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The Armour-Stiner (Octagon) House
Irvington-On-Hudson, New York


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The Armour-Stiner (Octagon) House is one of the most visually unique homes in the world. It is the only known residence constructed in the eight-sided, domed colonnaded shape of a classic Roman Temple.

The Octagon House was originally built in the 1860s following the publication of The Octagon House, a Home for All by Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist, sexologist and amateur architect. Fowler advocated octagonal instead of four-sided houses on the supposition that the shape enclosed more space, created rooms which received twice as much sunlight and had greater accessibility to each other.

In 1872, the house was purchased by Joseph Stiner, a prominent New York City tea merchant. His alterations created the present lyrical structure. The exterior embellishments are extraordinarily festive with floral detailing in the cast iron cresting and railings and elaborately carved wood scrollwork and capitals – all painted in shades of rose, blue, violet and red. The interiors are equally decorative with painted and stenciled ceilings, trim with gold, silver and bronze leaf and unique 8-sided motifs in the plasterwork, woodwork and etched glass.

Subsequent owners of the house have been imaginative people. In the 1930s it was occupied by Aleko E. Lilius, a Finnish writer and explorer who had lived with a female pirate who plundered ships off the coast of China. Carl Carmer, the celebrated author, poet and historian, resided in the house from 1946 to the time of his death in 1976. The house plays a role in a number of his published tales, including stories of a resident ghost.

Shortly after the death of Carl Carmer, the house was acquired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Unstable and in need of restoration, it was the first house to be resold to a private citizen. Joseph Pell Lombardi, the owner, is a Preservation Architect who has conserved the house, interiors, grounds and outbuildings.

For interior views, click here


Floor Plan

    All rights resevered, Joseph Pell Lombardi Architect, 2004