It’s fairly difficult to avoid charming towns when exploring the Hudson Valley — the question might be which best suits one’s particular needs as a country respite.
Kinderhook might fit the bill as a town rich with history and architectural character. A house on the market at 4 Albany Avenue offers the chance to live in a walkable downtown with an acre of land to give a bit of country feel.
Kinderhook was established in the 17th century and the name derives from the Dutch word kinderhoek, meaning children’s corner. The community is known these days for its charming downtown and numerous historic sites — including the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site and the James Vanderpoel House. For contemporary art enthusiasts, there’s also The School nearby, which is a Jack Shainman Gallery exhibition space.
The Federal-style brick house on Albany Avenue is part of the Kinderhook Village National Register Historic District and, according to the survey form for the property, it was built circa 1820 by Henry Van Vleck. He was a rather prosperous merchant with a shop in town, and possibly a builder.
Van Vleck would have been bringing in goods from New York City to sell to the local populace. An ad for his shop in the Kinderhook Herald in 1829 proclaims that he “just received from New-York, an extensive supply of goods of all descriptions” and guarantees that his prices are “as low as can be purchased north of the city.”
The house has some architectural similarities to 1 Hudson Street, just a block away. Now Kinderhook Bank, it was built as the home of Peter Van Vleck, Henry’s brother.
The more ornamental details of 4 Albany Avenue, such as the porch and lintels, are later 19th century additions, likely added during the ownership of the John Bain family. Bain, a merchant like Van Vleck, was in residence at least by the late 1850s. The house stayed within the Bain family until the late 19th century, passing to daughter Mary and her husband Isaac Snyder. In the 20th century, it was owned by Edward and Minnie Risedorph; Edward owned a Kinderhook soda bottling plant.
The current owners purchased the property in 2010 and refreshed the interior with an artist’s eye, as described to Lonny when the house was featured in 2015. The owners, one a painter, told Lonny that after purchasing the house they had to tackle some basic renovation projects, including installing a functioning kitchen and plumbing, removing layers of wallpaper and taking down some more modern walls to return the original proportions to the spaces.
Inside, the mostly all-white walls highlight those gracious proportions and the intact historic details. Some of those historic details date to the original 1820s house and some to changes in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The first floor of the roughly 4,126 square foot house includes plenty of entertaining space, including two parlors, a dining room and a study.
There’s also a large enclosed summer porch for entertaining with a view towards the gardens.
The contemporary kitchen installed by the owners includes white marble countertops, streamlined cabinetry and modern amenities for entertaining, like a wine fridge.
There are four bedrooms, at least two with fireplaces — although the listing doesn’t specify whether they are all in working condition, in Kinderhook it is highly likely.
The house has 3.5 bathrooms, including a pretty atmospheric dressing room with claw foot tub, wide plank floorboards and painted shutters. The door was purposefully left with a worn finish according to Lonny. The doors were in rough shape but when sanded down had a patina the owners loved.
In addition to the house, the 1 acre of property includes an artist’s studio and a small brick outbuilding described in the listing as a “meditation sanctuary.”
The Columbia County property is listed for $1.25 million by Karla Roberts of Nicole Vidor Real Estate.
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