~ Homes In The Hudson Valley ~
There are many different styles of homes found throughout the Hudson Valley. While you may not be looking for a history lesson about the local architecture, you might be interested in discovering what style suits you best. The choices are many and the styles are quite varied. Almost no two homes are truly alike. Having a better understanding of what you like can help narrow down the choices. Sometimes all it takes is knowing what you really don’t like in a home to sort out all the choices around you. A great way to start is gaining an understanding of what homes are characteristic of the location you plan to move, and how that can reflect in pricing. This can all help facilitate what homes you are searching for and the home that best suits your needs.
~ Architectural Housing Styles of The Hudson Valley ~
The Split Level home – Most of these were constructed in the 1950’s, and are distinguished by their resourceful use of space. The homeowner enters from the front door directly into the main living space – a living room, dining room, and kitchen. One staircase leads to the upstairs bedrooms and bath, while a second set descends from the main level to a family room, giving access to a basement and garage. These types of homes remain popular in the Hudson Valley, and available at a reasonable price. For those potential homebuyers on a budget, the cost per square foot is less than for the other styles. Other favorable features include more space than in some other style homes, the privacy of upstairs bedrooms.
The Bi-level home – This is the newest style, and has predominated the local housing market for the last 25 years. It was previously known as a ‘raised ranch’, a kind of hybrid between a ranch and a split-level. Near the entrance are stairs that go up to the main living space or down to a lower level, containing a family room and basement or even additional bedrooms. These houses are less expensive to build because they feature a more compact foundation and roofing. Some of the more elaborate homes boast cathedral ceilings and updated floor plans with modern kitchens. These are perfect for a large household as most of them have three or four bedrooms. One significant benefit of the bi-level is that there is a lot of room for storage on the ground level; many of them have little nooks under the stairs and an extra room off the garage to store supplies. It is common to have the laundry room on the lower level with room enough for a washer, dryer and even a slop sink.
The Ranch Style home – The ranch style home has all the living space on one level, a boon for any part of the demographics that hate to climb stairs. These styles were mainly built in the 50’s, constructed out of brick, and at a slightly higher price point than the previous two styles. There are several benefits to this style of home: it is safer all around for most people and various floor plans are available to suit any individual needs. It is beneficial from any perspective. Many potential buyers are looking for a newly constructed ranch; we can put together a great useable floor plan that can fit a variety of budgets, depending on the buyer’s needs. The property value is relatively high for these homes, but if it is in the buyer’s budget, it is an attractive and practical style.
Colonial Style home – These are the classic Americana style homes, and are quite popular. They feature two or even three floors, one right over the other (‘salt box’ style). Many of them contain a full basement or an attached garage. There is always ample square footage in this old style, as they were built for big families as well as servants. The older ones also have beautiful classical architectural details. The more modern colonials contain open foyers allowing for grand entrances, as well as vaulted ceilings. Depending on the taste of the buyer, these houses can be found at many different price points.
Contemporary vs Modern – In home hunting, many people are confused by the terms ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’. Although they seem to be similar in language, in practice ‘modern’ refers to architectural and interior design concepts from the 1930’s reaching out to the mid 60’s, and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Contemporary refers to present trends in style, and is in a constant state of flux. Modern style used a lot of wood and other natural materials. It is easy to understand peoples’ confusion currently, as many elements of mid-century modern design are presently being incorporated into contemporary architectural and interior designs. Some of these houses are quite stunning, incorporating the bare wooden floors and neutral tones that were endemic to the modern period of architecture.
Victorian Architecture – These are homes that were built during the Victorian Era, as far back as mid 19th Century, and are still in working order. Most of these homes are found in the Historic District of Newburgh, Beacon, Cornwall, or scattered around other Hudson Valley locations. Popular with those who cherish the elegance of antiquity, these homes can also be customized to fit the modern generation’s desires. In fact, some Victorian features have found their way into some recently built homes.
Many famous Victorian architects hail from the Hudson Valley area, Newburgh in particular. Andrew Jackson Downing was one of these. Originally from Great Britain, he spent his early adulthood in the Hudson Valley and greatly admired the work of the English Landscape School of Art, and championed the idea of including nature as part of architecture. He was one of the pioneers of landscape architecture in America. In 1851, he was appointed by President Fillmore to design and superintend the work of arranging the land about the Capitol, White House and Smithsonian Institution into public gardens and promenades. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 36 in a fire while racing the steamship “Henry Clay” on the Hudson River.
Calvert Vaux, (1824-1895) was also a landscape architect who, like Downing, was born in England and settled in Newburgh in 1850. He designed homes for all classes – the wealthy, artists and writers, and the middle class. Vaux pioneered in intelligently planned apartment houses and in improving conditions in the early tenement building. The primary designer of Central Park in New York City, along with Frederick Olmsted, Vaux was known as a master of park and city planning. Both Vaux and Downing designed several homes in the Hudson Valley in the Gothic Revival Style, with parapets, gables, and diamond windows as a nod to Church architecture, and on the inside, rooms set aside for studies and Victorian parlors.
Log Homes – Log homes in the Hudson Valley are generally not in the style of the rustic log cabin, but rather are elaborate structures that use only the finest wood, and are mostly split-level or multi-level houses. Several companies custom-construct them to the specifications of the buyer, who can enjoy the incredible feel of sustainable wood while utilizing all the latest appliances and conveniences. Most log homes contain modern fireplaces. It is important to understand that caring for a log home has different requirements. Cleaning of the logs both inside and out require a special process and treatment. Resale on these homes can vary depending on the location.
The Farmhouse – The Hudson Valley contains some unique farmhouses, including a stone structure dating back to the early 18th Century, a converted barn, and a red-shingled Dutch era farmhouse called the ‘Hendrick Smit House’ in New Paltz that has been recently restored by fine antique dealers. These homes present a unique opportunity to decorate using period furniture as well as modern conveniences.
Since the Hudson Valley has historically fostered a predominantly farm economy, there are also many working farms with houses available, with the added benefit of hundreds of acres of land. Some of these are horse farms, dairy farms, organic vegetable farms, (especially popular with the advent of Green Grocers in many nearby urban areas), beef farms, and fruit orchards, and are located in many of the surrounding counties including, Dutchess County, Orange County, Ulster County, and Putnam County.
There are some elegant mansions and estates in the Hudson Valley including Olana, a classical colonial mansion that was co-designed by the aforementioned Calvert Vaux along with Hudson River School painter Frederic Edward Church. It is a 250-acre estate that holds many works of art as well as the estate’s peacock that freely struts around the grounds. Another historic house is the Clermont in Germantown, constructed in the mid eighteenth century by Robert Livingston Jr. The first house was burned down by the British during the Revolutionary War because its owner, Margaret Beekman Livingston, refused to assist them. The current structure was designed by Margaret and her son Robert, who co-invented the steamboat and administered the oath of office to George Washington on the steps of Federal Hall.
Kykuit, the Dutch word for ‘lookout’ has housed four generations of the Rockefeller family and was constructed in 1913, with beautifully landscaped grounds, interior rooms, and a large modern art collection. Locust Grove was the original home of Samuel FB. Morse, inventor of the telegraph. It was built for him in the Italianate style in 1841. It still holds some of his paintings, and is built in majestic Victorian style, with latticed columns surrounding the entrance, and the original wooden shutters. Of course, most of these estates are held in the public trust. So sorry, but these are not for sale!
The Hudson Valley presents a wide array of houses, many of them having character as well as all the modern amenities and good floor plans. Depending on the buyer’s expectations including the length of the commute, there is a surfeit of beautiful homes available at many price points in this area.
Architectural Styles of Homes in The Hudson Valley
What type of home interests you most?
Search homes by price, location and yes, you can even search for your next home by the style. Let me help set that up for you.
Resources for more info:
Modern Architecture ~ Defined
Local Architect ~ The choices are many!
Pros and Cons of styles ~ article by the New York Times