If you yearn for a rural lifestyle restored to classic elegance and old world simplicity...

You'll not be disappointed in what you've found here in Slate Hill.

Originally purchased in 1981 this house was in a sad state with poorly executed renovations and many layers of paint and broken walls. Underneath it all, however, were the rugged, solid bones of a house where the restoration began. And then over the past 30 years this long neglected house became a respectable home again as it once was more than two centuries ago.

The comfort you'll find here would fulfill any possible household, an individual's, a family's or a bed and breakfast establishment. The house's common areas, the keeping (dining) room and parlors are welcoming, well-lit and generously proportioned 17 by 17 feet. The second parlor is slightly smaller, 17 by 14 feet. Visiting friends and family will have plenty of space to move around as if they owned the place.

The original house was only a single room, but as the families who lived here grew so did the house, much like other homes of the day. Since nearly every part of the house was laboriously constructed by hand, ax-hewn beams and hand-sawn floor boards, nothing was wasted or discarded but saved for another day. The beautiful one inch thick wide-floor boards in the keeping room, for example, were found in the attic and replaced the damaged flooring in the keeping room, the most used room of the home.

After buying the house the new owner debated whether he should meet with an architect familiar with old homes. What additional cost would that entail? Finally his questions about the house prompted him to contact one experienced restoration architect, Craig Morrison, A.I.A., Later, he admitted, it was the best decision he made about the house and has never looked back. For the next 30 years the architect's plan was the owner's blueprint for restoring the house to its earlier days of glory-re-creating a warm and comfortable living space while preserving its rich historic heritage.

Were you to Google the house's address you would find it listed in the National Register of Historic Places as "The Dunning House." The local town authorities, however, whose records only go back to 1850 recorded the deed to Young who sold the house to Thomas Ellis, and later referred to as "The Ellis House". There are no existing municipal records, however, of who built and owned the house when it was only a simple one room home evident in its construction still sitting over basement walls of the same size but later aligned with a much larger basement and house. When did that happen? Our research is ongoing.

One of the restoration contractors told the owner that the house was constructed by Palatine ( German ) immigrants who emigrated to our shores in the mid-1600s and came in large numbers in 1709 with the offer of free land promised by England's Queen Anne. The contractor had worked on other Palatine houses for the National Parks Service and recognized the house's particular Palatine construction. These findings are inconclusive at best...

Ridgebury is one of eight hamlets in the town of Wawayanda (newcomers will hear this pronounced as Way-way-anda). The mailing address reflects the Slate Hill post office, but Slate Hill itself is another hamlet nearby in Wawayanda. To set the location of the home, it is about 70 minutes Northwest from the George Washington Bridge in New York City.

In the early 18th century a neo-classical revival of Greco-Roman architecture swept the county most prominently identified in the architecture of Thomas Jefferson's home in Monticello, Virginia and the White House in Washington, D.C. Commonly referred to as Federal and later as neo-classical architecture many prominent buildings and residences in New York adopted its architecture as well. The adoption of the Federal and neo-classic styles is also evident in the house. Craig Morrison, the house's architect, commented that the family who lived there "must have come into some money" to afford a traveling master-carpenter's renovations of the house: the high quality woodwork in the center hall and Federal parlor, the graceful arch and pilaster columns in the center hall and front entry and master trim-work in the rest of the house.

Other additions to the house came later, the front porch, the bedroom and gable above the center hall and the extension of the house's north wall some 10 feet. It can all be seen in the structure of the house. Perhaps, the most interesting feature in the house's expansion are the two adjoining basements beneath the house or houses(?). The grand center hall was apparently built after the two structures were joined and when the rooms on the first floor were symmetrically realigned in the neo-classical mode.

The last improvement of the house is the six window alcove built into the west wall of the Federal parlor, essentially a small sitting area with room for a table and chairs to catch the colors of an early evening sky and the sun setting beyond the distant western Shawangunks' mountain range.

The improvements in the house include a new modern kitchen, three and a half bathrooms and a master bedroom with its own master bath and three walk-in closets. The windows in the house have been replaced with double panes of insulated glass in the original window style. The composite slate roof, was manufactured by Tamko, using their "Lamarite Slate Composite Shingle" system. Installed in 2003 it has forty-two years remaining of its fifty year life-time guarantee. No worries here about a falling or leaking roof.

When you come for a showing of the home, you'll take the slate walkway around the rear of the home and enter into the pre-Federal keeping room. The keeping room was the 'second kitchen' in the house. The old primary kitchen ( or butchery ) was attached to the house and is long since gone. As you enter the keeping room through the iron-strapped Dutch door you may feel as though you are entering another world. What you will see directly ahead in the room is a massive stone fireplace with a built-in beehive oven. Modern Thanksgiving turkeys have been cooked or rather broiled in the tin reflector-oven sitting in front of the burning logs in the fireplace. Yes, bread, too, has been baked in the stone beehive oven.

The Center Hall. The tour of the home takes you through the door on the left in the keeping room into the Greco-Roman neo-classical center hall. Were you to enter the house through the front door you will see that the pilaster columns, woodwork and lights of the entrance match the woodwork of the archway in the middle of the center hall. This is the room that sold the former (restoring) owner on the home. It was the hall archway on reeded pilasters that got him.

The keeping room door in the center hall and the door opposite it in the hall are originals and museum-quality restorations. The other four doors including the front door and the door to the second floor are exact replicas of the two original doors in the hall in beautifully wood-grained mahogany as the two original doors. The one-piece canvas Colonial floor-cloth in the hall was meticulously marbleized with 13 layers of paint which was commissioned by the home's architect, Craig Morrison, and produced by a husband and wife team in Virginia. It took them three months to complete. The wood floor under the floor-cloth is fully restored as are the other floors in the house. In early Colonial America the best floor covering available was a painted marbleized canvas floor-cloth as the one in the hall. Later when we ceased being colonies and became United States fast sailing clipper ships brought home hand-loomed oriental rugs as the one in the Federal parlor.

The "Gunston Hall" wallhanging in the center hall is a copy from the archives of Waterhouse Wallhangings, Boston. The original hangs in the Virginia home of George Mason, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and a good friend of Thomas Jefferson. Fortunately, as it turned out the home's architect, Craig Morrison, convinced Waterhouse Wallhangings to manufacture a copy of the wallpaper to be hung in this house. Many years later the owner met with an officer of the National Registry of History Places who while touring the house had little to say all the while taking notes and photographs of the house. When they entered the center hall the owner was elated and "taken aback" when the Registry officer blurted out, "For the wallpaper alone your house will be listed in the Federal Registry!"

Do you like little secrets? You will find there an older house wall inside the newer wall. And not to miss a restoration opportunity, this discovery inspired the reproduction and installation of the Dutch door you first entered through into the keeping room and the replication of the same wall features of another room in the house. See if you can identify which room.

The front room with daffodil yellow walls is the Federal Parlor. In the photo above it's the room on the right. The wide-board yellow pine floor in this room could not be repaired and was replaced with similarly recycled floor boards out of a home in Massachusetts. You'll note that the flooring throughout the house was laid down using restoration grade processes and methods, down to the cut clout nails.

Floors never looked this good back in the day, and certainly not in 'these parts.' The finishes commonly available then were not nearly as good as 633's floors finished with tung oil, a wood preservative which has been around since 400 BC, beautifying the floors and furniture of royals. Imported ( tung tree oil ) from China and South America for well-to-do American homeowners. Tung oil, however, may not have made it out to rural areas, like our local Wawayanda Patent territory. The front parlor fireplace was enlarged using recycled bricks stored in the basement and laid by a restoration mason using methods and processes from the early 19th century. The wood mantel fireplace is hand-carved and matches the center hall and Federal parlor woodwork. And yes, it is a working wood-burning fireplace.

Sixty percent of the gold painted crown molding in the other sitting room, the Victorian parlor, its baseboards and door trims are also original. The remaining molding and woodwork were manufactured on site. Much of the work was done by a local fine carpenter who did similar work for the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The walls on the first floor except the kitchen and bathroom were plaster skim coated by artisans from Ireland where the tradition of plastering walls is still carried on.. The sconces and nearly all the door locks and handles you see throughout the house are either original or period correct reproductions. In the Federal Parlor the sconces are candle powered, with electricity available and wired to the fixture although presently not in use.

Across the center hall is the Victorian parlor. The wood in this room is both massive and impressive in it's full Roman Revival trim work. The crown molding, window columns and architrave, and baseboard offset the rich red oak flooring. Four massive two-over-two windows panes reach to the 8' 4" ceiling and allow the morning sun to stream through brightly. The wall fill, frieze and cornice wallpaper is a rich Persian Victorian design, screen printed by Bradbury and Bradbury Art Wallpapers. You'll feel like you are inside a jewel box in this room, which is centered by a ceiling medallion holding a reproduction Victorian chandelier with light shades of fading amber to a cream tone color.

An Office. The room between the Victorian parlor and the kitchen may suit a number of uses, an office, sewing room or, perhaps, a library. The room is listed as the /5th bedroom which would be suitable for a bed and breakfast setting with a full bathroom just around the corner and off the Kitchen.

Obviously the kitchen is not a restoration, neither are the bathrooms in the house. These are commonly accepted additions for an historic home which is lived in. In "their day" there were no separate bathrooms until the 19th century. Bathrooms as we know them are still non-existent in many parts of the world. A basin stand and pitcher of water, a moveable bathtub and a chamber pot were usually found inside a bedroom 19th century. The remnants of an outhouse can be seen at the foot of the large maple tree twenty feet from the back door. The style and appointments of the kitchen and bathrooms here do emulate features found in older homes, in the flooring, trim, and fixtures but are essentially modern rooms for modern life, as they should be.

The kitchen here is quite new, installed in 2008, and is large enough for several cooks to work at the same time. The birch cabinetry is a Shaker bead-board designed and provides ample storage for a full compliment of food and tools. Granite counter-tops extend 22 feet through the entire length of the kitchen, with a breakfast bar and windows overlooking the rear yard and orchard. All appliances are top-of-the-line stainless Jenn-Air. The painted blue wainscoting was discovered buried deep inside the keeping room wall and restored to its original place in the room and extended into the kitchen.

The keeping room features a hand crafted reproduction dry sink lined in copper. For practical purposes plumbing and hot and cold water faucets were added to the 'dry sink'. Now, this may be more of an early 20th century piece, but it fits so nicely there in the corner with the convenience of a second sink. Besides, it looks like it belongs there, under the exposed ceiling beams. Long ago, the keeping room was where all the activity in the house took place. The fireplace was always going and the warmest room in the house. This keeping room pre-dates Federal period architecture as does the fireplace and beehive oven which are originals. The exposed hand-hewn beam ceiling above and the wide board oak floor below make quite a statement and set you back to another time long ago. It may be the favorite room in the house. What do you think?

Upstairs are four bedrooms, two and a half baths, a large store room and a laundry room, all worthy of high marks for quality. Are you surprised by that? The restoration up here continues the theme of returning the home to its beginnings. The simple flat wood door and window frames remain as they were on the second floor, which in an earlier time was typical for sleeping quarters. The white pine flooring was sanded, cleaned and preserved with four coats of tung oil as were the floors below.

Some of the rooms were converted into bathrooms. The master bedroom until recently was an empty space, just a roof overhead and outside walls with no floor boards, ceiling or lighting. The wide plank floor boards now here and in the modern kitchen were supplied by Carlisle Wide Board Floors. Look carefully and you'll see that they too were correctly installed using the same cut clout nails found everywhere else in the house.

Elegant Baths. At the top of the stairs to the second floor and off the landing are two bathrooms on the right. The first is a half bath. The second, a full bath with a beautiful mahogany Queen Anne vanity, a fully tiled shower and a large old fashioned cast-iron porcelain tub sitting on four resplendent brass claw feet. A half-round window looks out over the rear yard and orchard. Both bathrooms feature exposed hand-hewn beams in their ceilings along with elegant fixtures, hardware and appointments. Fair warning... your guests might not want to leave!

The second bedroom has what looks like a fireplace, and it is, sort of. It may have had an extended flue from the parlor below to add some warmth on a wintry night. Or it could have been used as a heat reflector. A bucket of hot coals from the keeping room would be placed there to heat the room. Not that you would actually need that today with the two zone forced air heating system in the house. This bedroom shares a very large walk-in closet with the adjoining 3rd bedroom.

The landing at the top of the stairs is a rather large room on it's own. Plenty of room for a table and sitting chairs as you'll see in the photos. Visitors won't be bumping into each other passing by on their way out in the morning.

The Master Bedroom. If you're looking for a large master bedroom, this one is a genuine standout. Welcome now to the largest room in the house! It's huge in width, depth and a 11 foot high ceiling supported by two exposed 20 foot hand-hewn beams. Then you have three very large walk-in closets, enough for just about everybody in the house all at once. Household members who are accustomed to commandeering all of the closet space will not be able to do so here--your sweetie can have one, too! Please be aware, this room will swallow oversized furniture. You could have a bedroom and living room arrangement together if you'd like. The master bath comes with a shower big enough for three and another cast-iron enamel-claw foot soaking tub when you just want to soak away the day's stress. All the bathroom fixtures are appointed with elegance drawn from the late Victorian and early 19th century periods. The fine spider web cracks of the tile in the master bath are very Victorian.

Outside you'll have an apple orchard, planted 30 years ago when the restoration owner moved in: Macintosh, Empire, Red and Yellow Delicious. Enjoy an outdoor barbeque dinner looking out over the orchard and pond below, listening to the geese calls and watching the sunset behind the ridge in the distance. There's a great life waiting here, just waiting for a new owner to come and carry on its heritage into the future.

Yes, 633 Ridgebury Road is as old as it looks, and yet it is as new as today. That is what a restoration is all about, don't you think?

This is a home for a particular person who is searching for a very special place from an era where homes were built deliberately and slowly. A home built with old world construction qualities not ordinarily found in contemporary homes nor in many other homes claiming to be 'restored.'. this home has been here for well over 200 years. Newly constructed homes widely available today are not likely to be standing proudly or even at all in another 200 years. This home existed under duress for a number of years and has now survived with a lot of help from a loving owner following his architect's plans, bringing it all back to life again. And look at it now....

The architect, after a rather speechless recent visit to review the finished masterpiece, not seeing the house for a long time, was quite pleased with the completed results and stated that "this home is now a museum of American architectural styles." Later, in he remarked that "this home is an amazing place....like a piece of theatre."



Is this the home you've been looking for?

Please call your agent today to schedule a private showing.






LOCATION: Should you need to commute to New York City, the drive time to the George is around 70 minutes. The nearby Metro North Station in Middletown, for the Port Jervis Line, is 15 minutes away.

Multiple supermarkets and chain stores can be found in nearby Chester, Warwick and Middletown. And during the growing months you'll find some of the best farm markets and farm stands in the area. Soon's Orchard is just down the road. This is rural living, to be sure, but by no means is it isolated. We are serviced here by some of the area's finest restaurants, tucked into the surrounding hamlets. Your favorite national chain restaurant can be found just 15 minutes away.

OVERVIEW

  • Built (originally) sometime during the 18th century
  • 2882 Square Feet
  • 4-5 Bedrooms
  • 3 full baths, 1 half bath
  • Central air conditioning - 2nd Level
  • 1.10 acre

Exterior:

  • Clapboard siding
  • Windows - Double pane glass
  • Roof - Composite slate - 50-year guarantee, installed approximately 2003

Main Level:

Entry and Center Hall

  • Wide board hardwood floor
  • Custom hand-made Colonial floor cloth - 13 layers of paint on canvas
  • Period wood-cut print wallpaper
  • Beautiful detailed archway with decorative molding

Federal Parlor

  • Wide board yellow pine floor
  • 17' by 17'
  • Wood burning fireplace with brick surround and carved hardwood mantle
  • Charming bay window nook
  • Tall windows with decorative molding
  • Wall sconces
  • Wide baseboard

Victorian Parlor

  • Wide board red oak floor
  • 17' by 14'
  • Persian Victorian Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper
  • Ornate Victorian Chandelier with ceiling medallion
  • Wall sconces
  • Four tall windows with decorative molding
  • Crown molding - mostly original, and restored beautifully
  • Wide baseboard

Office (or possible 5th bedroom)

  • Wide board white pine floor, 1" thick
  • Wainscoting

Full Bathroom

  • Wide board hardwood floor
  • Ceramic tile half wall with accent edging
  • Pedestal sink with ornamental fixtures
  • Shower surround

Kitchen

  • Installed in 2008
  • Wide board oak floor
  • 22' by 8'/10'
  • Granite counter with ceramic tile backsplash
  • Breakfast bar
  • Birch cabinets with scrollwork and glass doors
  • Soft-close drawers
  • Lazy Susan corner cabinet
  • Slide-out spice drawers
  • Butcher block cabinet on wheels
  • Jenn-Air 6 burner gas range with automatic draw-down exhaust
  • Jenn-Air double oven - standard and convection
  • Jenn-Air double door refrigerator with freezer below
  • Jenn-Air dishwasher
  • Kohler single sink
  • Two windows overlooking the rear yard and orchard
  • Wainscoting
  • Wall sconces

Keeping Room (Dining Room)

  • Dutch door with blacksmith-made straps (Door knocker opens door)
  • Door leads to rear yard
  • 17' by 17'
  • Wide board oak floor
  • Exposed hand hewn oak beams
  • Wall sconces
  • Sink station with copper sink
  • Wainscoting
  • Wood burning fireplace with pot hook and bread oven
  • All Keeping Room furnishings as you see them including the hand-made fireplace tools are included in the sale of the home

Upper Level

  • All second floor flooring is white pine wide board

Hallway

  • Wide area for comfortable passage
  • Wide board floor
  • Crown molding
  • Hand-blown Italian glass chandelier

Bedroom One

  • Wide board floor
  • Wide baseboard
  • Access to attic via pull stairs

Bedroom Two

  • Wide baseboard
  • 'Fireplace'(see text for more on this)
  • Large walk-in closet shared with Bedroom Three

Bedroom Three

  • Wide baseboard
  • Shared walk-in closet
  • Charming springline window

Half Bathroom

  • Exposed hand-hewn oak beams
  • Pedestal sink with brass fixtures
  • Commode

Full Bathroom

  • Ceramic tile half wall with tile accents
  • Unique vanity cabinet and sink with brass fixtures
  • Cast iron enamel claw foot tub with brass fixtures
  • Shower with ceramic tile surround and rain shower head

Laundry Room

  • Washer
  • Electric Dryer
  • Slop sink

Primary Bedroom

  • Enough space for a king-sized bed (or larger), plus an additional large furniture sitting area
  • 17' 3" by 17' 8"
  • Wide board flooring
  • 11 ft. tray ceiling with exposed hand-hewn oak beams
  • Wall sconces
  • Three walk-in closets
  • Two ceiling fans

Owner's Bathroom

  • Wide board flooring
  • 11' by 8' 5"
  • Ceramic tile half wall
  • Cast iron enamel claw foot tub with dark bronze fixtures
  • Large shower with ceramic tile surround
  • Linen storage shelves
  • Custom built wood counter with double sinks and dark bronze fixtures

Basement

  • Dirt and river stone floor
  • Bilco door

Mechanicals

  • Forced air heating - 2 zones
  • Central air conditioning system for second level
  • 50 gallon hot water heater - propane
  • Propane fuel
  • Drilled well
  • Septic system

Municipal

  • Minisink Schools
  • Taxes: $4215 Buyer or buyer's agent to confirm taxes