Restored back to its original use as a guest house, this circa 1860s Greene County property offers up a more design-focused aesthetic than the modest woodframe may have originally sported thanks to the duo behind its transformation.
The eclectically-styled property now on the market at 7803 State Route 81 in Durham, N.Y. was purchased in 2014 by business partners Dorothée Walliser and Diane Ormrod, founders of French & Scouser. The styling duo used the property to showcase their vintage finds, meaning an evolving interior that highlights the extensive renovation work they tackled on the seven-bay wide, gable-ended structure.
Its address is Durham but the building and its neighbors are located in the historic hamlet of Oak Hill. Much of the hamlet, including this property, is included in the Oak Hill National Register Historic District. The district is largely filled with structures from the mid to late 19th century, corresponding to a time of booming industry in the area. The report dates the DeWitt Hotel to circa 1865. That date might partly be due to the appearance of a building in the 1867 Beers Atlas of Green County marked as “Hotel W. F. DeWitt.”
Local newspaper accounts in the 1870s refer to the property variously as W. F. DeWitt Hotel and DeWitt’s Hotel with the “W” in the last name capitalized or not according to the whim of the typesetter. Notices and articles throughout the 19th and into the early 20th century mention various auctions, events and meetings of local officials taking place at the property.
The current proprietors spoke with HudsonValley360 in 2015 after their renovation was complete and they shared that after the original hotel closed in the early 20th century it was taken over by two women who kept it running until the 1950s.
Sam Stickler came to the rescue of the deteriorating property in the early 1990s, making it structurally sound according to the blog. A plaque currently on the exterior of the house commemorates its inclusion on the National Register and the work of Stickler in saving the structure before his death in 1992. The property stayed in family hands, operating as an antique center until purchased by Walliser and Ormod.
The now photogenic house was given a complete reno with all new electric, plumbing and heating systems and now includes five guest rooms and 5.5 baths in addition to a living room with a checkered ceiling, a bar room and a great room. That great room is accessed through the kitchen — the general layout of the house is a bit easier to see in the video tour.
There are wide-plank floorboards throughout the first floor, including into the kitchen which has sleek white cabinets mixed with more industrial and rustic touches like a shuttered window and patinaed doors leading into the great room.
The five bedrooms were originally styled by talented friends according to the hotel website. While given nonsequential numbers, one also has a nickname. “The Joyce Dewitt Room,” in homage to the historic name of the property and the actress known for the sitcom “Three’s Company.” Its walls are adorned with tree branches painted by artist Morris Ardoin.
The website also notes that the house, which has been used for events and photo shoots, is fully booked until early September.
Included in the listing is under a half-acre of land with the building set close to the road (as would befit a 19th century hotel) and a lawn leading down to the banks of the Catskill Creek at the rear.
Listed with Richard Byrne of Gary DiMauro Real Estate the hotel is priced at $569,000. While the listing price doesn’t include the furnishings presumably if something catches a buyer’s eye it might be available for purchase.
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