A Couple Builds Their Dream Retreat in the Hudson Valley

Long before a 3,500-square-foot home stood on this secluded 12-acre site, this land was just a favorite campsite for two New Yorkers.
Text by

Once their children grew up and moved away, this New York couple—who work in the art and fashion industries—decided to build a gathering place for friends and family that reflected the natural beauty of their beloved getaway in Ghent. They wanted a home with a simple material palette that opened to views of the distant Catskills. Co-principal Caleb Mulvena of Mapos met those needs while reducing the home's environmental impact: "Our primary goal was to maximize sustainable features by utilizing passive design principals, technology, and ultra-low-maintenance materials," he says. The four-bedroom house features concrete flooring with radiant heating, LED lighting, and reclaimed wood. As part of the couple’s purchasing agreement, they still allow cattle from a neighboring farm to graze near their front door.

"A majority of the house is lifted on concrete columns to maximize the views and also provide a covered ground plane for protected parking and outdoor living," Mulvena says. "Future additions to the house can be built on this ground level within the existing structure."

"For the structure, Mapos devised a hybrid system of concrete, steel, and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)," co-principal Caleb Mulvena says. "Each was strategically utilized to create a lightweight, rigid, and highly energy-efficient shell." Fiber cement-board cladding and a steel standing-seam roof act as the structure’s envelope.

The fireplace, which sits on buffed concrete flooring at the center of the ground floor, was custom-made by Mapos.

The couple plan to retire in this home; its capacious interior is designed to host multiple generations of family. IKEA lights stands over a Kohler faucet in the kitchen.

"The clients desired a maintenance-free, year-round home using the ultimate in ‘green’ building methodologies," Mulvena says. The staircase is an example of the construction’s mindset: it is made from the leftover laminated veneer lumber used on the roof.

"The windows and patio doors, all made from super low-E insulated glass, open onto the amazing views and give easy access to expansive decks and a pool terrace," Mulvena says. His team conducted solar studies and installed a retractable screen from MechoShade that would shade the house in the summer.

However, relying solely on concrete was not the best use of the budget, so Mulvena "balanced the concrete floors and highlights with a simple palette of affordable but industrial materials: black steel and plywood." The couch is by BoConcept.

"The [owner] is a self-proclaimed minimalist who desired concrete throughout as a backdrop to her furniture, and eventually, her artwork," Mulvena says. The Schelly chair and ottoman in the master bedroom are by BoConcept.


Get the Pro Newsletter

What’s new in the design world? Stay up to date with our essential dispatches for design professionals.