Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Discovering the past

This is the bottle I referred to in the previous entry, found lying on top of the knee high wall on the first floor at the front of the house, above the main entrance. Beside it was an old chisel. We looked closely at a couple of macro shots of the remains of the label. These are the only words we could make out:
"For expelling ........... various conditions. Children ...... as they do ................ worms thoroughly without pain cleanse the ...............cure bowel and ................ complaints ............ cheerfulness to the spirits ..... only to the ........ Brothers, Kingston, N.Y.......... restore health ..... darling child whom you would give your life to ........."
Goodness only knows what the bottle contained......

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stages in the renovation process

Hard to remember what this was like when we started. But you can see the beginnings at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ommane/2294690757/ and a few steps along the way at http://www.flickr.com/photos/21748528@N00/2388155477/ . We found an old chisel and what might have been a bottle of laudanum behind the walls when we first gutted this part of the building. This area and another new bathroom next to it were both closet space likely created in the 19th century when the large main staircase to the upper floor would have been put in.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Going for color

Another room has been finished, this time it's an overhaul of one of the two original bathrooms that this house had when we arrived. We kept the bath once we realized we could refinish the old cast iron tub, and used brick shaped tiling in keeping with early twentieth century decor. The two antique Delft tiles you can see were a gift, so no knowing how old they are, but we believe the designs are exact replicas of 18th century ones, showing children at play. As for the color, we just liked it........it's cheerful, and looks great when the sun shines through the window.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Second bedroom takes shape

We used the similar silk fabric and Frette sheets for the bed and canopy as in the first bedroom (pictured previously on this blog) but the effect is quite different. Although the blue check bedroom is bigger and grander, visitors often say they like this room more because the lower ceiling and exposed beams give a stronger impression of the age of the house. Both bedrooms we've featured so far have en suite bathrooms that have exposed beams, wide plank flooring and knee-high stone walls. We modelled the bed canopy on one we saw at the Jean Hasbrouck house in New Paltz. (This house was re-opened to the public this year after extensive renovations and is a great place to visit - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Hasbrouck_House).

All the space upstairs would originally have been used to store grain. If the smoke from the large jambless fireplaces downstairs rose through the plank ceiling/floors, so much the better, as it would have deterred mice from eating the crops stored up there! The large entrance hall and main stairway would have been installed in the 19th century. Just outside this room you can see where the narrower floor planks of that later landing join the original wide planks that are far older. We have Luis at Ulster Hardwood Flooring to thank for the beautiful finish he gave to many of the floors upstairs. Thank you Luis!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Ashokan

The Ashokan reservoir in the Catskill State Park this morning. This is the main water supply for New York City and is about five minutes from our house up in the Catskills.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Evening Sun

The last of the evening sunlight hitting the rear porch yesterday. This side of the house looks out across across the Esopus valley to the Catskill State Park. The Esopus is one of the largest rivers running down from the Catskill Mountains into the Hudson River. The part of the house to the left of the porch was built shortly after 1700, so this is one of the oldest houses in the Hudson Valley.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Levon Helm Band "The Weight"

More from the free concert Levon Helm gave a few hundred yards from our house a couple of weeks ago at Gills Farm. Found this video of them playing "The Weight" on YouTube: