An 1813 Saugerties Farmhouse with Views of the Catskill Mountains
David and Lori Brown |

Seven years ago, when Brooklyn-based couple David and Lori Brown began their hunt for an upstate home to buy and restore, they were envisioning a farmstead, complete with a view of the Catskill Mountains and a fireplace. After three years of rifling online and touring grounds across Ulster County, they found just that: a 200-year-old farmhouse near the village of Saugerties, NY.

“It was such a wreck, but it was love at first sight,” the two of them remember, wincing at the memory of linoleum and the stains of orange nicotine dripping down the walls. Eight months of repair and renovation (and the incredible discovery of 18-inch wide plank pine floors) and the house was ready to welcome paying guests looking for a country escape.

The couple’s treasured finds — drawn from a shared proclivity for yard sales, antiquing, and thrift store shopping — are now gorgeously outfitting the 4-bed, 2-bath farmhouse designed with “one foot in the early 19th century and one foot in the 21st century.” “Our style is clean and modern, but also ancient and primitive,” says Lori. “The house is truly an expression of who we are, and we work hard to make it beautiful for us and for our guests.”

And North Note: Stay in this house by reserving it on Airbnb

Farmhouse in Upstate NY.

  “We’ve looked into the house’s history and found a 19th-century journal someone put online where a relative of the owner remembered her time here in 1841 as full of “crisp and clear nights” at a “large rambling farmhouse.” The house has been much altered since — with 1950s shingles we’d love to take down and a mudroom built partially of materials from the original roof, which blew off in 1958 &mdash but, even with all of these changes, it’s still a simple and rambling farmhouse.”

Entrance way to a farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “Nearly everything we own comes from an estate sale, auction, or it’s been handed-down. The rake and canning table were in the basement of the house when we bought it. The chalkboard is from a sale near a place we used to rent in Accord. The doorbell (along with the disco ball we used at our wedding) was “salvaged” from a Catholic church being torn down next to Lori’s old apartment in Brooklyn.”

Beautiful dining room in upstate NY.

  “One thing we love about our house is that the rooms and ceilings are generously sized for a building that is 200 years old. The dining table sits on an 19th century quilting frame. Blue Willow china (Lori’s grandmother’s) is displayed in the cabinet and pulled out for big dinners. The chandelier came with the house, but we gave it a quick coat of black spray paint. The motto postcards are from the early 1900s and it’s been a labor of love assembling our collection over the last eight years.”

200 year old farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “The giant fungi on the table came from an estate sale in West Saugerties where a woman was selling the contents of her father’s home. It was late and there was hardly anything left, but these fungi were artfully arranged in the fireplace, inscribed on the back with the dates and places where they were found during his hunting trips. We asked if they were for sale and she looked at us like we were crazy for wanting them. This happens when we try to buy bird nests, too. People usually just give them to us.”

Modern living room in a farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “It’s fun to mix modern in with a classic farmhouse setting—and not over-do it. The print is by Adam Cohn, the lamp is by David Weeks, and the rug comes from a country auction in Greene County.”

View of the Catskills from a farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “This view of the Catskills is always changing and always a pleasure to behold. Amazingly, this was a big blank wall when we bought the house. Putting a window in was one of the biggest, and most satisfying, improvements we made. The vintage leather butterfly chair came from a synagogue rummage sale in Queens.”

Modern and rustic kitchen in a farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “The kitchen was terrible when we bought the house: cheap 1960s wood cabinets and a vinyl floor. It was the one place where we ripped everything down the studs and started over. We discovered these wood floors underneath three layers of other flooring and stained them a dark brown. Our automatic trash can’s name is Sinclair. He’s like our upstate pet.”

Cozy nook in a farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “Something that’s been great about owning this house is that we finally get around to finishing our tag sale projects. We bought the copper shade at a barn sale years ago, just waiting for the right place to hang it. We built the window seat to add storage upstairs, and turned the shade into a reading lamp, creating a cozy nook.”

Beautifully designed white bedroom in a farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “The White Room is one of our favorite places in the house. The floors here were too far gone to refinish, so a lot of floor paint (and east and south exposures) turned it into the brightest and cheeriest room. The poster above the bed is by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.”

Children's room in a farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “The bird and bee charts were one of the first things Lori ever bought on eBay, nearly 20 years ago. They were $9 for the pair. Those were the days! Lori’s southern grandmother made the denim quilts in the 1950s from her grandfather and uncle’s old denim work jeans.”

Children's bedroom in a farmhouse in upstate NY.

  “Ezra’s room has one of the most fun salon walls we’ve ever made, with stuff from our many many years of hunting and gathering. When our friend Gail saw it, she exclaimed, “Now, THAT is a boy’s room!” Among the items: a needlepoint of the moon landing, an old boxing photo, a painting of the Central Park carousel that was an old New Yorker cover, a tiny oil painting of a hot dog wearing a hat, a Pete Seeger poster designed by our friend, Toby Barlow, for Signal Return, a Detroit print shop, and Lori’s most recent favorite find: a vintage Catskills Mountains pennant.”


  1. Lori, everything you have done is absolutely beautiful. You and my daughter would get alone great. She loves doing all kinds of crafts. Check my face book for Jill Lee .

  2. What a beautiful home and I love the style. Where was the bed from in the master bedroom?! I love that style and haven’t been able to find something like that!

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