A designer works with a view
It seems Amie Weitzman has been leading sort of a double life. On weekdays she runs Amie Weitzman Interior Design in New York, but during weekends and summers she can be found working on a new rug collection at her home-away-from-home, overlooking Wononskopomuc Lake in a far-flung corner of the county.
Most days, her life affords little time to relax, yet here in Lakeville she finds herself in an entirely different mode. But this ease didn’t come easily. A year and a half ago Weitzman and her husband, David Adler, bought a dated one-story lakeside cottage that they thought would need a few alterations before turning into a much-needed retreat. That sunny oasis turned out to be a mirage.
Once inside the renovation, they discovered hidden damage and a slew of other headaches. “One thing leads to another,” Weitzman says. She soon started envisioning more than just a simple family get-away. Before you know it the house was taken apart to make room for the new and better version they now share with 14-year-old son Jonah and 12-year-old daughter Maya, and their cat, Mitzi, who declined an interview but graciously granted us permission to admire her from a distance. The first thing you notice when you enter this modern-day camp house is that it is very much a family home. The mudroom, filled with everything the mudroom of an active family would have—boots in all shapes and sizes, coats and sports gear—opens out to a bright and well edited space that was clearly created for beauty as well as comfort.
The house is set up a hill from the lake so they were able to gain some pretty outstanding views by adding a second floor. Doubling the square footage gave them enough room for a modern master bedroom suite upstairs with a classic but luxurious bath and an exercise room tucked into what had been planned as a walk-in closet. They essentially followed the footprint of the old foundation, adding some space to the kitchen and creating what was to become a studio above. It was that bonus room that would help make the frenzied months of sawdust and waiting worth while, and prove an ideal creative refuge.
Initially meant to serve as just another workspace, Weitzman soon found that her new second-floor sanctuary was a perfect place to reconnect with her love of painting—something that had been shelved to accommodate the demands of her bustling interior-design business. “It has become a luxury to go back to my background as textile designer,” she says. “I realized that there would be extra space to do a studio, but I don’t think I realized how productive I would be here.”
Weitzman’s design for the new house was inspired by the 100-year-old buildings at the Vermont camp her son attended. Situated on a lake and surrounded by trees, the vintage architecture of shingled cottages with green trim just captivated her. “It takes you back to another time,” she says. “It’s just something that has always stuck in my mind and it was my dream to recreate that.”
Since she already knew what she wanted for the one-acre lot, she engaged Falls Village Architect Elizabeth Slotnick to help her get the structural nuts and bolts right. In her business, Weitzman knows the value of hiring a known pro in the community. “We wanted an architect who knows the ropes,” she recalls. “There are strict zoning rules on the lake so we had to follow all the guidelines.” They removed the ailing structure, keeping anything that could be reused, and were able to preserve the original back porch which just needed some sprucing.
“It was important to us that the house shouldn’t feel like new construction,” she says. They chose cedar shingles, hand dipped to preserve the natural dark hue, and new windows that would look authentic to a bygone era. Inside, Weitzman reused the old beams as decorative elements on the higher ceilings and installed painted pine boards on both ceilings and walls to mimic the look of rustic architecture. The house may be designed to look vintage but they weren’t going to pass up the modern efficiencies such as spray insulation to help keep the house air tight, and a remote system that allows them to set the interior temperature and the alarm from the city for extra peace of mind.
Sitting in her studio, her table scattered with sketches and paints, Weitzman finds a meditative place to work. “I like to be by myself when I’m painting,” she says. “The setting is incredible here. My desk looks out onto the lake.” But this is first and foremost a family home. She often welcomes the company of daughter Maya, a budding artist herself, who also seems to appreciate the tranquility. “We really miss it if we miss a weekend,” she says. “It provides a balance for us all.”