William Li’s Hudson Valley Home Is All About Nonchalant Glamour

A retreat fit for relaxation and inspiration.

June 17, 2021
Tastemaker and entrepreneur William Li knows a thing or two about living well. In New York’s bucolic Hudson Valley, he has the best of both worlds—a place to pursue his domestic passions and to cook up his latest business ideas.

• • •

The world of home has long been at the heart of William Li’s professional life. With an illustrious career—multiple roles at House & Garden, the top spot at Ralph Lauren Home, cohost of PBS’s Lucky Chow—he has long been steeped in the well-lived life. At the Hudson Valley house that he shares with husband, James Oates, a digital marketing executive, their definition of it is more about natty nonchalance than gilt and glamour.
“We knew this was the place,” Li says of the moment, 20 years ago, when the duo first saw the light-filled living room of the timber-peg structure with its 25-foot high ceilings. They were looking to upgrade from their first home in the area, which Li humorously describes as “a renovated chicken coop.” The house has, over the ensuing two decades, become their true home. “This is where we cook, entertain, garden and have laid down roots, literally and figuratively. It’s where our hearts are,” notes Li.
Li and Oates had vintage drum stools reupholstered in a zebra print and the bookcase is Ralph Lauren Home.Pernille Loof
The home has also served as a canvas for the couple’s varied passions, with old and new finds, from contemporary art to vintage ceramics. Unorthodox touches are deployed throughout, and nothing appears precious or contrived. Case in point: A striped vintage wool dhurrie bought in Buenos Aires was refashioned as a stylish sofa cover that allows the couple’s whippets, Archie and Max, and their latest addition, Georgina (a Staffordshire bull terrier), free rein.


For his most recent work projects, Li’s tapped into his Chinese heritage, exploring the idea that well-being goes far beyond a well-appointed house. Food was central in Li’s growing up. That, in combination with his good-natured irreverence and razor-sharp-wit, made the show Lucky Chow a perfect fit.
Li prepares Southeast Asian-style lettuce cups.Pernille Loof
Food also has holistic meaning for him. “When I was sick, my mother always went to the kitchen cabinet before the medicine cabinet,” says Li. That’s why, this spring, he and business partner (and Lucky Chow cohost) Danielle Chang are launching The Hao Life, offering plant-based, all-natural supplements grounded in traditional Chinese medicine. “The Hao Life is about supercharging ancient traditions,” says Li. That approach may be just what we need in today’s often stressful world.

Produced by Tori Mellott;
Styled by Olga Naiman