Category Archives: Architecture

Friday Real Estate Porn: Claverack Passive House, $675,000

Haven’t heard of Passivhaus? It’s one of the greatest green building innovations since the igloo. Basically, it’s a house so tightly sealed that it hardly needs to be heated or cooled. It uses an air exchanger to help regulate the temperature, as well as passive solar heating (basically, a giant wall of south-facing glass that lets lots of light and sun and heat in during winter months, and an overhang to block it during the summer).

This passive house, a spec house in Claverack built by Dennis Wedlick Architects, is a beaut. 349 Millbrook Road in Claverack is an electric house with an expected annual utility bill of $400. Nice. It has three beds, two baths, 1,650 square feet and seven acres, all a hop-skip from Hudson. The ceilings are 22-feet high, very open floor plan. I think it’s a tad too modern for me, a little on the sterile side, though I’m sure if you furnish it warmly it’ll be amazing. Certainly, it’s a piece of architecture to be proud of.

It was profiled in the NY Times last summer (as well as in Interior Design this fall) and listed at $595,000. So what happened? Turns out the builder’s costs were much higher than anticipated, so they’ve now listed it at $675,000. Harumph.

349 Millbrook Road, Claverack (Gabel Real Estate) GMAP

Cabin Porn


A reader clued us in to this great site, nothing but cabins, from rustic to high-design, all for your drooling pleasure. You can submit your own. In fact, upstaters should — I don’t see any cabins in upstate New York on there yet!

Hey, if you’ve got any houses to recommend, sites to pass on, or any other tips, send us a note. Thanks.

Behold, the Octagon House: $459,000 in Catskill

Um, is this the coolest place we’ve ever featured on Upstater? I’m pretty sure it is (and my thanks to Peter Aaron for pointing it out!).  You hardly need me to explain its coolness to you, although I will point out that even though it’s on two “park-like acres” it’s between two pretty busy roads, and on the other side of the creek from the increasingly charming part of Catskill. Still, where else but Catskill can you pick up a renovated architectural, octagonal masterpiece from 1860, one that has a media room, for $459,000? Taxes are reasonable-ish, at $6,282. It has four beds, 1.75 baths, 3,700 square feet, and a spiral staircase that leads to what they call the sky lantern. Absolute and total heaven, if you’ll pardon my effusiveness.

Modern Ulster County Homes, from Affordable to Dreamable

I came across this post over on Dylan Taft’s website — he’s the real estate broker who gave us the inside scoop on Stone Ridge a couple of weeks ago. He’s done a great job picking out modern homes for sale in Ulster County that range from $250,000 to $850,000. Naturally, I love the most expensive one, but there’s a good mix here.

Upstate Jane: 2 Handmade Woodstock Homes- 1b/2b for 275K and 2b/1b for 139K

For over a hundred years…Long before the famous concert borrowed the town’s name, Woodstock has been home to artists, craftsman, musicians, activists and eccentrics looking to flee the city and live their lives simply and honestly surrounded by other bohemian’s that would celebrate and embrace community living, and passions that main stream society wasn’t ready to accept or fully respect. When the American Dream was still about finding your own way and doing it yourself, many of these people did not “buy” homes when they fled the city, but instead built them by hand with local materials found on the land, and down the creek in the area. With the help of the community and perseverance  (plus a lack of clear town building codes and permits I am assuming) they created some of the most ingenious and interesting homes around. Four generations later, some of these homes still exist today and are even available on the market. You can view these homes in the 1974 published book aptly titled “Woodstock Handmade Houses” by Robert Haney and David Ballantine, available on I was lucky enough to find this book thrown for the trash on a W. 70th Street curb in Manhattan on our way back from…yes, Woodstock.

The Maverick Concert Hall above

Hervey White was the Harvard educated “grandaddy” of the local handmade house phenomena,  leader of the Maverick Festival and original management team of the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, also in Woodstock. An idealist to an extreme, Hervey helped build hundreds of handmade homes with and for people, as if scattering seeds across Woodstock’s landscape during the initial years of the  Festival in the 1900’s and beyond.

Below are two “handmade homes” available to purchase currently in Woodstock. There are more though, if you look hard enough.

For 275K, this 1954 handmade home has a warm, rustic and open layout that seems ideal for a couple or single person’s weekend retreat. Full of quirky and efficient details, this is the quintessential handmade house. Featured in the 1974 book, this home is ready for a new loving owner. Click here for the listing. Also available to rent for $150.00 a night.

Beds:1 Bed Baths:2 Bath House Size:1,480 Sq Ft Lot Size:2.93 Acres

Potentially one of the first Maverick Homes, this stone cottage for 139K, is across the road from the Maverick Concert Hall, and was built in 1910. Along with its neighboring Maverick Festival homes, it is once again a quintessential antique handmade home.  I can picture Hervey White placing the stones and mortar of this house alongside his fellow festival attendees. (The likes of Isamu Noguchi and Russell Wright)

Set into the hillside, this adorable 2 bedroom/1 bathroom home is in a convenient location and would be easy to maintain. Click here for the full listing.

Beds:2 Bed Baths:1 Bath House Size:875 Sq Ft Lot Size:0.68 Acres

Upstate Jane: The Renovation of Our Weekend Home, Part 2

So when I left off we had just had a slam dunk success in the first 3 months of owning our weekend home in terms of the renovations we had done. With proper prep and research we had accomplished quite a bit in 3 months time considering we were only there on the weekends. Our contractor did a great job in materializing the design I had created for the kitchen. We were pumped! We also noticed though how a brand new kitchen and floors and partially new guest bath can start to make other flaws glaring! Suddenly our living room seemed shabby. The orange built in’s we had left up from the original owner along with the taupe/tan humongous forced air propane heater were like a big ugly blemish.

My husband and I debated over what color we should paint the built in. We had always assumed we would be rebuilding it at some point. We liked the contrast visually, but it wasn’t exactly originally built the best and there were somethings that were best left un”highlighted”  I had a friend up for the weekend and decided to just paint it white, to let the objects really pop and show off their form more. Here it is before…

And here it is after we painted! I decided to take a risk and paint the propane heater white as well, to help it disappear…it worked!

Once we finished this project, we were all set for the bathroom work to begin. My parents were going to visit in late June, early July,  and I wanted the master bath to be finished by then. We were told it would begin in May/June and would be done in a month. I was so excited! I started ordering away! I had pretty much everything ready except for the tub! My design was ready, my materials were here, my estimate in hand, my schedule was on track!!! Then we waited…and waited…and more waiting…my parents pushed their visit to August…and we waited more. My contractor was so far behind! Now most people would say, why didn’t you just go with someone else?! Fool! HA! I can only explain it like this…my contractor to me is like that guy/girl you had a crush on, that you are willing to wait for until they are “ready” to notice you. I will WAIT for him. We work so well together, and he does such a good job in building my designs, that I needed to hold out for him. Well guess what…I waited until the end of OCTOBER before he started working on the bathroom. Yeah. So lesson learned. I mean, I will still wait for him…but I learned I need to really make sure he is going to START the job when he says. Do I sound like an abused spouse?  It took a long time, since he was working on multiple jobs, and the project  wasn’t finished until JANUARY. A far cry from the kitchen’s speed! To be fair, we were also waiting on the plumber as well,  but…when it was done…wow. Watch the transformation here from weird office/sauna room to my master bathroom, and read more here, then here, and finally hereRead the rest of this entry

Upstate Jane: Gorgeous Dutch Architect Designed Home with Pool on 3.3 acres- 299K

88  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 12780

Swoon. This home is a show piece. Located in Sparrowbush (Near Middletown) this 4 bedroom/2.5 bath home has unbelievable soaring wood ceilings, large finished basement, a huge fireplace, floor to ceiling windows and a pool all on 3.3 acres. All of this and…wait…mountain views.

View the photos below, and see the full listing here

88  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 1278088  HARTWOOD CLUB ROAD Sparrowbush, NY 12780

Property Features

Fireplaces:  1

Air Conditioning:  None

Garage Parking:  0

Area Location:  Deerpark Town

Driveway Description:  Blacktop

Garage Configuration:  None

Heat Zone:  3

Heating Fuel:  Oil Above Ground

Heating Type:  Hot Water, Steam

Property SQFT

Sqft Finished Approx:  2216

Stone Ridge Stone House, $200,000 (and counting down)

Ah, an actual house made of the stuff for which the town is named! This listing— a three-bedroom built in 1756 — dares to use the phrase “once beautiful” (referring to the gardens), so you know some of the reason behind the price. The rest of the reason: it’s on very busy 209, fairly close to the road. It’s obviously in need of some serious love (including a nice interior paint job), but, man, what a beauty. Those built-ins! The doors! That incredible hearth. Cute little shed in the back. For the handy and hearty and true lovers of old homes, this must be tempting. I just think I’d feel so happy every time I pulled in the driveway. It’s right next door to a community college — how great if you could get a job there and have a five-second commute! The price has already been reduced by almost $80,000! Stats on the jump.

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Woodstock Green Luxury, $915,000

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They’re calling this green home in Woodstock, NY  a French farm house. It was built in 2003, so has modern everything (kitchen, yum) including passive solar heating, radiant heat flooring, organic gardens, VOC-free materials. Just outside Woodstock, on a beautiful stretch of road, two acres of land. Stats on the jump.

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Upstate Jane: Design Savvy Upstate Vacation Rentals

As the owner of Dichotomy Interiors, I have had requests from people for where they can find a rental Upstate that looks like my weekend home. The one place I always know I can send them is to the site Red Cottage Inc., a company founded by owner Jennifer Grimes. I did a brief showcase of her rentals a few years ago on Urban Jane, and I have watched the company grow from managing rentals in the Catskills, to opening up her own real estate firm, to now covering properties all the way in the Bahamas and on to Ireland! I am going to showcase a few of the gorgeous rentals available on her site, that should tempt even design snobs into venturing upstate for a getaway.

The first property is an award-winning rental in Hudson, designed by the owner-architect at Messana O’Rorke Architects.  “Ten Broeck Cottage” is available as a weekend, monthly or seasonal rental.

8+ acres • 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms • Sauna • Steam room

Cell reception • WiFi • Cable TV • Apple orchard • River

DVD • iPod enabled housewide sound system • Washer/dryer • A/C • Fireplace

Why you should rent this house: Design, design, design

The next property is located in Youngsville, NY (convenient to Jeffersonville and Livingston Manor) is known as “The Barn”  It is an artist renovated barn with combination of chic city flair and rural cottage coziness punctuated by a river stone fireplace in the center of the home.

3 bedrooms (queen beds) • 2 bathrooms (1 with shower, 1 with jacuzzi bathtub/shower)

Spotty cell reception • WiFi • 37” HD DVR (cable) • DVD/VHS • 50 CD player

Dishwasher • A/C in master bedroom • iPod speakers • Gas grill • Washer/dryer

Reasons to rent: Style galore, and Q-U-I-E-T

The next property is the “Four Season Lodge”, a renovated farmhouse in Claryville, NY with its own swimming pond and screening room.

Swimming pond • Hot tub • 113 acres • DVD player on high intensity projector

Washer/dryer • Nightclub quality stereo with wireless streaming from iTunes • Gas grill

Land line: Yes • Cell: very spotty • Internet: No • TV: No • Board games

Not suitable for young children

The final property is a waterfront beauty aptly called “Amber Lake Cottage” in Livingston Manor.  This home has an air of sophistication and luxury and also is potentially dog friendly.

Well-appointed kitchen • Weber gas grill • Satellite TV (flat screen) • iPod Speakers

DVD • Stereo • Dishwasher • Washer/dryer • AT&T, Verizon cell coverage

WiFi • Row boat • Well-behaved dogs considered (note the white furniture!)

These properties should satisfy anyone of your friends who has turned their nose at Upstate thinking it is only filled with musty cabins and patchwork quilts! Most of the properties are available for short-term, monthly or seasonal rentals. They say January is when to start searching for your “summer rental”!

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