Interiorssneak peeks

Sneak Peek: A Catskills Motel: The Graham & Co.

by Amy Azzarito

Sometimes my favorite projects are those that result from a creative group of people just looking for an outlet for their shared vision. Jeff Madalena owns one of my favorite New York clothing stores, Oak, and Jason Gnewikow is a partner and creative director at Athletics, a New York-based design studio (we peeked into their Catskills home here). One day Jeff and Jason and friends Amanda Bupp and Bianca Barattini noticed that the old Cobblestone Motel in Phoenicia was for sale. It was a light bulb moment for the four. Designing a hotel would be the perfect way to combine their love of interiors and travel. They were inspired by the relaxed vibe of the Catskills to create a simple and easy atmosphere. The property had already been a motel for years, so their vision was to create a place that retained the motel’s authentic voice and character but re-imagined it with a modern twist and the amenities and experience of a full-service hotel. Check out the Graham & Co. hotel right here. — Amy Azzarito

All photos by Poul Ober

Image above: We had a pretty clear vision for the design. A lot of the elements in the hotel are pieces you might find in one of our homes. We did a lot of local vintage shopping for lighting and accessories. To bring a cohesiveness to the overall look, we designed and custom made all of the beds, benches and tables using reclaimed timber, sort of Judd-inspired with a rustic twist, modernist shapes with unfinished materials.

Image above: The hotel is located in downtown Phoenicia, NY, just a few blocks off Main St. Currently the hotel is 13 rooms with plans to renovate 2 additional out buildings by the spring, which will add 5 to 7 additional rooms. It’s a small place with a strong emphasis on experience. The rooms are minimal yet comfortable, but it’s the common spaces that are really the heart and soul of the hotel. In the summer, this translates to relaxing by the pool, evening bonfires and projecting movies on the great lawn. In the winter, it’s a bit quieter, but you can go skiing at Hunter during the day and come back and curl up with a book by the fire in the cafe. Part of the magic of the Catskills is having a chance to unplug, and we wanted to stay true to this, so TVs in rooms were replaced with Tivoli radios, but we do still have wi-fi throughout the property for those who just want to unplug a little bit! It’s a great place for people who want an easy escape from the city without all the fuss of trekking out to the Hamptons.

More images after the jump . . .

Image above: All of the tables, benches and bed frames are custom made, designed and built by us. Bianca’s brother did custom illustrations for each of the rooms inspired by the topography of the area. We sourced some great custom light fixtures in nearby Accord, NY.

Image above: We’ve been longtime fans of the Tivoli radios; they are the perfect marriage of form and function in fantastic minimal design.

Image above: Weather permitting, we screen movies and make bonfires on the weekends. It gives folks a chance to socialize; we’ve met some amazing people sitting around the bonfire. We are watching ET here, but Jurassic Park was the first movie we screened outside.

Image above: The pool, the heart of the hotel in the summer. A little music and a little dip. The deck extends back behind the juniper and into the yard.

Image above: The mighty Esopus! There’s lots of activity here in the summer, and you can walk over and grab a tube at the Town Tinker just off Main St.

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  • Looks like a great place to stay in the Catskills – certainly the most stylish hotel/motel so far that I know of.

  • This looks a lot different from the Catskills of my youth (were my parents have a summer home). Homowack, Grossingers and the Nevele, it is not! Looks great!

  • This place looks perfect! Perhaps I missed it, but I couldn’t find a link to the motel’s website or pics of the frontage. Just curious. ~maja

  • Ohhhh. Ahhhhh. Awwww. Loving it. Looks especially appealing from where I am sitting on this miserable rainy Sydney day. The outdoor projection, custom made rustic furniture and those illustrations….perfection. Clicking my ruby red’s now and wishing I was there.

  • Wow, this was very inspiring. I totally want to take a trip just so I can come stay in the hotel. Usually hotel’s are a place to stay within a destination, but this one is a destination itself!

  • I looooovvvveeeee that little stove/sink/refrigorator/ thingamabob thing. I can think of numerous uses for such an appliance! Who makes it? Can I ask that on this blog?

  • Beautiful. But $350 a night is not exactly what I was expecting in Phoenicia! There is really not much in that town…except the creek.

    • lexi

      i’ve stayed in phoenicia and while you’re right- there’s not much in town- there’s plenty in the surrounding towns. for me, the catskills is always about driving around and seeing what’s happening in each separate area during the day and then going back for a home base somewhere nice. :)


  • I stayed in the old Cobblestone motel a few years ago with my husband while we were ice climbing. It looks a million times better! Congrats on the renovations and bringing some lovely style to it!

  • This is literally in my backyard! So fantastic to see it featured! Also on your list should be Woodstock and Saugerties!

  • This is just a few towns away from where I live! We just moved here from NYC last summer, and man is life good. There really is so much to do and so much good food and quirky shopping. I love the style these folks are using in their hotel, modern rustic. Best of luck to them!

  • Stayed there at their opening. Was WONDERFUL!!! We met some lovely people, enjoyed the pool, my husband rode the bike the few blocks to town every day, played bocci ball, and totally relaxed by the bonfire in the evenings (fell asleep during the movie :) just without a care for a while). Would totally recommend. I’m sure we will return.

  • Thank you for this wonderful post (before the high season starts). My husband & I were looking for a nice getaway to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary and I’m happy to say we got the weekend we wanted! YAY!!! XoXo ~~

  • As a Chicagoan looking outside at sunless sky at this very moment, that pool with the inflated inner tubes looks so incredibly inviting. It is enticing, indeed. And that written comment about a poolside beer? That’s so me. I’d add some knitting that can withstand a splash from the pool, a beer stain and a dropped stitch.

  • Their prices are not as high now as Lexi said. Maybe they used to be? I just looked at May 2013 & August 2013 and there were rooms for less than $200/night – one room was even $125/night and it looks sweet.

    I hope that Lexi’s comment doesn’t scare people away! It almost did me, but then I couldn’t believe it, so I checked for myself.


  • This place ONLY looks good in photos – place is a dump. seriously upsetting.
    I found much better on VRBO/airbnb. Proceed with Caution!