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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Reclaimed Farmhouse and Happy Mother's Day

It's an Early Sunday Morning, and it was real windy again yesterday. Actually, yesterday was a pretty funky day of weather, period. It rained most of the night (entailing me driving to the office say around 2am to close a window that I had forgotten to in a room where we are currently finishing the floors), cleared up by morning, by 8am it was rainy furiously, then cleared up beautifully, then got windy, then got rainy, then cleared up, - well, you get the picture.

It's Mother's Day, so Lisa has taken Lucas on the road to see his grandparents and great grandparents, spread out from Lancaster Pa to Richmond VA to Virginia Beach. Lucas loves the open road and when he starts to get inexplicably anxious, we know he needs to feel the cool breeze of the open road of a big road trip.

Funny story about about ole Lucas - so, you know, he's pretty smart for his age and he goes around talking a little bit saying daddy, saying tiger (our cat), Tanta, (our Neighbor), even words like xelophone (which is obviously so far away from the correct spelling that even spell check can't help me), New york times, supercadifragiloaphor.... - you get the picture, -he says a lot of words, but he refuses, absolutely refuses to say mommy. And he knows what he is doing - if you say, 'Lucas, say mommy' - he laughs real loud and says 'Daddy' - it's pretty frickin funny and it's been going on for months. I mean, he's been saying daddy for at least 2 months. My theory is that he is just saving it, saving it like an ace up his sleeve, like his one 'get out of jail free' card, so when he really screws up - likes breaks something of mommy's real dear to her, or hurts another kid by hitting them on the head with something hard, or really screws up one of the levers in the car when he sits there and plays car, or pulls the new flat screen down on his head - that he is going to pull out his one 'save card' and give a scared little adorable 'Mommy' - and all will alright just that one time. Pretty genius (obviously inheriting these duel traits from his dad - strategic thinking and hints of genius).

Speaking of Mom's Day, it's today. And I have a real special Mom, one of those that when recounted on some sappy tv show jerks everyone's tears. A sacrificial Mom, a hardworking Mom. I mean, thank god I don't have to sacrifice as much for my family as my parents had to for their's - I'd be totally put off and inconvenienced. But that's the American way, each generation tries to make the next more comfortable. For me, it worked out that way for sure. My mom made some serious moves on my behalf - like when she gave me her only car so I could take a writing internship in Pittsburgh for USAirways Pilot's newsletter - I think she ended up walking to work (5 miles) or taking a bus for a couple of months - can't remember exactly. Or co-signing on some real dodgy and risky loans when I was first getting started in real estate speculation. Her AAA credit rating definitely convinced some dubious lenders to extend some credit my way. Thanks Mom, - so here's the shout out - in lieu of the flowers I forgot to order and the card I forgot to send (that's actually Lisa's dept. and she is out of town).

These pictures are of a farmhouse we are just finishing up and is the only house we have for sale. We purchased the 'shell' from a person who had drank away the financing and was unable to finish up the house. The previous owners/builders had done a great job in terms of house location/positioning and general construction quality, so I took it off his hands- nice guy that I am.

House location is everything. Every piece of land has a spot for a particular house and the key is to marry the two, and if you get it wrong, it's wrong - can't be changed. And if you nail, you enhance the personality of the house immeasurably.

Serious stock market jitters, in case you didn't notice - it's hard to remember how frickin crazy it was just a year ago. Pandemonium, mass panic, the herd all going in the same direction (surprise, surprise). We sold (closed on) 5 houses in the worst panic since the great depression (doubled our sales in the worst real estate environment ever). Hey, but that modular thing the NY Times loves, now that's something to write home about. Not. Waste of good newspaper space if you ask me. The 'Next Big Thing' - someone should really tell the consumer. Oh, right, I guess that's what the Times is trying to do -" look stupid homebuyers, why aren't you doing what we say!! We are smarter than you, gosh darnnit!!" God I hate being on the same side as Limbaugh and Hannity and O'Rielly. Not a place I enjoy at all.

God the house really works with the blue skies. And the rocks are pretty amazing - the type of natural landscaping that makes even the most inexperienced landscaper/homeowner look genius-esque. No matter what you plant, it's golden.

Big porch, and damn, big dog. Great lines.

Inside this 2000 sq ft home pretty much has it all, in terms of house needs. With the 1300 sq ft houses, while super cool, there's usually not enough elbow room for a separate TV room and fireplace area, no cordoned off dining room, mud room etc... At 2000 sq ft you start to get these things -

Brick, stained accents, wide plank floors, hand-hewn beams. Big trims. Planks ceilings whitewashed, cool schoolhouse lighting.

Since it was just me and no homeowner, we had some fun and played around a bit. The powder room adjacent to the mudroom with the cool slopsink.

Floors still need that final coat and final clean needs to happen, but it's starting to take a nice shape.

The mudroom with the bucket light, the board and batton, the sliding barn door and the bluestone floor and the radiator to put your wet socks and shoes on to dry out.

Upstairs we had some fun as well with the beadboard and the picket-fence style spindles and handrail system. 5 panel stained interior doors with a crisp white handle.

It's got a pretty sweeeet master suite area (although I hate the phrase master suite, almost as bad as subdivision, bonus room, and center hall colonial). Wood walls, stained crown, duel action sink.

The MBR (real estate speak for master bath room) is pretty cool with the gas fireplace, galvanized light, and stained ceiling. Our painter is awesome.

Guestbath not too shabby either with the sink, cool vintage vanity, deep tub, and elongated throne.

This upstairs foyer space really works for me. We had to steal a little bit from the bedrooms in order to gain this space, but here it is - so very adaptable to wide range of uses - upstairs little computer station, reading nook (do people still read?), little couch, whatever, I love it. Much better than a tight tunnel with doors on either side.

I've been working non-stop since Lisa and Lucas hit the road - building 8 homes, closing on two (just closed on micro-cottage 3 on Friday, congrats Daniel), starting 5 more, got two closings dates for beginning of June (farm 12 and cottage 25), working with 6 separate TV production companies for the Blog Cabin 2o10 shindig we are participating in, and refurbishing our offices.

It ain't easy being the Man, but someone has to do it (oh boy, I can hear the anonymous blogger emails now).


  1. I must say, I saw first hand what a mess this house was when you bought it and now it is a true Catskill Farms masterpiece. Some lucky buyer will be very happy with this get-a-way property.

  2. Totally awesome living room fireplace mantel. Great look with the stained doors and ceilings (love, love, love stained wood). Nice job!