3 Friends Buy a Cozy Mountain Cabin Together in the Catskills

updated Apr 30, 2019

3 Friends Buy a Cozy Mountain Cabin Together in the Catskills

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Amanda Jaffe, Kate McCann, Carina Romano
Location: Fleischmanns, New York
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: Less than a year, owned

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Sometimes friends get together and profess their love of the same tall mountains and winding roads. For Amanda, Kate and Carina (me!), these confessions and conversations resulted in buying a dream getaway together in the ever-inspiring Catskill Mountains. Buying a home with ample land was at the top of our list, because we wanted to create a secluded retreat from Philadelphia — where we all live and work.

After three months of driving Upstate, seeing over 30 mountain homes with our adventurous realtor, and getting to know all of the best lunch spots along Route 28, the three of us settled on a perfect four-bedroom home in Fleischmanns, New York. Though the home needed some major cosmetic updating and TLC, it was easy to see the potential with five+ acres of mountaintop land laid before it.

Since the home was built in the 1980s, it still held onto many of the trends of the era (e.g. bizarre wallpaper, carpeted stairs, funky electrical work, and a mustard yellow shower). The previous owner also had tons of antique lighting fixtures and heavy window treatments that weighed down and darkened the rooms. We wanted to brighten up each room by letting natural light flood in, creating a more modern and fresh space.

We admit: the house is still a work in progress, but it has come so far in just five months since closing. It’s a space we feel proud of, after pouring so much of our personalities into each step along the way. Of course, some compromises had to be made when you have three different personalities trying to agree on items for a shared house! A lot of choices were made easier with good organization through many Google docs. See more on more on our house instagram: Black Bear Ridge.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern and cozy mountain cabin

Inspiration: The surrounding mountains (and animals!), clean lines, bold Pendleton-themed colors

Favorite Element: Carina: The Morrocan-style tile on the stairway landing. Ripping off the old stair carpet felt great, but it really came together when we added this colorful addition to the staircase.

Kate: The bedroom rugs! It was difficult picking out things for each room while living four hours away, but seeing the handmade rugs tie rooms together feels like a success.

Amanda: The master bedroom wood-paneled wall. This wall is what I remember really making me interested in the house when I first saw it online. Everything else was covered in wallpaper and outdated, but I thought the herringbone pattern of the wood was pretty special.

Biggest Challenge: Removing 1980s wallpaper from almost every wall (including the closets!). Oh, and getting three people’s aesthetics to remain cohesive in one space.

What Friends Say: “Oh my gosh, when can we come over?”

Biggest Embarrassment: Currently, the hardwood floors. It’s on our list to refinish them since they weren’t really well taken care of, and show sun spots and paint splatters.

Proudest DIY: We’re honestly really proud of all the DIY projects we’ve accomplished! We all worked hard to paint, sand and spackle the many wallpaper-damaged walls. Amanda’s husband tore out a closet in the bunk room to make a cozier nook for the bunk beds in less than 24 hours. Most recently, Amanda installed new baseboard heaters and thermostats with a lot of help from YouTube!

Biggest Indulgence: Tile. With the help of our friend, Mikey, we replaced both bathrooms’ floor tiles, tiled a new stall shower, and even decided to tile the stair landing after ripping up some really intense carpet. It was definitely our biggest splurge since we went with IKEA for the majority of the furniture.

Best Advice: Be patient! The three of us were so excited to buy a house together, and we became really anxious searching for the right one (imagine driving up mountains for six hours in multiple blizzards and not finding the perfect home; that was every weekend we house-hunted for months!). Once we found the house, knowing we couldn’t do all of the work right away was difficult to accept. We were admittedly impatient to frolic in our meadow and make fires beside friends, but had to spend five months doing manual labor first! Sweat-equity is definitely worth it.

Dream Sources: Article, Pendleton, Ferm Living, Clickon Furniture, Popham Design


Valspar Signature White Paint and Primer – Lowes

Sven Oxford Blue Leather Sofa – Article
Handmade coffee table – Maggpie Home
Area rug – came with the house
Rocking chair – came with the house
Armchair – Anthropologie
Tripod floor lamp – Target
Leather ottoman – Jinxed Philadelphia
Antlers – Kabinett & Kammer
Buffet table – Overstock
Black floral print – Small and Bright
Indigo rug – Rugs Boutique
Sconce – World Market
Ceiling fan – Home Depot

Handmade dining table – Maggpie Home
Eames-style chairs – Amazon

Everything is original to the house

RANARP Floor lamp – IKEA
Return of the Sun Blanket – Pendleton
“Get Outside” pennant flag – Three Potato Four
Wool wall hanging – SmithHouse Loom
Iceland photograph – Kate’s image, framed by Framebridge
Bedside table – thrifted
Strawberry print – Shaving Kit Vintage
Rug – Rugs Boutique

Bunkbeds – came with house
Desk – Amazon
Buffalo paper-mache head – Meg Lemieur
Wooden trunk – came with house
Rug – Urban Outfitters
Floor cushions – Urban Outfitters
Wooden built-in shelves – DIY

Tile – Wayfair

Floor Tile – Wayfair
Shower door – Lowes
Godmorgon sink cabinet – IKEA
Himmeli Ornaments – Me and She
Shower Tile – Lowes

NYBODA Side Tables – IKEA
Glacier Park Throw Blanket – Pendleton via Ps & Qs.
Linen duvet-cover – H&M
Curtains – Anthropologie
Dresser – thrifted
Mirror – trash-picked (from the streets of Philadelphia)
Indigo rug – Rugs Boutique
Sconces – Urban Outfitters

Side tables – handmade by Amanda’s husband, John
Chimayo Stripe Cotton Throw – Pendleton via Ps & Qs.
Rug – Rugs Boutique
Iceland photo – Kate’s image, framed by Framebridge
Wall hanging – handmade by Kate’s mother in the 1970s
Curtain – Target
Map of Fleischmanns – thrifted
Dry sink – Second-hand gift from friend

Tile – Wayfair
Shower curtain – Urban Outfitters
HEMNES sink cabinet – IKEA
Rolling cart – Urban Outfitters
Milky Way print – Oddly Ends

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