A Season of Rebirth Heralds a New Chapter for Piaule Catskill

Following its 2021 opening, the property quickly became a cult destination for style-savvy New Yorkers—a status further cemented by its recent Fritz Hansen collaboration. Now, its founders prepare to usher in another year of the resort’s high season.

Credit (all images): Sean Davidson

Earlier this year, Piaule’s Catskills getaway furnished its Scandinavian-minimalist mountain getaway with Skagerak: Fritz Hansen’s new line of cedar furniture crafted with the great outdoors in mind. The lineup of slatted benches, loungers, and dining chairs strikes a balance of sunkissed perfection, and resonate harmoniously with Piaule’s design directive to remain unobtrusive in the context of its forested surroundings. They cradle diners sitting down to enjoy a chef’s five-course tasting menu from the restaurant’s terrace, and provide a poolside perch from which sweeping views of nearby Hunter Mountain can be enjoyed over a glass of wine. Perhaps most importantly, in the eyes of the two founders, the Skagerak collection pays homage to the surrounding wooded landscape. As Piaule Catskill strides towards its three-year anniversary, McHugh and Briggs revisit the role of the property’s dearest muse: nature.

Firm: Garrison Architects

Practice Location: New York City.

What was the vision behind the project? We wanted to express Piaule’s ethos in a way that was more meaningful than just selling products—to create a rich, unforgettable experience that embodied harmonious living with a deep connection to nature.

What colors and materials are central to the visual identity? Being in a forest, wood is the most important material in the design, both interior and exterior. It is applied untreated in its natural state and intended to naturally patina over time. Next would be bluestone, because the site is a former bluestone quarry (one of many in the region that supplied stone to New York City for sidewalks and foundations), and bluestone tile is used throughout. Third would be glass, which allows the connection to the landscape. Any additional color is provided by what lies beyond the glass—a plein-air painting come to life.” 

What stands out to you the most now that you’ve finished it? The beauty of the landscape. There is visual interest in every season; the hays and browns and deep reds contrasted by the bright blue skies of winter, or the white snow against the evergreens; the first buds of wildflowers and branches in spring; the verdant abundance of green in the summer; and of course, the famous technicolor foliage of fall. It never gets old!

References of inspiration: The guiding principle was to always defer to nature. That informed the site selection and orientation of every structure, as well as the material selections detailed above. But as far as specific references we looked to the work of Glenn Murcutt as a major inspiration.

Favorite detail: The sliding glass doors in every cabin with smartly integrated shade and insect screen. The scale is just so dramatic and hard to capture in pictures, so it always provides a sense of awe for guests (and ourselves).

A welcome distraction: Our emotional outlet was the excellent local brewery, Subversive. They’re in the town of Catskill, only about 10 minutes away, use all New York–based ingredients, and do their own malting in-house, which is quite rare since the industry was consolidated after prohibition. We have become close friends.

Next project on the horizon: Another Piaule landscape hotel in a different region, with a different palette.

All Stories