Name: Kate Best
Location: Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
Size: a whopping 4,500 square feet
Years lived in: Own
Kate, a celebrity makeup artist for stars such as Vanessa Williams and Jennifer Lopez, spent 25 years living in Manhattan before deciding that it was time to move full-time to the Poconos. Passionate about interior design, her home works as a showroom for all of her artifacts she's collected around the world. This beautiful house did not come without its challenges, though, as the previous owners ran the house into disrepair. When she bought it, it came with the classic shag pile wall-to-wall carpets, mirrored ceilings and pillars, and 37 phone lines. It looked like a set from The Sopranos. Though much improved, Kate's still working out the kinks; it's a constant juggling act working as a freelance makeup artist, traveling back and forth to NYC, and caring for her beloved animals in the Poconos.
Kate has been rescuing abused animals and homeless animals privately for years. Before she knew it, she was taking in Talluhbi, a blind Appaloosa horse about to be euthanized. She is now currently registering as a non-profit and opening an Animal Sanctuary on her 17-acre property. The other animals on our tour are Jack: A gentle retired riding school horse that became Talli's "seeing-eye" companion (he has since passed away but will be forever remembered!); Bowie: an abused American Bulldog/Catahoula that was found very injured and discarded by previous owners; Gromit, the one-eyed wonder dog; Ollie: a Great Dane/St Bernard/Hound that had been found in the street protecting another puppy that had been hit by a car until someone rescued them; Delilah: a blue English shorthair; and Lilly: a silver tabby, both rescues from an overcrowded human society. They all now live here together and plan to welcome many more animals in the future!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Industrial/Mid-century.
Inspiration: Nature: Bringing the outside in.
Favorite Element: Wood/Light/Concrete. The kitchen island is not only only the hub of house, but also made by my friends and of my favorite material: concrete. It's the first thing you see when you turn the corner into the great room and the thing that everyone gravitates to. As soon as they see it they seem to stretch across it and stroke the smooth stone. It's so tactile and inviting and such a heart of a thing that it's hard to ignore!
The kitchen island was also the hardest project and while I didn't do it myself it took quite a team to build on site and not easy to create. When pouring that much concrete the frame almost blew out!! But we managed to make it through and then it was my job to help sand and polish the finish; it was a real labor of love.
Biggest Challenge: Working with an eccentric house.
What Friends Say: They think that I'm fearless now and love it, but thought I was crazy when I began this project.
Biggest Embarrassment: My obsession with reclaimed wood. My local workman laughed at me, calling it "rotten wood."
Proudest DIY: My bathroom. Buying an old barn and using the boards as the "constant" throughout the house. Using old fence posts from the fields inside.
Biggest Indulgence: My bathroom.
Best Advice: Choose a trusted contractor and interview them at least three times.
LIVING AND DINING ROOM
All the reclaimed wood is from a local raised barn in ACCORD
Vintage Corboisier — Marketplace
Couch — Room & Board
Leather Sectional Vintage Bo-Concept — Marketplace on Facebook
Dining Table — Modernica
Chairs — Vintage Eames from Abbot Kinney
Barstools Bertoia — Estate sales
Windows — NanaWall Systems in L.A.
Tree Stump Coffee Table — 100-year-old butchers block from a Catskills estate sale
Concrete Skull — Catskills vintage find
White Onion Light — Universal Studios Lot sale
Bamboo floor lamp — From an estate sale in Topanga Canyon, L.A.
Black Swan Folk Art — "The Lumberyard" in Milford, Pennsylvania
Collection of Artifacts on the mantel piece — All collected from world travels
Sink — Kohler
Appliances — Fisher & Paykel
Backsplash — Local Cedar/Shiplap. I painted it using "Ebony" paint
Floors — White Ash from locally sourced mill, stained "driftwood" by Rustoleum.
Island — Concrete countertops by Catskill artisan and friend - Lesley Stevenson from Element Interiors
Lights — IKEA
Faucets — Ultra Modern
Collection of pots and vases — Mid-century collectibles from all over the world but mainly Japanese
Beswick China Dogs — From childhood
Bedside tables — Estate Sale in L.A.
California King Bed — I made it myself with a local carpenter and still haven't decided on what color to stain it!
White Linen Sheets — Parachute
Vintage Hudson Bay Blankets from Canada
Painting by me
Lights — IKEA
Chair — Vintage find from upstate flea market
Poofs — @themodernexchange and@upstaterugs
Sinks — Kohler
Soaker tub — The SoHo Tub by Wyndham
Slate tile — Locally sourced stone yard and Home Depot
Vanity — Vintage Italian Credenza that I DIYed to fit and faux painted the countertop to match the re-claimed wood. I used Elmers Glue to create a "cracked effect" and aged wood effect.
Windows — Jeld Wen
Faucets — Hansgrohe
Driftwood — Picked up from the desert in Marfa, Texas
Paint — Blackboard Chalk
Wood stump — Vanity from my own property
Sink — Kohler
Bench — Bought from Brimfield barns
I have done some work on the barn I painted it with SLATE *SC102 from BAER
I fixed up the stables for my horses put down rubber mats and unloaded 30 x wheelbarrows of gravel myself to make their stalls safe and comfy and updated lighting and electrics
I have more plans to put an apartment upstairs in the hay loft in the near future.