VISCHERS FERRY — Five years ago, Anouk Booneman and her husband Gert Leusink decided to take a last-minute look at an old home in Vischers Ferry. Though they were leaning toward a brownstone in Albany and were looking for a smaller home after living in a Queen Anne Victorian style home in Dutchess County, the couple was drawn in by the old home’s charm.
The old brick home, located on Ferry Drive, just a stone’s throw from the Vischer Ferry General Store, is a Federal style farmhouse. The couple was enamored by the unique structure and the rich history of the building, which just happened to be the oldest standing structure in Clifton Park and Vischers Ferry. According to writing by local historian John Scherer, the house was built by Nicholas and Annette Vischer around 1740. Another historian who specializes in architecture, Richard Reisem, traced the home’s construction to 1732.
The Vischer’s son, Eldert, is famous for creating the rope ferry across the Mohawk River between 1790 and 1795. He added onto the original Ferry Road structure built by his parents in 1806.
The previous owners, the Yake family, sold their home to Boonemman and Leusink on the condition that they would have the first opportunity to buy it back if and when the new owners decided to part with the building.
“They poured a lot of resources into this,” said Leusink, standing in the renovated kitchen which was built around a traditional Dutch-style brick oven that takes up much of one wall and includes a space to store firewood and a built-in bread oven.Having moved from the Netherlands 20 years ago, the traditional Dutch style of the building appealed to Leusink and Booneman.
The Erie Canal is visible from their kitchen window. “There were a lot of Dutch engineers who worked on the canal,” said Leusink. “In kindergarten, I remember being taught about the Erie Canal. Here it is right in our backyard.” The Vischer Ferry Preserve, with it abundance of trails, is also walking distance from the Ferry Road home.
Winding, narrow stairs lead from the kitchen up to what is now a yoga studio. Booneman explains that steep stairs like these are typical in Dutch architecture. “We’re used to it,” she said. The yoga loft, which also features original beams from the home, is bright and sunny. A door half the size of typical doors serves as a backway into a bedroom from the yoga studio — out of the original structure into the addition.
“Kids love the house — all its nooks and crannies,” said Booneman. The couple’s son, Yannick, is now a sophomore at Shenendehowa.
Bricks and wooden beams from the original two bedroom structure remain in the spacious home, adding a warm touch to the rather modern renovations.
Double-hung Dutch doors are featured in the front of the house as well as in the kitchen.
“We are Dutch. This style of home really appeals to us,” said Leusink.
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Categories: Life and Arts