At Hasbrouck House, a newly redesigned and reopened incarnation of the Inn at Stone Ridge a few hours drive north from New York City, subtlety trumps fanfare. If it weren't for the matte back sign and serifed gold lettering that marks the turn off Main Street, one might mistake the Dutch Colonial stone mansion for a stately home with supremely well-kempt grounds, all lit up and twinkling for a big party. And once inside, glints of white marble and brass perk up worn leather, velvet, patterns, wallpapers, and inky paints. It's homey—if homey could ever be chic.
The hard opening took place over Labor Day weekend, meaning swarms of stifled city folk will be flooding up there all fall. If you can't make it, do as I'm doing and steal one of their super smart, very svelte design ideas for your own nook—here are five I marveled at during a stay last weekend:
Use lighting fixtures that add contrast
White walls and bedding keep the look of the rooms clean, and the furniture is the same signature mix of worn leather, patterned upholstery, and hairpin-legged side tables throughout the whole place. But it was the crisp black lampshades—which I kept calling tuxedo shades, for their elegance and clean lines—that perked the space up (a quick Google search convinced they were all from Rejuvenation—just one more reason to love their lighting).
Similarly, throughout the common areas, custom lighting with white milky glass shades from Materia Designs provided a pop against dark walls.
So to keep in mind: When you're adding lighting by way of lamps and sconces and the like, think about the shades, how their shapes and colors can pivot a room's design for the better.
Wallpaper with abandon
Layers of foliage, grayscale shelves lined with all manner of quirky tchotchkes, blimps and balloons streaming across walls—these are all depicted on wallpapers at Hasbrouck House from Cole and Son.
The choices were bold, not just patterns but drawings and illustrations, and they lent so much character to the overall design. And yet, the colors were subdued and the drawings delicate, more conversation pieces than screams.
Don't fix whatever's working
I first noticed a set of brass and wood bookshelves in the tiny reception room, shown below—and then spotted versions of them again and again throughout the space. Their design is both warm and uncluttered, and seeing them over and over (all in rooms with distinct personalities) created a sense of continuity throughout the overall design.
An easier application at home might be to split up a set of anything—bookshelves do, but it could also be lamps or side tables or vases—so that one piece is in one room and the other is in another.
Get some new stuff, too—and let it wear over time
Akiva Reich, the designer and owner, spoke to me at length about his love for Persian rugs (and his belief in the importance of stepping down onto something soft and cushy right out of bed), at length. The ones he chose for the space are all richly colored in reds and blues—a welcome vibrance at a time when people seem to be tending much more towards lighter, worn-out antiques.
Rather than buying pre-worn rugs, these brighter pieces will take on their own treading over time in their new home, which is kind of beautiful to think of. (Though I love them saturated, soft, and new, too!).
Mix your own paints
Akiva also mentioned to me that the blue-black they used around all the trim and over the restaurant walls is a custom mix of three Benjamin Moore It looks a deep gray in some light, a more playful blue in others, and richly interesting even in the dark. That's breaking a rule, of course, because every bucket will be slightly different, but it gives the whole design a custom (and delightfully irreverent) feel.
What other ideas would you love to steal for your own home from the Hasbrouck House's design? Tell me in the comments.