A new twist on Adirondack style
by Lisa Bramen
VISITORS TO LAKE PLACID have no shortage of places to stay, from swanky rustic lodges to budget chain motels. But until recently, there was nothing like The Haus—an environmentally friendly vacation rental property with a modern Adirondack aesthetic, Mirror Lake views and Main Street convenience.
In 2008, Anthony and Andrea Dawson-Ellis bought and renovated the 1905 building, which housed residential, retail and restaurant spaces, turning the apartments into a nine-suite hotel. They retained what they could from the structure—like tin ceilings and wavy-glass windows in some units. They ditched the skeleton of a disused oil furnace and tiny bathrooms in favor of municipal hydroelectric-powered heat, upgraded Energy Star kitchens, private balconies that overlook the lake, and expanded bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs. Also gone is a Swiss chateau motif, though it did inspire the business’s German name. “It’s distinctive yet easy to spell,” Anthony says.
The couple decorated the apartments in what they describe as “eco-chic”: black-and-white macro photographs on the walls; sleek, European-style furniture; a row of slim birch trunks dividing a room; a single antler hung on the wall like an objet d’art rather than a trophy. It’s more West Elm catalog than Great Camp—not at all rustic yet still Adirondack.
“Lake Placid, and the Adirondacks in general, doesn’t have anything modern,” Anthony says. “We wanted to do something contemporary.”
It’s the complete opposite of the style of the Dawson-Ellises’ previous property, the Porcupine Inn, a traditional antique-laden bed-and-breakfast in Saranac Lake, which they operated for ﬁve years.
Hospitality runs in Andrea’s family. Her grandfather was caretaker for the prominent Whitney family on Little Tupper Lake, and her parents own the Water’s Edge rental cottages in Long Lake, where she spent her pre-teens.
Anthony, who is from London, met Andrea in Manhattan. She was working in advertising as an assistant creative director; he was a set designer and, during the early boom days of the Internet, a web designer. “When we were dating we would visit her parents [in the Adirondacks], and one time we came and didn’t leave,” he says.
Though Andrea and Anthony love their rural mountain lifestyle, their urban, globe-trotting sensibilities and advertising backgrounds shaped the look of The Haus. “That was crucial in building our brand,” says Andrea.
The Haus earned the highest rating from www.iStayGreen.org, a website that evaluates the environmentally responsible practices of hotels. Andrea and Anthony offer a discount for guests who arrive in a hybrid vehicle, and encourage recycling and conservation. Their “Eco-tique,” which also acts as a reception area, sells stylish, recycled paper goods, gifts and jewelry.
Suites at The Haus average from $200 to $300 per night, with discounts for longer stays, in the off-seasons or midweek. Find more information or make a reservation at www.thehauslp.com or (518) 523-3005.