Isaac Nichols spent eight years restoring this 1865 home, even pouring a new foundation. Shards of the old foundation ended up in the front yard.
Photo: Sean Zimmerman
You may not know Isaac Nichols, but you probably know his work. His “boob pots,” terra-cotta planters made curvaceous with breasts and nipples, have stared up from the display cases of Opening Ceremony (RIP), the shelves of Urban Outfitters, and the mantels of basically every art-adjacent apartment documented by design blogs in the mid-2010s. The pots, an off-the-cuff idea posted to Instagram in 2013, turned Nichols into something like a ceramics tycoon. That virality — “totally random” and “a total mistake,” he says — helped finance the near-wholesale restoration and renovation of a 19th-century home in Saugerties, 15 minutes north of Kingston, now on the market for $549,000. “I paid for all that with boob and butt potts.”
When Nichols bought the house in 2015, shingle tiles covered this exterior.
Photo: Isaac Nichols
Nichols was a teenager when he fell in love with architectural salvage — with the fun of the hunt and the creativity of a good restoration. He dropped out of school at 15 to learn the trade full-time from a business near his home in Maine, later moving to Philadelphia, where he studied art. After transferring to Cooper Union in his 20s, he scavenged construction sites and curb trash for pieces to flip and sell. Destiny led him to a Greenpoint construction site getting rid of a 35-foot Art Deco bar. The sale earned him $14,000 cash, which he used for the down payment on the Saugerties house at 13 Mynderse Street, a teensy wooden box with a garretlike second story. It was owned by the family of a former roommate, who offered to sell with a lease-to-buy agreement.