Sheep and Wool Girls' Review on The Saint James

Diane: VRBO Renter

Sheep and Wool Festival Girls' Weekend

"Four friends stayed at this charming home for the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival and within minutes of walking in the door and walking around the home we were ready to call the owner and sign on for next year. What a place! It had everything we were looking for in a relaxing place to retreat after a day walking around the festival. The place was very interestingly and tastefully decorated. I loved the little welcoming notes we found on the furniture and linens and in the kitchen telling us to help ourselves to what was there. It was fantastic to gather in the evening in the living room or outside in the backyard under the stars and then we each retreated to our own extremely comfortable beds! The location was perfect and we really hated to leave. The owner was responsive to initial inquiry and to detailed questions as we were approaching our arrival date. Needless to say, we booked this home again for 2015! HIGHLY recommend this place and I am VERY selective in where I stay!" Oct, 2014

Our home featured in Ulster Magazine July-August 2014

Ulster Magazine: The Hidden Gardens of Kingston

Amid urban streets, a trove of backyard oasis'

Form and function:

What happens when a “certified master composter” meets a boarded-up house with a yard the texture of bricks? Julian Lesser and Philippe Trinh saw opportunity knocking and the word “remediation” is their battle cry.

The house, distinguished as the last Social

Rosemarie Maresca’s garden features 400 feet of boxwood with a continual flower display from spring through autumn.

Services dwelling owned by the city before it got out of low-income housing, was vacant and vandalized for two years. The dirt driveway was a rutted pit and tracks cut through the yard by impatient pedestrians was the only thing beating back the unmown grass. On May 11, 2012, as a scraggly rose in the front yard optimistically put out imploring buds, Lesser and Trinh took ownership of the house that is now a beautifully appointed bed and breakfast called The St. James, which houses visiting film stars on location shoots.

How did they begin? The soil was hard packed and infertile. When they dug post holes for the fences they found garbage: plastic bags, medicine bottles, broken glass, siding and bricks. Lots and lots of bricks.

“We planted 100 trees and swore there must have been a brick road behind our house,” Trinh said.

Today the picket-fenced front yard is landscaped with benches, flowers and fruit trees. The roses have been tended. The back yard has a full perimeter garden of hostas, flowers and a koi pond with little toad houses tucked into the mulch. There are two large raised-bed organic vegetable gardens. Where a dirt pit once was is now a riverstone sitting area with a bluestone patio.

“Our goal was remediation of the land, so for every hole we dug, we’d make it two to three times larger than it would normally have to be so we could backfill it with rich soil to benefit the roots of our plants. What we didn’t create from our own compost, we’d buy from locally sourced compost materials, like Croswell’s,” Lesser said.

Their own land remediation led to noticing that there was room for local businesses and residents to hire a hauler to take away home and business food waste and give back composted “shares,” similar to the local CSA model.

“There’s a lot of focus on local farm-to-table, so we wanted to create a business that was from table back to local farm/gardens,” Lesser said. The two formed the company Compost Valley ( and partnered with Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency to develop pickup routes through New Paltz, Rosendale, Kingston and Woodstock as well as exploring options in Dutchess County.

The Saint James awarded by the Friends of Historic Kingston

On April 27th, 2014, The Friends of Historic Kingston (Fred J. Johnston Museum), and the chair of Friends' Preservation Committee has awarded Julian Lesser and Philippe Trinh with a 2014 Preservation award for all the hard work put forth on the St. James House.   Hayes Clement presented our award and we're so honored.  It validates and recognizes all the hard work that went into restoring this amazing house and we're happy that our home has a new light and chapter.  We love our home and we're happy that we can share it with others!


The Saint James Kingston on Design Sponge!

We love seeing our Kingston home featured on amazing design blog favorites like Design Sponge (  Here's an article about designing with mirrors by Amy Azzarito.

Mirrors are every designers not-so-secret secret. From bringing in more light to making a small space feel larger to even adding a little drama to the space – a mirror is seriously your best design friend. (And you can find some seriously good deals on craigslist and at thrift stores) Here are some of my favorite mirrors from our sneak peek archives – everything from frameless round mirrors to mirrors in ornate frames and even a mirrored hallway. There’s plenty of inspiration to bring a little reflected light into your February Monday. 


Image above: Elegant with a masculine touch: the ornate Versailles mirror softens the room while rugged pieces like the antique barn chair, 1800s shot gun and cast iron animals in this Hudson Valley home help to add a masculine touch.

Full article here:  Design Sponge

Compost Valley: Composting to come to Ulster County & Kingston soon!

Compost a Reality in the Hudson Valley

By Matthew Taylor

Woodstock NY Transition, established in 2011, began with a small initiating group, producing Public Information sessions and movies.  As the core group developed a workable structure, including a Constitution and Orientation Packet, 12 Working Groups evolved.  One of these Working Groups began as Greenware to Go, with the mission of converting local restaurants’ tableware to recyclable/biodegradable products. Quickly, the Working Group discovered this mission was too small and were determined to convert local business to a complete composting program.  They quickly discovered Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, which had a highly functioning composting facility in nearby Kingston, accepting all forms of compostable/biodegradable materials.  The working group changed its name to WOW, Woodstock Organic Waste, and went looking for a vendor who would be willing and able to haul compostables from Woodstock restaurants and stores to the nearby facility.  Miraculously, Compost Valley showed Up!

Compost Valley, a local and privately owner compost hauler, is on a mission to transform New York’s Hudson Valley, a region renowned for its natural beauty and local, sustainable food scene. According to founders Julian Lesser and Philippe Trinh, compost is the next crucial step for the Hudson Valley to remain on the cutting edge of the green movement.  Together, WOW and Compost Valley were ready to create a compost hauling route for Woodstock.
Woodstock NY Transition has fostered numerous relationships in the community through its commitment to introducing and embracing positive, sustainable change. WOW has played a vital role in raising local awareness of the importance of composting. It has acted as an essential liaison between local businesses and Compost Valley, enabling the project to transition from idea to reality. 
Compost Valley is establishing itself as the area’s first commercial and residential compost hauling service, making the popular farm-to-table ethos more sustainable by extending it to include table-to-farm as well. Since the program provides materials and offers customized pickup schedules, composting is a simple commitment for businesses and homes alike. 
The primary challenge is getting people to reevaluate what they think of as “garbage.” A significant portion of what we discard is actually compostable organic waste, meaning that much of the content in our landfills could instead be recycled and turned into a rich soil. This compost then remains in the local community and enriches the land for farms and gardens.   
Lesser and Trinh, whose home is in Kingston, see this project as beneficial not only for their beloved Hudson Valley community but also for the progressive environmental movement as a whole. They envision composting as the 21st century equivalent to recycling, which only became prominent in the 1980’s and is now one of the most fundamental aspects of waste management. 
Thanks to Woodstock NY Transition, Woodstock is set to have the first compost pick-up route in Ulster County. This has enormous positive implications on both the global and local scale. In addition to reducing Woodstock’s carbon footprint and fighting against global warming, local schools and farms can actually make use of the organic waste the community generates. 
This is an exciting time for the Hudson Valley, and a testament to the profound impact of projects initiated by dedicated community members.

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