Painting a “Painted Lady”

According to Wikipedia, the term “Painted Lady” was coined in 1978 by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book Painted Ladies – San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians.  The post continues, “The best-known groups of ‘Painted Ladies’ is the row of Victorian houses at 710–720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park, in San Francisco. It is sometimes known as ‘Postcard Row’.”  Hudson has it’s own row of “Painted Ladies” on Willard Place and one of them, The Croff House at 5 Willard Place, is about to get a makeover.  Just prior to the inn being sold in 2008 the owner at the time contracted to have the house repainted from the all-over white to more closely stay in keeping with the style of the houses of the period and with the inn’s next door neighbor.  The house at 4 Willard Place, having been completely renovated, had been painted in an elaborate Painted Lady style.  But while the painting at #5 was completed quickly, the quality of the work was not especially good and the years and weather took its toll.

Beginning in March contractors began scraping the old paint away, beginning the process of the house’s exterior makeover.  During the scraping patches of wood repair on the 1875 clapboard siding also were completed, and now the painting can begin in earnest.  The biggest challenge in the execution of the Painted Lady style is the selection of proper colors that work together to highlight the intricate details of the woodwork and carving details of the exterior, an important feature of the Second Empire Victorian style.

The color palette that has been selected for the re-painting is not a large divergence from the current color scheme.  While The Croff House is currently painted using three colors (green, rust and tan), the new color scheme includes five colors (see photo below)

Curious to know what the “new” inn will look like?  Stay tuned!

What’s in a name?

Hudson Opera House

Exterior of the Hudson Opera House

Visitors to Hudson enjoy walking up and down our main street, Warren Street, which boasts beautiful and historic architecture throughout.  One of the more significant buildings is the Hudson Opera House and the history of the building’s use is rather noteworthy.

Built in 1855, the building was designed by local architect Peter Avery. For more than a century, it housed various civic offices, including the Post Office and Police Station, and was home to the Franklin Library and the First National Bank of Hudson.  Shortly after City Hall moved further up Warren Street in 1962, the building was sold to an out-of-town developer.  For nearly thirty years it sat vacant, decaying and accumulating debris. During this time, lower Warren Street was virtually abandoned and considered by many to be a lost cause.

Today the building is undergoing the final phase of full restoration.   When complete, the performance hall will be

Hudson Opera House

Interior performance space at the Hudson Opera House

adapted for modern use, creating a unique, intimate and flexible 300-seat theater to provide contemporary programming reflective of today’s audiences.  For the first time in the building’s history, the performance hall will be accessible to all, including those who, because of age or disability, are unable to use the historic staircase.  he character of the historical building will be retained. The current proscenium arch and raked wooden floor stage were late 19th century additions, and will be preserved.  The historic fabric will also be retained, and new elements will be sensitively incorporated to retain the overall historic character of the spaces.

A “new” facility deserves a new name and, as such, the Hudson Opera House has added Center for the Arts to it’s title, expanding the scope of the programming being offered.  When you are next in Hudson the renovations will be complete.  Make it a destination while exploring Warren Street.

Looking Back – Part 4

In our final installment of the series “Looking Back, commemorating the renovations to the home that would become The Croff House 5 years ago, we take a look at the renovation of the two Suites – Chace and Esselstyn (pronounced es – l -stin).

In working with our architect, we knew we wanted to have rooms that we a little more special, and offered amenities not available in the other three guest rooms.  So we created the Suites.  So what qualifies a room to be designated a Suite at The Croff House?  Additional seating and a gas fireplace in the bedroom, and a soaking tub in addition to the walk in spa shower in the bathroom were included in the design of Chace and Esselstyn.

The same space afterwards shows the gas fireplace and the choice of Seregenti Sand for color made the room bright and airy.

The same space afterwards shows the gas fireplace and the choice of Seregenti Sand for color made the room bright and airy.

Used as a bedroom by the existing owners, the room had the benefit of the chimney coming from the Library below.

Used as a bedroom by the existing owners, the room had the benefit of the chimney coming from the Library below.

At the time the renovation began the room which would become the Chace Suite was being used as a bedroom for the owners.  Originally, this room would have been the nanny’s quarters.  We’ll explain how we determined this in a little bit.  In the closet there was a sink that was never hooked up and the remnants of the staircase leading to the former third floor (that was burned off in a fire in 1939).  It was interesting to see that at some point someone had drawn a floor plan for the remainder of what was supposed to have been the bathroom for that bedroom – thus the sink.  We had originally thought of completing the bathroom in the closet area, but that would not have left enough room for a closet or armoire in the bedroom.  Instead the old staircase was framed and sheetrocked to create the closet, removing the sink and pipes, of course.

The installation of the gas fireplace was relatively easy, using existing chimney for the vent.

Adjacent to the bedroom was the nursery, which was accessed both through a hall door and a door that lead in from the Master Bedroom (the room that would become the Esselstyn Suite).  The room presented a slight challenge: how to best use the space to create a wonderful bathroom including a soaking tub and separate shower.  Our architect came up with several options, but in the end we decided to close off the two existing doorways and create one leading from the bedroom into the bathroom, which would allow the additions we were looking to make.

The Esselstyn Suite - BeforeConverting the Master Bedroom into the Esselstyn Suite was also relatively easy, with the exception of the need to build up a mantel and firebox ino rder to house the gas fireplace.  The bathroom, however, was more of a challenge. The existing bathroom was very small.  Accessed from the hallway was the original linen closet – a deep walk in closet complete with drawers and shelves.  The solution was simple: we cannibalized all the space from the linen closet (since we really wouldn’t need one) and created a large bathroom with soaking tub and stall shower.

Removing the wallpaper and adding a fresh coat of paint helped update the Suite, including the installation of the fireplace (not visible).

Removing the wallpaper and adding a fresh coat of paint helped update the Suite, including the installation of the fireplace (not visible).

In the end both of the Suites create wonderful spaces for guests to relax and unwind.  Earth tones were selected for both the bedrooms and bathrooms, keeping with the color scheme from the rest of the property.

Looking Back – Part 3

So thus far we’ve covered all areas on the first floor of The Croff House – before and after – as the Inn approaches 5 years as Hudson, N.Y.’s #1 Bed and Breakfast.

Today we’ll look at our two “deluxe” guest rooms: Peck and Traver, Queen Deluxe and King Deluxe respectively.

First we should clarify what defines “deluxe”.  To best answer that it is appropriate to acknowledge that our Edmonds Guest Room, located on the first floor, is our smallest room.  Both the Peck and Traver Guest Rooms are larger than Edmonds and, therefore, merit a designation that communicates the difference in size.  That designation is “Deluxe”.

The Peck Guest Room prior to renovation was in good condition save for the old wallpaper.

The Peck Guest Room prior to renovation was in good condition save for the old wallpaper.

Located at the top of The Croff House’s main staircase guests encounter the Peck Guest Room.  When the property was originally purchased this room was not being used by the current owners.  With the exception of the removal of the very old, tired wall paper the room was in very good condition.  The same can be said for the Traver Guest Room, which is just across the hall, although the owners were using the room as a pseudo-office.  Both rooms had a shallow closet and shared a bathroom that was accessed from the hallway.

The Peck Guest Room after renovations - bright and sunny.

The Peck Guest Room after renovations – bright and sunny.

The majority of the renovations for both these rooms was in the reconfiguring of the bathrooms: essentially the closets and existing bathroom were gutted and then the space evenly divided to create private bathrooms for each guest room.  The decor of each room was designed to be different one from the other in color and style while at the same time providing the same amenities.

“Tropical Dusk” from Benjamin Moore was selected for the Peck bedroom, which faces southwest and gets a lot of natural light in the late afternoon.  A rich mahogany-inspired glass mosaic tile was chosen for the corner shower; complimented by a natural Brazilian hardwood floor and “Driftwood” for the paint was the color scheme for the Peck bathroom.

Looking toward the closet (which would become the bathroom) in Traver.  Once again old wallpaper was removed before painting could begin.

Looking toward the closet (which would become the bathroom) in Traver. Once again old wallpaper was removed before painting could begin.

The bedroom in Traver took on a garden motif after the renovation.

The bedroom in Traver took on a garden motif after the renovation.

Once the old wallpaper was removed the bedroom in Traver, which overlooks the rear garden, was painted in a warm shade of green called “Dry Sage”.  The bedding features an ivy-covered trellis that picks up the same color tones and compliments the garden motif.  The feature wall in the bathroom is tiled with a vibrant blue mosaic pattern with “Wolf Gray” paint picking up some of the highlights of the tile.

All in all we maximized the use of the space and the addition of private baths for each guest room was definitely the right choice!

Looking Back – Part 1

As the fifth anniversary of the opening of The Croff House approaches, we thought we take a look back at what the Inn looked like prior to our renovations.  One of the most common questions we get asked is “did you have to do a lot of work to the house”?  We’ll let you be the judge…

This is how the Living Room looked prior to renovation.

This is how the Living Room looked prior to renovation.

Let’s start with the Living Room.  The previous owner from whom we purchased the house made very few changes to the house from the previous owner.  In fact he bought the house “lock, stock and barrel” including all of the antiques which you can see in the pictures.  The decor was very “hea

Bright, airy and comfortable the Living Room welcomes guests to sit and relax.

Bright, airy and comfortable the Living Room welcomes guests to sit and relax.

vy” but typical for the style and period of the house.  Velvet drapes blocked a lot of the natural light in the front bay windows and chunky furniture dominated the rooms.  We wanted to change all that and let in lots of natural light and make the spaces more inviting.  Our decorating sensibilities leaned towards traditional always with a emphasis on comfort.  Color was important too.

A slight bit of plaster work was needed in the Living Room, but other than that the room was in good shape.  Fortunately all three sets of pocket doors were intact and only required some slight varnishing.

We used Benjamin Moore paints throughout the entire Inn.  The Living Room was painted in “Champion Cobalt” a deep, rich blue that only a room of this size and with this amount of light could handle.  The furniture fabrics were selected both for their style but, more importantly, for their durability.  Again comfort was of top importance.

Painted a very bright yellow the Library had lots of furniture and "stuff".

Painted a very bright yellow the Library had lots of furniture and “stuff”.

The Library needed extensive plaster work due to water damage around the fireplace chimney that clearly had never correctly been addressed.  The like the Living Room was also full of very heavy furniture, but unlike the Living Room the previous owner selected a very (!) vibrant shade of yellow for the walls that required several coats of primer and paint before it disappeared.  The color selected for the Library was “Rust”, another deep color that the room could handle.

The challenge in the Library for adequate seating was answered by a comfortable and functional sectional.

The challenge in the Library for adequate seating was answered by a comfortable and functional sectional.

 

Because of its unique size and shape the Library offered a seating challenge: how to accommodate a reasonable number of guests while still keeping the fireplace as the natural focal point of the room?  Contemporary furniture provided the answer:  an “L” shaped sectional.  With two occasional chairs and the sectional there was plenty of seating for multiple guests.  As with the Living Room the goal was to encourage guests to be comfortable in the space whether for reading, playing a game, taking a nap or enjoying a glass of wine.

 

Our Guest Bedrooms/Suites

Please note:  Additional pictures and rate information are available at www.bedandbreakfast.com/new-york-hudson-thecroffhousebedbreakfast.html

Well here they are.  Pictures of the (mostly) finalized bedrooms/suites.  I say “mostly” because we haven’t put the final, finishing touches to each room, nor have we hung the artwork throughout the house.  That comes next.

Click on each picture for a detailed description.

We’ll be interested to hear your feedback.

A Great Day!

With just one week to go until our Open House, today marked a great milestone – the delivery of the majority of the furniture that will make The Croff House a memorable experience for all of our guests.  You can now get a real sense of what each of the rooms will feel like to our guests.

It seems so long ago that we chose each piece – bed, chair, table – for each room.  That it all works together so well and creates such a warm, welcoming environment is remarkable.  We have hired a professional photographer to take the pictures for our final website.  Until then, our non-professional pictures will have to do.

Almost there

Every day we take one step closer to completion of the renovations.  Then we move on to the “detailing” of The House (cleaning all the door trim and baseboards, refreshing the floors after 6 months of construction traffic, etc.).  Painting is going on, tiling is coming to completion, and the plaster work is finished.  As we look forward we can see the end in sight (or is it just the beginning?).  As we look back we see what tremendous progress has been made.

Things are starting to take shape and you can get a sense of what The Croff House aesthetic will be in terms of color and design.

A GREAT bathroom

A GREAT bathroom

Peck Bathroom spa shower

Peck Bathroom spa showe

The finished bathroom in Peck

The finished bathroom in Peck

Glass mosaic wall and subway tiles in the Traver bathroom

Glass mosaic wall and subway tiles in the Traver bathroom

Glass mosaic and subway tiles

Glass mosaic and subway tiles

Chase Suite bathroom painted

Chase Suite bathroom painted

traver bathroom painted

Traver bathroom painted

Fireplace in the Esselstyn Suite

Fireplace in the Esselstyn Suite

Chace Suite fireplace framed

Chace Suite fireplace framed

Chace Suite fireplace with ceiling fan

Chace Suite fireplace with ceiling fan

The second floor main staircase

The second floor main staircase

Looking at the Dining Room medallion through the Living Room

Looking at the Dining Room medallion through the Living Room

Dining Room medallion close up

Dining Room medallion close up

Edmonds shower

Edmonds shower

Spring Approaches

We finally have some warm(er) weather to thaw out from a snowy and bitterly cold period.  Now things are just wet.

Things are moving very quickly at The Croff House and we have posted both on our website and Bed and Breakfast.com that we are planning to open on schedule Friday, April 10.

We are in the tiling/plastering/priming/painting stage and while it is fun to pick out colors it becomes daunting at times – so many colors, so many options.  Narrowing it down gets easier once you put everything together.  Most of the interior furnishings and lighting has been purchased and are awaiting the okay for delivery.  Some items have already arrived, and currently reside in the living room (which we now lovingly refer to as “the warehouse”) of our house.

Artwork and furnishings being held in our living room

Artwork and furnishings

More of the same

More of the same

Bedding, carpets and window treatments

Bedding, carpets and window treatments

We are pleased to report that the renovations to kitchen, though not a guest area have been completed.

The existing stove and new dishwasher

The existing stove and new

Looking into the kitchen

Looking into the kitchen

Looking into the rear garden

Looking into the rear garden

Plastering wil be completed by February 13 and tiling completed by the 20th.  Painting has begin in earnest this week.

Shower stall in the Peck Guest Room

Shower stall in the Peck Guest Room

Shower tile in the Traver Guest Room

Shower tile in the Traver Guest Room

Shower floor in the Traver Guest Room

Shower floor in the Traver Guest Room

The shower stall in The Chace Suite

The shower stall in The Chace Suite

The shower stall in the Chace Suite

The shower stall in the Chace Suite

The fireplace in The Chace Suite

The fireplace in The Chace Suite

Fireplace in the Esselstyn Suite

Fireplace in the Esselstyn Suite

The shower stall in the Esselstyn Suite

The shower stall in the Esselstyn Suite

The shower stall in the Esselstyn Suite

The shower stall in the Esselstyn Suite

We expect to begin taking delivery of all of the furniture and carpets the week of March 2 and the stair runner, which will be last to be installed will be laid the week prior to opening.

The week of April 6 – our Grand Opening – will be very exciting indeed.  On Thursday, April 9 we are hosting an Open House for all Columbia County Chamber of Commerce members as well as all the merchants along Warren Street to introduce The Croff House officially to the business community.  The Open House will be preceded by a formal ribbon cutting ceremony on the step of the inn.

April 10, our Grand Opening date, coincidentally corresponds to the original date of the inauguration of Willard Place in 1872.  So once again it is an auspicious date for Hudson and the neighborhood.

A New Year – Progress Continues

As 2008 drew to a close and 2009 began progress continued at the inn.  

We were very excited to get our online reservation capability up and running.  Guests can now check our availability and book a reservation on our website.  We have already taken several reservations for the upcoming summer, which means we need to stick to our timeline in order to open as planned.  On a snowy Sunday afternoon we went furniture shopping and purchased all the furniture for the Dining Room, Library and Living Room as well as several occasional chairs for the guest rooms.  All of this was in addition to the beds which were ordered previously.

Hudson was hit with several snow and ice storms slowed but we forged on.  The goal was to get the plumbing and electrical “rough-ins” completed and inspections passed.  As the better part of the old paint and wallpaper were being removed we also needed to address the plaster damage that, over the life of the house, had never really been properly repaired.  Plaster work began with some minor and some major work in all areas of the House.  Some sheetrock walls were put up as well, especially in Edmonds, giving a good feel for what the final room will look like.

Over the next two weeks we expect a great deal of progress including the application of an eco-friendly soy-based insulation for both temperature stabilization and sound buffering throughout the house. Installation of the high-efficiency “on-demand” hot water systems and sheetrock for each of the showers is also planned for the next few weeks.

Below you’ll find the latest pictures of the progress mentioned above.  Check back in a couple of weeks and I’m sure you’ll see even more.