Hudson looked too much like a town, so it was time for a new upstate retreat

When Anthony D’Argenzio started visiting Hudson, NY, with its old brick buildings, antique shops and booming cultural scene, about a decade ago, it seemed like more than just a nice place to spend time. There was somewhere, he believed, that he could realize his creative and entrepreneurial dreams.

“I was really drawn to Hudson because of its architecture, its history and its photographic value,” said Mr. D’Argenzio, 35, who previously lived in Manhattan, where he worked as a creative director and stylist. accessories for photo shoots. “I used to come here often to find antiques and such, and this seemed like a perfect next step.”

So in 2014, he and his wife, Hillary D’Argenzio, 37, a sommelier, bought a weekend house in Hudson, before moving there full-time in 2018. Along the way, Mr. D’Argenzio has leveraged his talent for composing interiors with patina into a multi-pronged Instagram-powered venture. under the nickname Zio and sons, Mr. D’Argenzio now works as an interior and product designer, stylist and photographer who appreciates vintage charm and rooms with a tastefully worn look. with his company That old Hudson, he buys and renovates old houses that he and Mrs. D’Argenzio rent on Airbnb. He also works as a realtor with Houlihan Lawrence.

But with so many business interests in Hudson, the small town that once felt like an escape from Manhattan no longer seemed so relaxed. So the couple decided to buy another getaway home. “We wanted something that had a bit of nature,” Mr. D’Argenzio said. “We wanted to create a country house.”

They didn’t have to look far beyond the borders of Hudson to find trees and open fields, and eventually settled into a roughly 2,000 square foot log cabin just a 20-minute drive away. north of their main residence. Built in the 1970s and laden with dark stained wood and hunting trophies, it wasn’t an obvious choice for a couple who liked older, sunnier homes. But they saw the potential.

“It was absolutely not my typical aesthetic,” Mr. D’Argenzio said. “But we were really drawn to the setting – it’s on five acres and very peaceful – and the character.”

They bought the house in October 2020 for around $225,000 and set to work making it their own with a team of contractors. Outside, they dyed the logs inky black. To illuminate the interior, they cut more and larger openings for windows and doors.

“It completely transformed the house,” said Mr. D’Argenzio, who learned the techniques of building log cabins on the fly. “To enlarge a window in a log home, you literally cut the logs with a chainsaw. Sometimes we would go two to three logs to make the interior bigger, lighter, brighter.

They sanded down the existing pine floors and finished them with a water-based clearcoat that won’t yellow over time. They ground down the dark stain on the log walls and gave them a translucent lime treatment. Above, they stripped the exposed beams to bring out the saw marks and natural variations in the wood. “It was a lot of tedious hours,” Mr D’Argenzio said.

Since it was impossible to run new electrical cables and new plumbing lines through the solid wood walls, he decided to leave these elements exposed. “There was a learning curve because everything had to be surface mounted,” he said.

Now a neat installation of metal conduit branches through the main floor beams and ceiling to power the new light fixtures that Mr. D’Argenzio constructed from antique parts. And copper pipes descend from holes in the ceiling, meandering above the kitchen sink, to carry water to and from the basement.

For the new kitchen, Mr. D’Argenzio installed thin brick flooring and added a mix of contemporary and antique cabinetry topped with marble countertops cut from reclaimed flagstone. Above the stove, he covered a hood with a zellige tile from a collection he designed for Clé.

Upstairs, he transformed one of the home’s three bedrooms into a large bathroom for the master suite, with room for a shower, a freestanding tub in front of a window, and a vanity with two sinks. “The only way to get all of these elements into one space was to take over another bedroom,” D’Argenzio said.

He used three tile styles to finish the floor and walls, and added white Carrara marble trim. “It’s about mixing materials,” he said.

In the bedrooms, he applied wallpaper he designed for A-Street Prints: a pattern resembling Venetian plaster in the master bedroom and another with vertical floral stripes in a bedroom for the 2-year-old daughter of the couple, Havana.

By the time the work was completed last November, they had spent about $200,000 — likely less than most people would pay for a similar renovation, D’Argenzio said, thanks to his business connections and its professional discounts. Next, he and Mrs. D’Argenzio plan to tackle the landscaping and renovate a master suite above the garage.

With their country and town homes so close together, the family now spends roughly the same amount of time in each, Mr D’Argenzio said, with little worry about travel.

“People have these country houses about three hours away, so they never go there,” he said. “We just have ping pong in between.”

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