Photography by Maxwell Tielman.
I had never met Julian Lesser and Philippe Trinh, a New York City-based artist/designer couple, when I stayed at their house for the first time. Their home, dubbed “The Saint James,” doubles as a weekend retreat for travelers and, last winter, I had the pleasure of staying there with a few friends. Located in the middle of Kingston, New York, a charming Hudson Valley town seemingly ripped from the pages of a Normal Rockwell book, the cozy house is filled with a mixture of modern and vintage finds, rustic charm, and quiet decadence. From its lavishly appointed sitting room, outfitted in stylish hood chairs and antique pieces, to the organic vegetable garden in the back, I got the sense that transforming this house had been quite an undertaking—a labor of love and countless years of work.
It wasn’t until Philippe invited my boyfriend and I back to The Saint James for a celebratory cocktail after we, too, had become Kingston residents, that the truth behind their renovation finally came to light. To our surprise, the magic-power couple had only closed on the 1890s Victorian mere months before our stay. During just this brief period, Julian and Philippe had taken the home from a sad state of disrepair—a ragged, un-landscaped exterior, and an interior broken and desecrated by years of vandals, squatters, and weather—to a state of near-completion. For anybody who has taken on a home renovation of their own, the transformation—often wrought by the couple’s own four hands—is downright vexing. While the home is still being tweaked and updated, albeit at a slightly slower pace these days, what was once a dilapidated house amongst the area’s more stately homes is now a neighborhood gem. For more photos (before shots included!) and Julian and Philippe’s design notes, continue after the jump! —Max
Above image: The grand entryway boasts a striking stairwell, left minimal to showcase the original framed panels, painted white to keep things clean and bright.
Above image: The Living Room is a perfect mixing of old with modern. The Restoration Hardware linen chairs are offset with some antique finds from the Hudson Valley. Some favorite vintage pieces include the leather animals, brass peacock screen and the spotted cowhide.
See all the photos of this Hudson Valley Home after the jump!
Above image: Elegant with a masculine touch, the ornate Versailles mirror softens the room while rugged pieces like the antique barn chair, 1800’s shot gun and cast iron animals help to add a masculine touch. Wall color chosen from Valspar’s historic color range.
Above image: Unlined raw burlap linen curtains [hand-made] provide shade while letting in a natural filtered light. The vintage barn table serves as a side table for the room.
Above image: Walls were stripped down to the original plaster and glazed with a clear finish. This room was inspired by mid-century Danish design seen in the side chair and teak bar.
Above image: The Formal Dining room is furnished with a vintage pedestal oblong dining table with dark Windsor chairs, side hutch, and cast iron candle chandelier. Original to the home, the plate shelf holds antique porcelain ware.
Above image: Rustic and modern, the mid century rectangle gaming table and modern Room & Board sectional provides a casual atmosphere to entertain.
Above image: Fresh heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant are harvested from The Saint James’ gardens.
Above image: Vintage finds from the Hudson Valley including original prints and needle point paintings adorn the top of the staircase.
Above image: The guest bedrooms original pine floors have been sanded down and coated with clear water based polyurethane to keep things rustic, yet bright.
Above image: Original plaster walls are sealed with a clear glaze for a more authentic touch.
Above image: Vintage brass lamp, pewter vase and horse adorn the nightstand.
Above image: The second floor sitting room, inspired by the outdoors, acts as both a library and home office. Décor include original landscape paintings and a collection of eclectic animal busts.
Above image: Antique prints depicting scenes of the Hudson Valley are framed against the pale mint walls.
Above image: Original claw foot bathtub and raw vintage side tables are paired with crisp linen curtains and towels.
Above image: This bedroom, inspired by French art, has a collection of needlepoint paintings and impressionist prints arranged against the original plaster walls.
Above image: The picturesque front porch is perfect for morning coffee or evening star gazing.
Above image: “The back stoop and barn door lead into the kitchen.”
Above images: The home before the renovation. Images courtesy of Philippe Trinh.