Modern Retreat in Upstate New York Has Indoor Swing and Climbing Wall

  • Minimalist Meets Mountains

    Minimalist Meets Mountains

  • Open Floor Plan

    Open Floor Plan

  • Swing


This Hobart, NY, home on the market for $469,000 will have you climbing the walls. And swinging from the rafters. Owner Phil Veal, who commissioned New York City architect David Howell to design the mountain retreat, says the playful amenities were inspired by the Veals' four daughters -- and got plenty of use.

"We loved that our daughters (now aged 5 to 12) didn't get bored at the home, because if they had nothing better to do, they'd be on the swing or climbing up the walls," says Veal, a New Zealand transplant and a climbing buff.

With his passion for scaling walls, it figures that a climbing wall is part of the home. He adds that the swing, which he had a hand in designing, hangs from climbing rope and carabiners and could support two or three of the girls at a time.

The family, who moved back to New Zealand, spent their weekends in this home for many years.

Veal and his wife, Diana Veal, met fellow New Zealand -- born architect Howell through mutual friends after they moved to New York City in 2000. Over time they hatched a plan to build a modern home in the Catskills, about 2.5 hours away.

The final product, which took a year to build, was finished in 2011. As it went up, the steel-framed industrial-style building was "not unkindly named" by locals as "The Home Depot" home, Howell's website notes.

You wouldn't mistake it for a big-box store now. The residence is finished with western red cedar cladding, walls of stacked stone sourced from the property, and lots of glass doors and windows. Inside, plywood walls and concrete flooring with radiant heat complete the look.

The 2,200-square-foot home features an open floor plan, four bedrooms, a wood stove, and a modern kitchen with breakfast bar.

"It's a specific taste," listing agent Susan Doig says. "There are those that are looking for something a little hipper and a little cooler." She adds, "It's so different from what is typical."

The home comes with 11 acres of land and lots of privacy. Outside, there's a fire pit and a treehouse.

Of course, if you want to explore beyond the front door, the area offers year-round activities such as skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, fishing, and leaf-peeping, according to the agent.

"We're really, truly a four-season resort area," Doig adds.

And, hey, when the weather outside is frightful, there's always the delightful indoor swing.