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Friday, February 13, 2009

Micro Economics - Another House Sold

We got another one today. Another house closing, introducing another person to the glories of perfect country living in a perfect little house. If you remember back in November, I surmised that by following this blog over the next 2 months, a reader could have some added perspective to all the 'end of worlders' out there, spewing their toxic brew of pessimism, negativity and general self-indulgent projections based on the latest news article they read (or watched). Well, here we are, today, closing on the 5th of the 6th house we had lined up to sell. We are batting 1000%, not one deal fell through, or even got that hairy, complicated or fearful. I built a great house, we found the comparable sales (or even more intelligently, built houses for which we knew comps existed), our clients kicked it with some great and timely design collaboration, and then each and every one of them lived up to their word and when I was finished with the house, they bought it - immediately, without any problems.

And that's the deal - a handshake, really - no bullshit. I'm going to build a great house fast, and when I am finished, you will buy it, without excuse. It's a serious process - and it's enlivening to see everyone working hard to fulfill their word -

Dean, who is closing today on Cottage 13, on Friday the 13th, on Feb 13- the date of both mine and JamesK's birthday, and my attorney's b-day, and our good friend Amy's. During the final walk-thru at Cottage 13 the other day, Dean was telling the story about how he found our site one night randomly, decided then and there to buy one, called me up the next day, and sent $10k to 'hold his place in line'. It was a leap of faith on his part, doomed to complications and unmet expectations in most scenarios - but not this one, where his faith in what can be achieved with sincerity, hardwork, integrity and honesty was bolstered, renewed, affirmed. 100 pages of legal contracts is never as foolproof of two parties interacting honestly.

Lisa, Lucas and me are on a road trip to Burlington, VT, one of our favorite out of the way destinations - about 5.5 hrs from Eldred, NY. Just in case you don't believe me,-

Pretty nice drive for a Thursday afternoon. Here's a view from our room out onto Lake Champlain.

And little Luke in our Living room.

A closeup of his red cheeks on the red sofa.

And a shot of the big full moon about 6am on Tuesday outside of Albert's farmhouse.

And me and Jack having a drink while watching the superbowl. Niether of us are super big sports nuts, but this was worth watching. It was Lucas' first. Behind me is a 'green frog humidifer' that Curtis bought for me - it humidifies by steaming out through its nostrils. Jack is the head school master at the terrific montessori school in Glen Spey NY. The school is one of the only private schools around and its located on 80 acres of flowers, gardens, sheep and trails.

In a pretty exciting development even for a person pretty used to exciting developments (both good and bad), Catskills Farms was awarded a pretty prestigous award from the Hudson Valley Builders Association - at their annual Pinnacle Awards, Cottage 8 was selected as the 'best new home under 2500 sq ft'. Now, we've won that award yr after yr up here in Sullivan County, but the Hudson Valley in a much more competitive playing field - Counties of Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Ulster, Dutchess - Towns of New Paltz, Chappaqua, Monroe, Rhinebeck, Red Hook, etc... It's a big accomplishment, and what's amazing is this builder's association plucked a house from way up in Sullivan County, but also that they chose a house that was 810 sq ft. In a era of McMansions, this was a major gesture to the future of homebuilding, and once again, Catskill Farms finds itself positioned well to take advantage of the next trend of homeowner preferences (small, modest, affordable). Although, when you think about it, it may be their next trend, but for us, it was our trend 2 yrs ago. I'm sure there will always be a living to be made when you consistently identify trends 2 yrs ahead of the crowd.

Below is the house we are selling today. The design was chosen from among thousands of possibilities, and its reality is as exciting as the aspiration of the sketch we started with. With its metal roof, weathered brown siding, stone cladding the foundation, and traditional porches, windows and trim, the house and design evolved into a home.

Private, pretty, punctual and perfect.

Cottage 13 is about lines - vertical lines of the roof, horizontal lines of the siding up to a steep vertical climb of the structure, vertical porch rails, ...

The side view into the fireplace room and the kitchen, as well as the rustically designed back porch, to be screened in the the future.

Bucks County ledgestone rock, simple mantel, english chestnut floor with a satin sheen, looking into the kitchen.

The kitchen is simple and functioning, with higher than normal cabs on the refrigerator side and open shelves on the opposite. Plank white washed wood walls, subway tile backsplash behind the stove.

The Kitchen, seen as descending from upstairs.

Simple stone counter, faucets, sink and plank seamed walls. Couldn't be nicer.

A great big shower, with frameless glass door, seat in the shower, and 2 rain shower heads.

The all important mudroom, with double door closet, bluestone floors chipped retangular instead of irregular.

The downstairs bath, with the clawfoot tub, telephone faucet and shower curtain surround.

Kitchen shelves, radiator, dishwasher and farmsink.

Apron sink, looking out into the woods.

Radiator art, for keeping warm, drying out the boots and glooves, or to a quick butt heat boost by using is a seat. I love how these guys look - as far as I am concerned, it's like art.

So, there you have it - another house successfully designed, sold, positioned, built, and sold. Now, while that may seem like the exciting part, - to me - it's actually begins when the house enables a busy person to slow down, a stressed person to relax, a professionally myopic person to look around and see, smell and touch the wonderland of leisure.

I'm not making light of the frickin' depression (their words not mine), but when we tried to make reservations in Portsmouth New Hampshire at one of our favorite hotels, The Wentworth by the Sea, it was fully booked, as was its restuarant. Then we changed direction and headed north, and Burlington's Hilton was fully booked, and the Marriott overlooking the big lake didn't have many rooms remaining, and the place where we wanted to have an 8 course champagne tasting menu dinner on valentines day was equally full. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but that's a good thing, I think, and winds its way back to what I've been saying. Sure, we are going through a correction/recession/resetting or whatever you want to call it, but it has happened before, and unless this is truely the end of the line, America's future still has some blooming left to do.

Probably not the end of the line observations -

  1. I am not having trouble financing my new or existing businesses.

  2. My customers are not having trouble financing their purchases.

  3. Hotels where I am traveling too are booked.

  4. Most people still have jobs.

One of my customers gave me a big slap on the back the other day and thanked me for allowing him to buy one of my homes, because it kept him from putting his money into the stock market back in August.

Well, I need to get back to my relaxing, Dean is probably minutes away from closing the deal at my attorney's office, and all is well at Catskill Farms, where easy living grows and prospers in these hills called the Catskills