03/11/15 7:30am


420 Grand Newburgh

More exciting news for another Newburgh mansion that is in need of repair, 420 Grand has sold to a couple from Brooklyn. The minute I laid eyes on this house I knew it would be perfect for the New York Social Diary. Fortunately the writer, John Foreman, thought the same, and it was featured in May 2014. Mr. Foreman really dug in to the history and took many detailed photographs if you want to see the inside. One of the most intriguing details of this home is a supposed connection to the Astor family which may, or may not be true.

When the house was first featured here, we all agreed the house has Royal Tenenbaums/Wes Anderson vibe. Everything from the kitchen to the 50’s bathrooms are amazing. Loads of wood work, fireplaces, sconces, wallpaper and more. As for now, I have no idea what plans the couple has for the home. It is immensely exciting and fulfilling to see that another Grand St beauty has found owners just like the Monell Mansion.

Now if we could only find someone to buy 4 Grand and the Arno…hmm.

A few more photos for fun:

01/05/15 7:30am

new Monell Mansion

The new owners of 288 Grand are super excited to have finally closed on their home after many hiccups along the way. Gregory shares these words regarding his experience:

“An “Oil” spill delayed our September closing, and title issues were also found. But we stuck to our guns and now 288 Grand is ours. The whole team at City of Newburgh Office was amazing. Super helpful, understanding and caring.

As you know there is a long road ahead with the restoration. But I have my two best workers by my side and we can tackle all of it!

We closed Dec 18th, just in time for everyone/contractors to be on break! I am chomping at the bit to get started! I even dragged Patrick and Jack up on the 26th to just have a front yard clean up day. See attached photo.

First task is clean the place out! Its full of Junk! Dumpster arrives next week. Next repair the roof, and gutters and windows. Work should start Mid Jan.  Once we are weather sealed, the interior work will begin!”

The new family also wants to give the mansion a new name to breathe fresh life into the home and the block. That will be the way we refer to the Monell mansion in future posts. If you are interested in being their neighbor, the home across the street, 287 Grand, just dropped even lower to $42,900. It would be a great way to start to turn this section of Grand around again into more owner-occupied homes.

12/29/14 7:30am


Here is a rare look inside a recently updated Newburgh home. This is the new residence of Markus Hartel and Bridget Hayes, new Newburghers from NYC. You might remember this home from past posts. Just a few years ago this home was a complete shell. It was totally renovated then put on the market. Markus and Bridget have done many upgrades that they have fortunately decided to share.

– Where are you from originally?

I am originally from Germany, but have lived in Manhattan for the past 12 years, Bridget has lived in NYC for the past 20 years with a short stint in LA

– How did you find Newburgh?

Last year, during X-mas, we vacationed in the Catskills at a friend’s cabin and spent New Years in New Paltz, and I joked around that I could live in a town like this, with close proximity to the city. Bridget came across an article about Newburgh in a local paper and we started doing our research. We also looked at a couple of other places, but went back to Newburgh and we found the house on 267 Liberty Street for sale in February. We immediately fell in love with the place, and also looked at a few other properties in the historic district, but we kept going back to 267… We closed early June and started renovations in mid July.

– Why did fall in love with this home and what work have you done?

We love the historic exterior accompanied by the modern interior, which we tried to keep coherent and adequate to the history and location… Our house was a burnt out shell at some point, and the previous owner had built a new interior with a modern, spacious layout, which appealed to us. With that also came new electric, plumbing and central air. Also, the (half) basement is finished, which was a big factor in our decision, as I work mostly from home, and the basement is now my studio/workshop (I work as a graphic designer & photographer).


Essentially, we have reworked the entire interior, and while it had a solid core, the detail work was either non-existent, or builder’s grade, as the previous owner turned the house into a rental before we took ownership…
At first, we thought, we would do everything piece by piece, but our workload and busy schedules would turn our house into a decade long construction zone and we decided to invest our life savings into this house. We have designed everything ourselves with some guidance from or awesome contractor’s team.


First, we ripped out the entire kitchen – I was stumped by the washer and dryer tucked into a corner by the window, which was an utter eye sore and we moved everything into a dedicated laundry closet.

The kitchen now has solid cabinets, a farmhouse sink, and a soapstone counter top with drain grooves. We decided on a beadboard backsplash, as we couldn’t settle on a tile that didn’t compete with the gorgeous soapstone.  The island sports a wine fridge, and a reclaimed wood countertop from a 1860’s Jersey church and we have decided on a carrera marble inset (I enjoy making pizza and bread in my spare time).

Dining Collage

The dining room table and benches are made from the same antique wood as the island counter top. I’m also in the process of creating a light fixture from a reclaimed wooden beam (sourced from Newburgh by After The Barn) for the dining room, pretty much the only light fixture that’s missing…

We have replaced all the doors with solid three panel shaker style doors, which were hollow core before, and equipped them with style appropriate hardware… We created craftsmen style moldings all around the doors, windows, baseboards, ceilings etc. We also replaced the tin baseboard heater covers on the first and second floor with solid aluminum shaker style covers.


We gutted the master bathroom, and it now has a custom full glass panel shower, 12” subway tile with metallic décor inlays, and period appropriate hardware. We also discovered the brick from an old chimney on the second and third floor and decided to expose the brick, which adds a lot of warmth and character, and ties in the inside with the ca. 1880’s exterior nicely.


We replaced the 3rd floor carpets with hardwood floors, which we stained white, and it gives the 3rd floor a very lofty feel. We refinished the 1st and 2nd floor hardwood floors and stained them dark ebony, which creates a stark contrast to the white moldings.

We also added recessed lights and ceiling speakers on the 1st and 2nd floor.



We remodeled the master bathroom, and we created closets in the master bedroom and in the basement. We also created a closed coat closet under the staircase on the first floor.

267 Liberty Collage

The only thing untouched, besides paint and doors, is the 3rd floor guest bathroom and the basement bathroom… The powder room on the first floor by the kitchen has a reclaimed wood counter top with a porcelain bowl and I have created the wallpaper, piece by piece, from type specimen books.


Early during the renovation process we detected water in the basement due to a leaking foundation, and we addressed the issue by sealing the foundation from the outside. To prevent future issues we laid ceramic tile in the basement and replaced the moldy sheetrock with water resistant material.

Thanks to Sal’s Contracting for the quality work and to After The Barn for the awesome kitchen counter and dining room table and M. Teixeira Soapstone.

Thank you Markus and Bridget for sharing your home! If you’d like to share renovations done to your own home, email me.

12/10/14 8:47am

Crawford Collage

The annual Candlelight Tour of Newburgh architecture will take place this year on Sunday, December 14th. The self-guided tour taking will include over a dozen decorated homes. The authentically decorated 1830 Captain David Crawford House will start off the tour.

The house circuit features a diverse assortment of public and private spaces, including mansions, structures in rehabilitation process, new construction, architectural gems, and some of Newburgh’s most important landmarks.

An element of the Historical Society’s mission is to promote an appreciation for the region’s architectural significance. The annual Candlelight Tour of Homes showcases Newburgh as a center of architectural variety and beauty.

Admission: $30 Admission. Save $25 with advance purchase.

-Photos of Crawford House by Jillian Elder, Victory Designs

05/06/14 11:30am


The moment I saw 420 Grand Street I knew it could be a contender for John Foreman’s Big Old Houses column in the New York Social Diary. Thankfully, he agreed and took a trip to Newburgh to further discover the home. His tour has way more details, photos, and historical background than the real estate listing. If you loved what you saw the last time, definitely check out John’s tour! I particularly love the photo he was able to get below. Thanks John for coming to Newburgh!


01/30/14 7:30am


Another Rescue Me home is going to be saved! We showed you 55 Chambers last June. It is a good section of Chambers Street to consider rehabilitating a home since a lot of activity has been happening between Broadway and 1st Street. Habitat has already done a housing blitz tearing down and rebuilding two homes. The land bank also has plans to rehabilitate two buildings and to move their offices into one of them. Habitat for Humanity is spearheading this home at 55 Chambers which they started during MLK day. I can’t to see what it’s going to look like when it’s done! Check out the photos below, this house was only for those with experience. The entire place has been gutted. There are plenty more wonderful properties you should keep your eye out for on Chambers. All photos have come from Habitat for Humanity’s Facebook Fanpage. Become a fan!

55 Chambers Collage