Carpenter & Mason’s Acorn Hill House

Share It

It was a natural progression for Sarah Carpenter and Chris Horger to bring their cozy yet minimal Brooklyn aesthetic to a weekend Catskills home in Olivebridge, NY. As founders of Carpenter & Mason — an architectural design firm focusing on restaurant and hospitality spaces — the couple spends tons of time on construction sites during the workweek, so they decided to tackle as much as possible in their 1965 Upstate home themselves.

“We knew that we would renovate any house we chose, so the small things mattered less to us,” notes Sarah, who is also an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. “We were hoping for an ugly house on a great property, and this perfectly fit the bill!” Their hands-on attitude allowed the couple to test out materials, techniques, and colors they had been eyeing as potentials for hospitality projects. When something didn’t quite work, they’d just redo it. “The bedroom was painted five times, which we know sounds insane,” Sarah jokes, “But after you’ve already painted something three times, you cannot bring yourself to stop if you aren’t totally happy with the result.” Always improving, future plans include a raised garden, fire pit, and sauna, but after a year of manual labor Sarah and Chris are just glad to spend comfortable weekends relaxing — for now.

Also on the punchlist is the 1930s Sears Catalog cabin still standing on the property, which previous owners had constructed for summer visits. “We decided not to touch the catalog cabin until we made significant progress on the main house, so it’s still a complete time capsule/house for spiders,” Sarah says. But the main house contains only the necessities, where their pared-down belongings all have a designated place, so Sarah and Chris didn’t have to spend much time brainstorming storage solutions. “In general, our aesthetic leans towards the minimal, but it also just makes sense for this particular house — we knew that we didn’t want to spend our weekends cleaning,” Sarah shares.

Spending the past winter with friends napping in front of the fire, drinking whiskey on the porch, making pies in the kitchen, and curling up with dogs on the couch made all the hard work worthwhile. —Annie

Photography by Reid Rolls

  1. Bekah says:

    This is the perfect size home. And so beautiful and peaceful inside.

  2. Lauren says:

    Where are all of the bed linens from? They are the perfect colors!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for the positive feedback! The bed linens are all from Muji.

  3. Emmy says:

    This home is insanely gorgeous! I love the warmth of its earthy minimalism.

  4. Margot says:

    I love the “closets” – a perfect and inexpensive solution for a weekend escape. I also adore the lime plaster finishes.

  5. Shruthi says:

    Love the dining area


  6. Audrey says:

    Oh my god.
    Congratulations, this space is a dream!

  7. Amy says:

    I love this, so simple and relaxing for a weekend retreat. I love the closets! Do you have a resource for that extra deep sofa?

  8. Sara says:

    This entire thing is my dream house. Nice work.

  9. Erin says:

    Where is the couch from!!!i love it

  10. Casey says:

    Oh be still my beating heart! Minimalsim + lime plaster + Willy Wonka couches? Up here in the Catskills? I love it! I’ve go to echo Erin above and also ask: where is that couch from??

  11. Amy says:

    Your home is so lovely and I just have to ask where you sourced those dining chairs from?

  12. Diana Andea says:

    Less is definitely more.

  13. Sasha says:

    Absolutely love the bed frames. Where are they from?


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.