Upstate Farmhouses, Acreage, 650K+

76959_12IF EVER THERE WAS A ‘BACK ROAD,’ it’s Starbarrack Road in Red Hook, N.Y., a little-traveled, winding two-laner with nothing on it but old houses and barns. In northern Dutchess County, heart of the Hudson Valley, Starbarrack Road is a hamlet unto itself; I’ve often driven it just for the pleasure of traveling back in time.


Three old houses on Starbarrack Road have hit the market in recent weeks, including my favorite, #105, above and right. An 1820 Greek Revival on 4-3/4 acres, with Catskill views, a lovely pond, 3 fireplaces, wideboard floors, the “right” windows, and beamed ceilings on the lower floors, it’s been stylishly done up, and done up right (except for the vinyl siding, though some might argue that’s a good thing). Ask is 650K, which is rather a pretty penny for these parts, and taxes are high ($11,000/year). But it’s still wonderful. I would if I could. Go here for the listing and more pics.


Then there’s #71, left, an 1850s Victorian farmhouse on 11 acres of former apple orchard. You got your wraparound porch, fireplace, yada yada, but the main attractions of this historic farm, “once owned by the Apple King of North America,” are several vintage outbuildings, including a stone summer kitchen/smoke house, and a couple of extraordinary barns, one English, one Dutch, both a faded aqua color. Because of those fabulous barns and the acreage, the ask is 895K, with taxes of $7,000 per year. Details and more pics are here.


Registered Dutch barn, above; summer kitchen, below


Finally, check out #30 Starbarrack, below, an 1890s Victorian on 10.7 acres with a serviceable 8-stall barn. Very attractive house, but nearer Rt. 9, not as secluded as the others — and within sight of several modern houses on bare plots. They’re asking 695K; taxes are $10,000. For the listing, click right here.


Why the sudden exodus from Starbarrack Road, when it’s not even a good time to try and sell a big old house? Damned if I know, but it looks like a negotiating op there for those poised to take advantage.

Modernist Barn in Sag Harbor


CALL IT MODERN. CALL IT RUSTIC. This newly remodeled property, on a third of an acre in a quiet Sag Harbor backstreet, is a hybrid of styles. It’s reminiscent of a French farmhouse, with a barn-like character in its soaring main space. But when she bought it as a development project in 2005, says architect Jifat Windmiller, it was just plain ugly. “People thought it was a motel.”

[Go here and search Web #53269 for more pics and info]

This post is a departure for me, as this is neither an old house (it was built in 1980), nor is it inexpensive (I generally try to feature houses under $500K, which is kind of a challenge in the Hamptons). But I’m blogging about it because Jifat, a highly talented architect, is one of my dearest friends, and I’m very impressed with what she’s created.


She was drawn to the property initially by the one-of-a-kind post-and-beam structure in the double-height living room. “That is why I bought it,” she says.


Aside from that dominant, uniquely sculptural feature and three massive fireplaces, “every wall, window, and door is completely new, and in a new place.”


Divided-light windows and French doors flood the rooms with light. The front porch is on ground level, like a modernist arcade, with classic barn doors that slide on tracks.

Jifat completely remodeled the kitchen and baths, and built additions for a dining room and master suite with a roof deck overlooking the pool. The house now measures 2,750 square feet, with 3 bedrooms and 2-1/2 baths.


She also designed and built a totally charming pool/guest house with wonderful medieval-style windows that I could be quite happy living in, if zoning laws allowed.


Upstate Update: Athens Federal 279K

Athens, N.Y., is one of the most atmospheric Hudson River towns, quite unspoiled. Two hours north of NYC in Greene County, it’s quiet, hilly, and river-oriented, with a close-up view of one of the Hudson’s few lighthouses.

The town (which was recently written up in the New York Times as a second-home hotspot) has some 270 buildings on the State and National Historic Registers.

This one –a professionally restored 3BR, 2 bath Federal clapboard house, built around 1810 — is on the market for 279K. It’s not shovel-ready; it is READY.a-winter1

The house has brick and wide-board floors, exposed beams, five fireplaces, and a private, shaded garden.  At the same time, it’s wired for cable and high-speed internet.


The house’s rear extension was added later, giving it afa saltbox shape.  The portico at the front door is one of many in the town added onto earlier houses in the 1830s, when Greek Revival became the thing.

This is an FSBO (for sale by owner) property.  Go here for lots more pictures and info, or contact

A bit more history:

The exact history of the house is unknown but the most likely first owner and builder appears to be Theophilus Dimmick (1763-1813  who moved from Falmouth Mass. to Catskill, New York in 1794 and married Abigail Hicks  (b-Catkill, NY). Over the years, the house had many owners including the Zion Lutheran Church which used it as a parish house in the middle part of the twentieth century. (Many older residents in Athens have fond memories of  attending meetings and pancake breakfasts here). The lower floor, with its separate entrance was also used as a fish market on Fridays.   The house is a fine example of  the type of  vernacular Federal houses that were built in many Hudson Valley  villages in the early part of the 19th century.a3