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Huntington home transforms into inviting retreat

A pair of vintage skis and snow shoes

A pair of vintage skis and snow shoes lend a ski lodge feel to the living room, while the Mona Lisa hangs in the corner inside of the home of P.J. Campbell and Matthew Dimakos in Huntington on Sep. 18, 2014. Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

When PJ Campbell and Matthew Dimakos first saw their two-story, 1970s contemporary home in Huntington nearly four years ago, it was in need of someone who could see beyond the outdated inside and overgrown yard. After much hard work, both the house and yard are inviting retreats thanks to Campbell's decorating touch and Dimakos' sweat equity in the yard.

"You don't have to do major structural things to make a big difference," says Campbell, 62, an author, hypnotherapist and owner of Mind Fitness Hypnosis in Huntington. "I walked in and was able to see how to make it the environment we wanted to live in."

That environment includes the look of a cabin in the Adirondacks. The idea is appropriate to the house that is built on a hill and has decks on three sides.

"I consider the yard a living art installation," says Dimakos, 51, an artist and owner of Huntington-based multimedia production company, Globalize Productions, of the 1,200 hours he put into carrying the thousands of pounds of stones and hundreds of plants and materials up to the backyard by hand. In addition to refurbishing the decks, he created two fountains that appear to come cascading naturally out of the hill. He estimates he spent more than $10,000 in materials and $3,000 for furniture to create the outdoor retreat that they use almost daily.

They share the retreat with the couple's two 9-year-old standard poodles, siblings Charlie and Tilly.

Combine the outdoors with Campbell's touches inside and it is easy to see how their individual visions come together.

A. AREA RUG, $400

From Montauk Rug & Carpet, Farmingdale

B. SOFA, CHAIRS and OTTOMAN, $14,600

Harry's (out of business)

C. SIDE TABLES, $450 (for two)

Glass-top table from Domain Furniture, which is out of business, and maple nesting tables from an estate sale.

D. LAMPS, $275 (for two)

Includes lamps ($250) from Country Curtains, Manhasset; and lamp shades ($25) from HomeGoods, Syosset


The tongue-and-groove planking covers both the first and second floor. Includes $25,000 for materials; $10,000 construction done by Tom Polizois, Paragon Remodeling, Mineola.

F. BANK OF CUTOUTS, included in construction costs

They were given a finished look with molding and paint.

G. STAIRCASE, included in construction

The new staircase, which mimics a horse fence, is a welcome contrast to the paneling.

H. 1800s CHANDELIER, existing

This belonged to Campbell's grandmother. Campbell painted it a flat black to complement the rustic charm of the room.


From eBay


What lodge doesn't have a mounted animal head? This one just happens to be wooden. Purchased online

K. FIREPLACE, $1,500

Original fireplace didn't really add to the look of the room. Campbell covered most of the brick with the panels, then added a large mantel ($1,500) and whitewashed the remaining exposed brick. Construction by Paragon

L. REUPHOLSTER CHAIRS, $400 (for two)

These two cane-back chairs ($100) were purchased at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, Huntington. Fabric ($50) provided by and work done ($250) by Fabric Mill, Plainview



Campbell painted it black and replaced the shade with one from HomeGoods ($13). From


From Lowe's Home Improvement, Farmingdale


Includes skis ($100); poles ($35) and snow shoes ($125), eBay; Mona Lisa print ($115) from the Louvre in Paris, additional artwork ($375); candles ($175, various locations).


Table ($50) is from an estate sale. Chairs ($185) are from



Macy's Furniture, Westbury

BENCH, $200



By Paragon Remodeling

TOTAL: $59,100


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