North of New York City, hidden in the tony bedroom communities of Westchester County, sits this perfectly preserved portal to upper class Victorian life on the Hudson River — and now you can rent it for a mere $10,000 a week.
If Martha’s Vineyard’s famed rosy-hued Victorian campground cottage is known as The Wooden Valentine, then this Hudson River home must be the 19th century version of a Jumbotron proposal.
Armour-Stiner House, also known as Carmer House or “Octagon House”, is a pink, purple, blue, and red Victorian cottage built in 1859 in Irvington-on-Hudson. It’s the only known home constructed in the eight-sided, domed colonnade shape of a classic Roman Temple. It’s also unique in its rental price: $40,000 a month.
If the photo tour of this house alone makes you go a little weak in the knees and flush in the cheeks, that’s by design: according to 6sqft, The Octagon House was inspired by the publication of The Octagon House, a Home for All Occasions by Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist, sexologist, and amateur architect. Fowler advocated for octagonal versus four-sided houses believing that the shape enclosed more space, created rooms which received twice as much sunlight, and provided greater accessibility to one another.
Currently, the property is owned by local preservation architect Joseph Bell Lombardi, who is renting the “lyrical” property through Sotheby’s and has meticulously restored the 20-room Victorian to its original glory — celebrating its own storied past at every turn.
Situated on just over three acres of meticulous gardens, the 8,400-square foot, four-floor house (plus observatory), featuring seven bedrooms and three bathrooms, are joined by a barn and carriage house and an original Lord & Burnham conservatory greenhouse — even the most darling and detailed well house ever (now, presumably, used as a tiny gazebo).
The main house features an eight-sided veranda circling the main floor, with gas lamps and carved wooden gingerbread cottage details greeting visitors and welcoming you to an adventure in period magic.
Inside, the grand entrance hall opens through frosted glass panel doors to a solarium on the left and to a library to the right. Behind the grand staircase is a kitchen and pantry, and down the entrance hallway sit the salon, tea room, and dining room.
On the second floor, two guest bedrooms face front and back (with closets and en-suites), joined by a curio room and an Egyptian Revival-style music room. On the third floor sit the master bedroom and family bedrooms plus additional bathrooms.
The three domed upper stories, including a spectacularly jazzy and completely wood-paneled fourth floor 360-degree “dance room” were added in 1872 by second owner Joseph Stiner, a prominent New York City tea merchant, according to the website for the current owner’s firm. From the dance room and the fifth floor observatory, residents (or renters!) and visitors are treated to stunning views of the grounds, gardens, and the Hudson River.
Last but not least, “below stairs” — as they say — is a second kitchen with full larder and laundry, the furnace room, and a billiard’s room with adjacent wine cellar. (Cubans and cognac to cap the night, anyone?)
In addition to Fowler and Stine, imaginative owners of the house have also included Aleko E. E. Lilius, a Finnish writer and explorer who lived with a plundering female pirate who sailed ships off the coast of China, in the 1930s, and Carl Carmer, a celebrated author, poet, and historian from 1946 until he died in 1976, at which point it was purchased by — and from them, to the current owner.
Perhaps you’re looking for a place to host an event or reunion with a unique story to tell — or a singularly eccentric monthly rental from which to draw creative inspiration. For all of those things, Octagon House has them in spades. It’s already been featured in several published tales, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (who sold the house to current owner Lombardi) — including a ghost story and an 80s horror film.
A spendy house to rent for Halloween season, no doubt — but one for the books.
h/t Messy Nessy