Shawn Henderson’s Upstate Colonial Has a Scandinavian Twist

It was love at first sight for the designer.

February 23, 2024

From the moment that New York–based designer Shawn Henderson set foot in his upstate New York weekend home nearly 20 years ago, he knew it was meant to be his second home. Built in the 1830s, the “eyebrow colonial”—named for its small, brow-like second-story windows—had been moved to another part of the property in the 1980s, and undergone many more transformations since. After a fire in 2017, Henderson was presented with an opportunity to add additional square footage, which resulted in a newly expanded kitchen, screened-in-porch, and primary suite.

Despite the modern-day additions, Henderson is careful to maintain a feeling of “warmth, comfort, and security” for everyone who visits. “It actually feels like a hug,” says Henderson of the guest bedroom with green wool–upholstered walls and Fortuny curtains.  He describes overall mood as “Americana meets Swedish country,” and in the 18 years he’s lived there, he has continued to fill the space with an interesting juxtaposition of pieces—think midcentury Scandinavian furniture with a Noguchi paper lantern and country-rustic fireplace in his living room. “Things aren’t too precious,” he says. “I want everyone to feel like they can just relax and be themselves.”