ wall lamp.

Even for experienced de­sign­ers Dale Say­lor and Joe Wil­liamson the prospect of restor­ing and up­dat­ing a crum­bling ve-bed­room farm­house was daunt­ing. They shared the dream of a coun­try es­cape as an al­ter­na­tive to their life and apart­ment in Man­hat­tan, but the no­tion of a ma­jor house res­cue pro­ject seemed like a tough way to be­gin. For­tu­nately, they were of­fered the per­fect dress re­hearsal in the form of a mod­est pe­riod home in the pic­turesque ham­let of North Chatham, not far from their cur­rent home. It of­fered the per­fect in­tro­duc­tion to ru­ral liv­ing, with lit­tle more than a cos­metic up­date and dec­o­ra­tion re­quired. Just a few years later the pair felt ready to tackle the farm­house.

“We saw the farm­house at the very be­gin­ning, when we rst started look­ing for a coun­try place,” says Dale, who runs a de­sign stu­dio with Joe. “But it was a wreck – a fall­ing-down dis­as­ter – and we knew we were not up to a pro­ject of that size at the time. Now we have an of ce in Chatham and we split our time more equally be­tween town and coun­try than you might with a tra­di­tional week­ender.”

The house was built in 1827 – the date found carved on a tim­ber beam – and, in its hey­day, sat in 200 hectares of wood­land and pas­ture. But over the years, its star be­gan to wane. There were two fore­clo­sures and most of the farm­land was sold off. The prop­erty fell into a 20-year de­cline and sat empty for two years be­fore Dale and Joe even­tu­ally took it on in 2009.

Around the same time, the pair es­tab­lished their de­sign prac­tice, Hol­ly­mount, work­ing on projects from re­tail to res­i­den­tial, and draw­ing on Dale’s long ex­pe­ri­ence with in­te­rior de­sign for fash­ion houses such as Saks Fifth Av­enue and Burberry, as well as Joe’s tal­ents as a fash­ion stylist and de­signer. The farm­house was one of Hol­ly­mount’s rst sub­stan­tial chal­lenges.

“A lot of lo­cal peo­ple were thank­ful that some­one had bought the house at last, be­cause it does sit promi­nently and had fallen into such a ter­ri­ble state,” says Dale. “It was a mess and there wasn’t even a proper kitchen. We had to take the house down to the bare studs.”

Noth­ing much had been done since the 1930s and many orig­i­nal fea­tures had been lost, in­clud­ing the re­places. Floor joists had to be re­placed in parts and one fa­cade had to be jacked off the foun­da­tions for re­pairs. New ser­vices were needed through­out, in­clud­ing fresh electrics and plumb­ing. Some of the oor­boards had been dam­aged by bee­tles and needed re­plac­ing, but the own­ers kept what they could, in­clud­ing some tim­ber oors, skirt­ing boards and win­dows.

“We tried when­ever pos­si­ble to keep any­thing that was orig­i­nal to the house,” says Joe. “We were re­ally glad to have the ex­pe­ri­ence of our rst coun­try house be­hind us be­cause it was a big un­der­tak­ing. We are not purists but we have a rev­er­ence for historical preser­va­tion and ar­chi­tec­tural her­itage. As much as we wanted to cre­ate a home, it was also about hav­ing the priv­i­lege of ren­o­vat­ing this beau­ti­ful 180-year-old house.”

This page, clock­wise from top Un­der the win­dows in the liv­ing room is a vin­tage bench bought from a lo­cal an­tiques store. Twin stand­ing lamps are from Joe’s fam­ily col­lec­tion, and are topped with pleated shades by Hol­ly­mount. Cus­tom faux bois bench de­signed by Michael Fogg in front of the re­place. Dhur­rie rug from ABC Car­pet & Home. In the en­trance is a vin­tage ta­ble sourced lo­cally. Glass dome by Mai­son Martin Margiela. Op­po­site page The kitchen units by Hol­ly­mount are painted in Far­row & Ball ‘Old White’. Yel­low stools from C&H Dis­trib­u­tors in a cus­tom colour by Hol­ly­mount. Lights are vin­tage bee skeps. Plant stand in brass and painted can­vas is by Hol­ly­mount.

Paint colours were care­fully con­sid­ered and a sooth­ing pal­ette was cho­sen, though ev­ery now and then there is a bolder choice, such as the ‘Card Room Green’ in the din­ing room and the ‘Off Black’ on the book­cases and win­dow seat in the li­brary, with its strik­ing black and white tiled oor and French win­dows. “The colour choice was in­spired by a Twin­ings tea bag – a dusty char­coal with an ivory trim and so pretty. We loved the idea of a black room,” says Joe.

The mix of fur­ni­ture is truly eclec­tic, with tra­di­tional pe­riod pieces, con­tem­po­rary el­e­ments and more rus­tic, or­ganic touches, such as the plank and branch bench by Michael Fogg in the sit­ting room or the cus­tom ceil­ing lights in the kitchen made with vin­tage wicker bee hives. There is an em­pha­sis on tex­ture through­out and also a num­ber of be­spoke el­e­ments de­signed by Hol­ly­mount.

The cou­ple share the house with their three-year-old son Henry and their golden re­triev­ers, and the chal­lenge pre­sented by the farm­house has cer­tainly been met and re­warded. “A lot of New York­ers have this dream of a place in the coun­try,” says Joe. “It gives us a great bal­ance be­tween the en­ergy and fre­netic pace of New York and then be­ing able to de­com­press for a few days a week. We fo­cused on how we wanted to live up here, but we also wanted what was right for the house. We wanted to take care of it.”

“We fo­cused on how we wanted to live up here but we also wanted what was right for the house.”


» A de­sign­ing cou­ple, Dale Say­lor and Joe Wil­liamson, bought an 1827 farm­house in up­state New York as an an­ti­dote to their fre­netic paced lives in Man­hat­tan. » Ini­tially daunted by its derelict state the pair ­rst ren­o­vated a nearby house which set them in good stead for the mam­moth task ahead. » Struc­tural re­pair was re­quired but the own­ers tried to pre­serve as many de­tails of the orig­i­nal build­ing as pos­si­ble. » They opted for a neutral pal­ette with a few pops of colour for in­ter­est, such as the black li­brary and green din­ing room. » Fur­ni­ture is an eclec­tic mix of tra­di­tional pieces, be­spoke de­signs by their ­rm Hol­ly­mount and con­tem­po­rary el­e­ments, with tex­ture al­ways front of mind.

This page, clock­wise from top The bed in the guest bed­room was made from re­claimed posts from the house. Vin­tage to­bacco sort­ing bas­ket above bed came from a lo­cal an­tiques store. Bed­side ‘Slice’ stor­age shelves from CB2 with Bren­dan Raven­hill ‘Cord’ sconces above. Vin­tage chest of draw­ers painted in ‘Delft Blue’. Wooden bench out­side the bath­room was ac­quired at the Brimeld An­tique Show. Botan­i­cal prints from The Tem­ple of Flora book. Mas­ter bed­room head­board is in a Hella Jon­gerius for Ma­haram fab­ric with leather trim. ‘Com­pan­ions’ bed­side ta­bles by Stu­dioilse with Bestlite ta­ble lamps. Restora­tion Hard­ware rug. Vin­tage art­work from Brus­sels. Op­po­site page An old barn on the prop­erty cur­rently stores wood, but one day the own­ers hope to turn it into guest ac­com­mo­da­tion. They land­scaped the area and added a pond.

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