A beheld account by Design Editor Wendy Goodman
The Active Room: “Michael [Berryhill] chose the chicken bolt for that one chair,” Eleanor Friedberger says, “but the blush couch is like the centerpiece that I accept been hoarding. It was like navy-blue corduroy that was affectionate of destroyed, and it was our big splurge to balance it in that blush corduroy.” Photo: Chris Mottalini
So aloof recently, my brother and I started arena calm again,” says Eleanor Friedberger, who, forth with her brother, Matthew, formed the bandage the Fiery Furnaces, which had been on aperture back 2011 while they anniversary affianced in assorted abandoned projects. They recorded their new single, “Down at the So and So on Somewhere,” in February in a flat upstate (they are alive on their abutting anthology now) not too far from this abode (pictured), breadth she lives with the artisan Michael Berryhill.
The Fiery Furnaces were formed in Brooklyn in 2000, back that was still a active scene. Friedberger confused to Ulster County in 2013, back she couldn’t allow to alive in the burghal anymore as a full-time musician. She bought a abode with a acquaintance in Kerhonkson, a onetime Borscht Belt resort town, and fabricated a go of aggravating to fix up what she describes as “this huge branch architecture that we anticipation would be a fun affair to tackle.”
Maybe it was too abundant to tackle. Aftermost year, she and Berryhill absitively to attending for a abode together, but they begin the prices too aerial in Kerhonkson (and this was afore the contempo communicable countdown upstate). Looking around, they saw a advertisement on Zillow for this 1955 house, additionally in Ulster County. It was in their amount ambit in the quiet boondocks of Ellenville that, Friedberger says, with axiomatic relief, “has not become hip at all.”
“We looked at anniversary added and said, ‘Oh my God, this is our dream house.’ I mean, like, anon walking in. It was absolutely exciting,” Friedberger says. In abounding absorbing ways, the four-bedroom, four-bath 3,330-square-foot abode was timeless, with the aboriginal louvered windows and putty-pink-wallpapered bathrooms. Friedberger and Berryhill alike kept some of the bedchamber curtains. Best of all, the abode gave them abundant amplitude to assignment at home. Berryhill confused from Sunset Park, breadth he had been active in a amplitude beneath the BQE. “I consistently anticipation I capital a tiny abode and again like a big studio,” Berryhill says. “I never admired houses with a lot of aboveboard footage, but this one is so admirable and so adequate and advantageous that it works.”
The Bookshelves in the Active Room: “I accept this book on East Coast modernism; I aggregate ’70s interior-design books. My acquaintance Dan Stern is a artist and additionally a woodworker, and we commissioned him to accomplish these, and Michael helped him. The accession complex disturbing that bank apart, which Michael did while I was out of town, thankfully,” Friedberger says, laughing. The amethyst Lasko box fan was a acquisition at the Ellenville Walmart. “You can get it in purple, blue, or black.” Photo: Chris Mottalini
When they took up the carpeting carpeting, “it was admirable 1950s plywood beneath the carpeting,” Friedberger says, “so we anticipation we could get abroad with aloof accepting plywood floors, but it was too patchy.” Berryhill got to assignment and fabricated plywood planks that Friedberger says attending like “Scandinavian wide-plank flooring. He hand-beveled anniversary plank!” Berryhill’s carpentry abilities ancient the annular shelving alcove in the bank of the kitchen/dining area. “It was like authoritative a carve which I didn’t apperceive how to make,” Berryhill says. “I was actual aflame back it formed out.” He additionally congenital Friedberger a date in the basement, breadth he has a workspace that he can award off with a adaptable bank on auto should they admiration privacy.
The aboriginal buyer of the abode was a blur exhibitor, and Friedberger says they begin a accession of paperwork in the basement, including bite lists and assets for the accouter that was added in 1963. Doing analysis online, they additionally begin complaints to the bounded authorities that he was operating a business out of the basement; apparently, projectionists from hotels and bungalow colonies in the breadth would appear to the abode at all hours of the night, adopting questions in the minds of eavesdropping neighbors. “Secretly, we were acquisitive that he was cutting dejected movies or commodity added fun,” Friedberger says. Their assignment on the abode took bristles months, recalls Friedberger, and aloof back they finished, they were able to apartment in place. Though they can’t delay to accept visitors.
The Kitchen: Friedberger says she capital it to attending “halfway adorned and center absolutely homemade, which I anticipate it does with these affectionate of blingy elements like the accouterments and the Sputnik lamp” — in the breakfast allowance (below) — “but I additionally capital to actualize a Mediterranean vibe.” The kitchen walls were corrective a dejected aggressive by Greek biking posters “that accept been blind in every kitchen of abundance back I was 20. My grandmother had a stashof them from her aboriginal cruise to Greece in 1955.” The dark-green marble top on the island was from her grandmother’s table. Photo: Chris Mottalini
The Breakfast Room: Berryhill fabricated the annular shelving alcove in the bank of the dining breadth off the kitchen. The butcher-block table was begin on Craigslist — the antecedent owners were admirers of Berryhill’s assignment and traded it for a drawing. “The artificial chairs I accept had for years, but the white chairs I got at an aged capital in Kingston for like 75 bucks each.” Photo: Chris Mottalini
The Master Bedroom: The bed floats in the room, giving one bigger admission to the window views. “The air-conditioned thing,” Friedberger notes, “is that we were able to accumulate the curtains. We aloof had them dry-cleaned. They attending absolutely nice adjoin the white wall.” Photo: Chris Mottalini
The Standing Awning in Friedberger’s Office: “That was my Christmas present from Michael,” Friedberger says. “My allowance doubles as the laundry room, but Michael congenital me this awning so I wouldn’t accept to attending at the washer-dryer while I was cerebration big thoughts.” Photo: Chris Mottalini
The Bathrooms: All are in aboriginal action bottomward to the wallpaper and tilework. Photo: Chris Mottalini
The Basement: Berryhill congenital a date in the bend of the basement, where, Friedberger says, “I accept all my accessory and we can jam and I could potentially accept a bandage convenance bottomward there.” Photo: Chris Mottalini
Berryhill and Friedberger. Photo: Chris Mottalini
*This commodity appears in the September 14, 2020, affair of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!
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