Gym at Home: 1900 Beacon Military Academy Gymnasium-Turned-House in Beacon, Dutchess County, NY
An artistic couple transforms a onetime gymnasium into a streamlined home
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White walls — like the half wall that conceals the staircase to the loft — provide gallery-like hanging space for Westwater’s art
Although they’re not true minimalists (“we’re minimal-ish,” Westwater says), the all-white brick walls, under-counter cabinetry, limited furnishings, and expanses of open space create an understated look that allows the building’s architectural features to shine. Boxy shapes recur throughout, from the alcoves set into the exterior bathroom walls (to display artwork) to the mid-century modern velvet sofa whose high back and straight lines serve as a minimal-ish room divider.
An oversized, mid-century couch, from Relic in Beacon, adds a cozy note
The streamlined setting also makes a good backdrop for Westwater’s art — “anything with an oval, or a bunch of junk. I’ve got a kitsch thing going,” he says, in self-deprecating English style. The “bunch of junk” pieces are actually found objects ranging from a plastic toy to architectural remnants arranged on carts and in cabinets. Objects awaiting their turn are laid out so carefully in the studio, it’s difficult to distinguish between art and materials for art. His Plywood Chateau series — “micro-dwellings” that are boxes big enough to sit in, with trompe l’oeil interiors — supply intimate spaces within the main living room.
Even on a dreary day, the loft feels sunny and welcoming — and perfect for a party. Do they entertain often? “We do have parties,” Westwater says. “We’re happy to pay the mortgage so our friends can enjoy the place.”