The rustic natural beauty of New York’s Catskills region has long drawn vacationers from Manhattan and beyond. But lately the Catskills are seeing a revamp, as enterprising hoteliers and culture-makers devise offerings that appeal to a new generation. As of next year, you can add Farmhouse Catskills to that vanguard. Set within a heritage-marked (yes) farmhouse that dates back at least to the middle of the 19th century, the property sits among the rolling hills and sylvan river banks of Sullivan county, the heart of the Catskills and prime terrain for hiking, kayaking, golf, skiing, and more.
The renovation of the structure, which also served as an inn, was truly the work of a single creative visionary: Chris Jones, an English property developer who is the owner, architect, and interior designer of the project, the decision-maker behind each and every creative element. And there are many to name, from the hand-hewn English haypress barn, which he completely restored and repurposed as a social space for exhibitions, collaborations, retreats, and other gatherings, to a café fashioned from an old 8×8 walk-in cooler, seamlessly connecting the inside to the outside space.
Keeping in tone with the original structure, Farmhouse Catskills is filled with predominantly natural materials: wood casework, ipe wood and glass, 8-inch-wide white oak flooring, oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures and bathroom hardware, as well as textured jute rugs and Egyptian cotton linens. Jones drew inspiration from the history of the Catskills as a premier vacation spot, particularly in the 1950s, when the region became an intrinsic part of mid-century Americana (see the 1987 cult classic movie, “Dirty Dancing”). With their mix of old and new mid-century modern pieces, the interiors “are a salute to the glory days of the area,” said Jones.
“With hotel design, you get to incorporate many approaches,” he added. “The canvas keeps getting bigger, and once you can harness the visual component of the entire hotel, you see everything in your mind—from the cut-crystal whiskey tumblers to the plates, the uniforms, the design, the branding, the iconography, the website, logos, room numbers—all before you start to build. Farmhouse was like that!”