For many of us, the impulse to follow a wild and beautiful dream is kept in check by an inner voice of caution: Surely it would be too risky, too time-consuming, too dear. Designer Ernest de la Torre has a knack for tuning out such misgivings, at least judging by the house that he shares with his husband, Kris Haberman, and their son, Parker.

From the broadest gesture to the smallest detail, their home is a testament to the rewards of going all in. Located in Snedens Landing, New York, a historiccommunity a dozen miles north of Manhattan, the house offers surprises at every turn. A kitchen counter is inlaid with petrified wood; brass parakeets pivot to turn on a bathroom faucet; “cloud” reliefs float on hand-troweled plaster walls; blown-glass dragonflies flit around translucent light fixtures; and raindrop mirrors cascade down a wall. A garden theme unifies the house, but nature here has a wonderland quality. “I like things to be unique,” says de la Torre, “so that someone can’t come along and say, ‘Well, I could do that too.’ I’d rather create something new.”

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