Visit our website: www.thecatskillfarms.com

Don't miss our fun Video Series

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

White Picket Fence

Yep, that's Lucas, over at Farm 15, looking through some binoculars at his long term plan.

And then caught red-handed at the Brooklyn Marriott with Buzz Lightyear trying to crack to code to the room safe.

And Erin and Greg participating in our photo shot for the big spread coming out in a city rag shortly. They own Ranch 1, outside of Barryville NY.

Gary and Nikki, owners of Barn III, did a few additions to the property this summer including a white picket fence to keep the kids and dogs in (or better yet, to keep them out of the house). I thought it looked great. I'm a big fan of white picket fences. The man is this household works with numbers at Citibank.

Farm 16 is moving right along. This house a lot going on, with a finished basement and a 3rd bedroom upstairs. This family, who's man of the house is a construction/project manager in NYC, should be moving in in November.

Here's a new one for us. A nearly 5000 sq ft barn-style house we designed - we are calling it the Big Barn. It sits on 17 acres outside of Narrowsburg. Should be a pretty cool and unique structure when said and done. The man of this casa works with Bonds. That's james, doing his best to look efficient and productive.

The dance of the rock busters.

Without the roof shingles detailed on this Big Barn it looks a little weird, but note the residential-use garage doors defining the back side of this barn.

The family of the house below is run in part by a NYC environmental lawyer. We built this 2000 sq ft cabin and now are getting ready to sell it next week. Since the full blown post is coming down the line, I disguised the house with some photo tricks. this cabin is on 15 acres.

Farm 11 - all 1900 sq ft, 2.5 baths and 4 bedrooms of it - on 12 acres is rounding that final bend as well - with a closing expected in mid to late October. Just waiting on the floors to dry on the inside and we will be in there finishing her up. Eamonn works in IT.

And we just picked up some new land and just like that we picked up a customer who married it with a house (Barn V in this case) and now we are off to the races, putting in the driveway, clearing the land, etc..

And across the street is where Farm 18 is going. 7.5 acres of glory, unspoken for as of yet.

and Lucas with his chocolate cake glazed donut. Don't tell his Mom.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Daddy's Got a New Pair of Shoes - Barn IV Is Gone & Sold

It used to be, when houses sold real slow, and I owned them for a long time, Lisa and I used to celebrate each sale with a special purchase. At first, I used to go out and buy a nice suit, back in 2003/2004/2005 - a got a Burberry, a Canoli, Brooks Brothers and a few others. But as sales started to accelerate, obviously living in the country I wasn't out there wearing suits everyday, so how many fancy threads does a guy really need? They did end up serving an alternative process though, since when I would go to wear them last year and the pants were so tight I was left with popping button or waistband imprints on my skin, I realized it was time to 'hit the gym' and reign in that burgeoning waist size and chin-less profile.

These days, with a closing every 3 weeks or so, the prospect of a hard-earned closing sale is still a big deal, but more a moment of reflection than a jump-up-and-down celebration.

Back in the day, we were way out on a limb with these neat idea, no money, few relationships and these damn 'spec' homes I was building. 'Spec homes' mean starting without a buyer, and hoping one comes along at some point prior to catastrophe.

Times have changed - we still build spec homes, but most times they are an aside to the half dozen 'on-order' houses we have going. Barn IV, which sold today to Emily and Sean, was started as a spec, then they came along and snatched it up. And now it's theirs.

It's sweet. Turned out real nice. Sits on the piece of land about perfect, with an approach that will surely impress the 'rents.

When we bought the land, it came with that shack to the right, basically a small equipment shed. We pimped it out big-time with windows, a metal roof, new siding and a white washed interior and now it's more an inspiration shed, a writer's hut, a pianist shelter - well, you get the picture.

The pictures do this place justice for sure, especially that early evening a few days ago that was all bright and shiny and lazy and optimistic.

This is our 4th barn. Kevin and Julia bought #1 in 2006, Richard bought #2 in 2009, Gary and Nikki bought #3 in 2010 and now Sean and Emily bought #4 in 2011. They have ranged from 1150 sq ft to 2200 sq ft. They are pretty cool, and we are just signing a deal for Barn V.

Lots of privacy on the back porch, and lots of room for outdoor dining as well.

One of the attributes that draws families to the Barn series is the loft-like open living they offer. As with any small home, this attribute comes with a price in terms of room sizes - so our barns typically have bedrooms a bit smaller than our other 1300 sq ft homes. In exchange, we offer the big expansiveness of an open lofty room.

The picture above has the front door behind, to the right (below) is the kitchen with shaker cabinets and a salvaged wood ceiling and stair post. The kitchen also boasts a blue stove which is a real kicker for the space. And two schoolhouse lights and a farm sink never hurt a room either. Come to think of it, neither did open shelves or wide plank floors.

With your back to the front door, the flow takes you to the big room or you can run right up the steps to the large loft space.

This picture has the fireplace to my back, looking into the kitchen, front door to the right. and the salvaged posts and cable rail and open staircase look is pretty hot. Think Loni Anderson in her prime (I used to have a large poster of her tacked to the curtain that separated by brother's half of our shared room with mine). Note the duel barn door on the loft and the influx of light.

With the room reversed, I have my back to the back door, 2 large black cast iron radiators.

Another look at the hot 2 piece staircase, with the 1st floor bedroom off to the right, beyond the stairs that lead to the basement.

The 1st floor bathroom. It's cool tile, the camera doesn't capture it well.

Couple of angles from the loft....

...looking towards the 2nd bedroom, which has a set of double barn doors that look down below.

...in the background in another full bathroom, with tons of space for the media equipment.

...then into the bedroom/office. We used double french doors here and the double 1/2 barn doors as a way to 'open up' this room. With the glass doors and the window doors open, the room is really one with both the upstairs and downstairs. i thought it worked well.

The upstairs bath has it all, with a fancy shower and plenty of space for carrying on.

And then down to the basement, with the black and white 2 piece staircase and salvaged post accents.

And, as with most of our homes, a full, kick-ass, ginormic basement.

The art shack is sweet, and it's the sort of the gate house to the main house.

Super clean and whitewashed. Actually a great poker shed, or party shed, or cocktail barn, or sleeping quarters, or dog house for misbehaved spouses.

That's me above. I take the photos throughout the job typically. I thought this was a fun shot that captured the house in the background.

And a really great pic from down low that captures the big rocks we used as a stair entry.

Being a hopeless romantic, on days we sell a house I always like going back to that very first inquiry from the client, now homeowner. It's just an amazing process from tentative inquiry to full blown collaboration to homeowner, sleeping on some mattresses on the floor for the first weekend in their new home.

Time Stamp - 6/6/11

"We've followed your instructions, looked at all your photos and read your testimonials and have been salivating over the various houses on the website, attempting to pick our favorites. We really like the design of the shack and mid-century modern one, but we're probably looking for two bedrooms. Barn IV is very tempting, but a little more than we're looking to spend. Anyway, we love the area, and have just started looking for a weekend house up there - but as you recommend, we're not looking for a project to take over our lives, just a nice place to escape to (we live and work in Manhattan). Also, we're curious if you have any land involving water - a lake or stream. So, what do we do next?"

What they did next was 'come on up', and now, 3.5 months later, we not only agreed on a deal together, we designed and built a home together, and successfully sold it off. I mean, buying pair of new shoes is more time-consuming and stressful.

So, there it is. From us to them. It's sort of glorious in a way

Friday, September 16, 2011

Learn from This?

I've always thought this blog was in a way interesting since I just lay it out as it is, and try to do it unfiltered and a reflection of how it really happens.

Here's a check book...

Here's a checkbook after going through the washing machine and dryer.

Have a nice weekend and check those pockets.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Marching Onward

This time of year in the country, for people in my line of work, you start to get that gnawing notion of anxiety, knowing the winter and all the logistical struggles that come with it, are coming closer with each dying day. the morning light is markedly later, and jackets are starting to come out.

Here's the handsome devil himself, below. And Lucas is pretty cute too. He likes running around my offices with all the trucks and guys and action.

While we didn't have the catastrophic flooding like the northern Catskill thank god, the waters were still super high, with the Delaware really moving along like some sort of Snake River rapids.

A ton of construction happening lately, in preparation for a bunch of closings. Barn 4 next week, Cottage 36 soon thereafter, Farm 11 in mid October, Farm 16 in Mid November, Farm 17 in January. Looks like we are doing a new deal for Barn 5 with Bill and Veronica and possibly, fingers crossed, hope to god, we might have a deal formulating for Cottage 37 in Saugerties. I mean, if that wouldn't prove the saying that 'I'm the man', not sure what would.

Barn IV with Norm's machines cleaning it up, planting the grass, etc...

Cottage 36, water and heat will be on today, which is really the signal for that last 1/4 mile home stretch.

Sweeettt. this is a real winner cause we worked hard to earn this family's business.

Farm 11 went from 'getting there' to 'nearly done' over the past 2 weeks. Moving so fast this recent picture is already outdated.

and farm 16, which is just about ready to get our full and undiverted attention - Trim's done, floor is in, now it's time to spend some time finishing up the trim, getting her painted, and finishing her up.

All in all, we're killin' it in terms of productivity and getting shit done.