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Living the Equestrian Dream

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Sandra Kicman

Three years ago, Joe and Julie Walsh moved into a Cazenovia home best described as a natural extension of their elegant but active equestrian lifestyle. The Walsh family has three girls who  compete regularly in some of the most prestigious show circuits for junior English hunter/jumpers.
For the uninitiated, this sport is defined by control and elegance. Meticulously manicured horses enter a ring to jump a series of fences. They are judged, among other things, by their overall grace and quiet demeanor as well as uniformity and athleticism of their pace and jump. You could say that the Walsh residence, in its own way, excels in each of these qualities.

Elegance and Grace
Interestingly, the Walsh’s dream house was constructed ten years ago as someone else’s vision of perfection. A lottery winner wanted a home built with the highest standards of skilled craftsmanship. The finished home has an unassuming, contemporary exterior that does not prepare you for an interior swathed in custom woodwork.
    From the bathroom vanities to the kitchen cabinets, molding,
lighted cabinetry, paneling, decorative ceiling beams, master bedroom fireplace surround, and window trims – all of it lovingly handcrafted. Two stone fireplaces, located in the great room and finished basement, along with 5,500 feet of radiant-heated, wide plank cherry floors, anchor the interior’s presentation of rugged elegance.
    “My husband watched them (Rutz Construction) build the house and he loved everything about it,” says Walsh.

Quiet Demeanor
The Walshes gravitate to a style that romanticizes the great camps of the Adirondacks. But it is not about mimicry. Rather, their home quietly asserts its own brand of cozy comfort and handsome features that complement its pastoral setting.
    The open interior is dominated by a dynamic view of a large hay field and perimeter woods. “It’s gorgeous,” says Walsh, “especially in autumn.”
    Oriental rugs soften wood floors. Stickley Audi & Co. furniture emphasizes simplicity and pureness of function. Circular chandeliers with electric candles fill the space with a warm, inviting light. Various shades of rich, organic gingers, cream, and wood warm the interior.

Athleticism
The Walsh’s home is who they are. In this capacity, it performs
beautifully.
    The basement allows the kids to disappear and play ping-pong or pool. Miles of trails through the woods entice the family out for hikes or drives with all-terrain vehicles.
    The adjacent six-stall barn, with Dutch stall doors and a custom woodwork tack room, shelter the four equine family members: Erosmith, Esprit, Winsome, and Checkers (the pony). Each day, stalls are cleaned; horses fed, ridden, and cared for. But even this is part of the charm. A flagstone patio overlooks the barn and outdoor ring.
    “We relax with a glass of wine and watch the kids ride,” says Walsh.  “It’s simply perfect.”  

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