Peek Inside Rosendale’s Whimsical, Wonderful Rainbow House
Owned by a Hudson Valley artisan, the Ulster County abode brings a kaleidoscope of color to the region.
Photos by Kat O'Sullivan and Mason Brown
Have you seen the Hudson Valley’s rainbow house?
Unarguably the brightest spot in Rosendale, the multi-hued home looks like it popped straight from the pages of Alice in Wonderland. The whimsical property is quite literally a kaleidoscope of color, thanks to an abundance of primary shades and quirky geometric patterns. In short, it’s the best of Where’s Waldo and the Hansel & Gretel house all at once.
For owner Kat O’Sullivan, color is the secret to decorating success. As the founder of Katwise, a hyperpigmented and highly popular line of knitwear, O’Sullivan knew that color would be integral to her home’s design, which severely lacked in vibrancy and personality at first.
“We got the house from a darling woman who had live here 60 years,” O’Sullivan recalls. “The house was badly in need of work…we were the typical, wide-eyed, cidiots who had no idea what we were stepping into.”
O’Sullivan, who lives in the property with her partner, Mason Brown, moved to the Valley after first making a name for herself with her line of Katwise patchwork sweaters in Brooklyn. A highly creative person, she approached the Rosendale property from the perspective of a crafter.
“My brain is in constant, relentless project mode, so I cannot enter any room, anywhere, without redesigning it. In that regard, every room of my house is in imminent danger of being made-over,” she says.
As is the case with many renovations, the updates took far longer than the couple anticipated. Because the home is almost 200 years old, it charms with an unpredictable layout and, ahem, original design.
“We ended up redoing basically everything — roof, windows, foundation, electric, bathrooms, kitchens, walls, floors, well, septic, insulation, plumbing, outbuildings, chimneys — just about every inch of the house had to be attended to. We didn’t know what we were doing, so instead of gutting it like normal people would, we painstakingly peeled back each layer and mended things piece by piece,” she reveals.
Although the home is an endless work in progress, O’Sullivan loves the charm that oozes out of spots like the turquoise kitchen, which is personalized with appliances from 1956 and an aquarium wall filled with butterfly koi.
Now in their tenth year of ownership, she and Brown continue to tweak the home as inspiration strikes.
“Lately my focus has been my outbuildings and gypsy tents and school buses,” she explains. “I am just an incorrigibly colorful person and everything I touch kind of ends up rainbow, whether I mean to or not.”
Last year, the twosome purchased the surrounding property, which used to be part a former farm on the site, to add 40 acres and a number of accompanying outbuildings to the grounds. If all goes to plan, the expansion may lead to the development of a sort of destination experience.
“I can see in the future maybe doing an Airbnb or hosting retreats or something,” O’Sullivan says. “My real dream is to turn it back into a farm and have goats and cows and chickens scampering about.”