COLONIE When architect Vincent J. Lepera stood before the Casparus Pruyn House in 1983, he knew he had his work cut out for him.
The Troy architect, now of Architecture Plus, needed to completely restore the dilapidated historic home within a four-month span and a budget of merely $200,000. The bricks on the house were ready to fall out and the floor was rotting away. But Lepera said he’s always liked a challenge, and this was another one to add to his list.
“It was pretty ambitious for the budget we had, and a challenging project,” he said on Wednesday, June 12, before a small crowd at the Pruyn House on Old Niskayuna Road. “This place was full of surprises.”
Lepera spoke of his experience using a slideshow last Wednesday as part of a kickoff event to celebrate the Pruyn House’s 30th anniversary, hosted by the Friends of the Pruyn House. The two-story, 15-room mansion sits on 5 ½ acres of land and now serves as a cultural and historical museum that hosts events, weddings, tours, classes and more.
The home was built in the 1800s to serve as a summer home for tax collector Casparus Pruyn and his family. After a slew of owners throughout the years, the Town of Colonie, under then Town Supervisor Fred Field, decided to preserve the historic site by purchasing the home and accompanying acreage for $110,000 in 1983.
“A lot of people thought the town acquiring this was an unnecessary expense. And then there were others that thought it was a remarkable idea … to give the community a sense of history,” Lepera said.
An experienced architect who has worked on buildings such as the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and at colleges like RPI, Lepera got to work with Zandri Construction. The list of renovations included exterior masonry restoration; interior flooring restoration; fixing the heating, ventilation, A/C and climate control; roof replacement; and window restoration.