We had the pleasure of speaking with Peishan Stinnett, co-owner of the cozy Airbnb cabin simply known as A Black A-Frame, to hear more about her journey from scientist to cabin renovator, and to take a tour of the Catskill property that has quickly become an Instagram darling.
photography by @ethanabitz
Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got into the cabin scene:
My name is Peishan, and I am a former nerd with one degree in Theoretical Physics and another in Engineering. I moved to the Northeast several years ago to pursue my studies, and shortly after graduating I met the love of my life, Grant. Over the period of a year or so, as our relationship developed to the point of playing cards, or watching Netflix and relaxing together almost every evening, we stumbled upon the modern day renovation reality shows.
A few months later we were married, and during that time I had begun to dream of making my own spaces. Grant had mentioned that he’d grown up doing renovation and building projects with his father, so one crazy idea led to another, and before we knew what happened, we dove head first into buying a house and ripping out walls. The first time we did this was such an intense experience because we were learning to work together as newlyweds, and this was the first time we’d ever taken on such a large project of this kind.
photography by @ashpinelife
Grant had always been a musician, and I usually worked with numbers and radical concepts. But by the end of the renovation we started getting amazed reactions from photographers and guests on Airbnb when we finally opened the place to the public. I knew I had found my passion, and I just had to leave science and engineering for design and home makeovers. I haven’t looked back since!
Give us a little history of the cabin:
A Black A-Frame didn’t start out black. In fact she was owned, loved, and lived in by an old couple who’d originally had her built back in the 60s. We like to think this place has a special romance soaked deep into her bones from having already been someone’s dream house for a lifetime. Now she sits happily spreading this love to others whenever they come to visit. Not a super exciting or outlandish history, but a good one.
photography by @andrewpinnella
Back when she first became “A Black A-Frame,” she underwent a pretty comprehensive makeover renovation to keep up with the modern times. But a lot of the old charm and history was left, such as the original fir floors with incredible character and stories of the past written deep by stains, scratches and imperfections. Most of the doors have their own unique tales as well with worn paint and old world knobs.
Describe your favorite room in the house:
I think our favorite room has to be the dining room with the two-story windows overlooking the deck and yard. This room has one slanted wall of the A-frame structure totally covered in wood and beams which gives it a super warm and inviting/cozy feeling.
photography by @ethanabitz
It’s also open on the other side to the living room so you can look across to the open fireplace while sitting watching nature through the huge windows. We recently added a hanging chair to the balcony overhanging this room as well, so it’s continually becoming more magical.
Any tips for getting the most out of your stay at A Black A-Frame?
If you’re a nature lover, or you just love a good drive through the trees, we would definitely recommend checking out some of the countryside while you visit. Miniwaska State Park is a particular favorite for viewing the sunset on a drive. There are little spots to pull off the road at the top of the mountains where you can look out over miles of farmland and trees.
photography by @ethanabitz
For homebodies, I think the best way to go is to bring a good book, or a board game to play with your loved ones or friends, something analog and hands on that will help you forget the endless e-mails, and scrolling, and messages for awhile. Something tactile that lets you take a deep breath and remember a time of more simplicity.
photography by @chelseamealo
But don’t forget to bring a tasty snack to go with it! We have an open fireplace, so s’mores are a safe bet. We also have a nice-sized and well appointed kitchen in case you like to get fancy when preparing your tasty treats. But the best way of all to get the most out of your stay is to bring someone along to share it with. Memories are best when made together.
What's the soundtrack for a stay in the Catskills?
Since my husband Grant has been a professional musician all his life, music is a really important thing for us. It totally sets the mood and can enhance the experience of visiting the mountains, but I think each part of the day and each adventure needs it’s own soundtrack. So we’ve actually made a few of our favorite records available, as well as a turntable so that whatever vibe you’re going for can have a bit of music. We have some Frank Sinatra for those moments when you want to feel relaxed and classy, and we have some Motown for when you feel excited and dancy. We even have some Billie Eilish for when you’re needing a moody groove.
For us personally, the best soundtrack changes all the time. Maybe some simple guitar folk music one day, and maybe some Mozart the next. There is too much good music to just choose one kind!
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