Thank You Winter Wonderland Team!

swan diorama Steiff

We’ve enjoyed a touch of enchantment at the Den through our winter wonderland animal dioramas, featuring the art work of the Bennett Intermediate School 5th Grade Students, with Roberta Ziemba as their art instructor. Roberta selected a beautiful color palette of blue, purples, and pinks with shimmering decorative effects. We loved seeing these talented students and their families at the opening!

We’d also like to thank RCS Fine Art for their help with the dioramas in the Steiff History Room, which combined the student work with our own Steiff winter animal artifacts. Thank you Rebecca Shea and Charlie Butterly.


Our doll house came to life through a cozy party scene filled with delicious miniature food and lots of Steiff teddy bears. Many thanks to Diana Smith Rush for staging such a beautiful scene, and to Charlie Butterly for lighting it.

Steiff Doll House

Our stone room diorama artists worked under a tight deadline to create inviting winter wonderland habitats for our Steiff animals, and John Cox of Refab made wonderful, light-weight boxes that our artists could transport to their studios with ease. Thank you to the following for creating these large box dioramas:

“Wandering Winter Bearries” by Doreen Johnson
“Winter’s Muse” by Kelly Merchant
“Winter Den” by India Sachi
“Winter Garden” by Jennifer Muck
“Magic Hour” by Roberta Ziemba
“Steiff Circus” by Nancy Ostrovsky

Bear_House_Vacation 062

Maria Reidelbach created a beautiful, wintery-graphic-design-look for us on very short notice! You saved us again.

Kelly Merchant responded to eleventh hour call of “HELP!” by organizing and curating many of the shelves of Steiff animals in the upstairs gallery of the collection room. Her selection of “Jewel Toned” Steiff is one of the visitor’s favorite shelves this winter.

Steiff Collection Room

Lora Shelley designed another beautiful storeshop display at Kingston Candy Bar, including her hand-sewn costumes and banners. Thanks to Diane Reeder for continuing to extend this great opportunity to us, and for packaging the gummy bears and candy we sell via the Kingston Candy Bar. You can now buy Steiff animals you see on display directly from the Kingston Candy Bar.

candy bar winter wonderland

Holiday Decoration Team was lead by Doreen Johnson, with help from Heather Needham, and RCS Fine Art. Doreen hung beautiful garlands throughout the house, Heather decorated sleds as a focal point outside and created hand-made wreaths for the windows. Kiddos Clara and Ella decorated the Christmas tree.

Exterior lighting thanks goes to Doreen Johnson, John Cox, Frank Meli, and Steve Schaefer – if it hadn’t been for them, Steve and I never would have hung up the lights around the porch, sign, or the deer decorations in time for Christmas. We’d also like to thank Seth Rubin for getting some much-needed, temporary spotlights onto our sign during the frightening ice storm on our opening.

Thanks to Lisa Jones for the delicious food she’s served at several winter events, including the exhibition opening, and the RVGA event. We continue to carry her baked goods here at the Den. Thanks to Nancy Cobb for helping us organize the space better and keep up on those annoying pine needles and glitter.

We thank everyone who braved the weather during the opening event. To all of you who have volunteered, who have come as visitors this winter, or who spread the word to friends, we thank you all!


Dream Team for the Grand Opening: Thank You !!!

We feel so grateful to have had such an extraordinary team to help us get this venture off the ground. One of our favorite parts of this has been working with all of the folks listed here. Somehow, the right people showed up with the skills we needed and with great “can-do” spirits; this was truly magical for us.  We’ll miss the energy you all brought to the house during the wonderful and crazy days leading up to the opening. We loved working with you all.



Planning and Approval:
Accountant: Craig Sickler, Sickler, Torchia, Allen & Churchill
Architect: Kurt Sutherland, KWS Architecture
Code Enforcer: Ray VanKleeck
Lawyer: Sara McGinty, Sara McGinty Law
Previous owners of the Basten House: Rodney and Lourd Basten
Realtor: Laurel Sweeney, Prudential Nutshell Realty
Town of Marbletown Planning Board, Rich Lanzarone – chair
Town of Marbletown Zoning Board, Will Husta – chair

House, Structural:
Cistern Removal: Jurgen Beneke
Electrician: Frank Meli Electric
Electrician: Steve Schaefer
General Contractor: Myron Baker (+ Will)
Painting: Charlie Butterly, Linda Ferri, Louis Ferri, Kathryn Smith
Plaster Repair: Charlie Butterly
Plumbing/Bathroom Addition: EZ Does it Plumbing
Plumbing/Steam Heat: Eric Heinz

House, Interior:
Antique Light Restoration: Tom Blake
Curtains: Jack O’Connor, Dolores Ferri, Lisa Ferri
Custom Picture Framing: John Cox, Refab and Lora Shelley
Custom Furniture and Retail Shop Cabinetry: John Cox + Nate Wade, Refab
Diorama Boxes: Mike Dwyer
Hard Wood Floors: Joe Whitmore, Walk on Wood
Interior Design Consultant: Nico Accardi
Interior Painting: Charlie Butterly

House, Exterior:
Carpenter for Sign: Ron Parenti
Landscaping: Nancy Cobb
Paving: Nick DeLaura, Nick DeLaura Concrete
Septic Engineer: Peak Engineering
Septic: Ed Garland
Stone Wall: Ryan Hoffstatter
Storm Windows: Mike Dwyer
Tree Removal: Ubashant

The Den porch

Fall Exhibit Artists and Graphics:
Diorama Artist: Doreen Johnson, Doreen J Designs
Diorama Artist: Lisa Ferri
Diorama Artist: Lora Shelley
Diorama Artist: Nan Bress + RCS Fine Art
Diorama Artist: Nancy Ostrovsky
Diorama Subject: Wendy Hollender/Dina Falconi, Foraging and Feasting
Exterior Sign Design: Maria Reidelbach
Exterior Sign Painting: Rosanne Percivalle, 2D3D Design, Inc
Installation: RCS Fine Art
Interior Signs and Graphic Design: Maria Reidelbach
Logo Design: Chloe Annettes, Chloe Art and Design
Steiff Vintage Animal Paintings: Lora Shelley
Website Design: Chloe Annettes, Chloe Art and Design

Art Designer and Installation: Rebecca Shea, RCS Fine Art
Art Handler: Charlie Butterly, RCS Fine Art
Interactive Designer: Adam Samson
Intern: Andrew Morgan
Intern: Tisa Lowen
Steiff Archivist and Consulting: Rebekah Kaufman, “Steiffgal”
Steiff Collection Donation: Grace Bress
Steiff North America, Inc.
Steiff Rod Bear Loan: from the collection of the late Mary Couke
Steiff Studio Animals Loan: Sandy Sherman

Grand Opening:
Baker: Lisa Jones, Hudson Valley Food Matters
Event Decorations and Furniture: Tammy Baldwin Basten, Hudson Valley Vintage Rentals
Food: Emmanuel’s Marketplace
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Rondout Valley Business Association
New Business Profile: Blue Stone Press
Photography: Sean Kahlil, Sean Kahlil Photography


Plaster Repair the Den

The Den’s New Radio Jingle

We have a catchy new, toe-tapping tune to air on the radio! We spent a day in the recording studio, seeing the magic unfold for our first ever radio jingle. We think it’s really catchy and hope you do too!

John Cox of “John Jacob Jinglehiemer Hitz” composed the jingle and performed the upright bass and the vocals. Dean Jones of “No Parking Studio” was the sound engineer and performed the drums and the piano. Click the picture below to hear the radio ad, read below the break for the full story, photos and clips.

The Den Radio Jingle play crop



Before we arrived, Dean set down the piano track and then he set down the drum track, each timed for 1 minute.


Then John did the vocals – he’d sing the jingle and read the copy together in one take, using the early tracks on the headphones for his timing and pacing. Pretty amazing that his voice held up all day. Here is the live footage of take #6 of 14 total:

John sings jingle for the Den

Notice anything special about that microphone? Turns out this mic was used in Simon and Garfunkel’s Live Concert in Central Park – cool! In the background of this photo, below the record on the wall, is some foam core that was used to protect the Grammy that Dean won several years ago – he uses the foam for acoustics, but if you look closely you can recognize the little horn shape cut out from the iconic Grammy statue.

Dean used protools to cut and paste the best parts of each take and did his audio mixing by the time I brought back our take-out burgers from Market Market. Final steps – adding the upright bass and audio sweetening.

Many thanks to John and Dean! It is kind of a dream for us to have a radio jingle. We hope to hear you all humming it when you … come on down to the Den of Marbletown.




Our Sign

Maria Reidelbach The Den Sign

We just got back from a field trip to Maria Reidelbach’s studio to see the work that is being done on our hand-made sign. We’re thrilled with Maria’s design and Rosanne Percival’s painting (along with her assistant, Amelia). We wanted an old-fashioned, hand-painted sign that would age well under the elements. The results are better than we had even dreamed. Many thanks to you both!