Photos by Brittany Cascio Photography
Design gurus Brooke and Gabriel Anderson are on a mission to renovate their Putnam Valley home into an oasis that’s creative and kid-friendly.
Brooke and Gabriel Anderson — the whip smart, hyper likable brand builders behind high-end interior design firm Dean & Dahl — are never happier than when they’re sharing the stories behind their brand and their family.
Married almost sixteen years, the two met, fell in love, and got married in a year’s time, while they were both undergrads at Utah State University. The entrepreneurial pair’s first joint venture took off right there in their college town, with a tiny counter in an existing coffee shop that served as a springboard for three successful crepe-and-coffee shops that the couple finally sold in early 2021. “That was a very special part of our life,” reflects Brooke, 35.
That said, their plan was always to pursue a career in the field of design. First up was their inarguably successful furniture company, Gabriel Dean Design. Brooke and Gabriel, 39, took a unique approach from the get-go, melding his extensive grad school training with her background in social work and human behavior, which infuses her sense of how people actually interact with the spaces they live in. They launched the furniture line in 2015, which now includes seating, case goods, a variety of tables plus other one-of-a-kinds, with prices for the custom-made pieces starting at $3,000 for a small stool and reaching $20,000 for a spectacular 11-foot sideboard. Initially the line was sold exclusively through showrooms, but the business model has since transitioned to online sales.
Gabriel’s design influences include Belgian interior-designer-to-the-stars Axel Vervoordt and Dutch design dynamo Marcel Wanders. Internationally revered and award-winning designers Jamie Drake and Vicente Wolf also guided Gabriel’s professional perspective and designs.
The couple quickly zeroed in on the Hudson Valley, for its captivating, fairytale-like beauty and artsy creative energy. When Brooke first viewed the house that would become their home, she was 1,800 miles away in Utah. But after the FaceTime tour, the two impulsively decided to buy and relocated their family of five to Putnam Valley in December 2019.
“We started an interior design business with zero connections. I literally cold called our way into a design career in New York City.”
SETTING UP CAMP
Their quirky, 2,650-sq-ft house, sits on a 3-acre piece of property, nestled about a half-mile up a private road. It has three bedrooms and as many full baths. According to Brooke and Gabriel, the house had great bones, but they’ve essentially had to renovate everything. But, as they’re first to admit, “We’re always renovating.” They cheerfully started calling their new home Camp Anderson because they felt so deep in the woods.
Among the many substantial changes: high-vault ceilings and triangular skylights flood the main bedroom with light, while a stunning upholstered headboard and chandelier lend depth and warmth. Massive picture windows steal the show in the light, airy dining area.
In the process of moving, they ended up downsizing big-time, since their East Coast home is quite a bit smaller than their digs were out West. In the end they got rid of half of what they owned. “There is nothing more freeing than evaluating what you have and only keeping the things you actually like,” says Brooke.
A HOME DESIGNED FOR KIDS
According to Brooke, Camp Anderson is all about fun and fueling creativity. Penelope, Tucker, and Wolfie have free reign over every inch of the place. This was a design imperative for the couple, who both grew up in homes with rooms and entire areas that were strictly off-limits. “I don’t understand spaces that aren’t designed for living. It honestly drives me crazy,” Gabriel says. The kids interact with his original furniture designs in ways he never imagined, he explains enthusiastically. Some days they use the coffee table as a slide, while on other days it functions as a toy car raceway. The sofa doubles as a jungle gym. “No matter what, kids are going to abuse your home. That’s what growing up is,” Brooke posted on Instagram (@deananddahl) this past June. “Might as well take a deep breath and lean into the chaos.” (Follow the couple on Instagram for a mix of evocative product stills, charming personal musings and videos of family outings, many set to great music.)
DESIGNS ON THE FUTURE
Looking ahead, the couple hopes to phase out their twice-weekly commute into New York City and move their business to Cold Spring full-time. “Through COVID, we fell harder in love with the Hudson Valley,” Brooke says. “And we’re hoping to become the go-to contemporary designers for the region.”
Also on their horizon: a luxury resort in the Catskills. The project is still in the development stage, but they promise a design ethos similar to Camp Anderson that mingles luxurious modern touches with homages to land and nature. The timeline is still very tentative, but their hope is a Spring 2023 opening.
In the meantime, their style will only continue to evolve, and their star continue to rise.