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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Award Winning Homes - 43 New Old Houses Designed, Built & Sold

We've been honored by the local community with awards and plaques for a few of our homes, we have had thousands of people write to us with compliments and questions, our local newspapers have showed great kindness by covering our progress over the past few years, and mostly, our homeowners honor us over and over by buying our homes - even more so in this climate where the decision to spend money does not come without real consideration.

But, I got to say - to be awarded the designer and builder of the Hudson Valley's best home under 2500 sq ft. is an honor we won't forget soon. Here's the link the Times Herald Record included in their business section -


The thing is, like I said before, the Hudson Valley Builders Association is an association that covers all of Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Putnam, Greene, Columbia, etc..., well, you get the picture. The fact that this large organization, possibly the largest in upstate NY, plucked an 810 sq ft, 1 bedroom cottage from Yulan NY, says something really real about the introspection happening all across the design and construction landscape. This award to a small home is almost like a pennance for the years of over-building, bigger is better - a nod to a new way where need and want aren't not so divergent and distant aspirations.

Being a bit media jaded after seeing all sorts of PR triumphs over reality over the past few years (remember "Welcome to the Sullivan Riveria" front page back in 2006), Catskill Farms stood through earnestness of effort. To be honest, it's embarrasing to be a champion of 'earnestness' when snarkiness and sarcasm is more easily applauded, but what can you do when that is the core of your character, like it or not? Remember, we are a martini into this.

A real funny customer wrote me a note the other day about a few things that needed to be taken care of around their house and they think the mentioning of the 'cinnamin coated frosted pop tarts' will push them to the top of our 'to do list'. How right they are!!!

For some reason, I've changed, and I have never in my life been a "!" person, never relying on the exclamation point to get a point across but lately I can't write a note, email, reprimand, thank you or observation without using the damn "!". I can't figure it out - either I've gotten lazy and now only cursing and exclamation can get my point across, or else my point is so newly urgent that I can no longer rely on happenstance and chance, two old and reliable friends.

OK, so I am one Martini into this post, and Lisa my wife and Amy her friend are in the kitchen whipping up dinner.

A rising tide floats more boats, and at the same time you really see who is swimming naked when the tide goes out. Listen, there is no one who has failed to reach the heights of our goals more often than we, but probably just as true is no one has set those sights more unrealistically high.

Regardless of the dire world situation and that the whole world is ending and happy days will never be here again and we should all prepare for the 'end of days', we had a banner year and built some tremendously awesome house (I can't write the word 'awesome' without thinking about my morally doubtful highschool cheerleading outfit - "AWESOME ' - spelling it out with high kicks and loud cheers.

So, everyone is surprised that an economy expanded over the last decade through artificially loose credit will snap back eventually into a reasonable shape. Oh well, live and learn.

Here are our 2008 and 2009 houses. I am a big fan of year end retrospectives with great music and perfect edits, but all I can offer is a quick snapshot.

Cottage 6 - Sold to David, entertainment.

Farmhouse 9, sold to Christine, writer.

Cottage 7, sold to Pablo the shipping magnate and Ana the banker.

Cottage 8, the award winner, sold to Leah and Rob, clothing and style designers.

Cottage 15, sold to Gayle, hedge fund sweat shop indentured servant.

Cottage 9, purchased by Nick, the IBM researcher.

Cottage 14, with new owners Jeanne and Deb, with unnamed but impressive philantrophic and investment CVs.

Cottage 13, the new home of Dean, creative director of unnamed retailer.

And Farm 10 - with Albert the musician and Agyness his partner, calling this hilltop adobe their home away from home, their respite from the urban machine.

Well, there you have it - our Tour de Eldred, our madame butterfly, our 'Yes We Can.'