Once heralded as a hushed enclave with Sleepy Hollow airs, the Hudson Valley has entered a Renaissance. Tour downtown Hudson, and you’ll find atmospheric antique stores and seasonally-minded restaurants rubbing elbows with trendy boutique hotels that seem to have popped up—chanterelle-like—overnight. While still delightfully Arcadian in spirit, once-harried New Yorkers have put down roots in the region, ushering in a new era of creative spirit—It’s palpable.
Among the movement’s many participants is The Gilded Owl, a blog-turned-gallery, who since 2013, has called Hudson, New York home. Every bit as idiosyncratic as it names suggests; The Gilded Owl has staked out new territory in the Hudson Valley (a region primarily known for its polished farmhouse leanings), by embracing a boldly modernist aesthetic. While the notion of a modernist gallery housed among Hudson’s quaint, Federalist neighborhoods may sound off-kilter, the formula undeniably works, thanks in large part to the keen eyes of The Gilded Owl owners, Andy Goldsborough and Elizabeth Moore.
For Goldsborough (an interior designer) and Moore (an art dealer), The Gilded Owl’s growth is one that mirrors the evolution of the Hudson Valley itself. From The Gilded Owl’s origins as an art, design, fashion, and music blog to a full-fledged gallery (with a highly anticipated furniture line in the works), The Gilded Owl has scaled mountains in the time it takes some businesses to take out a lease. Wholly intrigued by The Gilded Owl’s ever-expanding breadth (as well as its place in the ever-changing Hudson Valley landscape), we recently sat down with Andy to get his insights on The Gilded Owl, that aforementioned furniture line, and his go-to spots in the Hudson Valley (because we deem it time an upstate getaway, don’t you?).
What was your original motivation to begin the Gilded Owl blog?
In 2012 I was in between several large projects in my office and a colleague of mine asked me why I didn’t have a blog. I hadn’t really thought about it, but after teaching for 7 years at Parsons, I missed the education aspect of being in that environment, so I made the decision to start an online journal about craftsmanship in design. In the beginning, I wanted to ghostwrite and start the blog from a different point of view, that was unrelated to my interior design business (although, ultimately, the two meshed).
Can you tell us about how the company and name “Gilded Owl” came to be?
Two years prior to the blog launch, I saw a beautiful show by a French photographer, Donatien Viesman, and bought a taxidermy barn owl he’d gilded with gold leaf. When looking for a name for the blog, I took note of the owl (by then an old favorite), and decided to name the blog The Gilded Owl.
What have been your biggest takeaways from running a design, fashion, music, and art
Elizabeth and I want the gallery to be an experimental environment for the artists and designers that we are collaborating with. Being exposed to both local and international artists who have gravitated towards the Hudson Valley over the past two and a half years, has given us creative license to do something different here. Even down to creating specific soundtracks that bring the installations to life and complete the immersive experience.
What kinds of pieces do you look for when searching for works to display?
Elizabeth and I both look for things that are beautifully crafted, often using old world techniques or innovative technology. We both gravitate towards Italian design from the early 1920’s to present day.
The Gilded Owl is debuting a line of bespoke furniture, lighting, and accessories in 2018.
Can you tell us more about that?
We are in the process of finalizing prototypes for the line, but the initial launch will be a floor lamp, table lamp and ceiling fixtures, all of which are customizable. There will also be wall-mounted console, a desk, and a custom chair developed with the Fratelli Levaggi factory in Chiavari, Italy.
Can you tell us a little bit about your personal connection to the Hudson Valley?
Elizabeth and I have been coming to Hudson for over 20 years to buy antiques for clients and for ourselves, so there has always been a connection for us. Some of the dealers have moved to the City and some have left the City and moved upstate due to the escalating rents. I think having the blog as a platform was an unusual way to start a gallery, but it certainly gave us an audience. Hudson is such a supportive environment of creative people, artists, photographers, dancers. We both feel completely at home here.
Let’s say we had 24 hours in Hudson Valley. What are some local haunts that you recommend we absolutely not miss?
Kasuri offers major Japanese and international designers and Marco Abdelnour’s just-opened Third Ward offers great denim and luxurious casual wear for both men and women.
Kristen Dodge who relocated from the lower east side is showcasing women artists, and her program is as sophisticated and exciting as anything we’ve seen in New York City recently. Jeff Bailey, another Chelsea gallerist who has relocated full time has a stellar roster of contemporary artists. The Schoolhouse in Kinderhook curated by Jack Shainman is an extraordinary gallery featuring museum quality exhibitions.
Gaby Gulielmetti’s menu at Rivertown Lodge is a favorite of ours right now. For an art installation meets Latin American cuisine, we love Lil’ Deb’s Oasis. And our go to neighborhood haunt is Backbar, where Zak Pelaccio has created a Malaysian street food speakeasy-inspired, bohemian garden.
Lead photo by Max Zambelli