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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Farm 12 - Sold (New Catskill Farms Tour Bus and Photo editing software)

It's been a bit crazy around Catskill Farms lately - this is the 3rd weekend I've had to double book appointments, meaning take more than one prospective customer out at a time since there just isn't enough time in a day to accomodate all the 'tour requests' - even got an email the other day from Mike wondering how to make an appointment for one of these 'famous tours'. So anyway, to make a long story short, I'm thinking about buying the above touring vehicle, and outfitting it with a speaker system - 'And here's Pablo's house on the right, and Jeanne's on the left and this old rock wall used to be the foundation of barn, and you see that deer and group of turkeys - I paid them to run across the yard just at the right moment, and that other family that is trailing behind us, well, they are paid actors to inject a sense of urgency into your homebuying process." Lisa always says I belong on the 'short bus', so why not go out a buy one?

Then I bought this cool high end photo manipulation software - so hopefully I can jazz up my photos even more than presently. Below is a radical interpretion I call "Guest Bathroom and John and Wendy's New Farmhouse". Who spiked the kool-aid?

Old School black and white of Farm 12, a house idea that the new owners brought to me - and after literally months of work nailing down the shaker details, and finding the land that matched the house - here we are, literally 6 months from ground-breaking, literally the weekend I told John it would be ready, here we are, just closing the deal this past Thursday.

Farmhouses and larger homes were our bread and butter for the first 4 years - I think I designed and built 14 1800 sq ft farmhouses, barns, art and crafts homes and the like from 2003 to 2007. Now we usually have one going but our bread is buttered more with cottages (1300 sq ft), mini-cottages (980 sq ft), micro-cottages (750 sq ft) and now the Shack series at (400 sq ft).

This home is on 7+ acres, has a seasonal stream, big trees and pretty picture perfect setting.

The thing about our homes is that they are not complex, grandiose, over-the-top marvels of craftsmanship. They are well-built, and they will stand the test of time both from an aesthetic and quality point of view. The genius is in the appreciation and execution of simple ideas - ie, an appreciation of good taste.
In the below photo - a simple entry way with stone flooring, a sliding barn door that segues into the powder room, laundry and double closet, a simply elegant staircase and spindle treatment, and some Jacobean stain to finish it off classically.

A little photo shop trickery below.

And the light that cascades into the dining room like the pearly gates of heaven. Actually, another photo shop effort.

Cathedral ceiling in the kitchen, a ceiling fan and recessed lighting. And the cool rad off to the left.

From the kitchen, past the stairs and peeking into the fireplace room.

Lots of heat in this room with the fireplace and white brick, and two radiators. French doors lead into the library with built in bookshelves.

Great built in with a great window seat with lifting lid for the kids to hide in.

Laundry room area, with the 5 panel doors and black hardware stealing the show.

2 upstairs landing shots - one manipulated, one not. Bead board edge and center planking make up a traditional wainscotting.

And the master bedroom, where the magic happens. The 15 light door leads out to the 2nd floor deck.

Double his and her sinks in the bathroom off the bedroom. I hate the words subdivision, development, bonus room and even master bedroom (made worse by the abbreviation 'MBR') and worst of all, Master Suite.

Great shower with bench.

A little more fun - these doors lead to the kid's rooms, the linen closet and the gst bath, respectively.

These hanging trough sinks have really become popular. I think Albert pioneered the selection.

So there you have it. So far this year we have built and sold Cottage 24, Cottage 2o, Ranch II, Barn II, Micro III, and now Farm 12. Cottage 25 will be coming in for a soft landing here in Mid-June, and Cottage 28 and Ranch III are under construction and spoken for. Cottage 29 just got started and is unspoken for and Farmhouse 14 is sitting, furnished, looking for a date to the dance. We just put some furniture in and boy does it look great.
Just read in the Times that some owners of an expensive 'green building' in lower Manhattan are suing the developer because the 'green' attributes are dubious at best, with no quantitative proof of lower energy costs or improved air quality. I think this is a great development, because if you are out saying 'this house is green', 'this house will pay for itself', 'this house will improve your health', 'this house will save you money' - then the house better be all those things. If someone buys a $400k home over a $325k home because they believe it has long term financial benefits, then that house better perform.
In terms of all the 'green washing' out there - builders and marketers are trying to gain an edge by claiming their homes are green, I'd say watch out. I see a field day for a good attorney, quantitively proving that a lot of these claims are bullshit, leed certified or not. I think a good young attorney could really make his make suing for 'misleading or outright false advertising'.
Our homes - I don't even bother yelling they are green they are so green. With the fantastic spray foam insualtion, salvaged materials, propane boilers, small footprints and efficient build process- I will put our homes head to head with any modular or stick built 'green builder' - the proof, they say, will certainly be in the pudding.

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