Fashion designer Keren Craig, co-founder of luxury womenswear brand Marchesa, was looking for a home in upstate New York for three years without any luck—before finding a converted 100-year-old barn in the hamlet of Accord.

“The moment we pulled into the drive, my husband and I just smiled and looked at each other and knew this was going to be the one,” she says. The property was dated and needed a lot of work, but as a designer, she could see the potential. 

Craig and her husband, Piers North—both originally from the U.K.— purchased the home 12 years ago, initially commuting from Manhattan to work on renovations over weekends and vacation time. In 2019, having fallen in love with the area during their frequent trips, they decided to make it their full-time home and left the city for upstate. It was a year of change for her, having stepped down from the red-carpet label she co-founded. 

“It was perfect timing because we moved upstate before the rest of the world wanted to, during the pandemic,” Craig says. 

Now she is listing the converted barn with Annabel Taylor at Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty, for $2.87 million. For that, buyers get a gut-renovated 2,136-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bath home on six and a half wooded acres. Accord is about an hour and 45 minutes’ drive from Manhattan, not far from trendy parts of the Hudson Valley.

Craig says she’s decided to sell because she’s ready to move on to a new project. “The joy we get from doing renovations is amazing. I think a lot of people get really stressed, but my husband and I thrive on it,” she says, adding that everyone always loves the before-and-after pictures, but they like the in-between bits of projects, too.

She says they finished the work right before Thanksgiving in 2023, when they completed on an addition that included a primary bedroom, a walk-in wardrobe, sunroom and two additional bathrooms. The house comprises two floors, with all the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen on the ground floor. The large staircase leads to the open-plan second floor, which has a library, workspace, TV nook and living area, perfect for spending time as a family or having groups of friends over.

The renovation process was long but enjoyable, and with the occasional surprise. “When we bought the house, we didn’t realize that there was actually a hole in the ceiling from where they used to throw hay down to the cows when it was a working barn,” Craig says. They sealed that up quickly and added insulation to keep the house warm during the cold upstate winters. 

When they were adding the extension onto the property, they also discovered that previous owners had already laid a foundation there with a different purpose in mind. “They wanted to build the house into a dance academy, so they had actually built out all the foundations to build a new wing, so it turns out we didn’t have to pour new foundations ourselves when we were adding the extension,” says Craig. The dance academy never came to fruition, but it’s a fun bit of property lore. 

When she was renovating, Craig says, it was important to create space for entertaining. “Our upstairs space is all open-plan, and I have DJ decks up there and a dance floor area,” she explains, saying her house has been fabulous for parties. “It’s a giant living space where at the back you can fit a lot of people.” She says they host Thanksgiving, and big Fourth of July bashes. “We get fireworks and play music outside, and all of our friends in the area come. That’s always a fun one, because it’s my husband and I’s anniversary on July 5, so we make it a double celebration.” 

She says the area around Accord is getting increasingly popular—she points to the newly opened hotel and members club Innes, where she swims in the summer—and there’s also a Soho House opening soon in Rhinebeck, about 30 minutes away. Prices in Accord increased over the course of the pandemic; the median sale price for a home was $670,000 last month, according to Redfin data. The median was $305,000 in 2019, according to the Ulster County Board of Realtors.

“This is one of those areas that people just flock to, there are more and more great restaurants opening up and lots of antique stores,” says Craig. “The Hamptons is always going to be there, but there are a lot of people who don’t want to constantly sit in the traffic out to the Hamptons and are looking for an alternative and with more special places opening up around here. This is it.” 

As to the prospective purchaser of the country-chic converted barn, Craig says she sees another family buying her home, as it has been a wonderful place for her two young daughters to grow up. They’ve built a treehouse in the forest, and Craig walks her dogs around the wooded lot first thing every morning and has a sense of peace when she looks back at her house in the early morning light. 

 “I still go into the city about twice a week,” she says, “but the reverse commute has been great for my mental health.” 

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.