Autumn 2016: Homes Feature Story

A Cape Vincent Treasure

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business CAPTION

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY BUSINESS

BY: JOLEENE MOODY

Claudia Blodgett lives in one of the most nostalgic waterfront properties in Cape Vincent. Pieces of its past can be found in the corners of the boathouse, the garden shed, the attic and the servants quarters. These pieces come in the form of original furnishings, century-old tools, old-style bathroom fixtures, even pillars and railings that once donned the outside of the house.

For those who are intrigued by curious rooms, the third floor of the Dutch Colonial Revival-style home at 451 East Broadway boasts what Col. C.T Sacket, the builder and original owner, called his photography room. Small wooden pockets, perhaps 3-by-3 each, cover the top half of the wall above a long desk. Lift the desktop itself and you’re faced with at least 50 more pockets, likely for negatives.

To the right of the desk, upward of at least 200 hinged drawers cover the wall, each labeled something different. They aren’t too big or too small, just the right size to fit gadgets and trinkets of all kinds.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Take a walk through the Cape Vincent home, starting with the original Dutch door and ending with the boathouse and dock that rest quietly behind the house on the mighty St. Lawrence River.

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business CAPTION The back porch with a view to the St. Lawrence River. The home has a covered patio a boat house and a garden shed on the property as well.

The Dutch door can be split in the summer to welcome sunlight into the front room where two chandeliers hang modestly from the ceiling. While the ornate lights are not original to the 1904 home, the maple floors certainly are, sprawling through the front room and into the “big room” beyond.

The big room isn’t named that by mistake. At 42-by-26, this large living area is 1,092 square feet. It overlooks the river where tugboats and barges pass by regularly. Two built in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves complement the fireplace in the big room, giving it a comforting, homey feeling. This room can be shut off from the rest of the house by closing the two pocket doors that separate it from the front room.

Just off the big room is a tiny half bath and a set of spiral wrought iron stairs that seem to ascend upward forever. But of course, they don’t. The spiral stairs, which bring users to the second floor, are one of three stairwells throughout the house. The primary stairwell is in the front room next to the Dutch door, and greets visitors when they leave the big room to move back into the front room. This is also where the entrance to the dining room is found.

Open enough to host a large family, the dining room features a bowed window that allows in plenty of sunshine to brighten the room. Turn from the window to the swinging door on the other side of the dining room and you’re looking at the entrance to the butler’s pantry.

A butler’s pantry is a small service and storage room usually nestled between a kitchen and a dining room. This is the case in this home. Walk through the pantry and you’re in the kitchen, which the Blodgetts recently renovated.

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business CAPTION A spiral staircase leads to the second floor. The staircase was installed for one of the original owners who feared being trapped in a fire.

“This is where the original servant’s staircase is,” Mrs. Blodgett said. “It was blocked off when we moved here in 2000. It was just a small cove where the previous owners had their refrigerator. But we opened it up to bring back the originality of the staircase.

The now open staircase takes servants directly to their quarters on the second floor. Here, two servant bedrooms can be found, along with a closet for storage and a laundry chute that drops dirty linen and clothes into a basement laundry below.

Next to the servants’ quarters are two guest bedrooms, one that is now used as a sewing room.

Across from the servants’ quarters is the master suite, which could almost serve as a tiny apartment by itself. This suite has it all, including a master bath with a huge, oval-shaped tub and jets, a steam shower, and plenty of space to spin around three or four times with arms spread wide, if you desire.

The bedroom itself is spacious enough to fit a bedroom set and two fat, cozy chairs in front of a working fireplace. It’s breathtaking. Just to the right of the bedroom and up a few steps is another door that, when opened, offers a sleeping porch that overlooks the river. Now used as a painting room, the sleeping porch off the master suite can also double as an office or exercise room.

Back out in the hallway and to the right is what Mrs. Blodgett calls “the bridge.” This open hallway with a railing highlights a cove office area that overlooks East Broadway. This is where an original desk of the original owner still sits. Despite the desk being tucked in the open cove, the area still provides a level of privacy for anyone working there.

The third floor of this Cape Vincent home is for explorers. Still in need of updates, this floor seems to hold the most character. This is where the photography room is. If you pull the books back from the shelves when you first walk in this room, you’ll find dozens and dozens of antique photographs of women pinned to the wall, some in brilliant hats, others holding a parasol, even more staring passionately back at you.

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business CAPTION Old pin up photos on a bookshelf in the attic area. A previous owner was a photographer.

“These were C.T Sacket’s ladies,” Mrs. Blodgett said with a smile. “I don’t know why he collected them, but he loved the ladies. They’ve been up here all this time.”

Another quadrant of servants’ quarters is also here, as is an open, spacious attic area that seems to have no purpose other than storage. To see it, you’ve got to duck low and move through a tiny area in the back of one of the rooms. It seems to be just another piece of the house that holds its own bit of mystery.

Outside in the back yard are the sunken gardens. Beside these gardens is a sprawling boathouse, a two-story garden shed, and a pergola. The backyard screams elegant and is ideal for entertaining. A porch off the back of the house only adds to the elegance.

With seven bedrooms and 3½ bathrooms — 9,360 square feet of space, including the full basement with seven rooms that include yet another bathroom and wine cellar — this piece of history seeks an owner who will honor its nostalgia as much as the Blodgett family.

With an asking price of $669,900, the house waits patiently for the right person to fall in love with it. So does Claudia Blodgett. If that person is you, contact real estate agent Amanda Miller and schedule your visit today. It’s worth every step and staircase.

~Joleene Moody is a freelance writer, blogger, and speaker who lives in Pulaski with her husband and daughter. Learn more at: www.takeyourvoiceback.com.