You can tell a lot about Valentine’s Too boutique owner Teresa Windham by the fact that she calls the massive remodeling jobs she and her husband have a habit of getting into “projects.” There were two homes they remodeled in El Paso, and then one previous home in Austin, which they also renovated. (Windham recently doubled the size of Valentine’s Too as well.) And then there is their Tarrytown home, perched on a hill among trees and stripped down, Windham explains, to its it studs, then remodeled back up. “It’s fun,” she says, smiling, and you can tell she means it.
The lot appealed to Windham and her husband Darrell more than the house itself, which was ranch-style, built in the 1970s, and still replete with much of the deep wood paneling and arches popular then. The house was dated, but as Windham says, it had good bones—the floor plan didn’t change much throughout the three-phase remodel, and the plumbing locations didn’t change at all. What had been the master suite area is now a stunning two-story library complete with ladder access to a cozy, lofted nook for reading. The tiny galley kitchen is now a butler’s bar, wine nook, and silver closet, with a central staircase being shifted to make way for a much roomier kitchen that boasts a stately island topped in limestone counters and plenty of room between the island and the breakfast nook for a full-sized Design Within Reach sofa. Sure, everyone always ends up in the kitchen, but not everyone can stretch out ottoman-style while waiting for the kettle to boil.
The house feels calm and quiet, thanks in part to a largely-neutral palate, anchored by limestone floors done in what Windham calls an “old world” pattern. But it also feels alive, and this is likely thanks to the gorgeous pops of fabric and pattern found in every room—perhaps not a surprise, from someone with such an eye for fashion. Beneath the kitchen couch, for example, is a silk David Alan Tibetan rug that looks like it’s threaded with hot pink or deep burgundy, depending on which way you’re facing. At a small desk beside a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, a chair is wrapped in magenta and chartreuse Donghia Suzani fabric. On a tucked-away wall in the kitchen, blue and white Jon Derian decoupage plates form a sophisticated take on a trend Windham says she can’t get enough of: “A few years ago, I’d seen a ton of blue and white on the market. I was obsessed with it, and ikat, but I couldn’t do my whole house in blue and white.” So instead, she compromised, buying something she knew she loved.
It’s a tactic she’s always used. There are touches of purple throughout the house, for example, and several gorgeous lavender geodes. They’re popular, Windham says, but she also knows that she won’t tire of them. En route to the house is a rug that she says, “looks like a giant slab of malachite.” For Windham, buying things simply to fill a space just doesn’t make sense. As a result, her house is far from over-decorated.
“A world-class art collector told me you have to buy what you love and I think that’s true about everything,” Windham explains. “I’ve never just wanted to fill up a space; I’d rather not have it.”
Because of this philosophy, there is a great sense of continuity throughout Windham’s home. She says, “If I had to move or put all of my stuff in a loft or one room, it would all work. I like that aspect.” But if Windham likes what she’s put in the house, she’s absolutely in love with what surrounds it. The trees on the site, and its private placement, including a big, picture-window view of the slopes of Tarrytown, were what initially sold Windham and Darrell on the place.
“I think we let this house be what it is,” Windham says. “For me, it’s more about the site and the outdoor-indoor aspect. It feels like a tree house, and I think you feel that immediately when you come in.”
To enhance the already-enticing outdoor spaces, the Windhams also added an infinity pool in the backyard that seems to lean out over the cliff that affords them such beautiful views, as well as small decorative pools of water leading to the glass front door. From almost every room in the house, you can either see running water or come nose-to-nose with treetops. And despite having neighbors nearly within arm’s reach, the lot is situated so that Windham doesn’t need a single window covering in her home. In fact, in one of many small remodeling changes, Windham made most of the windows a little bigger—the better to take in the view.