When Steffy Degreff visited Iceland, she noticed a bright orange A-frame home blanketed with freshly fallen snow, and was so struck by the postcard-worthy contrast that she felt inspired to recreate that same sense of winter whimsy on her own A-frame in the Catskills.
Degreff’s Phoenicia-based home is her family’s retreat from their permanent residence in Long Beach on Long Island. And although it’s secluded, it’s far from private; Degreff is a lifestyle blogger and content creator who specializes in seasonal decor and fashion, and whose social media followers have hit just over half a million on multiple platforms.
Her eye for inspired design stems from years spent as a visual merchandiser for J. Crew. “The life of visual merchandising is exhausting though, and even though I was passionate about it, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do in the long term,” she explains. “I shifted to working at a marketing agency, which is where I got into doing more content creation for other brands. By 2017, I was doing my blog and focusing on content creation full time.”
Time of the Season
Most of her content in the beginning centered around seasonal fashion, with some home DIY projects. But after a few years of building momentum and followers, the pandemic hit. As the common tale of pandemic pivots goes, during lockdowns she found that not only did she enjoy spending her extra time on DIY projects in her Long Beach home, but that her audience was just as interested in seeing the journey play out, as many were stuck at home, too, and feeling the itch to change their surroundings.
“I was already into seasonal decor, painting accent walls, and room remodels, pre-Covid,” she explains. “But when we were home for lockdowns, I started thinking about work; fashion influencing was starting to feel like it’s dying out, and I never enjoyed the consumerism aspect of buying new clothes every year, anyway. The home content was a natural fit—I wanted to change everything in my house, I felt empowered to do most of it myself, and audience interests were shifting that way. I was happy to not have to be on-screen every day, like I did with fashion—I’d come up with something to work on, film it, and focus on the project; it’s so much nicer.”
Her follower count steadily climbed as Degreff began sharing DIY projects, decorating tips, and room renovations. As lockdowns eased, she and her husband looked into buying a weekend home upstate, and in 2021 they purchased the A-frame—which had good bones but needed updates and personal touches. “I just love A-frames—they’re cute and quaint, plus we always love Phoenicia and being in the woods. Long Beach is, of course, on the beach, so we’d often visit Phoenicia for nature and hiking trails. When we found this house, we had to have it; it was the perfect house.”
Because the 2021 housing market saw intense competition, they opted to buy it as-is, in an attempt to win a bidding war. “We wanted to be as agreeable as possible,” she explains. “That meant that the seller left all their furniture—rugs, couches, built-in shelves. It took us about two or three weeks to empty the house. We only kept a bed that fit perfectly downstairs and these brown-speckled plates that I love.”
A Splash of Color
Once the home was cleared, the fun part began. Degreff set to work on as many DIY projects as she could, such as painting tiles in the downstairs bathroom, new counters, cabinets, and painting the entire interior white. All lighting fixtures and faucets were replaced. Contractors came in to assist with a radon mitigation system in the basement and a new roof with nine skylights. An exterior balcony was removed and all windows were replaced. And the exterior was painted from a soft gray to that warm orange. “When choosing the exterior color, we considered green, but that would blend into the trees; black looks nice, but has been done so many times. We wanted a color that would stand out but work with the surroundings. So, we color-matched as close as possible to the orange A-frame we saw in Iceland, and it turned out exactly how we hoped.”
For interior decor, Degreff chose to do a Scandinavian-inspired look with a somewhat-minimalist color palette that would make it easier to swap out seasonal decor. She utilized local purveyors and services as often as possible, frequenting Tannersville Antiques, obtaining lighting and fixtures in Saugerties, and working with Dziewa Construction, who built a gazebo on the property, and more.
Degreff learned several of her DIY skills from her father, a general contractor, and others by watching tutorials online. Where she was limited, Degreff employed contractors. But all in all, her biggest challenge was getting deliveries up her quarter-mile driveway. “The tile company wouldn’t even drive up to the house; I had to leave from Long Island to meet him and drive the tiles to my shed,” Degreff says.
The long driveway didn’t stop curious neighbors, however, and Degreff welcomed them and their stories—many knew the history of the house, built in 1974, and the owners over the years. “While we were working one day, a woman walked up and said she knew the original owner, who was French and would invite the whole neighborhood to dinner parties,” she explains. “I gave her a tour of the new look and she told me about the parties. Other neighbors would walk by on occasion to check out the changes and see about our progress.”
A Picture Book Story
With each step along the way being documented on TikTok and Instagram, the internet was watching along, too—and you never know who might be included within that group. For Degreff, that included a publisher who offered her a chance to live out a major goal.
“In March 2022, I received an email from DK Publishing, a division of PenguinRandom House, asking if I was interested in putting out a book,” she says. “I went to school for journalism, and had written a few children’s books, but never imagined this project would lead to its own book. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I talked with them, they extended an offer, and we jumped into producing it right away. Within weeks they set up a spring photo shoot.”
What resulted is A Home for Every Season: A Month-by-Month Guide to Decorating Your Space. It includes seasonal and holiday decor inspiration, 25 DIY projects, five recipes, outfit ideas, and reflections, all centered around life in the Catskills A-frame and her Cape-style home in Long Beach. The book features text by Degreff and photography by Nick Glimenakis.
Meanwhile, she’s still creating content to share on her blog and social media for the foreseeable future. While the term “influencer” tends to have a stigma associated with vanity, the idea of social influence is not new—it’s just that the medium through which the masses are inspired has changed. And Degreff says she’s proud of the impact her work has had, noting that she’s received numerous messages from women who say that after watching her content, they’ve found their own confidence to take on challenges that felt intimidating before.
“It’s great to see so many people say they felt empowered to step outside of their comfort zones and take on projects, whether it’s putting in board and batten, or expanding in other areas of their life,” she says. “Everyone is a beginner at something, and I think some people just need to hear someone say, ‘It’s okay, you can do this,’ before they jump into a project. Mistakes along the way are learning opportunities; make a plan, jump in, and go for it.”