Converted lofts are cool, but this revamped stone mill in St. Johnsville brings rehabbed homes to the next level. This historic treasure has been the home of Judith and Ron Hezel for nearly a quarter-century. The couple bought the abandoned factory in 1988 and after five years of hard work, they turned the 6,000-square-foot mill into a four-bedroom home. The avid preservationists made sure to maintain most of the mill’s historical details and even had the site added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1995. The Hezels are ready to move on, but they hope the historic mill, along with a barn, three-stall garage, and guest house, all listed at $795,000, ends up in the hands of someone who appreciates history just as much as they do.
Instead of disguising the fact that this used to be a mill, the Hezels incorporated it into every aspect of the house. In the kitchen, the counters are former workbenches that have been modified for bread-breaking rather than grain and flour grinding. Wood is the material of choice for the room’s decor. The structures along the ceiling are actually augers and a bolter sifter wheel mechanism. Original grain funnels that have been repurposed as light fixtures hang over the kitchen island.
Tucked away behind an updated willowing machine is the dining area. The looming structure creates a sense of intimacy in an otherwise open house. Two of the mill’s 37 windows bring light to the romantic corner. All of the windows are insulated to prevent the 1800s structure from getting drafty.
The upper level of the mill most resembles a loft. The open area is currently being used as bedrooms, though your average bedroom doesn’t have a jacuzzi where a night table would normally be. If traditional bedrooms are your preference, the open space easily lends itself to modification.
The living room might be the most eclectic area of the mill. Augers hang across the ceiling while a steel roller mill machine is stationed off to the side. The painted walls change up the all-wooden facade. With its exposed beams and stone walls, this area has a lot of decorating potential.
Behind the mill is a former hog house that has been converted into guest quarters. Pig decor aside, its makeup is very similar to the stone mill, and as a bonus, it overlooks a waterfall.
For the next owner of this historic landmark, the possibilities are endless. The Hezels themselves offer up a few suggestions on what could be done with the place next. “It could make a wonderful yoga retreat because it’s so serene,” Judith Hezel said. “Maybe someone still wants to do the B&B or maybe someone will want to have it as their own private retreat. It can be anything.”
What ever the next owners decide to do, the Hezels hope that they’ll be invited for a visit every once in a while. They plan to move just up the hill and can’t wait to see how history unfolds for the old stone mill.
The 2,000-foot miller’s house across the street is also available for purchase. It is currently used as a bed and breakfast.
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