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Hudson Valley Hues: At Home with an Inventive Textile Designer

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Oct 27, 2015 01:03 AM
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by Margot Guralnick last modified Oct 26, 2015

Dunja Von Stoddard describes the remodel of her 1880s farmhouse in Rhinebeck, New York, as "an epic journey of demolition, construction, and reconstruction involving a squirrel-infested wall, jackhammers, and the complete removal of one end of the house." And when her rooms were finally ready to be furnished, Dunja, a textile designer from Vermont, discovered that having "an eye for art and cool things is a very different skill set than conceptualizing the look of a home." Fortunately, she had hired Kathryn Whitman of design-build firm Quatrefoil  as her architect, builder, interior design consultant, and voice of reason. "I like to believe that our work together was a collaboration, that the finished design was a meeting of our combined creative minds, although truthfully most of the time Kathryn came up with a brilliant design idea while simultaneously having to reel me in from some crazy notions." Three years later, chez Dunja—pronounced "Doonya" ("it's a Slavic name; my hippie artist parents got it from a folk singer they knew")—is the family homestead, studio, and business headquarters she set out to create. And its rooms, we're happy to report, are both well composed and filled with signs that a textile designer given to crazy notions is in residence. Photography by Jim Franco . Above: Dunja relocated from Maine to upstate New York with her son, Lars, now four. She calls herself "a maker and modern homesteader" and is shown here with one of her signature designs called Gem . Her online textile shop, Doonyaya —"a phonetic pronunciation of my name with some fun thrown in"—has just launched. The House Above: The turn-of-century house received new siding and windows (made by Marvin), plus a 20-foot addition. By the time Dunja came along, the interior had undergone many incarnations and been stripped of original details: "We had to go down to the studs; the project was like building a new house, but trying to imagine what the original builders had in mind." Above: A Scandinavian woodstove—"it sat in my mother's garage for 20 years"—warms the music room (where there's also a piano). Dunya bought her look-alikes of the Hans Wegner Flag Halyard Chair  ($1,999; "originals come up on eBay for $20,000") and Serge Mouille Standing Floor Lamp  ($399), from France & Son of New York. The pastel drawing is by Dunya's mother, Constance Kheel . The room required a lot of structural work: "Sometime during the Reagan administration, the owners decided to build a chimney and fireplace smack in the middle of the space," she says. (Take a Before look here .) Her crew removed the fireplace and drywall, and introduced the built-in shelves and firewood hutch. The flooring was faux-wood laminate over wide pine boards that weren't salvageable—so Dunja's team laid new pine floors throughout: "Oy; that’s all I have to say about that." Above: Dunja kept a renovation diary on her blog, Doonyaya , and writes that she hewed to the following rules. 1. Everything in my home has to be something that I love because life is too short to be surrounded by ugly. 2. I must strive to fill my home with objects that have associations with people that I like/love/respect or who inspire me. 3. Every room must have at least one item designed by me as a reminder that I, too, am fueled by creativity. The room's centerpiece, the butterfly painting is by Leslie Parke , Dunja's former stepmother: "Every design decision followed the question 'Does it go with the painting?'" The sofa is a George Nelson original that Dunja's mother handed down when the hunt was on—"so now we had midcentury chrome and leather to contend with"—and her designer friend Joseph Foglio supplied the  Barcelona Coffee Table . The block pattern on the back wall is trompe l'oeil wallpaper by Deborah Bowness . Above: Dunja countered the potential coldness of the chrome and leather with a pair of Danish armchairs found on Etsy. The pillow is one of her own designs in a pattern called Brick . The towering light is Blu Dot's Perimeter Floor Lamp . Above: A long-ago kitchen fire led Dunja to gut what was there. The new setup has open shelves, soapstone counters, and custom cabinets. The ceramics are by Bennington Potters , a reminder of her childhood kitchen, and Dunja's friend Caroline Wallner of Tivoli Tile Works . Dunja herself is also a ceramist, and she and Wallner are in the process of collaborating on some tiles. Above: Dunja loves displaying collections—she contemplated hanging antique dentures over her bed and silver faux antlers in the dining room, ideas that Whitman nixed. The kitchen's wooden spoons are a combination of vintage and handmade finds from Etsy and eBay and local antiques shops. Above: The "disco dining room"—Dunja's favorite room in the house—is anchored by a Tom Dixon Mirror Ball Pendant Light  over a doctored Restoration Hardware table: "When it arrived, I hated it; the finish was terrible. So I sanded the top and waxed it about 20 times. Then I painted the bottom part." Next she introduced hints of hot pink, "because hot pink makes me happy." That's a pair of Bertoia chairs brightened with a powder coating by Etsy seller Cast + Crew of Marfa. Dunja screen-printed the chair pads. She traded a table for the tree print by her friend Zoe Bissell of Formed + Found . "As for the rest of the room," she says, "the motto was 'Paint it white.'" Above: Another pink Bertoia chair appears in the master bedroom. A Leslie Parke painting of water hangs over a collection of vintage lights. The rug is Gandia Blascoe's irregularly shaped  Blue Dauvine  design. Above: Dunya and Whitman designed the stained plywood bed frame and had the side tables stained to match. The wall lights are Schoolhouse Electric's Princeton Senior Plug-In Sconce . The painting is by Dunja—she has an MFA in photography from Bard, which is how she got to know the Rhinebeck area. "Having artists for parents—my mother is a painter from NYC and my father is a filmmaker from Berlin—made art and creativity a given," she says. "I never questioned whether I would be an artist or not, the question was what kind." Above: The subtle pattern behind the bed is Walnut Wallpaper's Dune in Silver Beach. The linen bedding is by Matteo. Above: Dunja went for "risky blue walls"—Benjamin Moore Twilight —in her home office. The desk is an Arne Jacobsen from eBay: "Most desks are big and imposing. I wanted something with understated personality—like party guest who who speaks only when moved to add something intelligent and thoughtful to the conversation." The orange Swing Lamp is from OneFortyThree of Brooklyn. Above: " The idea was to put color in unexpected places," says Dunja of the bathroom. "We chose orange because it's the complement to the blue in the adjacent office, which also has punches of orange in it." The floor and tub surround are a stonelike Italian tile called Unik . The bathtub is from Waterworks . (Working on your own bathroom? Read our Remodeling 101 on the Pros and Cons of Freestanding Vs. Built-In Bathtubs .) Above: Located on the third floor, Lars's bedroom is the only room in the house that didn't require extensive reworking. The walls are Benjamin Moore Silent Night . The giraffe came from A.L. Stickle , a beloved old variety store in Rhinebeck. Above: The sink is a Duravit Vero Washbasin  and the metal Antler Hooks are by Formed + Found. The striped mirror light is from Schoolhouse Electric. The Studio Above: Dunja's workshop is in a garage/barn that was built in the 1970s. After several years of having her materials in storage, Dunja is newly back to work. Above: A grid of mounted clipboards display pattern samples and test runs. Dunja learned screen printing in college and rediscovered it years later.  Above: A screen with a design called Arch that's part of Dunja's Pool pattern. Above: Dunja's patterns begin as drawings. "I love how simple the technology for it is," she writes in her blog. "I don’t use computers for any of my images and I try to keep my work as low-tech as possible."  Above: Screen printing Gem, the design used on her dining room chairs. Above: Dunja does all her printing and makes her prototypes in her studio. Her pillows and napkins are stitched locally. Above: A homemade thread holder. Above: Some just-finished prints. Go to Doonyaya to see more. In nearby Hudson, New York, tour cult ceramic artist Paula Greif's Combination Living Quarters and Shop .   More Stories from Remodelista Before & After: A Melbourne Remodel with a Masculine Touch Pietro Russo's 538-Square-Foot Apartment in Milan, Glamour Included Small-House Remodel: From One Bedroom to Three—No Addition Required






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