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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Addition is nearly finished.

In a tribute to the passing of Michael Jackson, I do my best imitation of his famous 'hanging baby from window' moment from a few years ago. Don't worry Lucas, Daddy's got a firm grip.

Speaking of Lucas, he has just entered his real pudgy phase, so we have taken to calling him 'the potato'. Just learned how to get his one arm out of the way and now he roll over and over, to his endless amusement.

I'm dipping his feet for the first time into a pond over at the EarthGirl's house before volleyball the other day.

I don't know when I started wearing my dad's shoes.

At my house on Crawford Road, where Catskill Farms builders are putting on an addition and a lot other bells and whistles, here the guys are putting up a picture perfect picket fence. Say that 5 times (not you Jeanne, after the screen door martini incident, keep things simple). And by the way, a nice shout out to DM, for the new book out on her boss, profiled last week in the Times. We do have quite the varied and accomplished client list at his point.

As it appears, this shot was staged - the men were supposed to act a little more natural, and I asked but did not receive a spray bottle for the imitation sweat - but here it is, by best attempt at manual labor. As Lisa like to joke, 'hey, is that Manuel?", "Manuel who?" "Manuel Laborer." Cracks us up everytime.
That's Juan and Joe looking on.

Front porch looking out onto the street, with lots of symmetry by Mauricio.

And back at the office, James continues to try and figure it all out while not losing a step. Seriously though, as most of my clients know - there is a BJ phase of Catskill Farms and a PJ phase - before james, post james - those lucky enough to buy in the last 12 months have the PJ phase, meaning they were able to work directly with James on many of the home building decisions, tasks and chores, and rumor has it, James has a better bedside manner than lil' ole me. Well, I think that is unarguably true - so Rock on Karpowicz, keep those customers happy. With his purposely slow speech, monotone, odd humor and disinclination to make the tough decisions (passes the buck to me), James has proved an asset worthy of this shout out - always the consummate good guy in white hat.
Nice work James. And Thanks, from me, and the clients I'm sure. He used to always wear one of those french/scottish hats, but he lost that in Vegas when we went in January.

And Lara - our new bookkeeper, project coordinator, and all around facilitator, she comes off a 5 year stint with the largest design/development/build company in the area - so their loss is hopefully our gain. Like I posted previously, we are picking up a lot of great help as other companies in the area slow down, and we remain busy- which, of course, helps us get better while others are fading away.

Frickin' rain continues. I don't think a day goes by where it doesn't torrentially rain for 15 minutes or so at least, coupled with the fact that it rained for a solid month. If this is global warming, this is really going to suck. Too much rain is really depressing. Thing about it, just because it stops raining doesn't mean that you can 'get to work'. Landscapers need dry earth, and painter need dry wood, which takes a few days after the last rain to actually happen.

Here's the front of our 1860's farmhouse we bought, stripped down, and put back together last year. Now this year we added an addition, fixed up the sleeping cottage, and are working on the grounds. I'm planning a big time professional badminton court with a high referee chair, lights, spectator seating and weekend tournaments with celebrity referees.

We had two main challenges for this addition - don't overwhelm the original sweet little house, and 'follow the grade' as the earth tiered down over the the bedrock and ledgerock. Worked out pretty sweet, but it definitely took some experience to make it work out right - which by this juncture in my country building career, I got plenty of.
One thing I do know, without question, is that I am probably one of the most vetted Catskill builders at this point. I can see a piece of land and with a little study, know the problems are, the opportunities are. I can see a house and identify the issues, the resolutions and the problems that are going to arise while traveling from Point A to Point B. It's hard-earned, expensive experience, but while many other things in my business may be fleeting - from the waiting list to the cash flow cushion - that experience of what can go wrong and how to avoid it can never be taken away.

Planting some dogwoods, a pear tree, some grasses and hydrangeas.

The tiered look, from the west - and we are wrapping a fence around to make a nice little play area for the kids and dogs (hopefully getting two dogs shortly).

Our Kitchen, with 4 red lamps, rolling barn door, white pine ceiling painted white, open shelves, reading 'man-chairs' and a plywood countertop. Lisa likes color splashes, and she's also proud of her saw collection on the right.

Looking into the dining room that was the living room. Before we moved into the addition, this was our living room, and the house as a whole was around 1100 sq ft.

These are the original floors we uncovered while renovating. Probably heart pine which would cost $20/sq ft from Carlisle reclaimed flooring if we had to buy it.
It was very exciting when we broke through from the old to the new. We built the entire addition before we broke through. The board & batton wainscotting, stained Anderson french doors, bedroom off to the left and the new living room pod down below. The baby was crying today and I couldn't even hear him, poor thing. We added on around 650 sq ft.

The living room pod. That's my mom - she comes up everytime we move because she is a master coordinator and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. Since she has been here for every move - let's rewind and remember.
Lived in the 600 sq ft no bedroom rock house for 4+ years - moved to 2900 sq ft 4 bedroom 3 bath renovated farmhouse on 30 acres - got in a financial pickle and sold the estate to Sarah and Dennis, moved to the fancy gated Chapin Estate where we lived on 5 acres and 6000 sq ft, sold that to Erik and Shannah, moved into a 3000 sq ft rental at Chapin Estate, then soon after moved into our present 1100 sq ft now 1700 sq ft renovated farmhouse in Eldred NY. Oh yeah, and Lisa was pregnant for 2 of those moves.

This room turned out extraordinary, and as a builder who has created many great spaces, to be wowed by the emotional feedback from a room is really saying something at this point.

We retained the original exterior of the house in the new section hallway - that clapboard is a century old, and those old foundation stones were laid by hand after being plucked from the fields.

Marrying the old with the new is definitely a challenge, and a real design mistake can really be pronounced and unfixable.

And a great guest bedroom, that will be private and almost serve as a guest wing when we have guests.
The Delaware River outside of Callicoon, NY.

And a picture of the sky, on a day of clarity.

From one of my favorite Jackson songs - "Shake Your Body"
I don't know whats going happen to you baby
But I do know that I love ya
You walk around this town with your head all up in the sky
And I do know that I want ya
Let's dance, let's shout
Shake you body down to the ground
Let's dance, let's shoutShake you body down to the ground
Let's dance, let's shoutShake you body down to the ground
Ya tease me with your loving to play hard to get
Cause you do know that I want ya
You walk around this town with your head all up in the sky
And I do know that I want yaLet's dance, let's shout
Let's dance, let's shout
Shake you body down to the ground
Let's dance, let's shout
Shake you body down to the ground
You are the spark that lit the fire inside of me
And you know that I love it
I need to do just something to get closer to your soul
And you do know that I want ya
Let's dance, let's shout
Shake you body down to the ground
Let's dance, let's shout
Shake you body down to the ground.
A quiet Sunday afternoon, with only the birds doing much of anything.


  1. What a great update and just love what you did to that old house you now call home. I liked that place even before the renovations. Without revealing myself too much, I sure did a number on that screen door but made darn sure I kept martini drinking and door crashing to a minimum this past weekend! Thanks for the shoutout! ;-)

  2. Denise @Cornerstone TileJuly 2, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    WOW... you guys are kicking ass & taking names! Love it!....and your dad's shoe thing, you probably started wearing them the day you had Lucas. Don't worry,it happens to the best of us! ;) Keep On Rockin Catskill Farms

  3. Hi Charles, I've been following your blogs for a while, congrats on the growth of your family and company! You and Lisa are a talented pair :). I love what you've done with your home. Do you mind if I ask where you folks got your wonderful hanging red lamps? Keep up the great work!