Olana, sited at the top of a long slope, iwas the beloved home of the Hudson River School painter, Frederic Church, and his family.
Olana is a unique mixture of Victorian architectural elements and Middle-Eastern decorative motifs , designed by Church in close collaboration with architect Calvert Vaux. Church carefully designed Olana’s 250 acres with an artist’s eye to his property’s 360-degree “borrowed” views of neighboring hills, valleys, the Hudson River and distant mountains.
Stylistically, the main house is a villa with asymmetrical massing of towers and block masonry punctuated by fanciful windows and porches. The irregular silhouette of the exterior contrasts with the more regular rhythm of rooms arranged around a central hall. On the exterior, Middle Eastern motifs are carried out in colored brick, wood, slate, ceramic tile and especially stenciling. Together, the various motifs and themes create a unique artistic unity, one that is difficult to categorize.
The house is furnished and decorated as it was when the family lived there, with a collection of paintings, sculpture and furnishings that Frederic and Isabel Church acquired in their travels.
House and landscape tour bookings often fill days in advance. Reservations are recommended.