March 11, 2015

Patty Kennedy Designs a Beautiful Weekend Getaway in Cold Spring

For a modern weekend house in Cold Spring, New York, interior designer Patty Kennedy used bold color and contemporary forms.

by Judith Nasatir interior designer Patty Kennedy Interiors photographer Richard Timberlake


The truth of a country house is that "if you build it, they will come." That's exactly what Mary and Malcolm Rowe were counting on when they purchased a 10½-acre parcel in Cold Spring, New York bounded on two sides by protected areas. The Manhattan-based couple with three active young sons wanted a weekend getaway that welcomed family and friends, that had pitch-perfect modern planning and style, and that incorporated green and energy efficient building materials and technologies to ensure the house would lie lightly on the land. Starting from scratch meant walks through the undergrowth to find the best place to site the house, plus the help of an architect to do the basic planning for its 6,500-square-foot footprint. Most of all, it required the special skill set of interior designer Patty Kennedy, a New York transplant now based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who had done two apartments for the Rowes in New York and whose touch is evident here on every aspect of the living space.

Though neither of the Rowes had grown up with a modern aesthetic, the clean contemporary approach suited them perfectly here for practical as well as aesthetic reasons. Walls of windows and an open floor plan make for clear vistas through the interior and to the outdoors-pool and large patio, included-a priority with three growing boys and a love of the woods. At the core of the house is a double-height great room that opens to a large eat-in kitchen with plenty of seating options for gatherings of all sizes; from the great room, a glass stair leads up to the private family quarters. A well-windowed formal dining room has a table seating 12.

Two separate guest wings, one over the garage and one next to the ground-level TV room, provide both easy access and ample privacy for visitors. The basement houses the children's playroom. Throughout, dark wood trims the white walls and floors, which serve as a kind of blank canvas for explosive moments of bold color that extend from the brilliant blue of the great room's Ligne Roset chairs to the colorful wall installation over the kitchen banquette to the guest room palettes of gray/persimmon and aqua/camel.

The Rowes, unusually, acted as their own general contractors. They specified Insulated Concrete Forms construction for lower energy bills and less structural maintenance, geothermal radiant heating/cooling to maintain constant temperatures year round, and LED lighting both inside and out. The result? A Silver Leed certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. That's as modern, and as country, as it gets.