Claire Marin and Cathy Leidersdorff’s home straddles New York State’s Delaware and Sullivan Counties, on a sprawling, wooded 32-acre lot in the Catskill mountains, not far from the Delaware River.
The site is idyllic, with a lilypad-dotted pond, natural springs, a barn-turned-distillery, and an Argentine quincho (a covered outdoor grill and dining area), the sort of place that seems like it has existed in its current bucolic state forever.
After a life spent in Madrid and New York City, Marin, a magazine publisher-turned-beekeeper and the purveyor of Catskill Provisions, was introduced to the property in 2003 by Leidersdorff. “I fell in love with it—the space, the summer sky. It’s just a pure place,” Marin enthuses. She and Leidersdorff, both entrepreneurs, are often overloaded with work, and the house offered respite from the fast pace of their lives. “You need a lot of space to be able to recharge your batteries, and the Catskills are very much perfect for that.”
According to Marin, the home was built in the early 1900s by one of the founding families of Long Eddy, a town four miles west. It had originally operated as a carriage house and, later, as a cauliflower farm. Marin adds that, over time, water began to move in and changed the topography, rendering that farm obsolete and making way for Leidersdorff to purchase the land.
It took several years to transform the property into its current state, and the couple worked with two local contractors to take care of renovations over the years. They had to have a new concrete foundation poured to lift the home, and created a finished living space in the cellar—sauna and all. When the home was first built, its rooms were fashioned with only a handful of windows, all quite small, in the name of keeping in heat during the cold months.
The couple had several walls taken down to open up the interiors and create larger rooms throughout, like the living space, which sits snugly between the dining area and kitchen, and where original beams were kept intact. The windows around their Article sofa were a feature they wanted to highlight.
“We have two walls of windows that really bring the outside in,” says Marin, noting that no matter what time of year it is, nature feels close at hand.
The couple added a deck about 10 years ago, and it overlooks the quincho and pond. The quincho, which resembles an upscale park shelter, is one of the property’s main features, and was built by Leidersdorff’s father. It is housed in a 15-foot-by-30-foot open-air structure, with one side entirely made up of a wood-burning stone fireplace.
“The quincho is something that Argentines have always had; your family cooks outside, there’s a lot of barbecuing,” explains Marin. Personal history and location have influenced more than just cooking at the home; the interiors themselves reflect familial ties, as well as a certain coziness that veers more ski lodge than farmhouse.
“Cathy’s grandmother gave her some really beautiful pieces—wood dressers, there are three or four in the house,” says Marin. “I tend to prefer a modern feel to things, so we came to an agreement that we would furnish the house in a Nordic or Scandinavian style.” Marin likens the home to a slopeside getaway in winter—which in the area is long and snowy—quipping that she “always wants to feel like I’m going somewhere in the Alps.”
Over time, they added an additional bathroom, remade the kitchen with professional-grade appliances, and laid honeycomb-shaped terra cotta tile in the dining room and kitchen. (“You know, we are beekeepers,” she jokes.) They also bought more land, with 10 additional acres added to what Leidersdorff originally purchased, bringing the total to 32. The barn that now houses the distillery and showroom/store was also built by Leidersdorff’s father, and for years served as storage before the addition made extra space for the couple’s entrepreneurial endeavors.
“I really wanted to have more of a connection to farming in the area,” Marin says of moving to region almost 20 years ago. “I started looking at what would grow beautifully on this land and rye is one of those things.” While Marin’s goal is to bring some rye for the distillery to the property, today she mostly buys from up near the Finger Lakes.
She adds that they are “100 percent grain-to-grass,” with everything grown in the state of New York, and she hopes to continue making a larger impact on farming in the area. Central to that endeavor is the comfortable home base she and Leidersdorff have created for themselves, and the acreage to which they devote themselves and continue to cultivate.
“The magical part of the land is that it’s so private,” says Marin. “The area is not overbuilt, and there’s just so much space here.”