“We want to make people’s homes and lives more beautiful,” said interior designer Maria R. Mendoza, owner of Marigold Home. After ten years at the Design Towers, Mendoza and her husband and business partner, Howard Amchin, have moved their furniture and fabric showroom to a model log home on Route 28 near Kingston. They are in the process of renovating the building right next door — the iconic, long-abandoned Doll House.
Marigold Home also operates a shop in Woodstock that sells toiletries and Kiehl’s skin care products, and a Rhinebeck gallery of Hunter-Douglas window treatments, also featured at the Route 28 location. Now that the couple have purchased the 4000-square-foot log home, they are finding it an ideal venue to display their carefully selected furnishings and home accessories, along with an extensive library of samples from manufacturers of fabrics, carpeting, wallpaper, draperies, and window shades.
The house was built as a model by a company that aimed at producing upscale log homes. Soon after the building was completed, the 2008 banking crisis took down the real estate market. The house has gone unused and unoccupied ever since. “We saw the value of the space,” said Amchin, also an interior designer, “and how it would fit in with what we do.”
He led the way on a tour of the building, which Marigold Home has occupied since last fall. On the second floor, the interior walls are made of honey-colored wood. The central room is furnished as a living room, with a propane fireplace and a soaring view through tall windows, which are adorned with battery-operated shades. Amchin picked up a remote to demonstrate how the fabric window shades fold or unfold in obedience to a pressed button.
A side room is devoted to draperies. “We do a lot of upholstery and drapery work,” said Amchin. “But some people don’t have the time or budget to select fabrics for custom-made drapes. These are ready-made and will dress up a room in no time.” Next to the kitchen, with its dishes and cookware, the pantry has been turned into a garden center. We pass through the pillow and carpet room, the display of light fixtures, and the office.
Downstairs, the library contains what looks like a good 75 feet of wall-to-ceiling shelves of fabric and wallcover sample books with names like Schumacher, Kravet, Duralee, Fabricut, Thibaut, Ashford, and others, containing swatches Mendoza’s clients choose from in her work as a New York State-certified interior designer. “It’s the best sample library in Ulster and Dutchess Counties,” she said. “Architects and designers come here to look through it.”
In her thirty-plus years of experience, she has been involved in ground-up home design and complete renovations, as well as smaller projects. “Maria has done large and sophisticated, multi-million-dollar interiors in New York City,” said Amchin, “but she can also help people renovating who just need some guidance on an hourly basis.”
She offers house management services as well, for people who need help maintaining their properties — cutting down trees, plowing driveways, finding house cleaners. Second homeowners can arrange to have the refrigerator full upon arrival, mail picked up, or even fresh flowers at the front door.
“Everything we do, we try to do our best and bring it to the next level,” said Mendoza. “We put a lot of care into our work.”
They are lavishing plenty of care on the Doll House, which is over 90 years old and was, in the mid-1900s, a store selling doll-sized houses and furniture. “People come in here all the time and say, ‘I used to go to the Doll House with my mother to buy things,’” reported Amchin. “We’re trying to keep some of the original feeling, but we’re also modernizing.”
The structure has been empty for 27 years, so it’s needed a complete overhaul, from the septic to the roof, and everything in between. Mendoza and Amchin are not yet ready to reveal specific plans for the building. “What we’ve created here, at the log home, will be extended to the Doll House,” said Amchin. “We’re still working on it, making sure our plan is possible and making sure it will be a success.” If all goes well, they hope to open the renovated Doll House this spring.