“It seemed like something out of a fairy tale,” said New York designer Carl D’Aquino, summing up his clients’ reaction to the Jacobean-revival home they found in the gated enclave of Tuxedo Park, N.Y. The Manhattan couple sought a weekend escape that would capably accommodate their five children, extended family and guests. They discovered it 40 miles north of Gotham, in an 11,000-square-foot manse built in 1910, amid postcard-ready vistas of Tuxedo Lake and the nearby Ramapo mountains. The home is one of 300 mansions of varying architectural styles—from Greek Revival to Italianate—whose original owners unironically referred to them as cottages. Though the homeowners loved the house for its size and the light, it posed a challenge: how to make its palatial rooms, with their interior columns and archways, feel less pretentious and more welcoming to a young, unceremonious family.
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