Take a Tour of a Stunning Snedens Landing Cottage
Snedens Landing, a wooded community just north of the George Washington Bridge on the western side of the Hudson River, comprises 100 or so homes, some predating the Revolutionary War. The hamlet was named for early pioneers Robert Snedens and his wife, Mollie, who ran a popular ferry service across the Hudson beginning in the 1730s (Mollie Snedens died in 1810, at 101). It remains little-known and low-key to this day, despite its long reputation as an arts colony, with celebrity residents ranging from Ethel Barrymore and Noël Coward to Al Pacino and Scarlett Johansson.
Only spitting distance from Manhattan’s skyscrapers, Snedens Landing also attracts weekenders, including a young New York couple who bought the late-1990s cottage featured on these pages as a country getaway. To transform it, they turned to D’Aquino Monaco, the marquee firm that had designed their apartment on Central Park West. It was only natural that the company would take on the project, since it has “enjoyed working with the clients for years,” says principal decorator Carl D’Aquino, “and they have come to trust our ability to create unique environments.”
The house consists of a single open room on the first floor and two bedrooms and a bath upstairs. “The place was very sweet, but basic,” recounts Dane Pressner, D’Aquino Monaco’s director of design. “The floors needed improving, and all the exposed raw wood made it seem unfinished. But our clients like to have fun, to walk into a room and smile.” The firm, Pressner reports, started out by reconfiguring the bathroom, then “painted the floors, staircase, and trim white, so the ceiling became a special design moment. Before, it just seemed like no one had ever lived there.”
The color palette takes its cue from the first floor’s extraordinary wall covering, a vivid turquoise natural-fiber creation by Élitis, which contrasts beautifully with a pair of bright yellow round rugs from Tai Ping and an overstuffed chair upholstered in a wildly polychromatic reproduction of a vintage Josef Frank textile. The staircase, sporting a custom Emma Gardner koi-motif runner, divides the space, where an informal dining area features a custom BDDW banquette designed to complement the sofa in the living area across the way. Upstairs, the look is soft and neutral, although that neutrality is deceptive. The wallpaper in the master bedroom is made from shredded silk saris with “every color of the rainbow in them,” Pressner says, “and in the children’s room, the rug appears beige at first, but it has red, green, yellow, and blue in it.” The same colors appear as bold stripes on the two custom twin beds and daybed upholstered in deconstructed Pendleton blankets.
The clients use the house all year, but the brand-new pool is especially appealing in the summer. A broad staircase now leads from the porch to the patio and pool terrace, which provide ample room for lounging areas furnished with pieces by Richard Schultz, Patricia Urquiola, and Janus et Cie. “The house has lots of windows,” Pressner adds, “so at night, it really glows when the lights are turned on. It looks like a turquoise jewel box set deep into the woods.”