Home Celebrity Inside a Celebrity Stylist’s Country Retreat in Westchester, New York | Architectural...

Inside a Celebrity Stylist’s Country Retreat in Westchester, New York | Architectural Digest


When Leslie Fremar first walked into her 18th-century farmhouse in Katona, New York, “I just knew it was mine,” she says. Fremar is a powerful fashion stylist whose clients include Charlize Theron, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Connelly, Nicola Peltz and more A-listers. Fittingly, this home is in desperate need of a makeover. “It was a disaster, but I fell in love with it. It just resonated so well.”

After asking Moore, a design lover whose self-decorated New York City townhouse graces the cover of November 2017 advertise—To help her orient her Tribeca loft, Fremar decides to go (sort of) alone to decorate it, which will be a weekend getaway for herself, her partner, and their two sons. But first, the house — a labyrinth of small, low-ceilinged and colonial-style rooms with added post and beams — needed some major renovations. To that end, Fremar hired architectural designer Oliver Freundlich, who also worked in her townhouse with Moore, who happened to be her brother-in-law.

20th century additions include an A-shaped living room, kitchen and dining area with a stone fireplace and a wall of windows. This part of the house has higher ceilings, which brings in some much-needed natural light, and while the use of reclaimed wood beams makes it stylistically cohesive with the original home, it doesn’t connect as seamlessly as it should. Over a period of nearly eight months, Fremar and Freundlich remodeled the kitchen and bathroom, and built a brand new staircase that leads from the main living space to the master suite on the third floor and to the family room on the first floor. Freundlich explained that the reconfiguration made the layout of the home “more elegant” and “more rational”.

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“The main challenge was to respect and understand the original proportions and scale of this historic house. That doesn’t mean you can’t modify things. It doesn’t mean you can’t expand the doorway like we did so you can really get from it Pass below,” Freundlich said. “I think the way to be appropriately modern and bring a fresh attitude is how the material is deployed.”

Handcrafted Moroccan tiles, unpainted brass, and an eclectic collection of art and furniture help bridge the gap between the 1700s and today. “I tried to modernize it,” Fremar said, but most of the original floors and some of the original beams were still intact. “It really felt like traveling around the world, different time periods. I wanted to honor the age of this home with original objects. Then I learned to appreciate mid-century pieces.”

In addition to Freundlich, Fremar hired a “friend of impeccable taste”, art consultant (and Rockaway Hotel partner) Michi Jigarjian and landscape architect Marge Sandwick’s Shoshanna Sugahara to put the finishing touches on the place. Throughout the process, Fremar learned that the gratification that comes with decorating a home is much slower than the gratification that comes with styling a red carpet. “You’re really building a story that takes time, and it was hard for me at first because I’m obviously used to that instant gratification,” she said. But after owning the house for eight years, and for a while during the pandemic, when it became her and her family’s primary residence, “I think it’s starting to feel more like me, which is an achievement.”

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