The view from the backyard of this cobblestone house, across fields of grapes and fruit trees with Seneca Lake as the backdrop, captures the essence of the Finger Lakes. Built from 1835-38 in the Greek Revival style, the house was commissioned by David Barnes and stayed in the family for over 100 years. Subsequent owners have been good stewards of the property, which is full of period details. It is located on 6.5 acres, south of Geneva at 5169 PreEmption Road, the 18th century border between New York and Massachusetts.
The design of the house is classic, with four large Ionic columns on the main section and four smaller Ionic columns on the wing. In the foyer, a simple but elegant staircase gracefully curves up to the second floor. On one side, spacious double parlors are separated by pocket doors, each with a fireplace. One mantel is framed with Ionic pilasters, imitating the house’s exterior columns. On the other side of the stair is the dining room, its fireplace decorated with ceramic tiles of 19 different species of native birds. These rooms have their original windows, including many of the panes. Other original details include the intricate moulded trim with corner blocks above the doors.
Despite the many differences in lifestyle over the 170 years since its construction, the layout of the house would work well for a modern family. Next to the dining room there is a small room that was probably used either as the father’s office or the mothers sewing room - and could serve the same purposes today. There are three bathrooms, two upstairs and one downstairs off the dining room. Also off the dining room is the kitchen, trimmed in knotty pine. This room has a fireplace too, complete with cooking crane, though it is unlikely to be original. Connected to the kitchen is a large utility room, that functions as a pantry and laundry. Beyond this room is the rustic woodshed, a must in a house with six fireplaces! While several of the hearth openings have been bricked over, a sympathetic owner could either reverse this or adapt them for natural gas inserts.
A set of backstairs leads up from the kitchen to the library/back bedroom, a convenience for adults and a lot of fun for children. Upstairs there are two large bedrooms, complete with fireplaces, two smaller bedrooms, two baths and storage space. There is a also a sizeable landing behind the stairway that would make a pleasant sitting or reading area.
The previous owner was a former director of the Monroe County Parks Department and a nationally known horticulturist, so the grounds are brimming with prized plantings. The new owners will get a detailed map of the landscape and should promise to care for any rare specimens! What appears to be just a detached two-car garage from the road is really much more: there is also a greenhouse for year around gardening, a heated shop area and an indoor pool, roughly 40’ by 20’! Be sure to note the cobblestone elements in the foundation of this newer building – a classy nod to past.
This almost 4,000 square foot house is being offer for $299,900, with taxes of $4,581. While cosmetic work is needed as well as an updated kitchen, the bones of the house are solid and have been well maintained. Call Ken Harris of Century 21 Steve Davoli Real Estate at 315-789-4569 to arrange for a visit.
Lawrence Jones is Coordinator of the Home Room Project at the Landmark Society.