Living in the New York City is a wonderful, exciting, and completely draining experience. The nonstop spirit makes it unlike any other on earth, yet at times, it’s best to appreciate it from afar. As such, the Hudson Valley, extending north of the city for hundreds of miles, provides ample opportunity to escape to the forest and recharge among nature. One such retreat we’re especially fond of is the Pond House, by Brooklyn-based shop Sundial Studios.

Set among 19 acres of forest, wetlands, and old stone walls in Philipsport, NY, just 80 miles from NYC, the visually striking second home was designed to embrace the natural environment and offer access to a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and skiing to climbing in the nearby Gunks. Or, as designer, owner, and Sundial Studio’s founder Kyle Page puts it, “a place for the kids to run as far as they can, as fast as they can.”

As you may expect from a project designed whether the client and architect are one in the same, each aspect of the three bedroom build has been carefully considered. It’s purposefully simple, with focus primarily put on functionality, and site placement—the house is set directly north of the pond and features a south-facing glass wall through which the pond can be seen sparkling in the varying light throughout the day. This use of unique window shapes and site positioning focuses the interior living areas outward to the pond.

Materials further anchor the house in place. All the exterior materials—most notably blackened cedar wood, exposed concrete, and corten steel—are designed to heavily patina, requiring minimal maintenance and allowing the structure to evolve over time. Inside, the dining table, benches, and several headboards and interior shelves were created with wood from a sugar maple that was cut on-site and milled locally. Several ailing ash trees (inflicted with emerald ash bore) were chainsawed and fashioned into stools for use throughout the house by Page too.

In short, this heavily-considered family retreat is something all of us city-dwellers can aspire too.