This DEN Barnhouse Family, lovingly called Casa Nevana, was built in the mountains of the Catskills in Hunter, NY by Jen and Mike. The home was completed in October of 2022 by Jeremy Mayr of Catskills Fine Homes, a BuiltBy DEN
official build partner.
Casa Nevana, a modern barnhouse, offers a single-floor open concept home with rejuvenating indoor/outdoor living spaces. A place for friends & family to hit the slopes, view fall foliage, springtime hikes, and enjoy warming summer mornings sipping freshly brewed coffee and star gazing at night!
We interviewed Mike and Jen while they were getting ready to complete their build on what they thought of the process, why they chose DEN, and a whole lot more. Read our conversation below!
Tell us About Who You Are
Who are you and why did you want to embark on this project?
We are Jen and Michael who live in South Orange, NJ with our two amazing kids ages 6 and 2.
What are you passionate about in life?
Spending time with family & friends, health & wellness, traveling, vintage cars & motorcycles, the earth and its creatures (human and non human), chasing sunshine, and now creating awesome experiences for others to enjoy in our beloved Catskills.
What’s special about the area/region you’re building in?
Michael’s dad, originally from Brooklyn, used to go up to North/South Lake in Haines Falls with his high school buddies each year. Ironically they all had sons and it became tradition that each September all the dads and sons would meet up in the same spot to camp and hike. This area was Michael and his dads shared happy place. Fast forward to 2009, Michael and his parents bought land in Hunter and built an awesome A-frame which was always his dads dream. Today, all of us and now our kids find the same happiness in Greene County, and specifically Hunter NY. 2 years ago Michael and I had an opportunity to buy an incredible property and we thought it would just be an amazing experience and investment to share our passion for the area with others.
Show us Your Project
What drew you to this piece of property? What’s special about it?
It’s located just above the Village of Hunter, which will soon become a great revival story. We have 2 sister lots, each ½ acre with incredible southern facing exposure and expansive view of Hunter Mountain and the trails. It gets incredible sunshine, amazing breezes and even calming rain storms. It’s an easy walk down the road to the village, Fellows Coffee Shop, the Schoharie Creek and so much more. A 1 minute drive to Hunter Mountain and 15 minutes to Windham. It’s the perfect setting and location for a DEN house and high end rental retreat, now known as Casa Nevana.
What DEN design are you building and what drew you to that model?
The Barnhouse Family. It’s a simple, modern & clean design - timeless and unique. With 3 full bedrooms, and office/bunk room, and 2 bathrooms it’s nearly 1600SF of awesomeness. 1 level for easy access makes it perfect for a single family, 2 couples with or without kids, or a handful of great friends. It’s has the aesthetic benefit of an A-frame but without impeding on space and utility. Most of all, each room having it’s own 8 foot sliding door onto a superb deck creates an incredible indoor/outdoor living experience.
What stage are you at in your build?
The build is complete! We finished in October 2022.
Share More About Your Build
What modifications did you make to your DEN design, if any?
- Added an attic with staircase for storage
- Removed sky lights
- Replaced some doors with full panel fixed pane windows
- Added various electrical elements indoors and outside
- Added gas burning fireplace in lieu of wood
- Removed pool deck, replaced with 56 foot timbertek walk off deck
- Various kitchen changes including the addition of larger island
- Added seating area at front entrance in lieu of closet
- Most finishing items were hand selected (appliances, cabinets, vanities, toilets, tubs, etc. etc.
How long did your build take?
Broke ground early May 2022 and finished October 2022. It’s important to note that much of the planning and site work was done prior including foundation. Despite a few small setbacks due to COVID, supply chain, and weather, we’ve managed to get here in just 4 months time from the start of framing. Hats off to our fantastic builder who has shown up every single day!!
What was your cost per square foot or meter?
Our cost is approx. $385 SF.
Did you work with a builder, DIY, or a combination of both?
Did you run into any challenges during your process? How did you overcome them?
Yes. Thankfully the majority of them were minor and mostly related to framing/lumber costs, window & door delays and evolving cost of materials due to supply chain. In the end though, we’ve ended up with an insanely well built, high-end home that will stand for our kids, their kids, and likely even after.
What do you love most about your DEN?
It’s literally the PERFECT sized vacation retreat for either ownership or rental. Its design and build specs are top notch, arguably overbuilt but will without a doubt stand the test of time. We LOVE it and can not wait to share it with family, friends, friend of friends, and total strangers!
Share your DEN Experience
How did you find DEN?
What drew you to the DEN designs?
Simplicity, design, all in one starter packer so we can hit the ground running. Expedited time frame, great customer service.
Are you glad you chose DEN?
First, who doesn’t love a great start-up success story. Coming from the tech world ourselves, we really resonated with what DEN was seeking to do in terms of disrupting the traditional architectural industry. We had reached out to many architects, and each wanted to charge a small fortune to so called design us a house. We kept thinking there had to be a better way, and then one day it just popped up in our INSTA feed. Jen loved the simplistic, yet detailed and modern designs and I thought, that’s exactly (the Farmhouse Family) the house we are looking for. A quick call with Mike, the founder of DEN, learning they were also local to the area and we were hooked.
How would you rate your overall experience as a DEN customer?
On a scale of 1-10, we’d give a 9 or in letter perspective, solid A. From a customer service perspective, 10 all around and A+. But as with anything, there’s always room to grow, and as DEN is still early stage I think the experience and the overall offering will only get even better.