While some people saw a dilapidated motel with walls riddled with holes and kicked-down doors, one couple saw an opportunity.
2004 Godwin graduate Kendra Sinclair, and her husband Jared Vengrin, recently closed on a $950,000 motel in Red Hook, New York, and are renovating it into a stylish getaway. They will call it “Reclaimed Motel”.

Sinclair’s husband  grew up in Red Hook, NY, and used to pass by the motel every day. Being the only motel nearby, they were curious and went to check it out. 

“We toured the motel without any real intention, but once we saw the view and imagined bonfires on the hill, we became pretty emotionally involved, which is not ideal when approaching buying a property,” said Sinclair.

The couple started demolition on the motel in November, and plan to start construction this month. 

“From there, we’ll renovate the bathrooms, put in new flooring, and start working on the exterior spaces, including personal decks for each guest,” said Sinclair.

They want to focus on creating environmentally friendly, sustainable changes, while still keeping the 1960’s style. 

“This means leaning into the wood-paneled ceiling, playing around with wood veneer, having fun with colorful tiles and grout, and playing with textures like velvet and corduroy,” said Sinclair. 

The couple will be working with the bones of the motel but will gut the bathrooms, upgrade the heating and cooling systems, and eventually add solar power.

“It’s important to us to integrate solutions that are more sustainable, from insulation to repurposing used tile and reclaimed lumber,” said Sinclair.

Figuring out how to optimize space and recycle the present material will require a creative mind. While they haven’t run into any major problems yet, they did have one small hurdle.

“One of the rooms — which was kept from us when we toured the property — is actually about half the size of the other rooms. So to make it a viable room for guests, we need to get creative about how to maximize space around it.”

Sinclair has partnered with Kristina Dousharm, from Kristina Dousharm Architecture, who will help her with creative space planning and overall design. Sinclair plans to spend around $500,000 on starting renovations to get the motel up and running. 

“There will be future costs associated with landscaping, building out amenities, and fixing up the house to turn it into a complementary business,” said Sinclair. 

The couple has experience with rehabbing properties, including a condo in Austin, TX, and a house in East Palo Alto, Canada.  They’ve also spent the last year working on their own house in Red Hook, NY. 

“[Renovating our house] involved living in a deconstructed house with no insulation, no heat, and no walls all winter, [so] we’re excited to work on a project that we’re not simultaneously living in,” said Sinclair.

Sinclair has been working with a design duo to think about the customer profile and their experience at the motel.  She believes the completion of the motel will create job opportunities and opportunities to partner with local businesses, and her career choice will help with this. 

“I’m a Social Impact Partner Manager at Meta. Working in partnerships, focused on engaging nonprofit and social impact technology companies, I most look forward to building partnerships with local businesses in the Hudson Valley and using the property to contribute to our community here. Also, working in tech, my aim is to make the customer experience as intuitive and enjoyable as possible, from the check-in process to discovering the best seasonal activities in the area,” said Sinclair.

The couple expects to be putting in finishing touches and furnishings in June. Their goal is to be open in the summer, but Sinclair could very well see it open in the fall. 

“I’ve learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to any kind of property renovation and build in lots of extra time for the administrative checks and balances,” said Sinclair.

Stay tuned for another story towards the end of this project!

EDITORS NOTE: For additional pictures and to stay updated on the process, visit their Instagram @reclaimedmotel

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