Bold & Beautiful
A family compound is full of useful, unique surprises
Photos by John Gruen
There is nothing ordinary about interior designer Amy Puntus, so it comes as no surprise that she collects unique things. She is petite, relaxed, and elegant—attributes that translate on a larger scale to the welcoming and functional home she and husband Marc have cultivated on Mount Hunger in Monterey.
A light fixture that hangs in the foyer, crafted from old metal shoe molds, is a nod to Amy’s father who was a shoe salesman in New York City when she was growing up. This penchant for adaptive re-use, with an aim for both function and style, is a hallmark of the Puntus home and a reflection of Amy’s innate talents and the conversations that ensue around her meticulous design and dramatic execution.
The couple, who met in third grade, were wooed by the year-round appeal of the Berkshires, a destination just 134 miles, door to door, from their home on Long Island’s north shore. Marc and his brothers spent time in Great Barrington as kids, learning to ski at what was then Butternut Basin. In 2006, on a weekend trip to Ski Butternut where he was teaching his own children to ski, Mother Nature had other plans: Rainy weather diverted the family from the slopes and they decided to look at houses instead. Despite the fact that Marc and Amy neither wanted nor needed a house in the country, they fell in love with a post-and-beam in Monterey. A decade on, their affinity for the house—and the Berkshires—has only deepened.
The nearly 7,000-square-foot home, situated on 11 acres at the edge of a bog, allows the Puntus family to stay put once they arrive.
“We love entertaining and sharing the Berkshires,” says Amy who, on any given weekend, has a house filled with family and friends. An ambitious morning walk to the Monterey General Store for breakfast, eight miles round-trip, might be balanced by one of Marc’s famous barbecues in the evening, featuring steak, burgers, and Mazzeo’s chicken sausages on the grill, replete with dancing, music, and lots of laughs.
A big part of the Berkshires experience for the Puntus family—including their children Alexandra, 20, and Jared, 15—comes by way of Odin Adolphson, owner of Happy Trails Guiding, who arrived on the scene eight years ago as the tile guy for a project. Adolphson, who is passionate about hiking, biking, and paddling, ultimately combined his skills as property caretaker with activities coordinator and has become an integral part of keeping the Puntus family and their guests busy during their time in the Berkshires.
Adolphson and his wife, Nikki, are now fully assimilated into the Puntus’s Berkshires experience. He organizes traverses of local mountains by foot and bike as well as stand-up paddle-boarding and kayaking on Lake Garfield. Nikki’s talents run the gamut from licensed massage therapist to contributing to design projects like hand-beading sconces out of rutilated quartz.
And Amy Puntus is a consummate hostess. Earlier this year, during a girls’ weekend to celebrate her 50th birthday, the bed in each of the six guest bedrooms was adorned with a gift bag containing a bathrobe. This is yet another hallmark of the utilitarian beauty and function found throughout the home of this talented, self-taught interior designer.
Many of Amy’s design choices are also conversation starters. The great room, constructed largely of exposed knotty pine, is one such space. The pinnacle of the soaring stone fireplace is at the roof’s peak, its two-story-high facade adorned with a vintage 1878 Viennese clocktower face.
The family’s dining table, which spans nearly seven feet, is crafted from a single slice of a California Redwood, and is surrounded by ten leather and steel chairs from a hotel in South America. In the same lofty space, a serpentine sofa covered in green mohair velvet undulates along the 45-foot length of the room, resulting in different enclaves for congregating and mingling. The piece, another Amy Puntus original, was made to order from a life-size cardboard model, which she transported by U-Haul to the upholsterer.
Lighting and mirrors largely set the tone for the repository of finds Amy sourced from Hudson, New York, and Brimfield, Massachusetts. “If anyone remembers anything, they remember the chandelier,” she says of her elaborate design that pairs 170 pieces of hand-blown glass with tractor and bicycle chains. The focal piece was constructed by a team of artists whom Amy met in Brimfield, and an image of it marks her business card for her company, Windsor Design, and symbolizes her creativity.
She favors mirrors for their ability to give rooms depth and builds upon this theme, quite literally, in the various wall coverings she employs throughout. “I don’t like paint,” she admits, opting for anything with texture—from handmade paper with pressed flowers and natural hemp to hot-pink patent leather and rolls of burlap from the garden center.
The nature of the family’s home is reflected in the eclectic finds displayed throughout the home as functional art. “It’s not about being pristine,” says Amy, a Brimfield regular during the year-long design phase, visiting the antiques flea markets in May, July, and September.
And so disparate pieces find their way to come together—a chandelier constructed of upside-down flowerpot molds; a light fixture that marries a table saw and vintage fan blades with spare automotive parts; a mink-covered club chair, accented with splatter-painted leather; industrial baking tins adorning walls in the guest wing; antique apothecary jars filled with candy. The result is familiar albeit upscale décor that never looks pretentious.
The Puntus home has its own energy—not unlike the talented decorator whom friends describe as genuine and selfless. Says Amy: “I never repeat anything. Ever.” And her advice, from flea market finds to those bigger-ticket commitments, is the same: “If you love it, get it.”