I get very mood-board-y,” muses fashion stylist Kate Young, reflecting on her approach to designing her own homes. The same, she explains, is true when it comes to devising red-carpet ensembles for the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Selena Gomez, and Dakota Johnson.
“I like to study, pick pieces, and mix it all together.” So one might say that her own personal Oscars has been the circa 1945 Bauhaus-style house in Woodstock, New York, that she shares with her husband, record executive Keith Abrahamsson, and their two sons, Stellan and Leif. Armed with modernist William Muschenheim’s original plans (sleuthed from Columbia University’s Avery library) and aided by their architect friend Graydon Yearick, the couple set out to revive the spirit of the home, executing a near gut renovation after purchasing it three years ago. “A lot was replaced to look like the original,” Young says, alluding to new light boxes and stealth built-ins. “Everything really was made for living and ease.”
Strategic additions paved the way for the couple’s en suite bath, a roof terrace, and a larger kitchen that nods to Richard Neutra’s VDL House. Open birch shelving displays Young’s pottery collection, which includes terra-cotta vessels by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co., angular Vallauris plates, and a selection of her own work (thrown at the nearby Byrdcliffe Arts Colony). “I’m prolific—I make so many ugly things,” Young demurs of the family’s daily wares.
A vacation to the Côte d’Azur, where the family stayed at Hôtel Les Roches Rouges and visited Eileen Gray’s E-1027 house, crystallized the prevailing decorative sensibility. “I wanted everything to feel light, well designed, and warm,” Young says, describing the mental tableau she collaged during the trip. Shocks of color in the spirit of the French Riviera now appear in the form of a school-bus-yellow faucet, a cobalt rail-ing, and the tomato-red outdoor spiral staircase that leads to the roof. (That ascent echoes one at the former Massachusetts home of Walter Gropius, who served as an enduring influence for Muschenheim.) Textiles throughout the house tend toward sturdy Baltic linens, some inherited from her Lithuanian father, others gleaned on Etsy. “Fashion is my job, so for fun I shop for furniture,” says Young, pointing out early purchases like Mario Bellini sofas and a round pine dining table designed by Charlotte Perriand for the French ski resort Les Arcs. The vibe in mind, Young says, was “utilitarian, family-friendly, high design.”
Her family of four, plus Nagini— the Siamese cat, named for Voldemort’s snake—typically drive upstate from their Brooklyn home after school. Weekends are spent with friends hiking the Comeau Property trail or skiing Hunter Mountain. At home, Abrahamsson often returns from walks with a garbage bag full of moss, which he uses to fashion quilt-like, Japanese-style gardens all over the 15-acre grounds.