HOUSE: Newburgh + Places + Travels

Up on the roof.

Last year, we had a small hatch and ladder installed in our attic to allow access to the roof. We’ve been up there a few times since then, but I’ve forgotten to bring my camera every time. I remembered it today! Climbing ladders (even little ones with three steps) isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but I’m getting more confident. It’s the trip back down that always makes me doubt my sure-footedness.

We technically have a “flat roof”, though it actually has a slight pitch to it to allow for drainage. It’s not visible from street-level. I have grand (and unrealistic) dreams about building a roof deck up there, since the views of the Hudson River are so perfect.

Our house is the first in a series of four identical (well, they were identical when they were built, at least!) row houses, so you’re actually looking at the tops of our neighbors’ roofs here. So many chimneys everywhere! Each house in our row has three.

Looking southward. In the distance you can see Pollopel Island, home to Bannerman Castle.

Looking down on the garden. Our house is on the left, and no, I wasn’t suspended in mid-air when I took this photo! If you’re confused about what you’re looking at, here’s a floor plan—the jog at the back of the house creates this space between the row of houses, and allows for natural light in the center rooms.

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  • Reply Valeria September 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Wow! Those views are absolutely gorgeous! All you need are some lawn chairs and a bottle of wine up there and you’re good to go, haha 😉 Beautiful castle and island too!

  • Reply Justine September 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Absolutely lovely! Why is the dream of a rooftop deck unrealistic? You make me want to be a homeowner!

  • Reply Anna at D16 September 12, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    @Justine: Money! We have none to spare. We should get an estimate from our contractor, though, just so we have a number in mind. As it stands, though, if he says more than $20, it’s not happening anytime soon! 😀

  • Reply Juli September 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Ooo, you live is such a perfect spot, right near the water and rolling hills (mountains?). AND a pied a terre in NYC. Oh if only Ontario was as cool as NY State. I have to admit I am envious of all the cool little towns that allow one to live a country and city double life. Here the small towns lost out to Walmart and Tim Hortons, and the commute into the city is by car only – no commuter trains for us.

    Oh and you HAVE to make a rooftop deck!!!

  • Reply patricia katchur September 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm


  • Reply callie grayson September 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Your home is in such a wonderful location! and the view!!!!
    Yes, you have to build a roof top deck. in the mean time, Valeria is right…. lawn chairs and a bottle of wine, but I would also add fairy lights or candles/lanterns and your good to go!

  • Reply annie September 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    oh my god, i think i actually gasped out loud at that view! and talk about the perfect day to bring your camera up with you! i needed to see this today, wow so calming. thank you for these, anna!

  • Reply Rosa, Copenhagen September 12, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Wonderful view!
    You could make a Maroccan Riahd-ish roof terrace op there – just sew some large pillows, bring some plants and set up a ‘sail’ as a sunshade – voila!
    .. and “Hudson River”, Pollopel Island, Bannerman Castle finally made me google the area where you live. I try (I really do!) not to be so curious, but… *sigh*

  • Reply Brismod September 12, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    That link to Bannerman Castle was very cool. You live in a lovely part of the world. And that view from your rooftop is truly gorgeous.

  • Reply Lori September 12, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    LOL Love your budget for your rooftop deck. Sounds like ours for our various (and many) reno projects. And I totally get your ladder apprehension. I felt a bit queasy just looking at your pics. But boy, that view is AMAZING! Maybe, just maybe, worth any queasiness… 🙂

    BTW, did you by chance attend any memorials for 9-11 in the NYC area? I would love your perspective on that. You always manage to convey your feelings so well…

  • Reply Fiona September 12, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    WOW, I would be there all the time with views like that !!!!
    Beautiful !

  • Reply Debra September 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Can I bring a tent and move up there at least until it gets to cold?

  • Reply Sarah September 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Have you ever been to the Russel Wright house? (It’s not too far from you.) I went there a few weeks ago and immediately decided that I need to own a house with a slightly flat roof so I can grow plants on it. (I feel like I’m not describing it very well so I found a picture of it here: But a rooftop deck is probably more functional.

  • Reply Jo in NZ September 12, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Wow, Anna, these photos gave me a whole new perspective on your house and its location. The river setting made me gasp!

  • Reply alex sunday September 12, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    whoa, i had no idea you were that close to water! amazing views. i think you should definitely get a quote from your contractor. even if you can’t afford it now, if you have an idea of cost, maybe it’s something to work towards rather than just a crazy dream. and i’d love to see what you do up there!

  • Reply Anna at D16 September 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    @Juli: That’s exactly what’s happened in much of New York state, too, but there are still a few pockets that remain relatively untouched in their urban centers. The downside is that virtually anything within commutable distance to NYC is very expensive. Newburgh, for a number of (negative) reasons, has remained very affordable. I do wish it were a leeeeetle but closer to the city, though!

    @Rosa: I think it’s a good thing to be curious! Newburgh is in the mid-lower Hudson Valley region of New York state, about an hour north of Manhattan…if that helps you to orient yourself!

    @Lori: I did not attend any public services, but I mark the day privately in my own way every year. It’s a very personal thing to talk about in terms of my own experiences from that day (not to mention the deep pain and sorrow I still feel nine years later), and I am filled with sadness and anger over much of the conflict that has been generated in recent months for the sake of political gain. I don’t know that this is a subject I wish to delve into too deeply in this setting, but suffice to say that I support without question the constitutional rights of all religious groups in this country to gather and worship as they please—and that includes the cultural center at Park51.

    @Sarah: I have never been to the Russel Wright house, but it’s on my list!! I love living roofs, too.

  • Reply nicole September 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    oh, to unrealistic rooftop dreams! i loved seeing this post, especially right now. ten years into our own home project, and the rooftop is still the big dream. we, too, simply have a ladder and a hatch, but we’re finally talking to a contractor about the possibilities of a stairwell and a new, weatherproof decking system. it all boils down to the money in the end, of course. hoping we can find a way to make it work. until then i’m settling for my own rooftop fantasies while taking in my own beautiful view (360 mountains and a unique vantage point of the downtown architecture).

  • Reply kelly w September 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    I had no idea you lived so close to the water! Beauteous. For a second, I thought I was looking east across SF Bay at Mt Tamalpais in the background.

  • Reply Lori E September 13, 2010 at 12:35 am

    I appreciate your honesty. 9-11 had a tremendous impact on my life and I don’t live anywhere near NYC. I can’t imagine being up close and personal to it. I am still brought to tears over seeing the footage and hearing the stories of personal sacrifice made by so, so many. As far as the politics of it… I think politicians are always on the look-out to politicize anything they can and boost their precious numbers. I hate to be that cynical but if it walks like a duck… As a Christian, I deeply respect the right of Americans to worship as they wish. It is what makes this country such an amazing place. But the flip side of that right is the moron that burned (did he actually follow thru?) Koran. Yes, constitutionally he had every right but what in the world did it accomplish except to cause even more hate and division? Just because one “can” do something doesn’t mean one “should” do something… Anyway, didn’t mean to take over your house post with my ramblings. I saw a house in Lake Tahoe years ago that was completely plants and flowers and it was GORGEOUS! One of the above posts reminded of it…

  • Reply Lori E September 13, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Ok, the ROOF of the house was plants and flowers… 🙂 Thought I would clarify…

  • Reply Erin September 13, 2010 at 1:43 am


    I too have a fantasy of a roof deck but my budget kind of matches yours. We have been talking about putting in a roof hatch and ladder just so we can crawl up to the roof and pretend until we can make it happen. If you don’t mind me asking, what did you install and what kind of ladder. Doing research on it right now and thought I might see what others have discovered…

    And if you already did somewhere …sorry for being lazy.
    Thanks in Advance!

  • Reply monika@lifemadesimpl September 13, 2010 at 4:45 am

    You have an amazing view! A roof deck is definitely worth to consider!

  • Reply Geelong Real Estate September 13, 2010 at 7:08 am

    i love those roofs really cute and classic

  • Reply Lisa September 13, 2010 at 9:35 am

    STUNNING view!! I live in a loft building with a great river view from the roof (but it belongs to the penthouse apartment, not me, alas). They’re building a greenhouse/conservatory up there so they can use the roof all year long. Just another idea to think of, for when you win the lottery.

  • Reply Cher@NR September 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Love the post and love the views. I was watching house hunters the other day and a couple was looking for a home in Baltimore with a roof deck. Apparently they are very popular there. Maybe your dream could become a reality one day.

  • Reply Tess September 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

    What a great view! I think a roof deck would be fabulous!

  • Reply Sherry September 13, 2010 at 11:21 am

    We both posted Hudson River pics! I also love what’s going on with the patch work on that red house across from you. Can’t wait to start fixing up our house!

  • Reply Jason September 13, 2010 at 11:37 am

    PERFECTION. I hate ladders too.

  • Reply Lissa@AfterAdornment September 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Gorgeous View!!! I would definetly build a roof deck at some point and spend tons of time up there!!! Ladders freak me out. I can’t do close distance heights very well, so I feel your pain.

  • Reply heather September 13, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    That view is spectacular. I was just up in Lake George over Labor Day (passed right by Newburgh) and you’re making me long for the mountains again. 🙁
    If the roof will support the weight, I’ll bet you can just put down some wooden floor tiles (PLATTA at IKEA), a few light pieces of outdoor furniture and some planters. I think it could be amazing with very little.
    I don’t even think my fear of heights could resist that view!

  • Reply Michelle September 13, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I concur. Bottle of wine and some lounge chairs- perf!

  • Reply Sue September 13, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    gorgeous view

  • Reply Niamh September 13, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    it is soooooooooooooooo stunning! I just love it. I agree making a roof terrace would be amazingly stunning. If you win the lottery please get cracking! imagine having breakfast sitting watching that amazing view. keep up the great work (and blog)!!!

  • Reply Heather Kasdan September 13, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    So beautiful! And it just makes it absolutely perfect to me that you are in driving distance to The City. My native San Diegan ass is oh so very jealous and will house swap with you anytime!

  • Reply Maggie September 14, 2010 at 2:54 am

    wow, that really is such a beautiful view.

  • Reply michelle September 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Wow, that is a seriously cool view! If anyone could put in a rooftop patio, it is you guys!

  • Reply Jessica September 16, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I love, love, love your pictures of the Hudson. Makes me miss my hometown, Newburgh. You have no idea how much I admire that you bought a historical house downtown & are fixing it up. Hurrah!

  • Reply Rona September 18, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I was a bit stunned that Newburgh reminded me of Norway! The subdued light in the photos help.

  • Reply frannie September 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    i LONG to get out of the city (i know. broken record.) you are so close to the hudson! i didn’t realize! it’s gorgeous. you and that rooftop! whatta view…

  • Reply Judy September 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    my dads old loft used to have a roof deck that he beautifully decorated with patio furniture and a little garden. it of course took time building and finishing but when it was done it was the perfect spot to look at the chicago skyline and just relax. i miss it and am jealous of yours 🙂 make sure you take advantage

  • Reply Grumble Girl September 26, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Awesome view!! I know what you mean about little ladders leading to the roof – I’ve only been on ours once or twice. We have a wicked view too… “discussing” doing a roof-top terrace, but it will be killer $$$ and not anytime soon. Boo!

    I hope you get more and more confident to climb those steps, girl… it’s rather nice up there!!

  • Reply Steven September 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    We need soo many more people like you and your hubby in Newburgh! This place has soo much potential with its amazing views, near 2 interstate highways, relatively close to Manhattan etc.

    I look across the river at what Beacon has done and I say to myself why cannot Newburgh be the same? It’s starting to improve somewhat with the new shops on Liberty St, Watefront area, Ritz Theater etc. Still there is a lot of work to be done for people to stop the stereotype Newburgh is nothing and will always be like that.

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