Saturday, January 16, 2010


I toured a home in the Skaneateles township right outside the village. I had seen it online many, many times, had people call me and ask about it, but I had never been inside.

The name of the home was originally Greystone. It commands 3.5 acres on Franklin Street Road and was built in 1850 by the owner of the Sherwood Inn. It is now part of an estate - the gentleman who lived there bought it in 1975.

It needs work, of course. Someone put on an addition in the mid-1960s and it looks like it was put on in the mid-1960s. But the main part of the house - amazing!

The exterior is lovely grey stone as is the foundation. It has marvelous gingerbread coming off the eaves to give it a fairy tale appearance - not my words, but my buyer's. Trees and bushes have overgrown the entrance and the floor to ceiling windows. There probably was a circular drive up from the road for carriages to drop people off at the front door.

Inside the ceilings are high - 12 or 13 feet. Wallpaper and plaster have had water issues over the years, but the woodwork is in excellent shape. Our tour guide, the list agent, said the wood is either butternut or chestnut. The floors are hardwood of course and look quite good for being over 150 years old.

I commented on the lack of fireplaces and the list agent said it was heated by steam, even from the beginning. The one large fireplace is coal-burning, she said. There are ample radiators throughout the house and despite temperatures in the 30s we were warm.

Upstairs there are four solid corner rooms each with closets, one a walk-through. There are two full baths with one added into what was probably an old closet. The water evidence downstairs came from them, most likely. Yes, work to be done.

We attempted to pull down the attic stairs but got jittery with too recent viewings of Christmas Vacation. The agent said there's a full attic, too - how much fun if we could get to it!

The addition brings in another bedroom and full bath, accessible to the kitchen by a spiral staircase. Was there an original part for servant's quarters as I've seen in other homes in the village? The addition looks "new" and unfortunately takes away from the beauty of the house. Plans do exist for tying it all together with a stone facade and more gingerbread. The same (with a lot of money, I am sure!) should be considered for the three car carriage house/garage.

A three season porch was added for the most recent owner, south-facing, and on a day like today when the sun shines brilliantly I can imagine sitting there away from the wind and enjoying a good book. The exterior stonework forms one of the walls.

Looking out from the front windows you see fields and hills. In the rear there is a huge yard and then trees. A split rail fence in the front defines the property from the road.

According to the agent, this house has been cited by the Historical Society as one deserving preservation. Amen!

The current asking price is $400,000 for the 3.5 acres, 4500 sf house, 3 car garage in the Town of Skaneateles. Call me! The estate would like to see a family buy it, and I can imagine celebrations in the renovated home with cars pulling up to the front door, passengers emerging with long dresses and top hats, sweeping into the house lit up for the occasion. I see children sliding down the back slope, pestering parents in the enlarged kitchen, hanging off the deck. Great grandpa snoozes in the sun in the all-season room, wrapped in red plaid blankets. Greystone is alive again!