The Masculine Retreat: Shokan


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When the owner bought the house, the woodwork was stained dark. To bring the focus to all of the windows and the view, the designer had the trim painted white. Organic materials were used throughout to keep the design neutral and grounded.

Photo by Deborah DeGraffenreid

This home got a full renovation, making it perfect for a young bachelor who purchased it as a weekend retreat. With that and the spectacular view in mind, designer Megan Oldenburger of Dichotomy Interiors wanted to make sure the space was warm and inviting, while still having a modern feel to reflect the owner’s personality. 

“I tried to achieve that by mixing organic elements in both the furnishings and materials, as well as keeping the color palette natural,” says Oldenburger. “We had the views of the water, the fireplace and hard concrete hearth that I designed and had built, the wood slab table, the leather sofa, and hide rug. I really wanted clean, modern lines, but tactile, organic materials to achieve them.”

The jumping-off point for the design was the antique chandelier from Italy, which brought that modern sensibility and tactile materials together in a unique way. “When the views disappear in the evening, it aids in lifting up the eye to highlight the tall ceilings,” says Oldenburger. “The chandelier is at eye-level on the second floor from both the office and the bedroom. It is part of the view from almost every area of the home.”

In terms of defining the Great Room itself, the designer wanted to capitalize on the windows. When the owner purchased the home, “all of the windows, doorframes, and baseboards were stained wood, which distracted from the view. By painting the trim white, the view outside became the highlight over the trim work.” She also set distinct spaces, creating separate areas for cozying up by the fire, watching TV, a spot to display art and collections from years of travel, and a dining area. “I had to keep the view in mind at all times,” says Oldenburger. “I chose pieces that would lay low and not break up the sightline when entering the home." 

The end result is a mix of comfort, style, and masculinity. 

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