This charming 19th century farmstead, with a rustic house, large stone barn and swimming hole, had served as a family’s summer retreat in Wurtsboro, NY for many years. Its new owner was interested in using the house into the Catskills’ colder months, adding modern comforts, and addressing lurking structural issues of the old home. The building lacked any plumbing beyond a single hand sink (the toilet was a stone outhouse) and windows in the kitchen and living spaces were inadequate to the beautiful surrounding meadows. MDB suggested a program to stabilize the building and craft revitalized living spaces, a better functioning kitchen, one full and one half-bathroom, for the owner to enjoy.
In our inspections, we found that some sections of the house lacked a foundation and grade had built up so high that it was causing drainage problems on one side. We temporarily jacked up the building, poured a new concrete slab, and lowered it back down. To reinforce this foundation and support the surrounding soil, our mason poured a concrete retaining wall and finished it with a handsome cladding of fieldstone from the property. The end result sheds water away from the house, strengthens the structure and enabled us to create a new patio area, paved in local blue stone, for entertaining.
Having addressed the structural issues, we turned our attention to the living quarters. We reframed the shed wing of the house to accommodate a new and spacious full bath as well as a the living room. The client wanted a half bath added to serve the bedrooms, which are all located on the house’s second floor which has very low ceiling heights. To do this we built a treehouse-like volume in the kitchen. It houses the half bath on the top floor and a washer/dryer and utility space on the first, Last, we opened up sections of the facade to create views of the beautiful surrounding fields, accented by the wavy glass of reclaimed doors and windows: steel casement windows from Princeton University and wooden sash from Landfall, the estate of the Roebling family, builders of the Brooklyn bridge.