FEATURES : THE WAY WE LIVE

The Way We Live - Luke Scarola & Rebecca Squiers

By Tom Ran

Published July 2, 2012

Luke Scarola and Rebecca Squiers, the proprietors of Luddite at home with their son Jude.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Luke Scarola and Rebecca Squiers, the proprietors of Luddite at home with their son Jude.

Luke Scarola and Rebecca Squiers

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Luke Scarola and Rebecca Squiers

Jude's crib in the study.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Jude's crib in the study.

A weathered ottomon like a nice worn baseball glove, sits comfortably in front of an armchair.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

A weathered ottomon like a nice worn baseball glove, sits comfortably in front of an armchair.

Lighting is a specialty for the couple and their business. Lamps are found throughout the apartment as well as vitrines with birds.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Lighting is a specialty for the couple and their business. Lamps are found throughout the apartment as well as vitrines with birds.

Left: One of the few display cases in the apartment housing skulls, vessels and various forms of taxidermy. Right: Luke holding a turtle skull.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Left: One of the few display cases in the apartment housing skulls, vessels and various forms of taxidermy. Right: Luke holding a turtle skull.

Domed vitrine of birds on display.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Domed vitrine of birds on display.

Luke Scarola in his apartment.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Luke Scarola in his apartment.

Luke tends to the record player in the living room.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Luke tends to the record player in the living room.

Right: A bear skull that was a gift from Rebecca's mom.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Right: A bear skull that was a gift from Rebecca's mom.

Luke playing his Wurlitzer organ.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Luke playing his Wurlitzer organ.

Blossoms in bloom outside of the apartment in Cold Spring.

Photo: Tuukka Koski

Blossoms in bloom outside of the apartment in Cold Spring.

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Luke Scarola and his girlfriend Rebecca Squiers have a gift for uncovering American treasures. They’re the owners of Luddite, a beautiful antique store located on the edge of Greenpoint on Franklin Street. They made a name for themselves within the trade and the general public with their impeccable eye for lighting and furniture – attracting buyers from all over the world from Japan to the Netherlands, to locals looking for a piece of authentic Americana.

Though the couple’s business is in Brooklyn, they live with their son Jude, an hour and a half north in Cold Spring. The picturesque town sits next to the Hudson River just south of Beacon, where the Modernist gallery, Dia:Beacon is located. We wondered whether Scarola and Squiers’s home would resemble Commodore Louis Kaestner’s mansion or the interior to The Smile, which Scarola had designed. The answer would be a mix of both as we toured their home on Main Street.

The features of their apartment would make any New York City native envious. It’s situated on the second floor of a 19th century building that was once a pharmacy. The 2000 square ft apartment consists of eight rooms with 14 ft high ceilings. But it’s Scarola and Squier’s unique sense of style that turned an otherwise spacious apartment into a museum-like environment. But as opposed to a museum, rooms aren’t roped off from visitors. It’s absent of any overstuff animals. Their choice in taxidermy is more of a delicate nature, consisting of vitrines filled with various species of birds rather than big game. And the lighting is especially striking. You wouldn’t notice that the lamp from the front room was once used in a dentist office, with its decorative detailing, intricate arms and lampshade. The couple’s home is a refined reflection of their showroom – an exemplary display of harmony and warmth. We sat down with Luke and Rebecca at their home to find out more about their apartment and the way they live.

What made you decide to move to Cold Spring?
We were living in Kingston NY. We moved there having only visited once somehow thinking we could handle the 2 hour commute. We ended up rarely making it home. After a winter in Kingston we decided to try to move closer to the city. We drove back roads on both sides of the Hudson, then rediscovered Cold Spring. We looked in Beacon first but had a hard time finding a cool space. We decided to look in Cold Spring, saw a sign advertising an apartment and called. It was a different one than the one we have now, but it was the same landlord.

Did you do any renovations to the apartment?
We mudded and painted the big room and the study. We plan on doing more painting but Jude kind of slowed all that down.

Is your apartment constantly changing as you acquire new furniture and lighting?
It’s constantly changing. We really love something often at first then we’ll decide we don’t really need to keep it. Or we’ll put something in temporarily until we find something perfect. As far a lighting goes we have a whole collection that Luke is still trying to decide what goes where. We have an antique store specializing in lighting and an apartment with a couple bare bulbs still hanging in a few rooms.

How would you describe your style?
It changes from room to room. I feel like the big room feels like a French painters studio. The study makes me want to drink whiskey and smoke a pipe. Jude’s room is the most modern he’s got an Eames rocker some folk art carvings of a mermaid and a sea captain which our friend bought from an old man along the Maine coast. We want to get him a Calder mobile when he gets his own bed. Recently someone described the style of our store as academic. I’m not exactly sure what they meant. I tend to buy things that come from institutional settings – old churches, hospitals, theaters, stores and schools. But really I buy anything I like. I do like industrial antiques but only when they’re really old and interesting.

Luke, you designed the interior to Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman’s The Smile. How did that come about and what was your idea for that restaurant?
Carlos asked me to design the space. I knew him from my days at Freemans and I had sold him antiques from my days of wholesaling. I was mostly inspired by the space itself. It had amazing bones- a stone wall with thick wood beams and an amazing harlequin floor already there.

What are you drawn to when the both of you are out picking?
My biggest passion is for early electric lighting. I love finding what I’ve never seen before.

Do you have any desire to open a shop in Cold Spring?
I don’t think so, unless we get this amazing place we’ve been into since we moved here. The space is actually in Phillipstown. We often talk about moving to and opening a second store in Hudson.

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