We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

In the hands of Anthony D’Argenzio, founder of New York City-based creative collective Zio & Sons, white is as varied and nuanced a shade as any other in the color spectrum. At his upstate home in Hudson, a 1910 stunner that D’Argenzio and his wife Hillary bought in 2015 and transformed into a living space-meets-creative studio rental called This Old Hudson, the palest hue is artfully layered to great effect—from glossy

subway tile

to weathered white wood furnishings.

“I’m drawn to patina and places that tell a unique story, so I knew I wanted something older that needed work,” says D’Argenzio of his initial search for a house in the historic town of Hudson, a favorite haunt of whalers in the 18th century. “I was drawn to the details. The bones were really strong and the light was so good,” he explains. “I’m super hands-on and actually did a lot of the work myself.”

That included restoring old door frames (a task that took up to two weeks to accomplish for each frame) and removing layer upon layer of linoleum and carpet to reveal the original 100-year-old floors, which were then lightly sanded, painted, and distressed. In a genius renovator’s trick, D’Argenzio used a flathead screwdriver to subtly separate the wood boards, defining the lines in between and adding extra dimension and character to the floors.

“A lot of the preservation of the house was just getting to a clean slate,” says D’Argenzio of the need to strip down the space to its purest form before adding anew—and often re-roughing up anything that looked overly “done.”

Similarly, D’Argenzio’s first product design is the Hudson backpack that just launched in collaboration with chic camera bag company Ona. “Zio & Sons is all about distressed tones, texture, and vintage-inspired style—and that’s reflected in the details. The unlacquered brass and leather will age and get better with time, and the weatherproofed natural canvas looks seasonless,” he says. “It’s meant to be a bag that will wear really nicely, like an old house.”

Continuing D’Argenzio’s signature calming color palette and mix of rustic/refined materials, the living space downstairs was another DIY project—complete with Venetian plaster he made with Master of Plaster in a custom dove grey and minimalist brass lighting fixtures he designed himself. Both floors are meant to be a weekend outpost for soaking up the Hudson experience, as well as a studio for photographers to capture that quintessential upstate light.

“I wanted to expand Zio & Sons beyond designing sets and prop styling and started wondering: How do I involve people and offer a space that they could use as a creative escape,” says D’Argenzio, who peppered the home with vintage art and accessories he’s curated over the years. “A good collection takes time,” he says. “You never know when something will appear, so seize the moment…”

We asked D’Argenzio for his advice on finding the right white:

“There are so many shades—one for a ceiling vs a floor is completely different, for example. A gallery is stark white-white to draw your eye to the art. But you can go warmer for a more comforting and cozy interior.

First, find your wall white, using natural light, and then test various whites with it for the trim and ceiling. Once you have that core palette you can start sourcing fabrics and tile. At This Old Hudson, we used Benjamin Moore’s Simply White on the walls, which is actually warmer than I normally like, but works well in the space. The floors and trim are Hardwood Putty (also Benjamin Moore) and we added the Venetian plaster in both kitchens and the front living room downstairs. The different tones and textures engage your eye while blending together really well.”

For more ideas and inspiration, follow @zioandsons and visit This Old Hudson.

See more inspiring whitewashed spaces:

A Budget Renovation in Black and White