Paulins Kill Farmhouse

We have future plans to buy and renovate a property in the country/mountain areas outside NYC. I’ve set a goal for this to happen by my 40th birthday (T-4 years, the countdown begins.) In the meantime, I regularly scout for properties and imagine how I’d fix them up – just for fun.

Since we went with our friends to eastern PA and realized that a 1.5 hour commute to our country home is extremely attractive, I’ve been more focused on properties in that region. There are pros and cons to the location. The major pro is the distance to our apartment in Brooklyn. The cons are that the location may be less desirable for my future rental business and the small towns out there don’t have quite the same cache, in terms of restaurants and culture, as the ones upstate.

That aside, I found an amazingly awesome property outside Blairstown at a good price with a lot of potential.

Here are the stats:


Given that there are no interior pictures of the house, I’m going to assume it’s a mess. The pond across the street has a lake association that seems to have a nice community. On the downside, the house in likely in a flood zone. Another benefit is that though the buildings on the property are close to the road, it’s 11 acres so plenty of room for expansion.

By using pictures from the listing and screenshots of the birds eye view I put together this little schematic of the grounds and buildings, as it is currently.
PaulinsKillFarmhouse_CurrentLandscapeTons of potential here for creating a weekend retreat for my family, a viable house rental and even a separate wedding/event space over in the barns. Here’s how I’d completely rethink and renovate this property.
As this drive is the main entrance of the property, it needs some drama added. All the inspiration images I choose maintain that rural feel to keep consistent with the farmhouse and barn structures, but are much more polished than the dirt road there now.
The barn/garage itself would get a total makeover to become a more flexible space. I’d need at least 1 car garage on the bottom level with an entryway, a bathroom, kitchenette, with a small porch/veranda on the side. Upstairs would be a studio space for Brian, which could also double as a guest overflow space or a separate rental. More on that later…
Currently the property is two residences and I’d likely keep the set-up that way (more on that later.) With a little landscaping, a patio and some new walks, the two side entrances would be equally adorable and create a new outdoor entertaining space for the property. I’d cover up electrical equipment with boxes that match the house siding to make those things blend seamlessly.
Above, I mentioned the need for outdoor space… One of the major problems with this property is that the drive to the barns cuts right through the backyard, essentially eliminating any room for a dining patio. So instead of a drive, at the end of what I think is a little stone bridge, old wood gates would open to a bluestone patio that would then flow into a pretty walk to the barns.
The bluestone patio would be the main entertaining zone with a fire pit, outdoor kitchen and plenty of lounge/dining space. I’d also add a kitchen garden and an in-ground pool to this zone. Remember the small porch/veranda on the garage? That would sit aside the pool so that the garage could double as a pool house!
The front of this house has a lot of potential though I am a little thrown off by the asymmetrical placement of the staircase! But quirks are good so I’d leave as is. I would remove the second staircase that feeds to the road because who would ever use that?! With a little dark paint I think that basement level would be more tidy and recessive. Landscaping would add a ton around this area. And clearly swings and front porch accoutrement are an imperative. Up on the top of the house, dormers would be added to create more space in the attic (more on that below.)
So this is probably a gut renovation. There’s a full basement that I’m thinking has canning and wine cave written all over it. The listing separates the house into two: the front house and the back house. In the front house, the first floor has 4 rooms. I’d make one room a flexible library/media/guest room with a full bath. There would be a dining room. And at the back of the front house, I’m guessing I’d need to knock down a wall to create a big open kitchen/family room with access to that back porch and the entry side door. If there’s room for a good butlers pantry, I’d take one of those as well. Upstairs there would 2 guest bedrooms with a bath and one master with a large bath and laundry, then those dormers would help the walk up attic become a bunk room.

In the back house, the first floor would be one room, an open kitchen and living/dining room. The second floor would be the master bedroom with bath. What I love about this set up is that it would allow for two separate rentals to occur at once. Or let’s say I wanted this to be a B&B, it would work for that as well with the caretakers cottage in back. Tons of flexibility!

From a design perspective, think my mom’s antiques mixed in with more modern upholstered pieces and accessories. The palette would be simple and minimal. I’d love for the dining room and library to have darker walls and the kitchen, in particular, to bring a modern mix.


Ah, the barns, aka the event space. Part of my vision for this property is that it would be a venue for couples looking for a wedding spot. Therefore the barns would be full of “moments” that would be Instagram wedding hashtag worthy.

As a guest you might arrive in the main drive, cross the stone bridge and pass by the pool and house patio to start the walk to the barns. The walkway would be beautifully landscaped. You’d see modern barns painted black with stone foundations and modern glass elements mixed throughout. In the side yard to the left you’d see a little vineyard style trellis which would be a dining trellis (or potential ceremony location) as well as to mask the two water tank eyesores.

The barns would have another bluestone patio at its center. One of the old outbuildings would be a guest bath and the barns themselves would be raw and gorgeous, i.e. flexible for people to put their stamp on the space for events. To the side of one of the barns would be a caterers kitchen, eventually. And behind the barns would be the service entry and parking lot (which would be accessed through a second driveway.)

Here’s a rough plan of how the new, improved property might flow:


What do you think? Would you want to rent this property? Get married there?

I really love how this came together in my mind and when I look at those listing pictures I only see the finished dream!

I’ll be doing more of these kinds of posts as I have a backlog of “dream weekend homes” that I sit on the subway and stare at!

Listing | Courtyard | Garage | Drive | Gate | Side Entry |  Patio | Walk | Concealed Electrical | Tree | Door | Patio | Fire Pit | Patio Seating | Round Table | Poolhouse | Pool | Garden | Gate | Dormers | Siding | Black Foundation | Property Gate | Bunk | Bath | Guest Bedroom | Bedroom| Sofa | Secretary | Kitchen | Library | Dining | Trellis | Black Barn | Black & Glass Barn | Glass Barn | Glass Doors Barn | Barn Walk | Barn Patio

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