New York City is definitely home to some intriguing architecture, some which even makes you feel like you’ve been transported straight to Europe, and this whimsical home located on the Hudson fits right in!
Drive an hour outside of NYC to Irvington, NY and you’ll find the Armour-Stiner Octagon House—one of the most visually unique homes in the world.
Set in the middle of seemingly endless greenery, this 19th century home, which replicates Donato Bramante’s 1502 Tempietto in Rome, is the only known, fully domed octagonal residence. It was likely inspired by the publishing of Orson Squire Fowle’s The Octagon House, A Home for All.
New York City tea merchant Joseph Stiner purchased the home in 1872 as a summer retreat. He added the dome and a wrap-around veranda among several other additions. Finnish writer and explorer Aleko Lilius occupied the home in the 1930s before author, poet, and historian Carl Carmer took over living in the home in 1940.
When Carmer could no longer keep up with the maintenance of the property, he sold it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to save it from demolition. Shortly after, it was resold in 1978 to current owner Joseph Pell Lombardi, a preservation architect specializing in conservation, restoration, and historic preservation throughout the world.
Under the management of Joseph’s son Michael Hall Lombardi the house was then restored back to its extravagant, 19th-century glory.
A visit to the octagon house today takes you on a gorgeous trip to the past. The interior, including its decoration and 1870s furnishings, are a representation of American neo-Roman style which was popular for a brief period in the third quarter of the 19th century.
A third-floor Egyptian Revival music room is even said to be the only domestic room of its kind still in existence
Out on the grounds a gorgeous greenhouse and octagon-shaped garden boast gorgeous florals and greenery, many of which are growing in octagon-shaped planters, while octagon-shaped fountains can, of course, also be found on the property.
There’s even a charming octagonal birdhouse, which is a scaled-down replica of the house itself!
The Octagon House is located at 45 West Clinton Avenue in Irvington and is open Thursday-Monday 10a.m. – 5p.m. You can get there by car or via public transit such as Amtrak.
Though the Octagon House still serves as the Lombardis’ private residence, it is open seasonally for guided tours.
Several hour-long tours are available, from a Picturesque Home & Grounds Tour for a look at the property with a trip to the house’s wrap-around veranda with 360-degree views of the lush landscape to the Myths and Mysteries Tour in the fall to find out if the rumor that the house has a connection to the spirit world is true or not.
Tickets are $27 for kids 17 and under and $29 for adults, and they can be purchased here.