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How a Long-Abandoned Country Home Got a ‘Cheap and Cheerful’ Renovation

The house, built in 1851, Chris Kraig says, “looks to me as if it may have been enlarged and expanded in a vernacular Greek-revival style in the 1840s.”

Designer Chris Kraig gave a classic Greek revival in upstate New York a respectful makeover. “It had such good energy,” Kraig says of his Otego, New York, getaway, “even though it was a wreck.” The forlorn beauty had been abandoned for 20 years before he came to the rescue.

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

Chris Kraig, interior designer and creative director of Suite New York, purchased the property, his first, as a weekend getaway. The house, built in 1851, he says, “looks to me as if it may have been enlarged and expanded in a vernacular Greek-revival style in the 1840s. I did a cheap and cheerful renovation; I wanted to save as much as possible so it remained an old house.” Here, his dog, Nugget, takes in the view.

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

Kraig discovered the original beams when he took down the plaster ceiling downstairs. The jute floor covering, curtains, and standing lamp are from West Elm, the PK22 lounge chairs are from Suite NY, and the silk ikat pillows are from Madeline Weinrib. “The original wood-burning stove looked like an old Buick!” Kraig says. He replaced it with a sleeker new one from Jotul.

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

The dining area is nestled off the open living. The wall cupboards and wainscoting are original. The Saarinen table is from Knoll, and the vintage Thonet chairs were found at a barn sale. The George Nelson bubble lamp is from Modernica. The décor, Kraig says, “is my take on Americana.”

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

The kitchen sports a classic Prizer-Painter stove from Blandon, Pennsylvania. The clover wall art was found on the side of the road beside a barn.

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

The lounge on the main floor has more of an urban vibe with wall-to-wall carpeting and a sliding-glass door that Kraig added. The couch is from Crate and Barrel, the coffee table is from Room and Board, and the Eames molded-plywood lounge chair is from Herman Miller.

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

The striped stair runner from Dash & Albert adds a crispness to the space.

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

Two German vintage lithographs on plastic from the Sears Tower grace the wall of the upstairs landing. A Venini glass light shade overhead was found at now-closed Town and Country Antiques on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

Kraig’s neat and sweet home office upstairs features a “Scrittarello” desk by Castiglione from Suite NY and a vintage Thonet chair found in L.A. The orange leather chair, visible beyond in the guest room, is a PK20, also from Suite NY.

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

The master bedroom with a custom headboard and a pair of side-table lamps from Lowes is painted in Martha Stewart’s “Squirrel.” The painting above the bed is “an anonymous nocturnal landscape of the Catskills,” Craig says. “It looks like it was painted in the moonlight.”

Photo: Steve Gross and Susan Daley

“I call it Creek Side,” Kraig says, “in reference to an 1868 map of Otego that listed this area as ‘Creek Side.’”

How a Country Home Got a ‘Cheap and Cheerful’ Renovation