Bobby Bui and his partner Gary wanted a mid-century modern home, which are quite rare on the East Coast of the United States, as flat roof homes with walls of glass are not recommended in areas where the climate can be quite cold. When this 1960-s house came on the market, Bobby was especially drawn to it as it reminded him of homes he coveted in his youth while growing up in Southern California. “It really feels like a West Coast home”. Needless to say, this home received multiple offers within the first couple of days on the market, but luck and a strong offer secured it for Bobby and Gary and they moved here in the Fall of 2016.
First of all, could you tell me a little bit about the house and what attracted you to it?
The house is located in what is considered to be the most famous small town in the United States, Woodstock, NY. Woodstock has been an arts colony for over 100 years and is also the town affiliated with the famous music festival of 1969. Bob Dylan and many other famous musicians had or have homes here. It remains an arts colony attracting tourists from all over the world.
Our mid-century modern home was built in 1962 by a former sea captain. We are the third owners. The original house had five front entrances that opened onto a deck. The house is situated on a hill that overlooks a lake so from the interior it can appear as if one is on a ship looking out to water. The second owners replaced two of the doors with windows, so the front now only has three entrances.
Did you have to do a lot of work to the house? And if so, what improvements did you make?
It was in good condition, but we did have to take on several big projects that were not cosmetic (e.g. new roof, replaced the septic tank, updated the electrical box, removed about 8 truckloads of overgrown brush that surrounded the exterior of the home). The former owners were very “Woodstocky”, so the house was quite colorful (red, green, and yellow rooms) and even had a large mermaid sculpture hanging from the ceiling. I personally re-painted the home in more neutral and natural tones. We also replaced several of the large windows.
Are you in any way connected to architecture or interior design by profession?
Not formally, though my partner, Gary, and I both have a love for art and design. We spend a lot of time studying design as well as talking to designers and dealers. We also spend a lot of time window shopping.
I am a psychologist by training and teach full-time at a local college. I also practice clinically, part-time. My partner is an executive at a boutique firm that focuses on beverage marketing, research and consulting.
The house is set in a beautiful location. Could you please say a few words about its’ setting?
We are on over an acre of land about 5 miles from the town center. The home is set back up on a hill that overlooks a lake and the road. There is also a stream that runs along the front of the property that separates the property from the road. It is breath-taking to walk the grounds as well as driving up to the home. Even after more than three years of living here I am still in awe coming home to this house.
Your furniture and artwork are carefully selected to match the style of the house. Could you say a few words about your interior design style and how you source furniture and accessories.
We buy from auctions houses, antique shops, second-hand shops, Craigslist and flea markets. Whether in the States or when we travel abroad we are always looking for beautiful items to fill our homes. We appreciate design/designers so only invest in authentic pieces whether they be original productions or authorized reproductions. Although we are drawn to midcentury modern design, we also own and incorporate pieces from other periods/design styles.
Do you have any favourite pieces?
I would say one of our favourite pieces in our Woodstock home is the Ateljee Lounge Chair in black leather and teak wood by Yrjo Kukkapuro. I purchased the chair off Craigslist from a rather accomplished photographer in NYC who purchased the chair himself in the 1960’s. He was just starting out in NYC and fell in love with the chair upon seeing it in a window of a shop in the West Village. As he could not afford it, he purchased it on layaway, something we rarely hear of these days as most individuals now have credit cards. He always cherished it and was only parting with it as a result of it being difficult to get in and out of it in his senior years. The chair has quite a low seat. He was happy that it was going to a home where it would be well taken care of and appreciated. In our home, the chair is occupied most by our Norwich Terrier, Winston. I love this chair not only for its aesthetic appearance but its history.
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