The 1857 Rondout Home of Kingston Shop Owners
Theresa and Michael Drapkin are the owners of Kingston Wine Co., a winsome wine shop in the historic Rondout waterfront district that shines light on classic, traditionally made wines. The couple moved to Kingston in October 2013 from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, after a memorable weekend at Peter Wetzler and Julie Hendrick’s Church des Artistes, a repurposed 1800’s Romanesque Church turned upstate B&B in downtown Kingston.
“It wasn’t clear that Kingston was our place at first—we were unaware of what was brewing,” says Michael, who searched for a year with Theresa for both commercial and artist studio space in the city, “but Julie and Peter are amazing ambassadors for Kingston, the arts, and for living deliberately.” Needless to say, they drove back to the city sold on this vibrant upstate community, and today, the couple live just a short walk from their popular wine shop in a stunning 1857 brick home they restored themselves; a residence with walls once painted odd colors and rooms crowded with overstuffed furniture.
Matched with Theresa and Michael’s modern minimalist style, the home’s historic architecture and original details are able to shine. Hardwood floors, classic furniture acquired from family, and small-town finds tastefully punctuate the home’s big picture windows, sliding doors, and elegant archways. “We were truly lucky that everything our families gave us worked with what we like—minimalism, comfort, approachability, pattern and color.”
The front porch with its bluejay blue wainscoting was traditionally used to give an illusion of sky.
There are 24 interior doors in the house and all are “an elegant, classic black.” The deer head, nicknamed Bucky, separates the dining room from the living room, and was found at Ron Sharkey’s Black Barn in High Falls, NY.
The living room is a patchwork of inherited furniture, painted in charcoal gray (Valspar Muted Ebony), the same color used for the exterior walls of the wine shop. “It was so fortuitous that both our parents were downsizing as we were moving into the house. Without them we’d have only the marble top Saarinen table—the first piece of furniture we bought together—and sparsely furnished rooms,” says Michael.
The hutch, original to the kitchen, stretches to a nearly 10-foot ceiling; the glass-fronted cabinet doors preserve their families’ Wedgwood and Limoges china. Oftentimes, flowers are brought home from Hops Petunia, the wine shop’s neighbor, and placed around the house in sentimental finds, such as this pitcher. “Objects can serve as repositories of memory,” says Theresa, an artist who works primarily in pastel and draws much of her inspiration from the work of floral designers.
The light fixture above the dining room table (another hand-me-down from Michael’s family) was made by local antiques dealer, Milne, Inc., from a 19th century cast iron trough that had retained its original patina. In the salon, above the Saarinen table, hangs a 19th century French gathering basket fixture also transformed by Milne.
Another one of her paintings, “Overgrown,” hangs between the window and fireplace. “I love the work of floral designers,” she says, “and I love arranging my own foraged flowers, berries and branches.”
At the top of the stairs, beyond a graceful archway, shelves were installed to create a book nook. “We love books—art, fiction, biography, travel literature—and have always acquired them,” says Michael. “There are great finds to be had at the Kingston Library sale.”
The bedside table was another find from Ron Sharkey’s Black Barn, and the lamp shows off one of Theresa’s favorite items to collect: vintage black lampshades.
A portrait of Louise Bourgeois is taped to the wall in Theresa’s studio. “Her diverse body of work—sculpture, paintings, textiles—constantly inspires me,” says Theresa, who likes to work from 10pm to 2am, “when everything’s quiet.”
Claude, the couple’s yellow Labrador, enjoys peering out the floor-to-ceiling salon windows, observing the neighbors, passersby, and various other animals.
“When we first got here, although it was amazing to have found such a great outdoor space in downtown Kingston, it was kind of Grey Gardens-ish,“ says Theresa. “Restoring everything was a lot of work, but now we’re out here almost every day in all four seasons, for coffee, reading, lunch, dinner, even Thanksgiving. We can see two church steeples and hear the bells.”