They Traded Southern California for Upstate New York (and a Barn)


Davy Newkirk and Robbie Rivers have been glad residing in Los Angeles for a few years, till the pandemic modified all the pieces. “We were living in an area that became extreme with crime,” Mr. Newkirk stated, “and we just wanted to get out.”

On the identical time, Mr. Newkirk, who’s in his 40s and works as a celeb hairstylist — his shoppers embody Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba and Robert Downey Jr. — discovered his work coming to a standstill. With Mr. Rivers, a advertising and marketing advisor in his 30s, working from house, that they had few causes to stay within the metropolis.

For a while, the couple had toyed with the concept of shopping for a small second house within the Northeast, after changing into enamored with the Hamptons. Within the early months of the pandemic, nevertheless, they devised a extra drastic plan: They might promote their home in Los Angeles and transfer to the East Coast full time.

As they started taking a look at homes throughout the white-hot market of 2020, although, they realized that the Hamptons was out of attain. Not solely have been costs terribly excessive, however even lackluster properties have been being snapped up by keen consumers.

Conscious that communities across the Catskill Mountains have been seeing a artistic resurgence, they determined to look upstate as a substitute. “We were like, ‘Let’s just go to the Hudson Valley for 10 days” to have a look at homes, Mr. Newkirk stated, “even though we had never been there.”

Because the couple toured quite a few homes every day, it didn’t take lengthy to see that the actual property market upstate was almost as frenzied because it was within the Hamptons. “I told Robbie, ‘I don’t want to overpay to fight with a New Yorker over a farmhouse that isn’t actually worth anything and needs all this work done to it,’” Mr. Newkirk stated.

Simply as they have been preparing to surrender, a buddy despatched them an inventory for a 2,800-square-foot brick bungalow in-built 1967 on the outskirts of Kingston. It was in critical want of updating and didn’t have completed flooring in lots of rooms, but it surely did have a barn, a grassy 1.5-acre lot and a view to the Hudson River. There have been additionally a number of authentic particulars they favored, together with pecky cypress wooden paneling in some rooms and floral wallpaper within the eating room.

“I walked in and said, ‘This is the house,’” Mr. Newkirk stated. They supplied the total asking value of $349,000 and closed that November.

Then Mr. Newkirk turned to Kishani Perera, an in depth buddy and the inside designer who had labored on the couple’s home in Los Angeles. Ms. Perera wasn’t ready to get on a airplane throughout the pandemic, so all of them made plans to collaborate remotely: Mr. Newkirk could be the eyes and ears on the bottom, chargeable for directing contractors, and Ms. Perera would offer steering through e mail, textual content and day by day video calls.

“We wanted it to feel like a midcentury cabin, but with very elevated pieces punctuated with high-end designer stuff, for a little bit of glam,” Ms. Perera stated.

Or, as Mr. Newkirk put it: “I wanted it to be very classic New York — because I love classic New York, and this is the first New York property that I’ve owned — but also very luxe.”

One of many greatest modifications they made was including 4 pairs of French doorways alongside the again of the home, opening to a brand new 1,000-square-foot deck. “It’s this beautiful view, but the house had these small, horizontal windows, so you couldn’t even see it,” Mr. Newkirk stated. “Now, from every room, you look out the doors and it’s like a postcard.”

They gutted and rebuilt the kitchen with easy supplies, together with Shaker-style cupboards, a backsplash of sq. white tiles with black grout, and Carrara marble counters. They refreshed the bogs with extra white tile and white marble. They usually put down engineered oak flooring in a smoky grey colour the place there had been subfloor or outdated carpet.

They saved the unique doorways, however ebonized them for distinction towards the freshly painted pale-gray partitions. Mr. Newkirk and Mr. Rivers additionally spent weeks sanding and refinishing the pecky cypress paneling themselves, to eliminate its orange hue. They usually knowledgeable each contractor who set foot in the home that the eating room wallpaper wanted to be protected.

To furnish their new house, they put in a mixture of items from their home in Los Angeles, lots of which Mr. Newkirk had discovered whereas touring for work; newly purchased items accepted by Ms. Perera, together with a coveted classic Togo sofa and ottoman from Ligne Roset for the sitting room; and presents from Mr. Newkirk’s shoppers, together with a classic lamp from the actress Rebecca Romijn and an paintings by Mr. Downey.

The couple moved in as quickly because the kitchen was full, in early 2021, and lived by the remainder of development as supply-chain disruptions and value hikes hampered the renovation. By the point the venture was full that September, that they had blown by their anticipated funds of $150,000, and spent a complete of roughly $400,000.

Now that Mr. Newkirk’s work has picked up once more in Los Angeles, he and Mr. Rivers lately purchased a brand new home there — however this time, a second house. The home in Kingston stays their major house, Mr. Newkirk stated.

“We adore this house. It’s so comfortable, and everyone who comes over is just blown away,” he stated. “Coming from L.A., it’s just a breath of fresh air.”

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