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Step Inside a Historic Catskill Retreat Outfitted in Vintage Charm

by Rick Anderson

For Scott Arnold and Christiana Mavromatis, home is a verb, meant to be actively shared and experienced. At least that was the intention when they purchased Minwawa, a sprawling house in the mountain valley of Hayfield, nestled in the heart of New York's Catskill State Park. Raw, rough, rugged, and over a century old, this property had the couple at "hello," and they quickly began to see all the potential behind its unpolished persona. Arnold and Mavromatis then turned to magnetic design duo Tara Mangini and Percy Bright, of interiors firm Jersey Ice Cream Co., to realize their dreams for this magnificent mountain refuge.

“The house is up in Tannersville, up a big hill right off of Main Street,” explains Mangini. “It’s part of this old amazing artist community founded in 1887 by Candace Wheeler"—who's often credited as America's first interior and textile designer—"and her brother Francis Thurber. The houses are all built with a strong Arts and Crafts aesthetic, that feels mixed with some sort of fairytale magic.”

A perfect nook to settle in and read, the library is grounded by a vintage rug found on Etsy and bookcases covered in Benjamin Moore's Devonshire Green.

And, it would appear that magic would play a leading role throughout the project, as most of the home relies heavily on the employment of perfectly poised antiques and vintage acquisitions—some of which are original to the property. “The house was so clearly steeped in a ton of history,” points out Bright. Mangini adds, “The old owners had basically left it untouched—portraits of the family still hung on the walls, piles of amazing old photo albums were stacked in the great room, a wall of trophies were covered in dust—there was just stuff everywhere." The design team immediately thought the place was all but perfect, and they just needed to clean it up and bring a modern touch to it, "so that it was comfortable and had a toe in the present.”

With their magic wands drawn, Mangini and Bright began to bring the interiors to life by reupholstering inherited aged furnishings with modern fabrics and applying graphic, historic wallpapers, alongside an array of finishes to fashion the rest of the walls. The result yields a home that beckons to be experienced for another century-plus—and that’s just what Arnold and Mavromatis intend.

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