This Modern Putnam County Home Is Paradise Near Lake Oscawana

Photos by Virgelio Carpio Photography

Two always-innovating design pros, one overarching goal: a majestic contemporary lake house fit for a fun New York City family.

Once upon a time there was a unique parcel of land for sale by Lake Oscawana in the heart of Putnam County. It was lush and secluded, the last piece of private land bordering a protected forest, and Garrison-based architect James Copeland had the perfect vision for it: A minimalist, modern retreat—with water views everywhere. Think high ceilings, huge windows, and multiple balconies. The house would provide sanctuary for a family eager to get away from New York City on weekends.

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In 2017, a married couple with two kids began collaborating with Copeland on what was to become their dream home. Their wish list included an open layout, with a spacious kitchen/dining/living area, bedrooms for family members and guests, and a playroom for the kids. Naturally, they also wanted to double down on lake views.

Meanwhile, on the architecture side, Copeland incorporated his myriad learnings about “green” best practices. Sustainability and the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State heavily influenced the planning and decision making, especially for building materials. Careful attention was paid to preserving indigenous vegetation. After sorting through snafus involving trees, the construction began on the 4-bedroom, 4-bath, 3,200-sq.-ft. home which was completed in April 2019.

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Living Room: Designer Jarlath Mellett infused the space with modern shapes, natural woods and carefully chosen blues and browns. Pick your adjective for the vintage chandelier—arresting and out of this world fit the bill. “That fixture was intended to anchor the dining space,” says Mellett. “But it ended up anchoring the entire house.”

Tastemaker Jarlath Mellett, founder of a design studio with offices in Manhattan and the Hamptons, also played a key role when he decided to take on designing the interior spaces. “I don’t do many of these projects anymore,” says Mellett. (He focuses his significant expertise on fashion design, and only works on one interior design project at a time.) “But this was such a fantastic young family, I just couldn’t say no.” After extensive consultation to channel their goals for the home, Mellett curated a warm, welcoming, completely cohesive environment for them and their guests.

“I have no playbook when it comes to design. Everything I do is informed and inspired by my clients and their lives, so the results are always eclectic.”
—Jarlath Mellett

And now, the family is firmly ensconced in its fabulous happily ever after.

home and garden
Kitchen: Broad swaths of white tile breathe beautifully while open shelves keep tableware in reach. Large, deep drawers built into the island offer ample storage.
home and garden
Master Bath: The house color palette and vibe segue into the main suite bath, with a custom-built double vanity. The result is an august piece of furniture.
home and garden
Bedroom: The primary bedroom, in the most private part of the house, has a terrace and a lovely view. The bed was created with found wood, in keeping with the home’s nature theme.
putnam county home
Playroom: Creating a large, functional play area for the kids was a must. The goal was to design a space that felt sophisticated—visually in keeping with the rest of the house—but comfy and fun. A cheerful polka-dot rug adds softness and warmth under foot and helps define an area for a small table and chairs. Built-in display rails allow for artwork to cover an entire section of wall. A sturdy climbing apparatus sees plenty of action, as do both the hanging pod chair and tent-style hideaway. A wet bar tucked in a back corner holds drinks handy for when grown-ups gather to watch movies in the adjacent family room.

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