Woodsy lake front cabin in upstate New York

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Interior designer Thom Filicia rescued this 1970’s marooned fisherman’s cottage, out with the shag carpets and in with the glossy paint and nautical accents. This woodsy lake front cabin is situated in Skaneateles, New York, featuring three bedrooms and a two bedroom guest house. Filicia wanted a space with a youthful, laid back feeling, imagining a place where he could escape the demands of the city to swim with his dogs, entertain friends in the summer and in the winter shovel off the deck and drink hot toddies by an outdoor fire. He transformed the space into a rustic reverie with a modern twist, layering washed pine walls and objects aplenty, not to mention a glorious suspended deck that has been divided into separate lounging and dining areas, to mimic life on the water.

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The decor for the home is fresh but also faithful to the home’s outdoorsy past, with a graphic palette. Throughout, ceilings were coated in glossy white to replicate the reflective sheen of a boat’s hull, with dark, contrasting doors. To achieve woodsiness without seeming to cabin-y, he washed paneled walls in light gray to show off their knots. To further a nature-communing mood, Filicia asked his firewood delivery guy for tree stumps to use as coffee tables on the deck.

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The conjure a boat’s snugness, Filicia built recesses into the walls of the living room and bedrooms (all the same size, all with identical walk-in closets, so no guest feels slighted). Here in the living room, he turned the niche into a seating area by custom-fitting it with a sofa (his own design) and piling on mismatched pillows, small ship’s lamps and insect prints hung surprisingly low enhance the coziness.

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Skylights and lanterns (used as sconces) usher the light in, day or night.

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The kitchen, tucked under raw, open stairs where a closet once lived, is both out of the way and easily accessible. In lieu of cabinets, Filicia installed open shelves, which he stacks with simple plates and glasses for an “honest and pure” look. Heavy door knockers are used as hardware on the cabinetry.

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For a touch of bohemian, Filicia snagged a bedspread in the Philippines and fashioned a headboard out of animal prints cut from a book.

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The entryway’s casual (and enormous) bar is a vintage workman’s table that assures guests that good times are in store.

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A wall-mounted sink updates a rough-hewn bathroom; the mirror is rimmed with bark.

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The guest house was once used as a garage, but the windows and beams hinted at the small barn it had once been and what it was to become. Filicia started by moving the structure away from the driveway, and then laid wide-plank pine on the floors and walls, emphasizing simplicity. For sleepaway nostalgia, he opted for mahogany twin beds, updated in ultra-lime, hoping they would make his friends feel as if they were mischievous campers scampering off at lights-out.

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  • yogiG

    Where did you find those bed spreads??? The one with the birds and snakes? I have that same print on the wallpaper in my bathroom.