An 18th-Century Farmhouse Revived by None Other Than the Founders of Hawkins New York
Many (many) shades of pink paint were tested.
Updated Oct 12, 2018 1:46 AM
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Paul Denoly and Nick Blaine have mastered the art of compromise. Their home goods store, Hawkins New York, is known for its unique balance of modernity and warmth—a marriage of the couple’s styles. “Everything in our store has been thought and fought through,” jokes Denoly of their process. “Before we lived together, my apartment looked like a Design Within Reach catalog, and Paul’s place looked like a very cool grandma lived there,” says Blaine.
Buying an upstate New York farmhouse in 2011 gave them the opportunity to truly combine and refine their aesthetic. Built in the 1750s by Dutch settlers and rumored to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad, the centuries-old property was crumbling.
Denoly and Blaine worked with local craftspeople, including Claverack Builders and mason Mike Budai, to bring the house back to life, restoring the original stone structure as well as a 1901 clapboard addition. (During the renovation, they found the initials JVD on an interior wallboard—carved by the original builders, the Van Dusen family—which they preserved and have plans to frame.)
Once the bones of the place were in good order, the pair turned to the interiors. Inspired by traditional paneling in Dutch Colonials, Blaine designed a simplified modern version for the living room walls. They tested no less than six shades of pink before agreeing on the perfect hue.
For the floors, they sourced tinted concrete tiles from Mexico in Hawkins’s signature palette of pinks, blue-grays, and creams. Friends came over to help lay the tiles in a random pattern, and they intentionally skipped grouting so that the edges would wear over time. “In the process of restoring the original doors, we fell in love with the years of layered paint, so we left them that way,” says Blaine. Other details, such as copper electrical tape around the perimeter of the kitchen walls, pair a DIY approach with a love of lived-in patinas.
An ever-evolving project, the home is a living lab for Hawkins’s collections. “We play with prototypes and test them in the house,” says Blaine. “When we launch a new color in the linen program, we move it from room to room to make sure it fits with our palette.” For their Versa vase collection, they tried different silhouettes on the mantel, breakfast table, and coffee table, editing out any that didn’t feel like a good match. “We know something’s good when we love living with it,” adds Denoly.