THE HOME AND REAL ESTATE MAGAZINE FOR SMARTER LIVING ™
OCTOBER 2008 / NEW YORK CITY METRO EDITION A SCHEINMEDIA PUBLICATION WWW.NEWYORKHOUSEMAGAZINE.COM
UP FOR THE WEEKEND: HUDSON VALLEY ORCHARD GUIDE p29 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: LEVON HELM TALKS GREEN p34 DO IT GREEN: INSULATION p41 REAL ESTATE LISTINGS p60
Staying on her Toes Former ballerina Frances Katzen is New York real estate’s rapidly rising star. p54
“ t’s kind of a fluid deco craftsman Japanese Brooklyn Jewish kasha varnishkes abstract expressionist rapturist aesthetic.” –Marc Rubin
THE BACK S TORY Kozel had been living in San Francisco and Rubin in New York City when they decided that their bi-coastal romance needed a landing place. Artists accustomed to huge studio spaces, the couple had as their main criteria a magical property with enough workspace for both and, if possible, a place to live. “It had to be really charming, beautiful, on the water,” says Kozel. “And it had to be dirt cheap,” adds Rubin. It could also be in rough shape, because Rubin’s resume includes creating castles from spit and dirt. A multi-media artist, Rubin also owns Acme Stimuli Design (acmestimuli. com), a design and fabrication business that creates props and architectural details and curios for nightclubs, restaurants, casinos, movies, and theaters. Over his 30-year career, he has designed and created a 20-foot coin for Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City, a theater set featuring numerous stages with movable walls for the performance artist Vito Acconci at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s New Wave Festival, and, most recently, a 12-foot disco ball with a DJ booth inside and a bar that appears to be floating in a cloud for a nightclub in Manhattan’s Flat Iron district. On a mountain road in Greene County halfway between the villages of Phoenicia and Hunter, the couple found what they’d been looking for: a property that included a house and, more importantly, a huge, though very dilapidated, livestock barn sitting 15 feet above a meandering and dramatic year-round stream, the Stoney Clove Creek. “He studied the location. In Chichester—a few miles below— it’s in the floodplain.” And even though the road narrows here before it crests the hill and passes the notch known as Devil’s Tombstone, it curves such that the property basks in sun all day. with 25-foot-high ceilings, was awe inspiring, but it needed spreading, and the foundation sills were rotted. Kozel and Rubin removed the feed stalls and copious amounts of bat guano and began the renovation themselves. winches and cables, they straightened walls and bolted custom steel brackets on posts and cross beams to secure the building.
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HOUSE AFIRE . RUBIN DESIGNED THE HOME TO COMBINE STICK AND PEG-JOINED TIMBER FRAME CONSTR UCTION . THE TREE-TR UNK CENTER POST HE CUT HIMSEL F. THE S PARE, LIGH T-FLOODED KITCHEN AND LIVING R OOM BRING THE OUTSIDE IN WITH NATURAL WOODS AND EARTH-TONE PAINTS . ABOVE, THE D OWNSTAIRS BATH/S PA IS OPPOSITE THE OPULENT “OPIUM DEN, ” WHICH INVITES INTIM ATE VISITS AND SERVES AS A GUEST ROOM. ITS BANQUETTE AND WALLS WERE HAND PAINTED BY KOZEL, AS WAS THE S TAIRCASE. BELOW, RUBIN AND KOZEL PERCH HIGH ABOVE THE CREEK IN THE BARN-TURNED-AR T STUDI O.
TK SCENES TK FROM THE ARTISTSâ€™ LIFE THE HOUSE AND BARN AT NIGHTFALL STRIKE A HARMONIOUS BALANCE OF ASIAN, ARTS & CRAFTS, AND EARLY AMERICAN STYLES. ABOVE, KOZEL IN HER STUDIO, AT WORK ON THE POCKET DOOR THAT WILL BE INSTALLED BETWEEN THE MASTER BEDROOM AND BATH.
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THE MASTER BATH FEATURES A RAISED SOAKING TUB, EXTENSIVE TILE WORK, AND A PAIR OF SINKS SET INTO A CHINESE ALTAR TABLE.
All the windows were replaced, and the jambs were angled to let in more light since the walls were eight inches thick. A magnificent set of mahogany doors creates a dramatic entrance and allows for an easy loading area for Rubin’s commercial work. A 25-foot wall whose top and bottom can be opened divides the space in half to create weeks of sanding and planing. To preserve the rustic quality of the exposed rafters, Rubin insulated the roof from the outside using eight-inch-thick structural insulated panels. Along the interior walls, they built a curtain wall, creating a form to hold in spray-foam insulation.
Opposite the kitchen area is a pantry with room for the refigerator, which Rubin says is very convenient and doesn’t clutter the open kitchen. Next to the pantry is the open staircase. Using the same dyes she uses on silks, Kozel created an abstract painting on the e oak floorboards Rubin salvaged from the old house and then sanded and stained blue. A small balcony looks out onto the stream. A window with antique Chinese wooden grillwork connects to the master bath, which features a raised soaking tub and double sinks fitted into a Chinese altar table. You enter the bathroom through a pocket door, which Kozel is
the stream, clearly reflects her aesthetic. “I have a strong Asian bent in all my work,” ailand, and traveled extensively in Asia. She is a textile artist who has designed and created art clothing, large complicated hand-painted silk pieces using complex wax and resin dyeresist methods, as well as giant fabric installations (www.inakozel.com). In working on the new house that the couple designed, Kozel has extended her range by taking the classic methods of silk painting and applying them to wood.
grillwork, which is installed as a pair of swinging café doors.
DEFINING A SHARED AESTHETIC Fast forward to today. Rubin and Kozel have replaced the 1930s house that fell to the wrecking ball with a new one. And while the new house blends with the barn in its color scheme and with the vernacular architecture in its craftsman style, it has a subtle Asian
by John Abularrage of Advanced Radiant Design.
the center is a living room/dining area featuring huge windows and a French door looking and wraps around part of the creekside wall and along the entire gable side. A speckled green granite countertop runs the length of the counter, breaking for the sink and cooktop. Asian elements in the kitchen include a ceiling of light green bamboo divided into rectangular blocks, a round window at the roof peak, and a magnificent Balinese tile behind the cooktop, the accent in a backsplash of irregular purple tiles running above the granite countertop. And here in the finishes is where the aesthetic of Kozel and Rubin really comes into play. “It’s kind of a fluid deco craftsman Japanese Brooklyn Jewish Kasha varnishkes abstract expressionist rapturist aesthetic,” says Rubin, putting all questions to rest. Perhaps more in the “rapturist” aesthetic is the beam made of a tree stripped of its bark. Not only does it support the vaulted roof in the kitchen, but it’s notched out such that it supports the second floor as well. “Marc went out looking for a tree that would do double duty and found this on a neighbor’s property,” says Kozel. “People like to hug it.”
going down to the basement, and we made the area above the pantry a guest bedroom. It’s interior walls] is recycled denim, which has ten times the sound absorption of fiberglass with the same R-value. It’s like putting teddy bears in your wall; you can touch it without
corner is another guest/reclining room dubbed “the opium den.” Two of its walls are lined with built-in banquettes covered in lavish brown cut velvet cushions depicting a woodland
quality fabrics with textures and patterns. I didn’t know where else to use them.” On the any blue-green walls Kozel painted an abstract gold design. Below the banquettes are hand-painted storage drawers, and on the closet door Kozel used a stencil to create a gold tree. “Since it’s dark on this side, I thought of using shiny paints to pick up the wall and the drawer fronts,” she explains. And in comparison to the main living space, the small scale of the room makes it feel particularly intimate.
e resistance pool is set into a radiant-heat concrete floor, with an acid-wash finish. Giant windows on the other two sides allow in light and views of the creek. Rubin created a frieze that runs along the top of the entire room. It’s an art-decoish gold swirl pattern accented by shells. A home with the personality and aesthetic of its owners and with charm to waste—the romance has landed. www.newyorkhousemagazine.com 39
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Cover and highlighted article from New York House magazine