Interiorssneak peeks

We Bought a Home!

by Grace Bonney

Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The "Before" Photos
Last Friday, Julia and I packed up our tiny car with as many essentials as we could fit and we drove upstate to sign the contract on our new home! It’s tempting to insert about 10,000 exclamation points here, but I’ll leave it at this: the process taught us a lot about patience, the emotional nature of buying (and selling) a home and how much you have to leave things to fate to see how they turn out. But after all was said and done, we are both thrilled (and scared and excited!) to call this incredible old house our home.

Earlier this year, after spending a lot of time in and around the Catskills for vacation and our honeymoon, we decided to consider looking for a home upstate. We planned on casually looking, but what happened was a (wonderful) whirlwind that led to our dream home. After seeing a promising listing, we called an agent who was highly suggested by our friends and drove upstate with Julia’s family to look around. We saw five houses the first day, and the fifth ended up being the home we would eventually call our own. It needs a lot of love and some work, but we can’t wait to get started. (Read on for the full story, photos and the history of our over 150-year-old home) xo, grace

Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The History: The home we fell in love with was built around 1850 in Ulster County, New York. Originally a boarding home, it once had shuffle board courts (there are still remnants of this in the yard), archery, horseshoes and croquet.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The History: When we first looked at the home, we found a guest register from the home's days as a guest house. I loved seeing how many people from Brooklyn had visited.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Present Day: This was us on the day we came back up to see the home again and make an offer. We took Hope up to see how she would like the area. She seemed pretty happy about the prospect of a yard to run around in.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
This is the current "front" door of the home, which is a bit of a hodge-podge of different additions, although most of the front portions of the home (like this one) date back to the late 19th century. We love the tiny heart-shaped key lock on this door.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
There are several doors that look like front doors, so I'll take you around the house so you can get a feel for the overall layout. This is the driveway side and is what we consider the "front." It has wooden siding, a cedar shake roof (which we'll probably have to replace, sadly) and a slate entrance.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
If you walk around the house (heading to the left of the front door), this is the side of the house that has been changed the most. The room with the windows is our kitchen (which is what sold us on the house), which was a recent addition from the 90s, although it utilizes materials from the original home throughout.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Right behind the kitchen is a small patio and two of the yard's huge Catalpa trees. I wasn't familiar with these trees until I Googled them. They bloom with gorgeous white flowers in the spring. Right below the tree is a fenced-in area holding one of our favorite features...
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The pool! It was basically a dream of ours to find a home where we could eventually build a pool because Julia is an avid swimmer. We flipped when we saw the home's pool and couldn't believe our luck. I'm basically living out all of my suburban pool fantasies and can't wait to landscape the surrounding flower beds this spring.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Opposite the pool is the other side of the house. The bottom left windows are the main living room, the middle three windows are bedrooms and the top three windows are the attic, which is currently a terrifyingly spooky place where a mixture of mice and squirrels (and who knows what else) live. More on that later.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
This is our front yard. The property is a little under 4 acres and only about half is landscaped. The rest is sort of a mildly-tamed field that I plan on one day (hopefully) turning into a little flower farm.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
This is one of the other front doors, which needs to be replaced at some point because it's not in great condition. One of the first things we did when we moved in was replace all the locks and upgrade them because some doors didn't even have deadbolts. The city girl in me can't imagine not having deadbolts, let alone not locking doors at home, which we were told was pretty common. I plan on screening in this porch with some help from my Dad this spring and painting the floor. (This furniture is not ours, it went with the seller.)
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
If you circle back around to the side entrance (near the kitchen), this is how we enter the home most of the time. It's the modern entrance added when the kitchen was updated. It's a small mudroom with slate floors - perfect for muddy winter boots. Hope approves. (Seller's furniture, not our own.)
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
One side of the mudroom. The furniture left with the previous owner but I can't wait to find some new sconces to use here.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The other side of the mudroom has a row of Shaker hooks, which are on most walls in the home. I love Shaker details, so these are a favorite of mine. (This little door actually opens and leads into the den behind it.)
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The mudroom leads into the dining room/kitchen, which was added on around the late 1990s. The two walls of windows basically sell the house, or at least they did for us. This room is flooded with light pretty much all day. (We bought this table and chairs from the seller, they fit so well in the space.)
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The kitchen: This room is pretty much our cooking dream. We've gone from having about 1 square foot of counter space to having more than we know what to do with. But now that Julia is writing her own cookbook, she'll have plenty of space to test and shoot it here at home. We plan on making some changes here (painting, etc.) but we're in love with the reclaimed floor plank counters.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Hope is a big fan of the dining room/kitchen's low windows.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
One of the kitchen's counters is covered in copper. I love them so much. The cabinets were part of the home's original kitchen, which is a tiny space behind this room, which is now a small laundry room.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
To the right of the kitchen is one of the home's original rooms, with a low exposed-beam ceiling. (We're hoping to widen this door a bit to let in more light).
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
This room will become our den, with the TV and a comfy sectional sofa, which both of us have been dreaming of having for over a year. We couldn't fit a full sized sofa in our apartment, so having a couch where both of us and the pets can relax is pretty exciting. (Furniture belongs to seller, no longer in the room.)
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The side of this small room leads to the hallway, staircase and the front door (the one with the heart-shaped lock that started this slideshow).
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
If you walk out of the small den and look left, you'll see the hallway, which needs a lot of love. The little sliding door to the left hides a half bathroom. Opposite that is the basement doorway.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
If you keep walking through the hallway (by the front door) you'll enter a small, low room. We just call it the yellow room. Most people we spoke with think this is the oldest part of the home, since it appears in most of the oldest pictures we've found. The floors have been redone with reclaimed wood, but the ceiling is super low. We're hoping on expanding this tiny (very tiny) doorway to connect to the living room on the other side.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Through that tiny doorway is the main living room. There's a fireplace* on the left and sliding doors that connect to the kitchen patio to the left of Julia. The front porch (the one in the rocking chair picture) is to the right of those chairs against the wall on the right. All of this furniture is gone now, so now we have a big, empty room and nothing to fill it. We hope to eventually have two sofas across from each other next to the fireplace, but that's a ways off. *The fireplace is actually a wood burning oven CEMENTED inside an old fireplace. The lining needs to be replaced and is a very expensive fix, so we're waiting until next winter to fix it. So next year we plan on having our family up for conversations around (and no TV!) the fire.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Okay, back upstairs (I can't wait to give these stairs some love and restore them) to the bedrooms.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The master bedroom. This is the previous owner's furniture, but this is now our master bedroom. The floors are olllllld and have a lot of holes, many of which were patched in the traditional fashion, with copper patches. They're quirky and we're going to leave them for now. But eventually most everything will be painted white. The previous owner had a major love of sponge painting.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
This tiny bathroom off the master bedroom is right over the staircase. One day I dream of expanding it out a bit, but for now it's totally fine.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Across from the master bedroom is this original bedroom. It's one of the original rooms (which was probably divided into smaller guest rooms) in the home and we plan on turning it into our home office. *All of this furniture belonged to the original owner and went home with her.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The "big" bathroom: This bathroom, along with the kitchen, also pushed us over the edge to make an offer on the home. I've never had a bathtub big enough to stretch out in while living in NYC (and I'm only 5 feet tall) so this is a dream come true. There's a small standing shower to the right and the toilet is to the right, too.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Another bedroom: This room overlooks the main front porch and needs to have some tree limbs near it trimmed to let in more light and make sure things don't get too shady (and conducive to mold growth). Right under that side table (no longer there) is a vent from the first floor (by the fireplace) that would have originally been the method for heating this room. *All of this furniture belonged to the original owner and went home with her.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Another bedroom (it sounds so surreal to type this, but there are actually five bedrooms) that needs to be skim coated and painted. *All of this furniture belonged to the original owner and went home with her.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
The trouble bedroom. I had a dream we turned this into the best bedroom of the house, so we'll see what magic we can work. When we first saw this room there was a mold problem and carpenter ant infestation. It's since been cleaned up and treated, but it's going to need some love. Under all of this carpet and in the closet were signs of an old leak, so this room needs some love and a little help. *All of this furniture belonged to the original owner and went home with her.
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
Opposite of the "trouble bedroom" is this tiny little storage space that basically looks like the beginning of a horror movie. Or where you'd end up at the end of one. The back half of the second-floor hallway and this tiny staircase to the attic are covered in rotting wallpaper that needs to be torn down. We plan on removing this door, painting everything white and turning this into a tiny home for Turk's litter box, inspired by Douglas Riccardi's home cat project!
Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The
A final shot of the oldest "front" door to the home, with the tiny heart-shaped lock. All of the home's old doors were a real selling point for us. The previous owner saved and restored so many of them.

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  • Congrats Grace and Julia! This is amazing, I am in love with your kitchen! I just purchased my first home, too. I left the city (Newark) and moved to Hunterdon County, NJ for space, a yard, and a 120 year old home! I am really happy that my journey of home ownership will be coinciding with yours. I get so much inspiration from the interiors you cover. All the best!!

  • Oh, Grace! This home is absolutely beautiful. I’m swooning. Can’t wait to see pics of the progress as you two make it your own!

  • Woohoo. It. does. not. get. much. better. You are going to have so, so much fun! The one and only word of advice: be very very careful with painting floors white. Paint on walls can always be repainted. Floors on the other hand, are so much work…

    • Carin

      We’re not painting any floors white other than the bedroom, which is already painted yellow (blech). We stripped a small portion of the wood under the bed and it’s pretty poor quality, so I think we’ll leave it painted.

      Grace :)

  • Congrats!! What a gorgeous home. That porch is killer… but not as killer as that pool! Ulster County is a wonderful place. I went to undergrad at SUNY New Paltz and have been in love with it ever since.

  • Wow! Congratulations!!! That is so exciting! I’m about to wrap up a dream kitchen reno, but you’ve given me major house envy :) Good luck & enjoy making it your own!

  • What a lovely home! I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Have fun!

  • I love the way you keep disowning the previous furniture! What a great house, I can’t wait to see it finished. We had a litter box cupboard for our cat in a previous house, it was so neat.

  • SO exciting!! What a beautiful home and gorgeous grounds! Can’t wait to see how you two transform everything! Congratulations!!

  • Congrats! lately The siding….it’s beautiful, non machine made goodness. I’m swooning over it.

    • Thanks Sunny

      I love all those non-machine details. Although they’re currently letting in all sorts of rodents with their non-standard shapes and edges. Lots of work to do to seal it all up ;)


  • This is amazing! I’ve been stalking some historic New England area homes online for months just for fun.
    A few years ago we undertook a massive addition/renovation and am so happy despite all the headaches and setbacks that always pop up.
    Perhaps you should put up the NYC place as a vacation rental for out of towners.
    So exciting!

  • Hah – Grace, your response to Venice is awesome. . . and if you do decide to get rid of/sell that bench in the mudroom, I might be interested!

    So many congratulations! Looks like an absolute dream!

    • Margaret

      All that furniture went with the previous owner, we don’t have it. She took it when she moved, it was empty when we moved in :)



  • Congratulations! Such a beautiful home. I love that Turk is going to get his own bathroom (sort of)!! I’m sure you’ll all be very happy there and I look forward to hearing more about how it’s transformed in the future.

    • Deb

      Ooh! I’ll have to check out that dog park- we want to make sure that Hope doesn’t miss out on the socialization she gets here in the city :)


  • A big congrats! You both will have so much fun. And a big cheer for 1850! Our house was built right around the same time and I love looking at other structures built around that time. It’s fun to imagine what life would have been like, and reminds me to simplify ours. Looking forward to having you both in the Hudson Valley! :)

  • Grace, congratulations to you, and to Julia! This is a spectacular find, and it’s always so glorious to know that well loved, historic homes will continue to be cared for and given what they need. This old gem is in VERY capable hands. I’m so excited to watch your progress!

  • Congratulations!!! I’ve been watching a lot of home renovation shows (at the gym…ha) and dreaming of owning our own home. You two are going to have so much fun!

  • What an absolutely incredible dream home! Congratulations to the both of you – I can’t wait to to read about your home renovations!

    Laura @ SparklePony

  • Congratulations Grace and Julia, its gorgeous, i wish you many years of happiness here.

  • What a dream home! Congratulations. I look forward to see the ‘after’ pictures. Good luck with the work.

  • Congratulations!!!! What a beautiful, historic home! Can not wait to see how you transform it!

  • Congratulations, Grace and Julia! Your new home is amazing! You are living my dream life with the thought of having your own flower farm. My mouth totally dropped when I saw that pool! Catalpas are such pretty trees. I’m in Chicago and they’re all over the place and it’s so pretty in the spring when they flower.

  • This house is stunning, even in it’s small flaws. Congratulations! I just listening to your radio episode about moving ups

  • congrats! What a beautiful place! As someone who bought an old farm house that needed love in Prince Edward County (a similar area to yours in Canada), I can’t wait to see what you do with it. And as for the potential of living there full time: you won’t regret it if you make the leap ;)

  • OMG! Congratulations!!! What a lovely home! We just closed on a home on 11/26 and the selling and buying processes wore me out! So worth it in the end, though! Happy happy happy for you both!

  • Welcome to the neighborhood! We just moved into a historical Kingston house last Spring. I’m Elise Dee’s mother (remember she did the wax paper flowers for your blog!). I’m also an avid reader of your blog! If you need any recommendations for painters, etc, I can recommend a few good ones! Here’s my contact info: thewitan@gmail.com Wish you many happy years in your home!

  • Omg, the copper countertop! The pool! The original wood! The joy you will feel when you paint over the sponge paint job! No wonder you fell in love. Happy for you & Julia & Hope & Turk!

  • Grace,
    A huge congratulations to you and Julia! It is a beautiful home with such good bones. You will live the dream! Congratulations again!

  • Oh Grace, what a truly lovely, warm and homey looking house. Old houses are the best, and this one has wonderful bones and the right amount of quirk! Love the garden too. Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing snippets of what you do to the place. Enjoy!

  • So thrilled for both of you. I know you will make beautiful and special memories in your new home. I am looking forward to seeing your house become a home!!!

  • Congrats Grace + Julia, and welcome to the neighborhood! Your home looks like an utter gem, and I’m sure with your love and touch it will become your most-treasured haven in no time. Best wishes, and hope to see you guys around the HV when you get settled!

  • Oh my gosh. I am having MAJOR envy over here. I own a cute little 1927 bungalow in Niagara Falls and love it, but wish I had some more space both inside and out – this is just perfect! I will look forward to seeing how you spruce it up, but I have to say, it’s not too shabby as is, even!

  • Congrats! so exciting, can’t wait to see all the renos and how beautiful you decorate it.

  • Congratulations Grace! It looks wonderful and has such great bones. I can’t wait to see your “afters”. Maybe it will inspire an all new second book :)

    Plus, wow, what a dreamy kitchen – you’re right, perfect for all day testing. Sending love from sunny Florida!

  • Congrats! Beautiful home! My fiancé and I bought a home in Ulster County (Ellenville) 2 years ago. Built in 1880, our house was once a distillery during prohibition. We built an art studio next to the house, and left Williamsburg BK to live up here on our 60+acres full time last summer. I too, am still trying to figure the names of all the trees and flowers I have here. Excited to see more of what you do with your new home!!!

  • Congratulations Grace and Julia! It’s a beautiful home fill with so much charm and amazing kitchen. I look forward to seeing the improvements you make and the DIY projects that come out of it. Enjoy and happy holidays!

  • ohmygoodnesohmygoodness! 5 bedrooms and FOUR ACRES?? Y’all don’t mess around! What a gorgeous place too — so much character. Think of the stories those walls can tell….the stories you will add to its history. Wow. And just in time for the holidays. Congrats and enjoy!!!

  • Congratulations!! What an amazing find. I can’t wait to see how you transform it and make it your own.

  • That kitchen with all the light – think of all the amazing gatherings, big and small to come! So beautiful. Congrats!

  • Congratulations!!!! The photos are so good – SO much potential! And that kitchen is amazing. Can’t wait to see what you two do with the space :) xo

  • Love!! The garden potential is to die for! The little door under the stairs reminds me of Harry Potter’s little hideaway. ;) Best of luck and can’t wait to see what you will do with the trouble room!!

  • Griff and I are literally jumping up & down with JOY for 2 of our favorite people on the planet. I’ll go ahead & insert those !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Congratulations! It looks like a great place and an amazing canvas for you. I grew up in Ulster County (outside Woodstock), now live in Brooklyn, and have been considering buying a home up there. Would you be opposed to sharing the contact info for your agent? I’ve never bought a home and am a little bewildered on where to start. Either here or a private e-mail would be ace. Much appreciated!

  • dear Grace and Julia and Hope – many congratulations on your fabulous new home! Happy happy happy Christmas and New Year!
    love from London x

  • Just wonderful all around! Assume you’re fairly close in travel time to Max and Daniel? You have so much to work with there. Greatly looking forward to seeing the evolution of this property–inside and out–under the creative influences you and Julia will bring to it.

  • Congrats to you both! Do you mind if I ask where in Ulster? I am completely obsessed with that area and well into the Catskills and have drooled right along with every Catskills dream home post you’ve shared :) I just bought a log home in Sugar Loaf (down in Orange County) in June and would love to see some modern log home design inspiration on your blog if you can dig some up! :) Best of luck!!

  • My jaw hit the floor when I saw the pool. What an amazing house. Lucky you! Can’t wait to see what you do to it.

  • A HUGE congratulations!!! Can I just say, Dream home, or what?!? It’s absolutely gorgeous! Also, I love that area and go often when I want to get out of the city/Brooklyn…I hope to own a home in upstate NY one day as well! Good luck with the move!

  • Congratulations Grace & Julia! That pic of Hope looking out the windows made my heart swell. What a great place for her to discover as well :)

    • Thanks Rachel!

      We’re meeting with fence builders all week to see if we can afford to fence off a part of the yard for her to run free. I don’t trust her not to run into the woods behind us after a squirrel ;)


  • Ahh, congratulations!! The place is beautiful, and will be absolutely gorgeous once you are done making changes/giving it some love. And two words: THAT POOL…. sigh!

  • Congrats Grace and Julia! I was hoping all these wonderful Catskills-centric posts meant you were gravitating up here. Being an NYC to Catskills transplant myself, I’m thrilled you’ve bought a house. The entire region just got a little bit more awesome. And your house is fantastic.

  • Congratulations!! My family used to run a Jewish summer hotel a ways outside Montreal, and old “boarding house” buildings always take me back. I wonder, based on the number of Brooklyn-dwellers, if your home may have been part of the “Borscht Belt”? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borscht_Belt Even if it’s not part of the same heritage as my family’s hotel, it makes me feel great to see an old boarding house being given new life. Can’t wait to follow along with your progress.

    • Hi Ruth!

      Our home isn’t in the Borscht Belt proper, but it’s not far away. The Catskills (which we’re about 15 minutes south of) was home to some amazing Jewish resorts and entertainment spots. (Towns like Fleischmanns are still a big vacation spot for the Hasidic community)

      Grace :)

  • Congratulations Grace! I am sure you guys will love your time up there. You picked a winner, beautiful windows, old wood floors and grounds. Enjoy!!

  • How exciting! Congratulations Grace and Julia!!
    I grew up in an old home. It was over 200 years old and the barn connected to it is my parent’s restaurant. I love the history of places like this and I can’t wait to see what you do with it! Also, what an amazing space for Julia to work on her cookbook!

    Sending lots of good wishes your way for this new adventure.

  • Amazing. Check out Renovating Old Houses by George Nash if you haven’t already. I’m almost finished reading it cover to cover and feel like I could restore a house from the ground up (or at least know which tools are required for projects or if a contractor is being fair)! Looking forward to progress pictures, don’t forget to always take more than you think you need. It’s funny how quickly you forget the process once you’re relaxing in a restored space :)

  • Congratulations, Grace and Julia! What a tremendous space, yard and all. My jaw dropped when I saw that pool. Totally doesn’t seem to fit with the house, but totally amazing. Enjoy!

  • Wow, congrats Grace! It’s beautiful, I love old homes! My DIY advice is to carefully calculate how much time a home improvement project will take, then add a few months. ;) It’s well worth the elbow grease. I just had my one year house-iversary and I’m still pinching myself. Enjoy the nature!

  • It is stunning – congratulations! I’m thrilled for you both and so happy Hope has a yard of her own! And that pool – so exciting!

  • Hi Grace,
    Congrats! What a fabulous house. Those windows! That pool! We’ve just made a similar journey –bought a place in High Falls, not far from the house you featured recently, while keeping our apartment in Brooklyn. We’re moving upstate for good in September. We couldn’t be happier with our place; it came with a hot tub that made our NY friends insanely happy, and we love the community. As you may already know, Ulster County is rife with artists, writers and all sorts of creative types (I’m a writer; my husband is a potter/sculptor). There’s good eating here too. I wish you great joy.

  • Congratulations, Grace and Julia! I’m a longtime reader, and I’ve been so happy to watch you pursue your dreams over the years. Thank you for sharing with your readers. I can’t wait to see what you do with the gorgeous home!

  • Oh Grace, it’s perfect! Congratulations! My husband and I have been dreaming about buying a house somewhere outside of our city (DC) for over a year now. I’m so happy for you and Julia!!

  • Congratulations on this exciting new chapter in your lives. But, mostly, CONGRATULATIONS TO ME, because I get to follow along and see all of the glorious creative things you do to make this house a home! Your readers are so lucky and excited, too!

  • Oh, this looks like a dream come true! I can’t wait to follow along as you turn it into your very own palace!

  • Hello! I bought your book awhile back but am new to your blog. Love it! Congrats to you both! Can’t wait to see the progress. I live in Sioux falls, south dak. My home was built in 1916 and I bought it from my parents. Its been in my family for almost 60 years now. Its so great owning an old home. Its also so great getting your hands dirty making it your own. You will love every bit of it! My saint Bernard Libby has learned to Walk around the messes as will hope. Congrats again!

  • Congratulations! I grew up in Ulster County and it will always be home to me. My mother is a stone mason in the area if you should have need of one

  • It’s beautiful! Love it so much and can tell that you both do too! The kitchen and pool would have pushed me into buying no matter how much work needs to be done! When we first bought our house I had trouble sleeping for months because all my brain could focus on was all the projects I was so excited to work on… have fun ;)

  • Congratulations! My husband and I are closing on our first home in Tucson, AZ this week, so I’m totally feeling those “possibilities” butterflies with ya. Ours isn’t as historic as yours, but there’s still some charm I’m excited to work with. Have fun bringing that gem back to life!!

  • Oh my goodness, congratulations Grace!! So exciting & I can’t wait to see how you two transform the place! Give me a call if you want some help, I m just an hour North of you. I m an NYC gal gone country too! :)

  • Wow, congratulations to you both, this is beautiful!! I devoured the slideshow + can’t wait to see what you two do with it…I love when old homes get new life. It makes me very happy. What a lucky house to end up with you two as caretakers!

  • the house is so perfect and beautiful. I love all of the antique touches and am so grateful the other owner maintained so much of the homes history. Those wood floors downstairs, swoon! Congrats!!

  • Congratulations! How exciting. I can’t wait to see all the cool things you ladies do!

  • First time commenting… Congratulations! This is no small step. Very exciting and well earned. Best best best wishes to all 3 of you.

  • Congratulations, it’s beautiful. The heart-shaped lock bodes well for a young couple. I hope you’ll share your renovations too!

  • Grace, I love it so much I can barely stand it!!! It’s so charming. You are going to make it absolutely incredible. I am insanely excited to see you and Julia create a home here.

  • grace (and julia!) this is such a special home, with so many lovely details. i am so excited to see you turn into your own space. just amazing!!! xo

  • I’m in jaw-dropped amazement of the house. It’s a huge dream of mine to own something of this age and style but it just doesn’t exist in Wyoming, so we’re making do a with a weird cabin. Your new place is amazing and gorgeous. Huge congrats to you guys.

  • Oh Joy, to you two lovelies! I’m crushing on you even more now. Magical wishes to your new adventure!

  • I’m in love with that house… it exhales peace, summer breeze, love and history… Enjoy it as much as you can, even all the work to do, might be a pleasure. (lovely picture of the dog looking her future garden by the window…) <3

  • congratulations on buying such a magical place. I have fallen for it with the first door already. there is so much beauty and character, together with you love, irresistible! *struck by envy, the inspiring, good one.

  • Congratulations! There is something so exciting about owning your first home. Take your time and enjoy the process of making it yours.

  • Congratulations! It’s absolutely beautiful – basically my dream home so I can’t wait to watch you make it your own. And I keep meaning to comment how much I love the new look of Design Sponge. It’s got such a nice clean look and so easy to navigate – nice work!

  • congratulations Grace! This looks like a wonderful project for you and Julia. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  • As I was looking through the pictures, I was getting angrier and angrier…then it hit me. I’m not angry, JUST JEALOUS!! I don’t remember the last time I was so jealous of someone! The home is a dream. Congratulations…really.

  • Congratulations, Grace & Julia! I’m looking forward to seeing how you transform the place and make it your own, but I’m ALSO eager to hear more about Julia’s new cookbook…design and food…what more does one need in life, right?

  • Wow! That’s a beautiful house! I’m sure it will look even prettier after you do your magic but most importantly, that house looks like the perfect place to be a happy family!

  • Congratulations Grace and Julia! I’m so excited for you guys to have found such a beautiful place to make your home, best wishes for many happy years there!

  • Congrats to you! It is a magical part of the world… my husband and i left Manhattan 8 yrs ago and purchased a small farmhouse a little north of you in the Adirondack’s.. A wonderful change from city life and we enjoy what this part of the world has to offer… Organic gardening is now a new addition to our everyday living.
    My suggestion to you is to find out as much as you can about your home as you will be amazed the interesting stories you may gather from your new neighbors.
    Good Luck and come visit the Adirondacks!

  • Congratulations and what a beautiful home!! So excited to see how you girls make it yours ;)

  • Wow–it’s beautiful! It looks so serene and pastoral. And such a rich history. I love the meandering rooms, and it has so much character. Great “bones” for a fabulous place. Congratulations–you must be so excited. I can’t wait to see what you do to it all.

  • Grace! This is amazing! My husband and I are doing some similar searching outside of Chicago! If only there were more farmhouses like this!

  • Congrats you two! A fantastic tour of the house cant wait to see it with redecorated ¡¡¡ it is adsolutely beatifull, I really love these kind of antique house from there , here we do other kind of constructions, i really love these fabolous houses ¡¡ I wish you very much years of happiness there ¡¡¡

  • Congrats – it’s such a sweet place. Looking forward to seeing you work your magic and make it truly yours!

  • CONGRATS and welcome to Ulster County! I recently just purchased a 100 year old farmhouse in the area as my getaway home from the bustle of the city. I am moments away from finishing its renovation. and hope to share it with your great site very soon! All the best in your new home its a beautiful piece of property! Congrats again!

  • Your new home is incredible! Can’t wait to see what how you transform it into your own. Congrats!! :)

  • Wow, this house is absolutely beautiful and the setting is amazing! Congratulations to the two of you! May your home be filled with happiness :-)

  • How sweet of you to share your new abode, Grace. Wishing you both all the best as you add your special touches and aesthetic to your diamond in the rough.

  • I haven’t read your site for awhile (not because I don’t love it, just because I’m lazy), so I was totally surprised to learn that you are married to Julia Turshen. It’s All Good is my favorite cookbook ever. And I’ve followed your blog for over nine years now. I know I’ll never meet either of you, but wow her food and your style and love too -that’s just amazing. Congratulations.

  • This house is a dream, Grace! Congratulations. You will have so much fun adding your own personal touches.

  • congrats! I’m so happy for you…you’ve been a home design blogger for so long, and now you have the perfect “canvas” for your art. I can’t wait to follow-along…I hope you show us regular peeks!

  • Congratulations! I’m green with envy. You certainly have found a wonderful place to work your magic. Loved that big bathroom… and the porch with the furniture. Thanks for sharing the tour with us.

  • what an awesome place- will be so incredible to remodel! AND what a kitchen to create a cookbook in! congrats to you both ! p.s. love the new look of design sponge!

  • Grace! Wondering if you can share the name/contact info of said awesome real estate agent? My husband I and I have also been looking “casually” in Ulster County since July of this year. Would love to be working with someone great!

  • I believe this is my favorite D*S post EVER!! There is nothing more inspiring than a space that you can fix up, piece by piece, over time. Four things I have learned through my own home experiences that I’d like to pass along:

    1. Fix the roof, NOW. Do not wait. If you wait, you will need to replace far more than just the roof (attic beams, dry wall, windows which will warp…).

    2. A good plumber is worth his/her weight in gold. Also, do as much of the plumbing in one shot as you can. Multiple visits at different times are more expensive (IMO).

    3. Caulk everything, right now. No one ever says they really regret a $6 purchase of caulk.

    4. Resist the urge to “finish” rooms. They’re never going to be finished. But you will buy a lot of crap (art, blankets, whatever) in failed attempts to “finish off” a room before you realize this. And getting rid of stuff is 3x more difficult than acquiring it in the first place. Plus, moving that stuff aside so it doesn’t get damaged while you do the dirty work (drywall, floors, ceilings, painting…) is a chore and a half. Truuust me, only own enough stuff to furnish 1/3 of your house until you’ve finished at least half of the reno work (preferably more).

    • jessvii

      i basically agree with everything you said, and we’re already doing it. roof is being fixed this weekend, ditto on the plumber and electrical. i’m going to going through at least 12 tubes of caulk this weekend trying to seal every mouse hole ever. ;)


  • Congratulations! There is nothing like your first home — all the best as you make it your own — look forward to an update a year from now to see all the changes that you and Julia will have made to your dream — I especially love your covered porch and all the unique elements (the heart shaped locks)!

  • Yay! Congratulations! What a beauty too! Can’t wait to see the progress and posts on homeowner tips! We just bought our first house too… in May in the East Bay SF, and moved in October after renovations. It’s overwhelming, but so worth it! I can relate to your excitement about the bath tub and other things that you didn’t have in tiny apartments. I can’t tell how excited I was with the new fancy washer and dryer. Again, so happy for you both!

  • What a beautiful place . It looks like a very happy place where you can both grow old in together . How lovely . I love everything about it . But the kitchen is my absolute favourite room . How wonderful life is panning out for you, I am do happy for both if you xx Bea

  • Grace,

    What a blessing! I love how the house has livable and usable space while you are renovating other rooms. The pool is such a blank slate style wise which great. I love how it looks now though too. I know guys are style pro’s but I have two ideas I’d love to see implemented in this house.

    1. Ombre stairs! Fun to have now and easy to change later!

    2. Paint the outside of the claw foot tub black. I love a black, white, and brass color scheme for these older farmhouse-y bathrooms. You bring in some pattern and pops of color with art and florals. I think it looks super chic.

  • This house is unreal. How lucky you two are to find this magical place. It reminds me so much of my granny’s place. Cannot wait to see what you guys come up with. Congrats on a gorgeous home!

  • YES! I’m so excited for you both. What an amazing thing it is to enjoy your own space. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • Beautfiul house! Please don’t paint over original wood with white paint. Watch ever single episode or Rehab Addict first!

    • Agnes

      Please read my comments above, I never (ever) said I was painting over any original wood with white paint. The only floor we’re painting white is the one that’s already been painted yellow. I explained more in my comment above. (I’ve watched that show- she’s fantastic. However, we don’t have the budget and team she does for redoing everything so quickly)


  • What a fun post. Thanks for sharing!

    I’d love to see another post just on the attic and basement, the creepy stuff where all the fun secrets hide.

    Are the wood floors throughout the house the same wood? I love rustic floors with gauges and imperfections. A good sander and some stain and a non-toxic top coat will create such a beautiful feeling of everything making sense together.

    I just love this new home of yours.

    • hi carla

      yep, those pictures will come ;)

      the floors are different in sections. we plan on unifying them down the road, but not any time soon.


  • Congrats! the home is beautiful and I hope you’ll take us through the decorating process for years to come. Love those windows in the kitchen and the sink with the chubby legs in the bath. Maybe some beautiful candle sticks inside the main living room fireplace until it gets repaired! So excited for you both – or 3 :)

  • Oh my gosh!! This is awesome!! Congratulations to you both – what a beautiful house, I can’t wait to see what you do with it. We moved out to the semi-country three years ago – while this city girl was skeptical, we now love it so much that we can’t imagine moving back into the city (although we do visit it, often :). Our move was unfortunately due to very unpleasant circumstances and the process of selling our beloved apartment and buying a new home in a different town with less than a month to spare was almost debilitatingly stressful, but experiencing a new town, new neighbours, and a total appreciation of the peace, beauty and GREEN-ness is simply wonderful. Our dog Panda wouldn’t have it any other way – Hope is going to love it :) Congratulations again, and the only advice I would share (because you guys are pros and even if you weren’t, it’s your home and you two know how make it your own) is to do some living in it – up to a year or more, before taking on anything major (that isn’t an emergency of course). Get to know its quirks, and get to know how you use it through each season – and enjoy dreaming up your plans. That’s half the fun right there :) ENJOY!!

  • Welcome, welcome, WELCOME! Wishing you and Julia that absolute best in this adventure! Hopefully we’ll catch you all in person some time now that we’re neighbors. Well, neighbors in that country sense, haha!

  • Curious….will you keep a NYC apt or live upstate and commute? Starting to consider what life would be like to buy outside of nyc. could a nyc life still be had if you are an hour or so away ?

    • Hi Erin,a

      We’re keeping our Brooklyn apartment for a year and then making a decision. The drive is 2 hours so it’s not too bad, but it’s not ideal for an every day commute either.


  • It’s gorgeous! Congratulations. It looks as though it has lovely light. I;m looking forward to seeing more of the house and garden over time. How exciting for you.

  • I ended up at your blog via FB, and can’t wait to see your house adventures. We just bought a farmhouse in PA with SO many of the same features and challenges you and Julia have here. I would love to know where you source things as you “give some love” to your house. There are lots of places in my area here but I am always on the lookout for more shops and salvage places. (And if you are ever in the Brandywine Valley outside of Philly, I’m happy to share the names of some great places!) Best of luck!

  • congrats a million times over — it’s just a perfect home… wishing you so many years of happy days there!

  • Oh Congratulations Grace – what a wonderful, wonderful house! You will have such a good time – and how perfect to get the key to the heart-shaped lock at this holiday season! What a grand adventure – I wish you both much joy. It’s a lucky house to have such talented owners – a happy house!

  • Congratulations!!! I can’t wait to follow the story of your home. The windows and light are so beautiful and I am a big fan of big porches as well. You are living the Dream!

  • Love this place!!! Any chance you know the color of the front door? Looks like the same color we just painted the exterior of our house- Ben Moore “Warm Springs”….Cant wait to see the next round of photos.

  • congratulations! this home is absolutely STUNNING! what an ideal ‘blank canvas’ to work with. enjoy!

  • Congratulations, Grace and Julia!!! It’s such a beautiful old home, and the yard & pool look incredible! I can’t wait to see what you do with it, I know it will be beautiful and so very you. My husband and I are in the process of buying a new-to-us very old house, too! We close at the end of January. Isn’t it so exciting to have all of that space?!


  • Grace,
    What a lovely home! I noticed a baseboard heating system that looks similar to what is in an older home we recently purchased – do you mind sharing if it is electric baseboard or a boiler heat radiator type system? If it’s the boiler system, I’m curious to know if you will leave the current baseboard radiators. Thanks!

    • hi holly

      it’s electric, so we need to leave these. they can’t be replaced for older radiator styles if that’s what you mean?


  • Congratulations! I am so excited for y’all! Just wanted to say that I hope you won’t feel any pressure to rush any part of the process for the sake of blog content. I know you didn’t purchase the house for that reason – I just mean that I hope you won’t let your readers’ curiosity make you feel rushed at all! People will be thrilled to see your progress whenever it comes. I think some blogs let their readers’ demands to see progress in their personal homes (maybe YHL?) take a toll on them and rob them of the joy of taking their time and making thoughtful decisions. Of course your blog is very different since it doesn’t rely on content like that… Just throwing it out there!

  • GUYS! Just catching up with the internet world after a few weeks of being a bum. So excited to hear this news! The house is wonderful and you guys will make it perfect. Can’t wait to watch your progress. If you ever need a hand, let us know! x

  • Love your house! I haven’t been to your blog for a little while and it was great to come across the new design and the exciting news. Can’t wait to see how home ownership will influence the blog!

  • I’ve been reading since almost the very beginning and I can’t wait to see what you do with the place. :) Just bought a nearly 100-year-old house myself and getting it safe and sound has been interesting! Wishing you all the best!

  • What a wonderful time you both with have. I am so happy for you and Julia. That porch, the kitchen (yowza for sure on that copper surface!!!), those windows….. and a claw foot tub… sigh.

    Cannot wait to witness the reno adventures you’ll have. Your mind must be swimming with inspiration and priorities!

  • Hi Grace
    Welcome to the neighbourhood! I saw your new home listing on the realtor’s Pinterest board and thought it had wonderful potential. How great that you will be giving this home so TLC.

  • What an amazing house! Grace, I must say I haven’t been to your blog in a while, but I popped back to see where you were at and what a change! You site looks beyond amazing and I love that we’re seeing/reading more of the personalities behind Design Sponge. You are a very strong woman and such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing with us! Cannot wait to hear more about the house!

  • This is a beautiful post. Good for you for taking on the old house challenge. My partner and I bought an 1853 brick beauty in Vermont about six months ago. It is awesome to own and of course there’s so much to learn…I never knew I’d be so interested in heating systems, R-value, proper drainage…we just finished renovating the kitchen and a big one for us was putting in a wood stove, which has become the total magnet in the house. Expensive, yes, but SO worth it. Congratulations again and I plan on checking in a lot as it’s so much fun to see someone else going through a similar experience.

  • Welcome to Ulster! My husband and I (both media freelancers) made the move from NYC to Accord full time in February. We bought a cottage and have been doing renovations little by little too. If you need a great plumber or contractor let me know! Enjoy the house and congrats!

  • I have to say…the retro pic up top is AMAZING. Congratulations and lots of happiness, health and great times in your new home.

  • OMG Grace! I’m freaking out for you! This is super amazing and I am so so excited for you and Julia to have this beautiful home to call your own. Can’t wait to read about the updates to come. :)

  • Your new home is breathtaking! The acres upon acres of windows, the pool, the grounds…just lovely! Congratulations to you both!

  • I’m so late to this post! Congrats Grace! You guys are our neighbors. How excited you must be and what a gorgeous place to call home. Scrolling through the pics, it just kept getting better… the pool, the light filled kitchen, the 5! bedrooms – couldn’t help but think of all the memories waiting to be made in such a special place. It was April when we bought our place in Olivebridge 5 years ago and a Japanese Plum blossom (that only blooms for 1 week) was in full bloom. It now marks each new year we’ve been here. I bet you’re excited to see your new place when Spring rolls in. Enjoy every minute of it! (and don’t hesitate to reach out for some local resources) ~ Dana

  • Just seeing these first photos of your home, and I’m in love! This home is absolutely gorgeous, with so much character + awesome history! Also, that pool really IS a dream! You are going to have so much fun fixing up this beauty and making it your own, I can already tell. Congratulations!

  • Amazing! I’m so excited to see what you are going to do with it! Love the house congratulations!!! I only hope you re-think screening in that entire porch…

  • Your house is absolutely lovely, a dream and will bring you years of love. Your suggestions sound great, just clean, repair and give a coat of fresh paint. I can see some renovations to come, but what a great house, you will make it beautiful.

  • Congrats! Pool area reminds me of Martha Stewarts Turkey Hill home. She had 2 glorious wisteria trees flanking the steps going down to the pool…spectacular! You should google it, just to get some ideas. :-) enjoy your home