A Barn Raising
The Sablewood at Highview Springs
Written by Megin Potter
Photos by Tracey Buyce Photography
Settled among the Schoharie Valley hills is The Sablewood at Highview Springs, a working hay farm elevated into an exquisite venue space.
Situated on 80 acres of hillside hayfields and hardwood forests, the genteel beauty of the property’s two ponds, and its sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains, create the ideal setting for a barn unlike any other. “It’s beyond a barn,” said owner Lisa Shaul.
Elegance abounds at The Sablewood, a spectacular circa 1870's English barn. This substantial structure is set upon a stone foundation, its rich black sable wood siding – a stand out feature in the sea of red barns that traditionally dot the Northern American landscape. Open the grand entrance doors to reveal a breath-taking space that is both stately and welcoming. The 40’ ceilings lift your eyes – and your spirits – up to the magnificent 1920’s chandelier. An impressive 12-feet wide and 8-feet tall, the dazzling chandelier is dripping with 435 fabulous 8-inch spear crystals from its 90 glimmering candles. The barn’s original character has been exquisitely maintained in its architectural details including its hand-hewn native timber ceiling beams and the hayloft ladders that flank the chandelier. Light pours in from the 50 large windows filling the huge open space. “Old barns didn’t have big windows, but we felt it was important to bring in natural light. It’s the one place we strayed from tradition,” said Shaul.
Polish and Grace
For the last 50 years of its 150 year history, The Sablewood was primarily a horse farm.
The main room was used as a riding area in the 1960s for prize-winning Morgan horses. When her father, Charlie Shaul, retired from running Shaul Farms, he completed renovation projects at The Sablewood - from its rebuilding to the finishing touches (including their 12 custom-made matching wall sconces and other custom lighting throughout). Lisa’s sister, Holly Shaul, has a wonderful eye for design and has been an integral part of all the renovations and layout of the space, as well. The Sablewood has been a tremendous family effort for sure.
It was Shaul’s travels and experience in the corporate world, along with nudges from trusted colleagues that gave her the confidence to embark on The Sablewood’s thoughtful transformation. This shoot was especially meaningful as Tracey Buyce photographed the first wedding held here -under a tent in 2015. “Her gorgeous property photos were an inspiration to move forward with the full scale renovations.”
Rena Zeppetelli, owner of Rena’s Fine Flowers, also had a significant landscape and design influence in designing our ceremony circle and outdoor cocktail area. It truly takes a village and Lisa feels so much appreciation for everyone who has helped along the way. She has put careful consideration into each choice she’s made to ensure adherence to safety regulations while providing a unique upscale experience.
Soft and Sentimental
Window boxes draping green and white florals greet guests outside while also creating a classy backdrop for bold color. “It’s already beautiful, so you can go as over-the-top or as simple as you like with the colors,” said Shaul.
Here, the gorgeous fall colors are just as lovely as a cozy winter wedding, a pleasant springtime soiree, or summer shindig.
The radiant heat exuding from the finished flooring and entirely climate-controlled environment provide parties of 20 to 250 people are in complete comfort - regardless of the weather!
“Having that climate-control is so key, it’s a necessity to holding an elegant event,” said Shaul.
The outdoor ceremony circle is an idyllic place to exchange your vows surrounded by nature, but during inclement weather, inside the barn three sets of giant sliding barn doors close to separate ceremony and reception areas as needed. The Sablewood also welcomes your dog and equine friends to include in ceremonies and photos!
For more information, go to TheSablewood.com