When Modern & Rustic Design Collide

City residents turn their Catskill vacation home into an entertaining space that reflects modernism mixed with rustic details.

CATSKILL, NY — The Catskill Mountains in New York are well known for their rugged beauty, where forested mountains combine with cascading waterfalls that captivate many a visitor, and curvy roads cross picturesque streams and wind through hills and valleys.

It might not be the first place one would expect to see modern design. Yet tucked within the quaint town of Catskill, NY, this modern kitchen remodel combines with rustic details, belying its bucolic surroundings.

Jesse Kelly’s clients’ primary residence is in New York City, and they wanted their vacation home in upstate New York to reflect a sense of modernism, combined with their fondness for post and beam architecture.

“The clients love their post and beam home and they wanted to expand on it, but they also wanted to bring in a sense of modernism,” says the designer/co-owner of Cabinet Designers, in Kingston, NY.

Kelly worked with architect Gary Morgenroth and builder Jim Graf to create a home well suited for entertaining. The transformation focused on maintaining the bones of the existing structure while including an addition that ensured adequate space for family and friends.

Modernism is evident throughout the home in details such as steel and cable railed staircases. Grandiose barn doors, sheathed with modern finishes, can be slid closed to create more private spaces, or slid open to generate a more expansive feeling throughout. Interior doors are accented with a gloss black lacquer finish to convey a clean aesthetic and to contrast with the exposed post and beam framing, and rustic oiled oak wide-board flooring.

Kelly carried the black lacquer into the kitchen, showcasing it in the stately focal-point windows behind the sink that reach 20 ft. toward the ceiling. Additional black accents include adjustable sconces that flank each side of the window, offering a farmhouse feel while providing functional, utilitarian task lighting. Pendant lights float above the island, serving as statement pieces that provide functionality as well. “They cast a lot of light into an area that is traditionally hard to illuminate,” he says.

Majestic slabs of Barroca soapstone grace the backsplash, sheathing it with varying shades of gray with contrasting white veins. Kelly’s clients chose to leave the soapstone in its natural state, allowing it to develop a natural patina over time.

“The soapstone adds warmth to the kitchen,” he says, noting the material was also used as a floating hearth for the fireplace in the living room as well as a surround and hearth for the fireplace in the master bedroom. “It has an earthy, modern feel, yet is organic and rustic at the same time.”

Repeating the gray tones, the designer utilized large 24″x24″ Grey Bocciardato tiles for the floor.

Other natural elements within the space include Caesarstone Frosty Carrina countertops with a 2.25″-thick mitered edge. “The quartz complements the rest of the materials and offers durability,” says Kelly.

Open, floating wood shelves display drinking glasses, keeping them within easy reach of the Newport Brass cold water dispenser faucet and Dornbracht faucet, which highlight the Rohl Shaws fireclay apron sink.

“The farmhouse-style sink strikes a balance between modern and traditional,” he says. “In upstate New York, it’s very traditional to have a farm sink. A lot of clients want to live one way in the city and another way upstate. They appreciate modern aesthetics and they want to keep modern design, but in a farmhouse setting.”

Removing wall cabinets lets the details of the focal-point wall – which includes the high windows and single-slab backsplash – shine. To account for any storage lost by their elimination, Kelly included a large pantry as well as specialized storage – such as cutlery dividers, tiered spice racks, specialized plate/bowl organizers, etc. – inside base cabinets. The island is also essential for storage and houses a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator and a Wolf microwave drawer.

The 36″ Wolf gas range is accented with a Dornbracht potfiller and Wolf ventilation hood. Kelly added a remote blower, mounting it to the outside of the house. “It takes a little more planning and work, but we like to do remote blowers when we can,” he says. “When the unit is mounted outside, not only is it quieter, but it pulls the air and is a more efficient way to exhaust fumes.”

Additional standout elements include the custom, vertical-grain, hickory veneer Craft-Maid cabinetry that comprises the base cabinets and island foundation. It also sheaths and conceals the fully integrated Sub-Zero refrigerator. Its natural finish allows the striking, sequential grain-matched pattern to stand out, complementing the soaring, exposed beams. Kelly also chose to eliminate any drawer hardware, relying on finger/hand pulls instead so as not to disrupt the flow.

“We wanted to make an architectural statement with the wood,” he says. “It ties in with the rest of the space, yet keeps it simple and clean. The cabinets are like art. They are subtle, but make a statement at the same time.”

The custom veneer was painstakingly fashioned to create long, continuous runs. “We wanted it to be as fluid and endless as possible,” Kelly says.

Special consideration was also given to corner wraps, such as on the refrigerator and around the island. “In the case of the island, the grains wraps the side of the drawer head and continues around the side of the island,” he states. “They gave it a lot of thought to make sure all the grain wraps from the front and around the corners. Typically, it’s just the face where grains are matched. But they tried hard to carry the veneer work all the way across. It’s all about the details.”

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