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Sumptuous Design via the Path Less Traveled

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Photography by Sandra Kicman

There are many paths to creating a beautiful home. Some homeowners prefer to celebrate particular themes such as a Tuscan farmhouse or waterfront cottage. Others take a more diverse approach. The latter certainly describes how the worldly homeowners of a Keuka lakefront home achieved the fascinating, alluring interior of their house. The house is filled with an aura of sincerity and elegance that beckons guests to get comfortable and dream of just how interesting and adventurous and spectacular life can be. 

Instead of methodically searching for pieces to support a studied look the homeowners filled their home with items they’ve obtained over the years reflecting their life experiences. Living in Africa, Singapore, Japan and Switzerland; traveling to Vietnam, India and China; embracing a love for cooking and antiques –
their home is a blend of the Western and Asian influences that shaped their life. Furniture and artwork were chosen based on an emotional reaction or the discovery of rare pieces. She describes what it’s like to be surrounded by such interesting, meaningful décor, “To us everything feels so part of our home. But sometimes I’ll notice an item and for a moment I’ll be transported back in time. It’s like looking at a picture.”

When the homeowners were first married and living in Africa they bought a ceramic clay water pot that the women carry on their heads. Indonesian masks decorate the kitchen. A beautiful Chinese scroll was purchased at a yard sale in Japan. Kimonos anchor one wall and are changed seasonally. Oriental chests, panels, lanterns, baskets, porcelain vases and carved figurines, along with numerous lushindoor plants, fill the entire house. Everywhere you turn there are captivating textures, patterns, colors and shapes. All of these layers of interest are displayed against the backdrop of Keuka Lake’s clean lines and natural beauty.

The home itself is an older, renovated cottage. The homeowners loved it, which is why when a fire consumed the living room, the loss felt so devastating. Just about everything was destroyed.  That’s when they turned to Norma Goldman of  Vitoch Interiors. Goldman was a longtime friend of the homeowners. Goldman recalls, “They felt stuck. They had lost items that were precious to them including part of the home’s original structure. They wanted to re-create what they lost. My challenge was to figure out how to bring all these disparate elements together to appear personal and thoughtful, not studied. They didn’t want it to look like an interior designer had been in their home.” 

The homeowners had the living room rebuilt by Amish craftsman who took care to duplicate the original. Meanwhile, Goldman focused on fabrics and paint colors to tie the rooms together all while highlighting the lake views outside. The dining room establishes a soft, peaceful look with an unexpected aqua green that it draws from the Oriental rug. An earthy, natural palette with deep colors defines the den. “I had to make everything look as if it had been there before,” says Goldman. 

There is something uniquely exclusive and authentic with this home. It’s full of a comfort and richness that can only be achieved with experience. It proves that good design, while elusive, is an expression of who you are, and that in itself is quite beautiful.

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