Kathy and John Basso were near to giving up on finding a Home If Kathy came across a listing for the 1867 Victorian House in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.. They took on renovating the three-story, 4,000 square foot area a couple of decades ago. “After a seemingly endless search, we had nearly given up and were going to sign contracts land to build,” Kathy explained. “I arrived to see the property independently, without bothering my real estate agent for another wasted trip. My heart stopped when I drove up the driveway, because I knew it was home.”
The house and adjacent barn were in quite bad condition so the Bassos teamed up with a contractor and an architect specializing in older houses to do a complete renovation in the basement to the third floor. She says,”We were painstakingly careful to keep whatever we could that was original. Radiators were replaced with modern heat and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical were updated and where possible, we installed insulation”
at a Glance
Who resides: Kathy and John Basso and their two puppies
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Size: 4,000 sq. feet with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms
The big and charming kitchen area was created with plenty of storage cabinets. Kathy says,”I’m most comfortable in my kitchen, which can comfortably accommodate folks cooking and prepping at the exact same moment.”
To the right of this photo is a flush-mount fridge, and to the left of this sink is your dishwasher. Both appliances blend in with the rest of the cabinetry, and the center island offers additional storage and counter seats.
The kitchen countertops are granite. Built-in plate stands beneath the cream-colored cabinets showcase Kathy’s primary-colored plates. A side door from the kitchen leads to the terrace and ample backyard, which makes for easy entertaining. The backyard also houses a beautiful white pavilion Kathy had her eye on for decades and was finally able to purchase at a auction.
Outside the doors a blue window matches the home’s exterior and functions as a garage. An area above it will be transformed as a studio for Kathy’s quilt making.
The exceptional copper farmhouse sink provides an inviting focal point to the area.
Pay careful attention to the gold backsplash. Kathy has a love for the expression of tin onto the backsplash and ceiling, but since it’s a very expensive material, she came up with her own creative, budget-friendly alternative. Kathy explains,”The most successful decorating idea has been the use of painted anaglypta background in a few rooms. It is used on the ceiling in the living room and master bedroom and about the backsplash in the kitchen” The painted background actually imitates tin; it’s hard to visually tell the difference between the two.
“The architecture of the house is my biggest inspiration,” Kathy says. “I love the Victorian vibe and the appearance of salvaged antiques, but wanted a more comfortable and livable variant of it for the loved ones. I had the chance of getting a barn and loft stuffed to the rafters with’junk’ that took me over two years to go through. Some of my favorite pieces of furniture and architectural features were salvaged from this endeavor.”
This spacious living area is filled with hot tones, for example golden yellows, reds, blacks and lotions. This room also holds among the 3 fireplaces in the house. With amazing coffered ceilings and a custom built-in entertainment wall, the design speaks for itself in this area.
The TV nestles perfectly above the fireplace along their custom-built shelving. The back of the shelves were painted red with gold designs to match the colour scheme of the space.
The wet bar is at the other end of the family room for easy access. The black cupboards and copper sink create this inviting area unique in style and colour.
Kathy calls this room her breakfast area, as she enjoys eating breakfast and everyday meals here with John. The windows allow a beautiful abundance of lighting and includes chairs all around it with shelves underneath for novels. It’s a bright, airy space that is as inviting as it is filled with sunshine.
Kathy had a exceptional strategy when selecting paint colours. “I sew for a living, therefore I love cloth,” she says. “I chose fabrics quite early on for every region of the house and took the paint colours from those fabrics. There are quite a few rooms where the inspiration cloth was never used, except to borrow the colours. When a color might stump me, I sought help from the resident designer at my regional paint store. I took her a couple of bits of slate in the roof, to get her help me with all the exterior color palette”
Kathy’s favorite room in her home is the dining area, which was formerly used as a library. It’s a beautiful sage green colour palette with complementary furniture. “It’s great lighting, an alcove and a fireplace. I love having guests over for meals,” she says.
This dining room table is just one of Kathy’s favorite finds. It was very important for her to have a big enough table which could fit everyone in her loved ones. She found two matching pieces which now hold her china.
“My main furniture purchases were made at a store called Peter Andrews in Long Island, New York. I still frequent auctions, flea markets and antique fairs for treasures to return to life. I really don’t purchase anything because of its investment value; just if I enjoy it and may use it. I like to repurpose things,” Kathy explains.
The fireplace in the dining area is a big focal point in this space. It was once used as a cooking fireplace and is gas. It’s made from the original brick, but on one side, the brick was crumbling and had to be replaced with plaster. There is also an original sliding wood door which shuts off this space from the foyer.
In the second-floor bathroom John and Kathy kept a number of the original fittings, including this black clawfoot tub. To the very left is a pull string that hangs from the ceiling and flushes the toilet. The bathtub came with the silver star and sky squares; Kathy added the star shower curtain rings to match.
The home used to have two separate staircases that divided the house into two wings because at one time there have been many different families residing here. The Bassos took out one of the wings to create the home more family-friendly. A beautiful light fixture hangs above the stairs in the main hallway of the second floor.
Light fittings: Lowes
When one of their three sons moved away to college, they turned his bedroom into an exercise area. This is one of John’s favorite rooms in the house as it functions as a getaway space.
The master suite is separated into three regions: entrance, bathroom and bedroom. The entry comes with a huge armoire and vintage Singer sewing machine rack converted into a dressing table — among Kathy’s treasures.
The bathtub in the master bathroom is not original but is a great feature. It’s intended to hold warmth and is ideal for relaxing after a very long moment.
The Bassos were quite interested in keeping up the original furniture pieces and mixing them with the new. “The biggest dilemma was utilizing all the great finds, while trying to remain within budget. I discovered quite quickly that it is much more expensive to use old instead of building new. I’d find great old doors, hardware, stained glass windows, corbels, balusters, railings and attract them to my contractor. We would need to scratch our heads for days and weeks to think of a place to use themwhich can be satisfying but expensive,” Kathy explains.
The sleeping area of the bedroom includes a tiny balcony and wood stove using a TV hanging above it which makes this room a great escape.
The Bassos adore the location of their beautifully renovated home because they’re a convenient 10 minutes from town, where they can enjoy a night out to eat, and just 10 minutes away in the countryside.
Kathy says,”Our second job is to bring a wrap-around front porch. We have seen old pictures of our house with a porch, but it had been removed before we bought the house. We installed doors from the family room six decades ago, which will eventually open to the porch”
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