An Early 1900s Catskills Country House Fashioned with Antique Finds
Ron Sharkey |

The beauty of “antique” drew Ron Sharkey in from an early age. When his artist father brought home four old Dutch paintings of church interiors, he fell in love with each of their frames; an affection for English ironstone was born from summers spent on the Cape trolling auction houses and estate sales; and with a degree in Art Education from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Ron moved to the city where much of his time was spent “stalking the 28th Street markets.”

In the early 90s, after numerous visits to a friend’s home in Kerhonkson and the realization of “the Cape being too far to sneak off to for a weekend,” Ron began the search for his own Hudson River Valley getaway. In 1995, he found a secluded home overlooking the Rondout Creek, in Accord, NY, a pastoral hamlet dotted with fruit orchards and working farms.

“It’s a 4-room house, but with the enclosed screen porch, it can feel like five,” says Ron. “My favorite is the blue room. The original wallpaper is falling off—paper I would never have picked—but I’ve loaded the room with furniture—a farm table, chairs, a garden statue that came with the house, and an old zinc and copper bathtub.”

What doesn’t bedeck his home gets sold at his antique shop, Downtown Antiques in Accord, NY. The store, a curated assemblage of vintage finds and architectural salvage, is an ever-changing and growing collection of cupboards, dressers, benches, doors, gates, lamps, signs, paintings, mirrors and, of course, ironstone. New merchandise is picked, cleaned, fixed, and priced on a daily basis.

“‘I have to have it!’ happens when the right combination of lines, design, size, finish and price come together,” he says. “Sometimes it’s influenced by the fact that I have never seen an object before, sometimes it’s because I’ve only dreamt of owning something as perfect. A secret I have learned over the years is to simply ask ‘Is there anything else?’”

Woodpile in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “With two wood stoves, folks think I’m without a furnace! But there is one…”

Ron Sharkey in his Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “Some objects just somehow seem to last, as does this watermarked litho of a gentleman with a funny hat in a chipped frame.”

Antique details in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “The zinc top farm table was in my shop for a month before a great friend said, ‘why don’t you take this home?’”

Antique fabric in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “I started collecting vintage and antique striped textiles, which are now stored in trunks and wooden boxes waiting for the next upholstery task.”

Antique finds in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “I also inherited a Marie Antoinette guest room. Portraits of her hung on the walls after the closing.”
  “The porch is filled with candles and a collection of finials and just an urn or two. It’s great having meals with friends in a space almost surrounded by windows.”

Antique chair in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “This is one half of a pair of old green velvet ballroom chairs I bought a year ago at a flea market! Totally unusable, but not without a story…”

Gorgeous bedroom in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “I love the painting studio turned bedroom. A prior owner put up cabbage rose striped wallpaper, which I just don’t have the heart (or time) to tear down.”

Gorgeous kitchen in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “I purchased the house with a 1980 addition of a kitchen and dining/sitting area complete with a wood stove and French doors to the river. All I had to do was fill it with Ironstone and furniture!”

Antique plates in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “I love English White Ironstone, especially this set that is hand decorated with copper luster! The plates and cups are simple bands, but the decorations on the platter reminded me of old phones. I usually shy away from both patterns and colors.”

Gorgeous kitchen in Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “There is great light that comes in through the doors and windows. All the windows are barn sash style and don’t have any window dressings. I have no neighbors, so it works out.”

Woodpile at Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “I added this woodshed when a friend was removing the shed attached to his barn! I ran over with a hammer and then had my contractor put it back together adding an open space for firewood. This is also a nice place to have dinner before new wood is delivered.”

Gorgeous terrace at an Upstate NY home, andnorth.com

  “Summers on the Rondout Creek are breathtaking! Winters offer white, cold, crisp mountain views…and the spring and fall are so beautiful! I enjoy each season!”

7 comments

  1. We love Ron! And we love his home! And everyone should be sure to check out his new Black Barn in High Falls on Columbus Day weekend. It is going to R.O.C.K.

    1. We love him too! His Black Barn is absolutely stunning, we can’t wait for Field and Supply Columbus Day Weekend.

  2. Thank you And North for this wonderful assignment. It was a pleasure to photograph Ron in his stunning home.
    Much Joy,
    Kelly Merchant

    1. Thank you Kelly, your photos are absolutely gorgeous!

    1. He most certainly does! Thanks Cynthia!

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