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2 May 2022
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2 May 2022

This Catskills Cabin Convinced Two Brooklyn Creatives to Move Upstate | Architectural Digest


Three years ago, Arlena Armstrong and Matt Petock bought a 2008 wood cabin on a historic farm in Accord, New York. The fashion designer–filmmaker couple wanted a country escape from the Brooklyn bustle, a peaceful place where they could spend weekends surrounded by nature. The 1,400-square-foot abode, adjacent to agricultural land and with views of Mohonk Mountain, was a perfect getaway.

Arlena wearing a Marvin Ruby quilted chore jacket in her hallway workshop.

But the pandemic changed everything. Not only did the duo decide to ditch the city and move into their Catskills dwelling full-time, but Arlena also launched sustainable clothing brand Marvin Ruby to sell her upcycled quilted garments and ethical ready-to-wear apparel. Now, the cozy two-bedroom is both their main residence and the company’s headquarters, so every square inch is maximized.

Miraculously, though, the home isn’t cramped. Arlena and Matt immediately painted over the crazy colors left behind by the previous owner, which seemed to shrink the space, and replaced them with a charcoal-and-white palette that adds a sense of airiness. “A lot of our renovation was paint,” Arlena says. “We always joke that we’ve doubled the value of our house with a couple cans of Ben Moore.”

“Everyone told us to get a gas or propane stove because it’s easier, but the smell and the ambiance of wood is so much nicer,” Arlena says. “We really wanted to incorporate that into the house and decided to place it where you could sit and look at the fire and also have the view of the mountains out of those four windows.”

The duo also installed new windows, swapped in matte black hardware, and refinished the polished concrete floors. They then revamped the kitchen with walnut butcher block countertops and eucalyptus-hued cabinets and completely gutted both bathrooms. “They were very late-2000s beige and not pretty, so we modernized them,” Arlena explains. Stainless steel fixtures and grid-style white square tiles did the trick.

“We have a lot of friends come up from the city to spend a weekend with us,” Arlena shares. “We have a really cool vintage cart, and we store blankets and books on there for guests.”


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