A few years ago, Amy and Scott Margolis were looking for a simpler version of their Berkshire weekend life: a smaller, more efficient country home with great interior design. On a river, please, for a bit of fishing.
Take a 3D tour of the new Margolis house through our Matterport scan.
At the time, they were spending weekends at their rambling, rural farmhouse on 29 acres, where they had invested, with gusto, time and money to connect and renovate two adjacent barns that became a dramatic hilltop home of more than 6,000 square feet. That Berkshire project and its interior design were ambitious, with a pool and other great amenities for a family-friendly getaway. But by 2017, Amy and Scott decided, “enough is enough.” It was too big.
Amy, who has a human resources consulting practice in New York City, and husband Scott, who works in financial services, sold the grand farmhouse. “It was great for the family, but then the kids grew up, and we wanted a simpler life,” they told us. What Amy and Scott found was a project – but a downscaled, manageable one: a 1980s, 2,500-square-foot home on five-acres along the bubbling Konkapot River. Once the home of a renowned fly fisherman who operated a fishing shop on the home’s main level, the house is just a few steps from the river bank.
The house had not had much attention for the last 30 years, but it had good bones, a perfect location and the promise of easier weekend life. Amy and Scott set out to find a top interior designer in the Berkshires, and we are so glad they found us.
“I had overdone it in the past, and so I was on a budget this time around,” Amy told us. “We wanted a contemporary feel this time, with warm touches. And I love the color red.”
We matched the Margolis style with their clearly defined budget and some creative design. Major line items: partially gutting the house, replacing floors and installing new, larger windows to bring the outside in.
We found efficient solutions for a variety of “before” challenges. For instance, the original entry foyer was dim, small and dull. Scott and Amy considered tearing out a wall, but we suggested (successfully!) using color and a dramatic mirror to resolve the problem. The mirror captures natural light and creates interesting planes and volume; wood floors bring warmth. This is a perfect example of where a mirror isn’t perceived, but the additional space and texture are. As the photos below show, the contrast between the before and after entryways is dramatic.
Below, to steal some extra sleeping space, we closed off the entrance to the former “fishing lodge store” on the main floor (now a TV room) and installed a cozy sleeping nook with a bunk bed. The nook vanishes behind a sliding barn door — a great feature!
The old kitchen had a restricting right-angle countertop. We removed it, opening the flow. So as not to lose counter space, we moved the fridge to an adjacent pantry. The free-standing island hides a discreet stove.
The living room invites a wealth of life and light, which bring emphasis to the artwork.
It’s true: every great interior designer loves an expansive budget, but we also like digging into designs that call for financial finesse, creative sourcing and scouting. For instance, we were able to source some reproduction tulip chairs for the Margolis dining table, for under $200 per chair, below.
We couldn’t be happier with the Margolis home. Our next phase is a screened porch and an expansion of the deck. After all, summer is coming.
William Caligari is the owner of William Caligari Interior Design in Great Barrington.