Design Diary: Source Adage, At Home in the Fragrance House
Robert Dobay, Cole, and Christopher Draghi. Photos by Christopher Draghi
Hello again from Design Diary, where each month we travel behind the scenes to the home of another stylish upstate entrepreneur. Yes, we’re still deep in fleece and frost, and a general feeling of arctic inertia is palpable, but rumor has it that spring stirs just beyond that drift of melting snow. To survive these last few weeks of hibernal funk we best embrace the seasonal gloom as the Danes do, with a visit to a hygge home, where the focus is on creature comfort, cultured coziness and sensual scents.
Join us as we get cozy with Christopher Draghi and Robert Dobay, the creative directors and founders of Source Adage, a luxury branded international fragrance house creating elegant products for the home and the body. You’ll find the Source Adage flagship located in a classic Greek Revival building, in the heart of Hudson. Draghi and Dobay, along with their gregarious German Shorthair Pointer, Cole, happily reside above the fragrant storefront, on Hudson’s prime shopping street.
In 2015 the talented spouses, who together offer considerable expertise in branding design, marketing and public relations, began working with their favorite broker, Nicole Vidor, of Nicole Vidor Real Estate. They were ready to secure a new home for themselves and their nascent company, and began exploring various upstate towns. Vidor was able to efficiently pinpoint an ideal location for Draghi and Dobay to launch their sophisticated signature collection of luxe perfumes, diffusers and hand poured candles. “Her warm welcome and honesty were key to our moving forward with the purchase of a Hudson property,” said Draghi.
After over a decade of living abroad and working for hospitality giants Starwood and Marriott brands in Italy and England, followed by four years in NYC (which involved frequent travel between the US and Europe), these consummate city slickers needed a place with a sense of style and easy access to urban centers like Manhattan. Bumpkins they are not…so Hudson’s siren song rang loud and clear to them as they sought relief from big-city-burnout, but it also promised a cosmopolitan ambience that other small towns couldn’t touch.
Leaving their corporate desks behind, the couple’s dream of designing an upscale line of fragranced products inspired by distinct regions in America (Pacific Coast and Southern States are just 2 sophisticated scents from the collection of 6), could now become a reality. They quickly purchased the historic building, thrilled with the clean architecture and grateful for the proximity to Hudson’s restaurants, shops and Amtrak. The handsome façade, a sweeping staircase inside, and space for both a retail and a residential floor all in one great location, made for the relatively easy decision to acquire the building. “My favorite part of the house is still the original staircase that, although simple, retains all the scars of the building’s colorful past,” Dobay said.
With a bit of research, the gentlemen learned that their newly acquired abode was built in 1830 by Henry Pratt Skinner (1786 - 1866) and that the 1,500-square-foot ground floor had once functioned as his daughter’s school, in addition to more typical mercantile businesses over the years. Meanwhile, over the course of almost 200 years, the 1,200-square-foot second-floor residence had been divided up into two cramped apartments. The obvious solution was to remove unwanted walls and open the space, returning it to its original layout and allowing for a more loft-like environment in which to live. The rare opportunity to establish a curated showroom for the branded fragrance collection, tend to their growing list of private clients (which includes international high-end hotels and restaurants) while living just upstairs, was uniquely appealing.
Draghi and Dobay chose an intensely dark aesthetic for the store’s interior, and a dramatic range of grays and blacks for their private quarters. They continued the glamorous Stygian palette throughout the product line; the jet black is especially stunning in their Source Adage custom glass candle vessels. Finally an “almost black” paint was selected for the building’s exterior, designed to accentuate the neoclassical detailing and distinctive silhouette. With home and headquarters thriving under one roof, the couple continue to live house-proud in Hudson.
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