The house in the Catskills is full of the charm of a storybook


house tour heather ross catskills

An artist Heather Ross lives in Forestburgh, New York with wife TC and their daughter Bee. “When we first entered, this house was a ruin,” she says. “I loved taking something forgotten and making it beautiful.” Here, she peeks into her direct house from the fairy tale Catskills …

heather ross tour of the Catskills house

About slow decorating: He took all the money we had to buy and insulate this house, so everything else had to happen little by little in the last 10 years. It seems that this house will only allow us to bring in old things, so almost all of our furniture is from my grandparents, antique shops, flea markets or Craigslists.

In old houses: My husband and I moved a lot as children. I couldn’t describe my childhood bedroom because I had so many in different states. I think that’s why we were both drawn to home with history.


heather ross tour of the Catskills house

Chandelier: Hardware recovery.

On the color: I spent my early childhood in Vermont. Summer in Vermont is a few weeks these short saints, so I’d be thinking about it all year. The colors looked wonderful after a long hard winter. I am still attracted by the rich alpine greenery. When I design things, I want to remind myself that at the age of six I was lying in the grass.

heather ross tour of the Catskills house

Carpets: Carpet.

About non-compliance: Stair runners intentionally do not match. I love when things aren’t perfect. I love when houses look like they have a layered history, things from every decade in the same room. Also, I know this is not an original thought, but I believe that if you buy things you love and benefit from, everything will eventually overlap.

About family history: It’s an engagement portrait of my grandmother on the wall. We had a very formal relationship because she was not a child lover. There are kids in this room all the time and I love that she’s always around and looks the way I remember her: uninterested.


heather ross tour of the Catskills house

heather ross tour of the Catskills house

Corner sofa: Hardware recovery.

In the family room: This room, right next to the kitchen, was supposed to be a formal dining room, but we have no use for it so we turned it into a large family room. In winter, with New York Times and a roaring fire, it is our all-day room.

About Josef Frank: The pillows are made of fabric designed by Josef Frank, and I think these are works of art that aim to make a statement. It used to be expensive to buy his stuff, but now Etsy sellers produce products from its fabrics at affordable prices.

heather ross tour of the Catskills house

Butterfly printing: Natural curiosities. Blanket: Denyse Schmidt.

About drawing from nature: This house can sometimes seem a bit dark and serious, so pieces like this butterfly print add a nice balance. So much of my work relies on the world of nature – nature fascinated me as a child and continues to inspire me every day.


heather ross tour of the Catskills house

Ottoman: handmade from a Blanket Pendleton. Carpet: Carpet. Wallpaper: Nathalie Lete for Anthropology, similar.

About DIY artwork: The owl’s footprint was actually torn off John Derian’s picture book, and then we framed it. The book is made for people to do that.


heather ross tour of the Catskills house

Donkey print: Anne Menke. Carpet: Carpet.

About cooking: I try to just cook. When I was growing up, my mother had an amazing vegetable garden, which somehow turned me into a vegetable snob. Fortunately, there are so many wonderful farms in the Catskills, especially in the summer. When we moved in, I dreamed of turning this room into a beautiful English kitchen, but like everything else, we eventually gradually merged it.

heather ross tour of the Catskills house

Console table: World market. Quilt background “Log cabin”: Heather Ross. Dishes: Nathalie Lete for Anthropology.

On deceptive wallpapers: The quilt in the background is part of a line of wallpaper run by my company; it actually is made from a collage group of photos of a real quilt and can almost be mistaken for a real one.

heather ross tour of the Catskills house

For house guests: We keep the fridge full of milk, beer and champagne because we have people here all the time and we want things to be as self-service and efficient as possible. Whatever is in the fridge is a free game.

About homemade gifts: The frame of the wooden spoons was a gift for Father’s Day to my husband, TC. We found some old spoons and painted portraits with Craft color Martha Stewart. My daughter, Bee, worked mine and her father; and I did Bee’s. I like how she blackened my hair even though I am blonde. When I told her I didn’t have black hair, she said ‘Well, underneath you have!’

In summer: The photo on the fridge shows me, my sister and relatives in the pool near my grandparents ’house. I keep it here because it reminds me of how I spent my summers as a child: no one ever looked at a clock, without structure.


heather ross tour of the Catskills house

In the reading corner: Ten-year-old Bee is a big reader, so we had the idea to make her bedroom feel like it used to be a library, and she took it for herself. She sleeps over the corner and the chair is for me to stop to kiss her goodnight. We call it the ‘goodnight kiss window’.

Bed: Vinny bed for small children Jenny Lind: similar. Wall mural for humiliation and gluing: Heather Ross.

About favorite books: Bees really like graphic novels. She recently liked a huge illustrated performance Harry Potter series. It is extremely captivating with its wide format and completely rich illustrations.


heather ross tour of the Catskills house

Bed linen: Nani Iro and the freedom of London, similar. Corner sofa: Pottery barn, similar. Chandelier: World Market, similar.

On a thoughtful system: This house is designed with pre-air conditioning, which means it was built to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. On hot days, we open the windows in our bedroom and on the other side of the house, and a cool breeze comes straight at you. Most of these old places are designed that way, it’s a kind of amazing system.


heather ross tour of the Catskills house

In the atmosphere of a summer camp: We have a magical sleeping porch with beds and lounges that sleeps eight and feels like in a campground. My great-grandmother has 20 great-grandchildren aged 2 to 25 and one boy. This porch is their regular summer destination. Someone is always asleep.

heather ross tour of the Catskills house

About life on the lake: There is a collective agreement in the community that if you have a house near the lake, it cannot be seen from lake because we want it to feel exactly the same as it did 100 years ago.

Thank you very much, Heather!!

PS Dream family house reduced i John Derian’s cottage in Provincetown.

(Photos by: John Gruen for Cup Jo.)

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