Monday, April 21, 2014

Hudson River Renovation

Deck progress.  We used the cedar siding to wrap the posts and then used our see through cable rail to really keep it open.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Shack's Shed

We are building a Shed at the 500 sq ft Shack.

Here's an article on the Owner - 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cottage 46 - April Fools Joke

So the two young men who are building Cottage 46 with us in Narrowsburg NY got a surprise the other week when we sprung on them that we actually were 30% done with their home that they thought hadn't even started.

The story starts like this - we do a deal, and then the winter hit hard, and instead of fighting the elements and ending up with quality or warranty issues, we just made the mature and correct decision to hold off till spring - a hard choice, but the right one.  And a house is a long term investment, so losing 4 months might hurt, it's not a super big deal big picture.  The fact that they had made like all their decisions way early (unlike another project I'm working on not mentioning any names) made the surprise possible.

So, when the brutality of the winter settled in and we got used to it and it became just another predictable hurdle to hurdle, we could regroup and make a plan.  So we snuck in the woods and test the ground and underneath the leaves and snow, the ground wasn't frozen.  the next week was predicted to be 40 degrees, for about 6 days, before dropping back into artic land (can't pour foundation in too cold of weather - so worst case scenario was we opened the hole, dug the foundation, and then the weather dropped preventing us from proceeding or going back).

So we got the foundation in and then we were off to the races.  I'd write the guys emails like "I'm so sorry, this is the longest winter ever, and I don't know when we will be able to get started and I know this is a big bummer, but life is hard and unfair..."  I was like a kid before Christmas, trying not to tell them casue I knew they'd be digging it.

And now today we start insulating, since the mechanicals and electric is done.

Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Snow in April

The winter that keeps on giving -

Sunday, April 13, 2014


I'm not sure whether to be flattered or annoyed.  Years after I pick a hobby, or collectible, or passion, - before too long here comes the NYTimes, or Brooklyn, or NBC nightly news or some other trend arbiter to tell me how popular what I do is.

Take for instance last week's Times article on the old school draw of Thank you notes.  Thank You Notes.  One of my favorite Sunday night pleasures.  I've run out of people to thank half the time so I've resorted to following achievements in the newspaper and writing people I'm lightly acquainted with.

And my 60 odd piece typewriter collection is about original as a Carhart jacket anymore, though when I started in 1990 or so, you couldn't give a typewriter away.  Now an old typewriter adorns any well designed set.

New Old Homes were quite an original thought in 2003 when we produced Farm #1, but have since made mainstream ubiquitously.

Right -Sized homes -meaning the anti-mcmansion - has been our mantra long before the WSJ dedicated an entire section to the 'new idea'.

Letter writing, or at least the claim of letter writing, is very vogueish, but I don't believe it.  Too much work.  Those days are over, with texts and emails stripping communication of subtle meaning and importance and just the general appreciation of the effort of a letter.  Just the idea of waiting 3 days for someone to get your thoughts is outlandish anymore, let alone the whole process of stationary, posting, and waiting.

And the roaring 20's and The Great Gatsby and its author Fitzgerald - whose solitary fiction critique section I used to study silently in random old town libraries- have been thoroughly celebrated and gone Hollywood.  Sadly, a girlfriend of old gave me a first run copy of the Gatsby, which I haven't seen in years.  She gave great gifts, many times not even on an occasion, but I was so country I had no idea that a Coach bag, a Canali suit, prada shoes or a beach front home in the Hamptons held much import.

It's not as though I hold the discovery of these pleasures against those who find them - it's just, idk, just was kind of more meaningful when they were less celebrated and more quietly personal.  Now, to the casual observer, like my original Eames lounger in my office, its hard to know if I'm following or leading.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Barn House in Olivebridge NY

2200 sq ft - inspired by several of our homes.

Built in the middle of the harshest winter in memory.

The sun rays deceive, and fool.

The diesel engines barely turn over.

The air guns barely nail.  Nose hairs frozen.

But we are getting her done.

With the sheetrock up and now some salvaged wood in the mudroom and one of the bedrooms.

And the neighboring farms with the two horse buds.