Autumn 2016: Homes Feature Story

A Cape Vincent Treasure

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business CAPTION

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY Business

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Summer 2016: Homes Feature Story

A Wellesley Island Wonder

A Wellesley Island home on Stump Road boasts modern amenities and plenty of room to roam on 9.2 acres.

A Wellesley Island home on Stump Road boasts modern amenities and plenty of room to roam on 9.2 acres.

Stump Road home boasts top amenities, acreage for $1.9m

By Karee Magee, NNY Living Premier Properties

Photos by Justin Sorensen, NNY Living Premier Properties

Heading east from the Thousand Islands Country Club along a dead-end stretch of pavement called Stump Road on Wellesley Island, you’ll get a glimpse of a modern-style home partially obscured by the island’s vegetation, hidden away from the outside world.

The home of Carol and David Richardson is a remote oasis from the busy life that takes place on the St. Lawrence River, with the road hidden from view and the stretch of water bordering their property free from the cacophony of the main channel.

When the Richardson’s were looking for a place on the St. Lawrence in the summer of 2000, they were told that they would want a place along that main channel, but after witnessing the busyness of the area, they decided against it.

“It was so noisy that we decided we wanted something quieter,” Mr. Richardson said.

The house at 46150 Stump Road, Wellesley Island sits on an area of the river that only allows traffic at 5 mph, a perfect place to watch the boats go by without the noise, Mrs. Richardson said.

Though construction on this little refuge from the world began in 1997, when the Richardson’s bought the place in 2000, it was still very unfinished, which allowed them the opportunity to add a personality to their home from top to bottom.

Over a total of seven years, the Richardsons created a unique construction that revolved around all-natural materials, solid woods and stones. Although at the time it wasn’t for an environmentalist reason, the Richardson’s said they consider that a happy accident that came about from their desire to use materials that made the house natural, friendly and comfortable.

No room in the house epitomizes naturalness better than the screened-in porch, they’re favorite room, located off the kitchen.

0617_Homes_Homes11 WEBThe porch is made with solid woods including mahogany and cedar, as well as a fir ceiling. The floor is made entirely of local stone, including the flagstone from Hammond and the granite from Alexandria Bay.

Continuity of materials and quality were an important part of the house’s design, Mr. Richardson said. This can be seen walking back through the kitchen and into the dining room where crafted woodwork can be seen, including cabinets and custom-made columns, that was designed by a local craftsman from Cape Vincent.

Leading off from the dining room, the living room opens on an open floor plan, looking directly out on the river from a large glass window. The room was designed with the same idea of friendliness and comfort in mind that generated the use of natural materials. The Richardson’s classify the three-room area as formal, but informal.

The master bedroom is the last room on the ground floor, but it leads into the simply, luxurious master bath, with granite counter from South America, a German limestone floor and walls of cherry wood.

A large steam shower was also installed with a peaked roof to help with Mrs. Richardson’s allergies, but her favorite feature is the small window cut in the wall looking onto the lawn.

JUSTIN SORENSEN n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMESWhile the ground floor, though, is very natural and open, it’s the downstairs that takes the cake. Going down a flight of stairs you’re greeted to a view of the lower level of the outdoors patio through a set of glass doors leading off of the Richardson’s library.

 

Wall-to-wall cherry wood bookshelves are the dominant feature in the room with lower cupboards to store any number of knickknacks and collections, while the focus in the center of the room are two armchairs.

It’s the perfect place to read, Mr. Richardson said, because it’s always cool. It stays between 68 and 70 degrees.

When the Richardson’s originally bought the house the basement was empty. The library was part of a three-year plan that also included a home theater room.

Perfect for a family movie night, the theater room has a drop ceiling, sound-proof wall boards and two rows of Danish furniture, with the second row raised on a movable three-piece platform.

All of the electronics were wired by Mr. Richardson including a Klipsch sound system, a fixed screen and a projector that can be raised up into the ceiling. The rest of the electronic system is located in a cupboard in the back of the room.

Also in the back is the theater room’s bar made of black walnut wood. A wine cellar is located off of the room, which is also convenient for cold storage, Mrs. Richardson said.

0617_Homes_Homes9 WEBWhile the downstairs is very unique, in the middle of summer the dominant feature of the property is property’s land and water access, particularly for the Richardson’s grandchildren.

The stone patio is located on two levels with two doors leading onto it, one from the library and the other from the screened-in patio, and the stonework was done by Rusty Johnson Masonry of Clayton.

Walking down from the screened-in patio, the built-in steps have lights installed for safety in the evening.

On the lower level, there is a slightly raised platform outside of the library made of Brazilian hardwood and designed to resemble a boat. To its side stands a gazebo that houses an outdoor fireplace, which is perfect for the cooler weather of October and November, Mr. Richardson said.

Farther down the lawn, though, is the beautiful sight of the St. Lawrence River and its islands, some of which can be seen from the property, including Nobby Island.

Located on the water is the floating dock, which was built locally to accommodate the Richardson’s various water craft, including a hydro hoist for antique boats that can’t sit in the water for long periods and two lower floaters that make getting into their kayaks simpler and less wet.

Even considering all of the views of the property and the lake, though, the best view of the St. Lawrence River remains in the Sundown Room, a short hallway-like room above the living room that leads to a guest bedroom on one side and to the Richardson’s offices on the other.

0617_Homes_Homes6 WEBThe Sundown Room includes a sectional couch next to a half-circle window looking toward Canada that mirrors the same window above the living room’s large rectangular window, giving the person who sits there a perfect view of the river at sunset and a nice lookout toward the north.

Despite all of the work and love the Richardson’s put into their house on Wellesley Island, they’re selling the property after more than 15 years to make room for a new adventure in their life.

“We bought in Florida two years ago and we’re liking it a lot down there,” Mrs. Richardson said. “We want to downsize a bit. It’s a lifestyle thing.”

The Richardson’s won’t be strangers to the Thousand Islands region, but being gone most of the year in Florida and traveling makes it hard to maintain a house.

“We love this place, but it’s just another new adventure,” Mrs. Richardson said.

Karee Magee is a magazine associate for NNY Magazines. Contact her at 661-2381 or kmagee@wdt.net.

Dandy and plenty Devotees of dandelions see food and drink options, not pesky weeds

Master gardener Roselyn Taylor , Rodman, says dandelions are more than weeds, they can be used medicinally and in recipes. Norm Johnston / NNY Living

Master gardener Roselyn Taylor , Rodman, says dandelions are more than weeds, they can be used medicinally and in recipes. Norm Johnston / NNY Living

The yellow buttons of spring sprouting on the green coats of north country lawns quickly wear out their welcome. Now, for many people, it is time to eradicate those dandelions with an arsenal of weed killers.

But hold on, says Roselyn Taylor, a master gardener for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.
In the latest Master Gardener newsletter published by the Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, Mrs. Taylor wrote about some edible and other alternatives for the perennial flowering weed:
“The greens are used in salads, fried up as fritters, pureed into pesto and dried for tea,” she wrote.
She added that oil made from dandelion flowers can relieve arthritis. The sap from the stem of the plants can be used on warts.
“I think it’s hysterical that people have such fits over dandelions,” Mrs. Taylor said in a phone interview from her home in Rodman late last month, where she tends to her small organic farm and five horses.
Mrs. Taylor isn’t alone in her appreciation of dandelions. [Read more…]

Educator says risk of emerald ash borer invasion this summer is high

bilde-2The likelihood of an emerald ash borer invasion has reached a new high, according to a local expert.

If the emerald ash borer is going to infest the north country, it likely will happen in June as adult insects emerge from trees and take flight, said Susan J. Gwise, horticulture educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.

People have good reason to be on guard for the pest this summer, Mrs. Gwise said. The beetle was first detected last summer in Syracuse and Onondaga County, increasing the likelihood of it spreading north. But there is still a greater probability that it will enter the region from the north by arriving from infected regions of Canada, she said. It could easily make the trip across the St. Lawrence River into St. Lawrence County.

“It could be coming at us from both directions, basically,” Mrs. Gwise said. “More than likely it’s going to come from the north, rather than the south, because it could just hop across the river. If it arrives here, it’s likely that we won’t know where it came from.” [Read more…]

The joys of pickling, canning easy accessible

While time consuming, the art of pickling is not as complicated or challenging as it may seem. Justin Sorensen/ NNY Living

When my 3-year-old daughter took a liking to pickled cucumbers, I went from dabbling in pickling to becoming a full-fledged enthusiast. Today, there is plenty of literature on the craft of pickling and my daughter, to whom I regularly give pickled cucumbers, is nearly 22.

My interest in pickling predates its mention in the 2013 National Restaurant Association food trend forecast by a few decades. When I was visiting my daughter in Boston this summer, I noticed numerous pickled items on menus and used as garnishes. I suspect pickling has become popular along with the organic, local food trend. And, of course, there’s nothing more local than your own backyard. [Read more…]

It’s a man’s world

Clayton resident Audie Cerow’s man cave. He built the personal space, outfitted with Toronto Maple Leaf’s regalia, about 10 years ago when he finished the top story of the garage on his secluded waterfront property in the Windward Cliffs neighborhood. Photo by Amanda Morrison/ NNY Business

Some go all out when creating personal retreats

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A perfect respite for a busy family: Right at home in eclectic mix of cottage, traditional styles

Peggy DeYoung

What is the perfect house for a busy family of four plus two energetic dogs?

This new home was inspired by the Arts-and-Craft style and built in a quiet neighborhood near the St. Lawrence River in Clayton. Nicole and Eric Listemann wanted to design a home that was an eclectic mix of cottage and traditional styles — something beautiful, yet comfortable. Once inside, the spacious great room is the center of the family’s activity.

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Natural ways to control persistent garden pests

Brian Hallett

Nothing can take the green out of a gardener’s thumb like an insect infestation. Despite cold winters, the north country is not without its garden pests. And, controlling common garden pests like aphids can really seem like a full-time job if you do not properly plan your garden. Not only do these tiny insects suck the fluids from plant leaves and stems, leaving behind honeydew, a sticky residue that attracts ants to feed on it, but aphids also promote the spread of plant disease. Aphids are tiny, rarely exceeding an eighth of an inch, and teardrop shaped with long, slender legs. Depending on the species, aphids can be green, brown, yellow, red or black, and they are often found congregating on the underside of leaves. Luckily, there are some basic, all-natural ways that you can prevent garden insect invasions so your sowing and reaping time doesn’t just become spraying and worrying time. [Read more…]

A retirement dream comes true: Post-and-beam beauty on cherished family location

Peggy DeYoung

Overlooking Clayton’s French Bay on Bartlett’s Point, this home is a retirement dream on a stretch of St. Lawrence River waterfront treasured by six generations of owners Rob and Sharron Grant’s family. The new home was built on the site of an original small cottage. When repairs became too great to tackle, it was torn down and plans for a new river home began.

The couple wanted to build a post-and-beam home, which would allow expansive views down river. They eventually decided to build a Lindal Cedar home. Lindal is based in Seattle and provides a package of building materials that includes posts and beams and windows and doors. Other materials were customized to the owners’ tastes and design needs and could be bought separately.

One of the first challenges was to determine if a full walk-out basement with a living space for their family and guests could be built. The sloping grass hill originally had 11 steps down to the water. The process not only revealed that there was enough height to build the walk-out basement, but just below the topsoil the site had beautiful limestone bedrock that is so prevalent along the river. The family now enjoys large areas of natural limestone defining the outdoor living space. [Read more…]

Spring planting is time to let your creativity bloom

Brian Hallett

As I write this column I must mention that today — the first day of spring — I have shoveled snow away from the greenhouse twice in order to enter. As any gardener knows, there is nothing quite like the green of new plants or the smell of fresh soil. This alone is why each year I shovel my way inside, turn on the heat, clean the water system and start planting. [Read more…]