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Dec 29, 2017 11:41 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Judith Hope's Rustic Home In The Woods Is A Taste Of The Adirondacks In East Hampton

Judith Hope's East Hampton home.  KYRIL BROMLEY
Dec 29, 2017 12:32 PM

Judith Hope’s home sits on 6 acres, down a long driveway in Northwest Woods in East Hampton. Surrounded by tall white pine trees, the rolling property is reminiscent of the Adirondacks, farther north in New York State, so it’s no surprise that she and her late husband, Tom Twomey, built their house in the context of their surroundings.

“We couldn’t do a beach house,” she said. “It would look ridiculous. So we built a house for the woods.” The rustic design was inspired by the couple’s many visits to the Point resort in Saranac Lake, the place where my husband and I were married in 2003. At that time, we promised ourselves we would return every year for our anniversary, but as life would have it, we have never made it back.

Visiting Ms. Hope’s home was a thrill, to say the least. Even the peaks of the roof line and the overall shape of the shingled structure reminded me of the intimate yet grand lodge where we tied the knot. Before I lifted the fox head door knocker, I had to wipe tears of joy from my cheeks, remembering the best moments of my life.

The entryway, protected by stone and wooden pillars, is flanked by benches that seem to be carved from one large tree. A warm glow peaks through the glass window on the forest green door. The gable above is covered in birch bark. A wreath, decorated with pomegranates, marks the holidays.

Ms. Hope and her two labs, Lucy and Seamus, welcome me into the central hallway and I’m struck by the large diamond shapes painted onto the wooden floor, and the stone fireplace. “This was the original living room,” Ms. Hope said.

The property was previously owned by Richard Ryan, a quiet and beloved eccentric who lived alone before he died in 2010. The old house contained four rooms, two downstairs and two upstairs.

“This is an addition. We started with a very small house and lived quite happily but couldn’t entertain,” she said. “We went out in both directions.”

“We sewed a coat onto a button,” she laughed, repeating a friend’s notation. “It was great fun to put the house together.”

Ms. Hope gives her husband credit for his attention to detail, arriving on site at 6 a.m. during construction, guiding the contractors in the right direction, and even flying them up to the Point in his plane to get ideas and measurements.

Many of the craftspeople came from upstate. The iron wall sconces, chandeliers and decorative elements on the ceiling beams were handmade by a couple who owns Chicken Coop Forge in Glen Falls. “The woman is the blacksmith and the man is the designer,” Ms. Hope said.

“They even put rayon-covered wire to make it 1930s authentic,” she said, handling a silk-like cord attached to a sconce in the dining room.

The dining room walls are wrapped in a spectacular mural depicting the beaver trade on the South Fork, painted by Kevin M. Paulsen of Kingston.

The artist also painted the foyer floors and the wallpaper in the hallway leading to the master bedroom.

I was overjoyed to see an original Claus Hoie painting in the hall, as a print hangs in my own home. Another original Claus Hoie painting hangs above the master bed, which faces a stone fireplace, of course.

Like any Adirondack lodge, the Great Room is the pièce de résistance of the home and here the stone fireplace is double-sided, so that friends and family can gather around the flames inside or outside on the huge Connecticut fieldstone patio.

“We wanted people to feel equally at home in blue jeans or black-tie formal,” Ms. Hope said.

The couple threw a sit-down dinner party for 50 people from Mr. Twomey’s law firm on New Year’s Eve in 2005. “The fireplace was going outdoors, and Tom hung blue kerosene lanterns in the trees,” she said of the magical evening.

Ms. Hope’s son Erling Hope, a furniture maker in Sag Harbor, designed the wet bar, a small yet compelling space, where a “Camp Twomey” sign hangs. “He enlisted his daughter to help,” she said, laughing at the notion. The tedious “game” of arranging sticks turned out to be a beautiful design element.

As we sink into downy chairs of the great room to chat, I discover a new and beautiful object at every glance. A carved bear holds a collection of walking sticks. Large deer antlers accent mullion windows, leather and canvas bound books from the couple’s African travels sit on a table in front of the fireplace. Black Watch plaid blankets rest on the leather backs of rustic chairs in a reading nook overlooking graceful trees.

I cannot, however, take my eyes off of the tall case clock designed and built by famous Adirondack furniture maker George Jaques of Keene, who learned the trade after his retirement from the police force.

Ms. Hope found the magnificent piece at the Lake Placid Lodge, the sister property to the Point, where a variety of artists display their wares and everything is for sale.

“I bought this out of the lobby and surprised Tom for our 25th anniversary,” Ms. Hope said. “One week later the lodge burned down, and the clock would have been lost.”

She is thinking of donating the clock to the Adirondack museum when she sells her home. “It’s too big for me now,” she said of the property.

“My husband died three years ago, just before our 35th anniversary,” she said. “Now I’m trying to build a very small house in the village.”

She has fond memories of celebrating their 25th anniversary, December 15, at the Point. “We were the only ones there,” she said. “They treated us like royalty. We ate dinner in front of the fireplace in the great room every night. It was a magical experience.”

“At that time, you dressed in black tie for dinner,” she said. “It was not an option.”

She is proud to tell me about a chest, a fine example of the rustic style, made by Ralph Kylloe of Lake George, who bought his first piece of rustic furniture at the age of 12 and filled two garages by the time he was in college. He then opened a shop and has written over 20 books on rustic style. “Here’s one right here,” she said, grabbing a coffee-table book from a shelf.

“This must be your favorite room in the house,” I said a tad too cheerily.

“It’s the room where I miss my husband the most,” she said. “I think of this as his room.”

To commemorate the completion of the house in 2005, Mr. Twomey invited all the tradesmen who worked on the house, and their wives, to a big party. He created a time capsule, filling it with mementos such as photographs and handwritten bills, marked by a metal plaque that states it is not to be opened until 2205.

“A lot of love and a lot of fun went into this house,” she said, as if it wasn’t obvious enough.

Seeing Ms. Hope’s home and hearing her love story inspired me to make a decision I’ve been putting off for too long. I made a reservation to go back to the Point for our anniversary in 2019, so we can continue our own love story, and maybe bring back a memento or two.

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