Hudson Felt Too Much Like a City, So It Was Time for a New Upstate Retreat

It was a place where he could realize his creative and entrepreneurial dreams, he thought. He believed it was a place where he could fulfill his creative and entrepreneurial goals. “I used to come up here a lot to find antiques and whatnot, so it seemed like the perfect next step for me.” In 2014, he and Hillary D’Argenzio (37), a sommelier, purchased a Hudson weekend home before moving full-time in 2018. In his quest to create interiors with patina, Mr. D’Argenzio developed a multi-faceted business that was fueled by Instagram. Under the name Zio and Sons Mr. D’Argenzio is now an interior and product designer as well as a stylist and photographer. He values vintage charm and rooms that have been carefully preserved. He and his company, This Old Hudson, buy and renovate old houses and rent them out on Airbnb. He also works as a real estate agent with Houlihan Lawrence.ImageAnthony and Hillary D’Argenzio (with their daughter, Havana) renovated a 1970s log cabin about a 20-minute drive from their primary home in Hudson, N.Y.Credit…Zio and SonsBut with so many business interests in Hudson, the small city that once felt like an escape from Manhattan no longer seemed quite as relaxed. The couple decided to purchase another home. Mr. D’Argenzio stated that they wanted a home with a bit of nature. “We wanted to build a country home.” They didn’t have to look far beyond Hudson’s borders for trees and open fields. They eventually settled on a log cabin measuring approximately 2,000 square feet, just 20 minutes north of their primary home. It was built in the 1970s and heavy on dark-stained wood and hunting trophys. It wasn’t an obvious choice for a couple who preferred older, more sunnier homes. They saw potential. “It wasn’t my typical aesthetic,” Mr. D’Argenzio stated. “But we were just drawn to the setting — on five acres and very peaceful — and it has character.” They bought the house in October 2020 at a cost of $225,000 and set to work with a team to make it their own. They stained the logs black outside. To brighten the interior, they cut more, and larger, openings for windows and doors.ImageThe outside of the cabin was stained black, and new windows and doors — including a Dutch door at the home’s entrance — were installed.Credit…Zio and Sons”It completely transformed the house,” said Mr. D’Argenzio, who learned about log-cabin construction techniques on the fly. You can literally use a chainsaw to make a log larger in a log home. We were often going up to three logs at a time to make the interior feel taller, more lightened, and brighter.” They sanded the pine floors and applied a water-based clearcoat that won’t yellow over the years. They removed the dark stain from the log walls and gave them translucent whitewash treatment. They removed the exposed beams from the ceiling to reveal the saw marks and natural variations in the wood. “It was a lot tedious hours,” Mr. D’Argenzio stated. It was impossible to run new electrical wiring or plumbing lines through solid-wood walls so he decided to leave these elements exposed. He said that there was a learning curve as everything had to be surface mounted. Now, Mr. D’Argenzio has installed metal conduit across beams and the ground floor ceiling to supply power to new light fixtures he built from old parts. The kitchen floor is made of thin-brick. The kitchen has a thin-brick floor. He covered the range with zellige tiles from a collection he created for Cle. Upstairs, he converted one of the three bedrooms into a large bathroom with ample space for a shower and a freestanding tub. He used three types of tile to finish the floor, walls and trim with white Carrara marble. He said that mixing materials is the key to creating a unique space. He and Ms. D’Argenzio will next tackle the landscaping and renovate the in-law suite above their garage. They have no concerns about traveling as they live in country homes three hours away. “We just play Ping-Pong between them.” Subscribe to our weekly email updates about residential real estate news. Follow us on Twitter at @nytrealestate