On Bedford Road: A ‘token of love’ home

Hombachs bought house in 1987, were married underneath renovated 'cathedral' ceiling
Diane Hombach at her home at 404 Bedford Road.
Diane Hombach at her home at 404 Bedford Road.

Built as a token of love by Marcus Friedman for his wife in 1903, 404 Bedford Road is the oldest home on the street, according to current owner Diane Hombach. Friedman built the two story home in 1903 as a wedding gift for his bride, Sarah.

It was at Friedman’s son Albert’s wedding years before she considered buying the home, that Diane met her future husband.

Hombach is no stranger to serendipity. In fact, some of the most important decisions in her life seem somehow woven together by design.

Circumstances and decisions that may appear insignificant at first can end up changing your life, said Hombach. When her friends decided not to join her at a wedding, recently divorced Hombach was seated next to a man from Long Island named Arthur. Arthur was also divorced and happened to work with one of Hombach’s friends.

“They missed out!” laughed Diane, now 68, reminiscing about how her friends’ decisions to bail on the wedding led to her introduction to Arthur.

The two hit it off talking over cigarettes at the wedding. Six months later, Arthur moved north to Schenectady and the couple soon began looking for a home. The pair drove around the city looking for potential homes when they stumbled upon 404 Bedford Road. “I didn’t like it,” recalled Hombach. Still, the couple stopped to get a closer look and saw the building’s potential.

The Hombachs bought the two-family home in 1987 and were married underneath a renovated “cathedral” ceiling on New Year’s Eve surrounded by friends in 1990. Diane recalled a full moon and plenty of snow on the ground the night they married. Since moving in, the couple has renovated the upstairs portion where they live, exposing a brick chimney, expanding a bathroom and creating a guest bedroom which was once a porch. A wood and glass cupboard in their kitchen holds shelves stocked with their wedding gifts.

Much of the original woodwork and stained glass from the original building remains. The Hombachs have however removed the barnwood and animal heads nailed to the wall by previous inhabitants. The Hombachs use the bottom portion of the home largely as storage. The work which the Homachs have put into the upstairs portion of the home is apparent when walking through the unrenovated first floor. The beautiful brick chimney visible upstairs is covered on the main floor. Each floor has its own kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and two living room areas.

Masonry on the front porch has since been replaced with wooden spindles. Trees planted by Arthur when the couple first moved in now shade the half-circle window in the couple’s living room.

Images of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard hang throughout the home. A garden bursts with Mexican Sunflowers and hydrangeas in the warmer months. The couple also installed a coy pond.

Though Diane isn’t much of a fan of the great outdoors, Arthur has decorated their home with plants. His birds, a lovebird named Miss Ellie and a small parrot named Snoopy, chirp cheerfully in the bright living room. Crystals hang in the window, projecting bright colors on the surrounding walls.

Categories: Life and Arts

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