Dream Getaway House

When my grandfather was alive he was a regular reader of the Sunday Telegraph and He would always save me the Stella Magazine to browse. A few years ago I stumbled across a page that displayed a beautiful house based in America. I tend to cut out pages of magazines which interest me and below are a few pictures of the house:

For the Scottish-born restaurateur Brian McGrory, the weekend house that he shares with his partner, the photographer James Houston, spurs fond memories of the Highlands. When they first received a brochure for the lakeside land in upstate New York, where they had decided to build a home, it was even captioned, ‘Just like Scotland’.

Catskill house - exterior
The exterior The house blends influences from Asia, America, Europe and Australia, with natural materials that root the building in its landscape. ‘With this setting the house would have been amazing even if it was a tent,’ one of its co-owners, James Houston, a photographer, says. ‘Whether it snows or rains or the sun shines, it has something special.’
Catskill weekend retreat - living room
The living-room American walnut floors give a natural, warm feel. James Houston designed some of the furniture, including the coffee table. ‘I am pretty fearless when it comes to giving something a go,’ he says. Beyond the stone fireplace is the dining area. Picture: RICHARD POWERS
Catskill Mountain weekend retreat - kitchen and veranda
The kitchen and veranda A lower ceiling and a change in flooring set the kitchen apart. Fittings were designed by Houston, working with their architects, Rogers Marvel. The bar stools are by Norman Cherner (nest.co.uk). An Indonesian bench on the veranda is a favourite spot. ‘I sit there morning, day and night,’ the restaurateur Brian McGrory, the other co-owner, says, ‘just gazing out to the lake.’ Picture: RICHARD POWERS
Catskill mountain retreat - double height living area
The double-height living area When choosing furnishings, Houston and McGrory were careful not to overcrowd the light, airy space. ‘The secret to doing a place like this is to mix in a few special pieces with other, more off-the-shelf things, like sofas,’ Houston says. ‘The eclectic mix works really well. By the time we had finished building the house we had chosen or designed most of the furniture. But we didn’t want to overfill the house – we wanted the space to be able to breathe.’ Picture: RICHARD POWERS


Catskill Mountain retreat - firepit
The lakeside By the water’s edge Houston (in the hat) and McGrory built an outdoor sitting-room, complete with a fire pit (for similar try homebase.co.uk). Canoeing is a favourite summer pursuit. ‘The lake has no motor boats so it’s very peaceful out there in the canoe,’ Houston says. Picture: RICHARD POWERS


Catskill mountain retreat - mezzanine
The mezzanine In the study on the upper level the desk was designed by Houston; the EA 117 Aluminium desk chair is by Charles and Ray Eames (aram.co.uk). Picture: RICHARD POWERS


Catskill mountain retreat - master bedroom
The master bedroom On the upper level of the house, the master bedroom has some of the best views of the lake. In one corner of the room a woodburning stove bought in Pennsylvania sits alongside a neat built-in log store (for similar, try morso.co.uk). The bed is another of Houston’s designs, made up locally by contractors. Picture: RICHARD POWERS


Catskill Mountain retreat - bathroom
The bathroom Also on the upper level, the master bathroom has views of woodland. ‘The goal was to create the feel of a really exclusive spa retreat,’ Houston says. ‘You can lie in that bathtub and watch the moon come up – it’s the most amazing experience.’ The Spoon bath and sink are by Agape (020-7118 3323; 23degrees.co.uk), the sink unit is another bespoke design by Rogers Marvel. Read more about the house. Picture: RICHARD POWERS


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