Monday, April 28, 2008
Any way, Lisa and I took him home, without his dog box which was too big for 3 guys to move - plus, I'm not sure Chapin Estate would have been too excited with me driving into the project with some big old dog house hanging over the sides of my pickup, hay and roof shingles flying off the back.
So old Stormy now gets walked twice a day by Lisa and sometimes Lisa and Amy, and even though she is 11 years old, I could easily mistake her for being absolutely no older than 9.
The best part of the story is the owner who passed on owned 4 german shepards over the past 40 years, and he named them all Storm. Kinda like my grandpapa who always had these mini-dogs around and they were all named Pal. Should be a pretty glorious denouement to her dog's life, living at Chapin under the deck, getting lots of lovin from Lisa, and getting to experience first hand the insanity of the kitten we adopted from Brooklyn.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Oh well, we all know romance is expensive and unpredictable.
New Roof system augmenting existing tree limbs.
Planking on the wall, covered with ancient newspaper. Jack hammer and pry bar stand at the ready.
Monday, April 21, 2008
4 days - and now starts the roof.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Here's a pic of the house while climbing the hill from the brook.
Standing in the kitchen/dining room looking into the living room. Note the elements - 2 chalkboard doors, exposed rafters in the kitchen, perfect old floors with hand cut nails.
Very large and roomy shower/steam room with glass tiles and bluestone flooring.
Living room looking into the kitchen and up the stairs.
We started this cottage in November and worked pretty hard at through the winter. The owner was only able to visit 3 times during construction so our ability to understand the direction of the homeowner was put to the test since the collaboration was mostly pictures and phone calls. I think it's safe to say it worked out just fine.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
More or less, just the opposite of the homes we sell, - where any uncertainty to the price or product revolves only around the bedtime debates of our clients as to whether the cedar shake siding is worth the expense, or whether foundation and chimney stone veneer is in the cards. Other than owner-inspired upgrades - which, surprisingly, are relatively rare - we come in right on budget - and when I say right on budget, I mean to the penny, and frankly (honk honk) it's unheard of in construction.
An old house, however, is only for those with lots of tolerance for the unknown. For instance, this frickin farmhouse on Crawford Rd was thought to be around 100 yrs old. Turns out to be more like a 140 yrs old, before standard framing wood was available. So we are finding tree limbs for roof rafters -
And 3 layers of roofing materials. The roof on this house reminds me of one of those archeological digs, or geology projects, where you tell the age of civilization by the layers in the dirt.
On this house we started with regular old worn out shingles, which are a breeze. But not when the next layer is old school standing seam metal roofing (see sample on front porch), below that is very uncommon cedar shake roofing (probably the mid-1800's original) and under that nothing but some bridging (usually you would find some solid sheathing).
Looking up through the roof from the 'master bedroom'.
And then the roof rafters being constructed of tree branches, about 3 inches thick, that really took the cake.
All and all, if you are a homeowner with a hired contractor, probably a $10k surprise in the first week of construction. Goodbye Viking Stove.
A sampling -
We started framing Cottage 7. Began the demo and restoration of a 130 yr old farmhouse. Are completing the landscaping at Lot 1 and Lot 2 at Highland Farms. Getting the CO for Cottage 6 so we can get 'er sold. Getting the CO for Monte so he can sleep in peace. Beginning the subdivision work for the 50 acres I bought last Friday. Continuing the work at the office space so I can move in by the end of May or so. Planning the design of the McGinnis Cottage (2nd draft), planning the design for Adam and Brian (Cottage 9), getting started on the contract and design for Gayle.
All in all - quite exciting, considering the doomsday scenarios being bandied about.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Here's a note from Julia and Marty, the musician/writer combo who took the reins after Lisa and moved on. Julia said she felt like 'Robinson Crusoe' her first summer there.
"Hi Chuck,Congrats on the exploding business of Catskill Farms! That is just amazing, and frankly, if I do say so myself, I am not at all surprised, and if you will remember, I did in fact, mention this to you last spring as we were closing on the Rock House, that "something tells me you will be very busy very soon." Yes, you heard it here first.Those small-ish houses were a great idea, and having people collaborate on the design is a stroke of genius. They are so cute I'm glad they are taking off. And in this business climate too, very smart. Well, I tell you, when we were shopping for a house last year, your house was the only one we were interested in. The other houses out there are just no good. They are overpriced and pretty rickety. Or they are super humongous. Nobody wants to take care of a super huge house on the weekends. What a lot of work! And who wants to pay huge tax bills for a freakin' weekend house? My fantasy is when I get really rich is to buy twenty acres and have you build a couple of little Katrina houses on it. What do you think? Would taxes be huge on a project like that?In the meantime, we are lovin' the Rock House, I mean LOVIN' it!!! Boy the winter was tough though. Ouch. We may in fact close the place up for the winter, next year, as we didn't get out to Sullivan County that much. It sure was beautiful though. Beautiful and treacherous. Almost killed myself on the drive way.Well, just wanted to say congratulations to you and Lisa again on your great success. We just love our house. It is so well built. The roof was great. No problems during all of that harsh weather.Last summer was amazing, as we were there for three months. I even leased a horse at Stonewall Barns in Jeffersonville.I wish the economy were better out there, we'd move full time for sure.Well, just wanted to say hi. Haven't seen Poker for awhile. I fear she did not make it through the winter. Will let you know if I see her.Best to Lisa.cheers,Julia"
Our bedroom, living room, reading room, music room combo -
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Here is Ana & Pablo's new sexy foundation in the morning sun. This is what they call a walk-out, with doors and windows leading out from the basement.
And Rob and Leah's foundation, tarred and backfilled, waiting politely for the house framers. Another couple of weeks and the trees will be ablooming.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
And then, after 12 months of planning, begging for money and early advances, pleading with my help to show up, reinventing every wheel ever invented and rolling along on a huge learning curve -
...this happened on the final week of construction.
To say the least, it took a lot of gumption to get past this pickle. I remember Curtis calling me up and trying to break it to me easy - 'um, uh, 2 trees fell on the house last night."
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Here's where started:
And with an empty wallet and many stories, some jubliant some sordid, here's where we ended -