House Tours

house opener

Unless you live in New York, it’s hard for most people to understand the idea of the weekend home being the true expression of one’s aesthetic and lifestyle. The Hraneks, like many New Yorkers, have a lovely but functional Brooklyn apartment that they haven’t put any real improvements into because it’s a rental; they consider their upstate place their primary residence and fill it with their favorite finds from flea markets and yard sales. When Matt and Yolanda (yes, Momfilter’s own) first bought land upstate a decade ago before their daughter was born, they started dreaming about a clean modern box that was big enough for the family of three and the occasional guests. But, of course, minimalism doesn’t come cheap, their standards were high, and so began their search for a pre-fab architect. It wasn’t until a few years later (and a couple of fun summers of living out of a vintage Airstream) that they had found the right architect and were able to save up enough money to build. For Matt Hranek, an avid hunter, fisherman, collector, and cook, the modern pre-fab gem cantilevered in a gently sloping meadow, has become headquarters for his passion projects, and the backdrop for the family’s many gatherings with friends.

Tell us how you decided on doing a pre-fab house: I had been obsessed with prefabricated architecture since college. I loved the immediacy and the cost affective style of it. Also it seemed that most prefabrication where in the modern vernacular that I loved.

How did you find the right architect? I met Oskar Kaufmann on a shoot I was doing for Wallpaper magazine at the time in Milan. He was building a prefabricated townhouse for a party they were throwing for design week. I was blown away by the design and speed of the project. We became fast friends.

How did you approach the interiors? The interior was always meant to be warm and textural, in contrast to the austere exterior. Most of the furniture, lighting and decoration are flea and thrift finds.

Hranek collects mid-century Danish furniture. The cantilevered shelf above the sofa holds part of the couple’s vast art and photography book collection.

The living area, which is delineated by a large felt “ravioli” rug, flows into the kitchen area.

The public areas all overlook a large meadow.

The kitchen, the hub of all social activity, is open to the rest of the living areas.

Hranek also collects pottery, from vintage Heath to Scandinavian ceramics, many found at the Swedish equivalent of Salvation Army.

The Jens Risom credenza was a find from an old IBM office, and its holds linens for the dining table, phone books, and the bar.

The table was made by a friend in Austria, and the chairs were an upstate New York find. Hranek had felt seat covers made for them.

Originally, the house was going to have a terrace off the front windows, but they changed their mind. Now they have wooden gates there so they can open up the sliding glass windows, and don’t have to worry.

They’re also big fans of mixing Ikea in with everything.

The master bedroom is located on the opposite side of the house. Their daughter’s bedroom and guest room are on the near side of this stairwell. You enter the house at the bottom of the stairs.

What is your favorite part of the house? I love the view out of the 40 feet of windows that looks out to the rest of the property.

Is there anything you would have done differently? I have thought about this a lot. I would have made a larger and deeper kitchen sink. Really that is it.


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Comments (8)


  1. You people are so damn interesting! On my way out to find something to collect.

  2. Posted by: Jane D'Haene

    What a beautiful house!!

  3. Posted by: Maura Morden

    The last photo is the best! My imagination went into overdrive dreaming about being inside looking out into the cold twilight sky. Looks peaceful and serene.

  4. Posted by: jenny

    LOVE!!!!!!!! you know it’s my DREAM!!!!! and you guys did it so beautifully it makes me chartreuse with envy……….:-) thank you for sharing it!

  5. Posted by: Ann

    The house is really great. But as an “upstate” New Yorker I have to ask, how far “upstate” are you? We live on Lake Ontario and I find it funny what is considered “upstate”!

  6. Posted by: Andrea

    I have so many questions! Is this a prefab house that Oskar Kaufmann designed just for you, or is there a plan available for purchase? How many square feet? It looks like the house slopes, but the inside must not, of course. Is that just for aesthetics? Seems expensive. Do you mind saying what the per sq. ft. cost of this prefab was? I love it!

  7. Posted by: Aunt Helen

    What a beautiful, peaceful place. Shows the kind of heart and spirit you both have. Can’t tell you how proud I am of you and how much I love you. Would love to see it in person some day. Hug.

  8. Posted by: bill hranek

    that is very cool!! spacious in its own right, seems larger than it is, looks very comfortable, we love it!!
    I am steves son (one of the twins) and we live out in az.
    thanks for sharing!!
    bill and bridget hranek

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