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Stylish Whole-House Redo Creates a Midcentury Modern Charmer


A full-blown renovation in Dutchess County resulted in a contemporary interior fit for a magazine spread.

Brazilian native and interior designer Ana Claudia Schultz and her husband, Aaron Smyle, were so taken with the quiet corner of Hyde Park that they had found they bought a house sight unseen.

They were living in Brooklyn at the time and on the hunt for a stylish Hudson Valley home of their own, and they didn’t mind the notion of an affordable fixer-upper. They had seen the cute red house while negotiating to buy another in the neighborhood.

“We were bidding on the house next door, but lost it to a cash buyer,” Schultz says.

There were indications that the red one might be for sale soon, and they told their agent to let them know when it was listed.

“As soon as they put it on the market, we made an offer that day,” Schultz remembers, adding that the online photos looked like the 1960 house on 1.5 acres had good bones (and mold and water damage, alas). They got it, for $320,000, and closed on the deal in November 2016.

Within a month they hired a contractor and began to knock down walls and figure out which changes to make first as part of their whole-house renovation.

“It ended up being a full gut renovation,” Schultz says.

They had a firm deadline of August 12, 2017 for completion – they were getting married in the front yard, with 100 guests, including about a dozen from Brazil who would be staying in the house.

It was still a busy construction site that April, when Schultz and Smyle were finally able to move in. And whew, all was in order by August.

The previous owners had lived in the house for more than 40 years and had not done any serious work or updates to the house in decades. And much of the house was not up to code.

Schultz wanted a midcentury modern look, but not something right out of a textbook.

The entry/foyer was gutted to include slate tile floors used in the era, but they modernized it with custom bookcases instead of railings between the entry and ground floor. Tandem Eames chairs and funky accessories finish off the space nicely.

They hauled out the original dark wood paneling in the living room and replaced it with drywall, insulation and crisp white paint. Vintage mid-century pieces and interesting artwork add charm and detail.

Because they have pets and intend to grow their family, Schultz selected engineered velvet in a rich dark blue for the living room sofas. She chose Rio-inspired cement tiles in a black and white wavy pattern for the living room fireplace.

“I am Brazilian and my husband loved the pattern from the Ipanema Beach sidewalks that inspired the graphic design of the tiles,”Schultz says.

Beyond the fireplace you can see — thanks to a knocked-down wall — the dining room with its Rosewood mid-century table and contrasting light oak chairs.

To warm up the kitchen and tone down the stark white lacquer cabinets from IKEA, she added terracotta tiles and different wood tones.

The master bedroom got a fresh coat of paint and more mid-century pieces. They altered the layout of the master bath to include a large bright shower and double vanity.

Downstairs the couple created a light and bright family room that also doubles as Schultz’s home office.

Outside, they also replaced the wood deck and added stylish cable railings.

In total, they estimate they spent about $250,000 on their renovation—and experts have put the current value of the 4,000-square-foot home at $520,000. Well done.