We got the itch last April. A friend insisted we crash at his 19th-century farmhouse in upstate New York, and that’s when my wife began aching for a country home. She always wanted a Jane Austen fantasy: an old house with good bones and stories. But it was only an abstract notion with architectural flourishes—a crackling fireplace, a proper staircase, gutsy millwork, worn floors and wavy glass windows. Maybe a kooky attic. Something rough around the edges with strong, redeemable character.
Our hearts are in New York City’s East Village, where we haven’t tired of our 5th floor walkup. Our two kids share a bedroom and we colorfully negotiate use of a single bathroom. It’s an adventure that keeps us tight and mindful. We weren’t necessarily in a position to buy, but we love a project—and entertaining the idea had become a preferred dinner conversation. Where could it be? What might it look like? We were open to all scenarios, but that weekend directed our focus to a historic home in the Hudson Valley.
We’d ogle listings of romantic piles, sigh to ourselves and think, ‘too much work,’ or ‘too much money.’ It was heartbreaking! Death by a thousand listings. But then, one stopped us cold. You know that feeling when it starts to hurt? That’s love, I think. We fell in love.
The house was in Columbia County and since we were in the area over the New Year, we planned a drive-by; a tempt of fate. We snooped around and peeked through windows. As we feared, it checked all boxes: history, scale and gentle layers of quirks from owners past and present. We contacted the broker for a closer look, and you know the rest. For now, the rooms are empty and the echoes couldn’t make us happier. It will be a long, slow burn, collecting stories and writing the next chapter in the history of this house. reddkaihoi.com
As told by David Kaihoi.