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Keeping the Past Present

A Brooklyn-based interior-architecture firm reinvigorates a contemporary post-and-beam with an emphasis on tradition

The guest room. Photo: Matthew Williams/Matthew Williams
The guest room. Photo: Matthew Williams/Matthew Williams

When Sarah Zames and Colin Stief of General Assembly were brought in to renovate a 1970s house in Hudson, New York, they worked with a deft hand. As is the case with all their work, discretion is the secret sauce, and despite the extensive heavy lifting the job entailed — installing new plumbing, recalibrating the layout, taking down walls, enlarging the door frames — the interiors were left looking not renovated but as if they were the finished product from the very start. “Our goal for the project was to build on the humble and honest character of the home,” Zames says. The one romantic design detail they left intact can be seen above in a guest room, where the original floral wallpaper conjures up visions of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women at home.

“We were drawn to the heavy timber construction that is exposed throughout the spaces and used it as an anchor to make our decisions,” Zames says. “To emphasize this, and to create some contrast with the dark flooring and the beam ceilings, we brightened up the color of the walls.” The original English-style latch door was repainted, and the floors were sanded and restained. The wall sconce is by Cedar and Moss. Photo: Matthew Williams
The original brick fireplace was painted white. “We removed the walls on each side of the fireplace to open up the plan and also to make the fireplace visible from more areas of the house,” Zames says. Photo: Matthew Williams
The renovation included opening up the dining room to the kitchen and living room to create a more modern, loftlike feeling. The dining-table light is Brass X from Allied Maker. Photo: Matthew Williams
The renovation of the kitchen entailed creating enclosed base cabinets and open shelving, seen above. The countertop, backsplash, and floating shelf are all custom cream-colored concrete. The hardware is from Rocky Mountain Hardware. The ceiling light is Cedar and Moss’ Alto, and the wall light is from Atelier de Troupe. Photo: Matthew Williams
The homeowners, who both work in the film industry, rehearse and develop material in their music studio pictured here. The vintage baby grand piano is a family heirloom. Photo: Matthew Williams
This luxurious bathroom was created by converting one of the small upstairs bedrooms with an adjacent bathroom into a dressing room with a fireplace (not shown) and bathing area. The tub, original to the house, was refinished, and Waterworks fixtures were added. The room was painted in Farrow & Ball’s Green Smoke to complete the cozy vibe. Photo: Matthew Williams
The entry to the backyard, seen here, is also used as the primary, informal entry to the house. “We installed the cement tile floor to make the entry its own space and separate the kitchen and music room,” Zames says. “The bench is a vintage find by the owners. They did a great job of sourcing the furniture for the house from local vintage galleries in the Hudson Valley.” Photo: Matthew Williams

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A Hudson Valley Home Renovated With an Emphasis on Tradition