Cecily wanted a part of the design to reference the country life which she achieved through a lumberjack plaid rug and...
Cecily wanted a part of the design to reference the country life, which she achieved through a lumberjack plaid rug and birch tree wallpaper. The Caitlin Wilson buffalo check pillow is from Anthropologie, as is the side table. Matt Dutile
Before + After

Actor Cecily Strong’s Upstate House Mixes Midcentury Finds With Animal-Inspired Accents

Everything had to be comfortable, happy, and not too precious for the former SNL star

When actress and comedian Cecily Strong came across this house two hours from New York City, it felt like the opposite of the moment. “It was warm and comfortable, and I didn’t want to lose that,” she says. The pandemic had recently taken hold, and Cecily had friends who were already established upstate, so she decided to follow them for the time being and rent a place for herself and her dog, Lucy. And then what was supposed to be a temporary escape grew on her. 

AFTER: “I like how the design is fun and clever—which is to say thoughtful but with a personality,” Cecily says. The birch trunk wallpaper is from West Elm, and the sectional and chair are from Anthropologie.

Matt Dutile

“There are farms and horse paddocks around, as well as many picturesque small towns,” says Cecily, one of the longest tenured female stars of Saturday Night Live. “I wanted a quiet home outside of the city that was close enough to commute, where I could invite family and friends and have more space to host them.”

The hideaway she found felt open to the scenery and filled with sunlight—it even had a garden that she could use to hone her burgeoning green thumb. There were other long-standing properties in the area, but this nearly 40-year-old one seemed like it didn’t need too much help getting spiffed up. “The house had a midcentury feel, and I didn’t want to work against that,” she says. It had a large deck and rows of windows that were perfectly fine, plus a brick fireplace in a large living room Cecily had no intention of changing. Sure, it didn’t exactly have a primary bedroom suite, and every inch could use fresh coats of paint, but Cecily didn’t see those details as dealbreakers. Neither did the team at Ammor Architecture, whom she hired to handle the renovation.

AFTER: Cecily scored the Woodvale bed in teal from Wayfair and the nightstand from Sit Down New York. The Corbin lamp is by Kate Spade, and the chair and dresser were purchased from Anthropologie. The dog art print is by Jon Bertelli.

Matt Dutile

“They’re so creative, and they do a lot of problem solving in tight spaces in New York City,” Cecily says. “On one of our first Zoom calls, they produced some really cute watercolor sketches that made me think, ‘This is what I want!’ It’s incredible how close the final result got to them.”

BEFORE: The original office with all the natural light was a perfect place to transform into a primary bedroom and bathroom suite.

AFTER: The primary bedroom features various pink and yellow accents, plus one monkey lamp.

Matt Dutile

AFTER: The new window in the primary bath offers a perfect setting for relaxation.

Matt Dutile

A former office and bedroom were combined to form a primary suite, complete with an oversized transom window and a freestanding bathtub. A new walk-in closet and double vanity were installed nearby, while the three other guestrooms and the living room were lightly refreshed. “The construction phase was totally fine because I was able to use the rest of the house, and the crew was lovely,” Cecily says. 

BEFORE: The place had solid bones, but needed a fun and unique update.

AFTER: Cecily chose the Tiger Dancing in the Jungle wallpaper from Furbuddy in this guest room, which has a bed and dresser from West Elm and a floor mirror from Crate & Barrel. 

Matt Dutile

Once the structural changes were made to match the property’s existing midcentury character, Cecily partnered with the firm’s interior design team to pull it all together. She asked for “something unique and fresh” making it so each space would be awash in its own set of colors but still coordinate within a broader playful palette. “I love animals, all sorts of animals, and we had a lot of fun incorporating that into the design in many different ways,” she adds. Cecily also invited her friends over to paint, put up wallpaper, and build furniture together, which helped the home feel instantly more familiar.

BEFORE: What is now a guest room, was formerly a very green room for a child.

AFTER: New Moon wallpaper from Chasing Paper defines this guest room, with a Bryce flush mount from Kate Spade and linen curtains from Anthropologie. The bed and nightstand were also found at Anthropologie.

Matt Dutile

“Everything had to be comfortable, happy, and not too precious,” Cecily says. “This is my place to retreat and recharge.” The summertime project was completed a few months ago and since then, Cecily has been able to really delve into the warmth and comfort she first felt walking through the door. Sun pours into a bedroom with a crescent pattern on the walls and a monkey lamp on a ledge. Elsewhere books line shelves beside a fireplace that was left as is. And importantly, visitors can gather on a mustard-colored sofa and then sleep over in a tropical-inspired bedroom if they’d like.  

AFTER: The monkey lamp was sourced from Lightology. 

Matt Dutile

Cecily has plans for maybe a pool or a spa in the future, but for now, she likes where she’s landed. “My bedroom and bathroom have so much natural light, and I love being able to see through the windows in every direction,” she says. “It’s also connected to an exterior deck, and it’s nice to wake up and pop outside for a minute before doing anything else.”

AFTER: A sheep sculpture looks right at home in the lush grass.

Matt Dutile