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Faces, places, treasures, and trends that caught our attention

Milan Modern 
June 24, 2024

A Sleek Country Getaway Near Red Hook
By Jamie Marshall
Photos by Ethan Abitz

When one Brooklyn-based couple began searching for a weekend house, they knew they wanted something that felt like a retreat but within a two-hour drive from the city. After exploring both sides of the Hudson, they fell for Rhinebeck’s charm. They were also impressed with the Rhinebeck design-build firm Upstate Modernist. 

Upstate partners Christopher Dierig and Doug Maxwell had a number of new projects in the works. One in particular, in the town of Milan, captivated the prospective homebuyers. Set on a ridgeline, the 4,000-square-foot modern ticked all the boxes: An open floor plan, multiple outdoor spaces for easy entertaining, a wellness area, a pool—and with 26 acres, lots of privacy. 

“Being in nature was really important to us,” says the husband. “We wanted enough space to host another family so that we could appreciate the time away with family and friends. And we wanted a pool for hot summer days.”

The Upstate Modernist team was inspired by the beauty of the ridgeline, which has two plateaus. 

“It’s a unique geological feature that we wanted to celebrate,” says Maxwell. The single-story home is split over two levels Three gabled pavilions are connected by a central staircase that leads from the open kitchen/dining area down to the main living area. The upper level houses a private residential suite, the lower pavilion houses a guest suite and wellness studio. The staircase ties the two spaces together; they’re grounded by a central column of blackened steel panels that serves as the chimney base for the fireplace and encases the kitchen storage cabinets above. 

The mood throughout is clean and fresh, with a neutral palette of tans and grays and layered with natural materials: European white oak flooring, red cedar cladding, locally milled wood beams and custom trim. The walls in the primary suite are finished in an off-white limewash that captures the light and bounces it around. 

“It gives off that suede-like texture, which you notice more than you see,” says Maxwell. 

The kitchen island is topped with gray quartz with waterfall ends. In the living room, a blackened brass lighting fixture by Apparatus “evokes a heritage feel,” he adds. As do the dining table and chairs and primary-suite bed, all of which were made by New York Heartwoods. The wellness space floors and ceiling are clad with finish-grade birch plywood, which creates a calming feel. “It’s very Zen-like,” says Maxwell.

The homeowners agree. “It’s one of our favorite elements,” says the husband. “It’s so peaceful and meditative.” He remembers the first time he and his wife visited the house together post-construction. (She had received a job promotion and the family had been living in London during much of the construction process.)  “I felt a bit nervous because we had invested so much time and resources into this house, and I wanted her to love it. It honestly felt like one of those home makeover shows when they do the big reveal.” 

Judging from the expression on her face: Mission accomplished.