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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Farm 17 Sold (one martini in)

Like clockwork, exactly as promised, a few weeks AHEAD of schedule we delivered Farm 17 to Catherine and David. A fascinating conclusion to a very validating journey we took with them. Although conclusion is not nearly accurate since for the most part this is only the middle-age of our relationship with these folks - the home build is finished but the breaking in period and small tweaks are just beginning - it's a glorious realization when you realize your aspirations have been reached. I spent years trying to achieve a level of perfect - arranging the team, rearranging the team, firing, hiring - then one day we had it - we had a team and process that satisfied me and my clients - both very discerning hard to please parties.

This is how it all started last spring sometime - innocently enough. By the way, I'm listening to Madeline Peyroux, a great bluesy singer I like a lot. She's doing a Tom Waits cover, called "The heart of Saturday Night".

"We've been looking for a second home in the Phoenicia/Woodstock area (Ulster County). It's beautiful there, but most of the properties need a lot of work. I've been intrigued by the "new old" concept, and would like to explore Sullivan County and Catskill Farms. "


Intrigued she was and through a thorough process of research and investigation, they feel in love with John's Farm 12 design. It's a simple shaker home with sexy lines and slight overhangs. It's always so extraordinary to me that the deal starts with such a simple start, and is shepherded (is that right?) and guided and counseled through a hundred of confidence inspiring or detracting interactions and explanations. What can I say? We are pros, we believe what we sell - the most dangerous type of salesmen known to history, the true believer. And that tis us.

Basically, people trust us - with very little concrete evidence- to help them transform and transition their lives. It's exhilarating, when we have time to reflect on it. And it happens all the time.

Brand new house with lines and personality like a 1920's flapper, or Confederate bride, or Boston debutante. Little porch over the back door for comfort, screened in porch so no summer party to be interrupted by the elements and insects.

It's the stern verticalness and straight-lines that are really appealing to me with this back elevation. Something about it, unarticulated presently, is a bit like magic to me. It's pure and straight and simple and right on.

Big red goose lamps with the red doors are hot, hot, hot.

The screened porch, with stained ceiling and porch fan - c'mon, seriously, this isn't what perfect is made of? Simple, functional, well-designed, livable.

Inside, the first time I walked in I couldn't quite figure out what was so striking, but it came to me slowly.

The floor color was subtly unlike anything we had used before, and that is enough to define any house's personality.

It's classic, classical, but then you looked around and their was something cool and fresh to contemplate. Be 8' high double back doors, the super wide staircase, the cool not quite reddish floor, the interesting lighting throughout. It's like putting a stamp on the house without losing 3 years of your life trying to do so. Catskill Farms make you look good.

Not to digress, but one of the more frustrating aspects of growing this business, and growing it in the middle of nowhere, is who we have to rely on to get things done. I used to complain about the locals and their 'spite their noses right off their face' routine, like a bad John Prine/Iris Dement song - but it actually turned out that those people were ok and not far off (or far out), but the real surprise was the recent permanent ex-pat transplants with their funny ideas, self-righteous motivations, and secure conviction of their correctness. As someone who has watched the world turn for a few years up here, it's always surprising that those who I thought would be helpful are actually detrimental the area's growth. It's like once you move into the area full-time, you become affected by the bermuda triangle of rural stubborness, close-mindedness and 'urge to improve' all you see.

Seriously, who isn't turned on by our duel barn door set up with black wrought iron hinges and cross buck door design?

A blank slate twas this kitchen until James and Catherine collaborated on a beauty.

4 panel shaker doors, radiators, wide plank floors... Just more of the same genius collaboration. I say it all the time - we are so good at what we do not just because we are a talented team, but also because we are fortunate enough to work with amazingly talented clients, who bring fresh, creative affordable ideas to each project.

This home has 2.5 baths. This is the master bathroom.

Couple funky bedrooms and color schemes. This color below got a lot of self doubt from the owners once it was up, but I like it. It's different, but not obnoxiously so.

Here's the big guest bath, with a vanity with a good story behind.

Nice strong blue in one of the guest bedroom.

Peeking out from the master bathroom into the master bedroom. That's Brian trying to hide from wide angle lens - fat chance. Or as the Navy Seals like to say, 'you can run, but you'll just die tired."

1st floor powder room, lording over the front yard.

Congratulations Ringo and David and Catherine. It really was our privilege to build you Farm 17 .


  1. Really nice! I hope you make your way (and houses) into Delaware County one day.

  2. Wow what a nice post.really it is lovely snap of home.I love it.

    Thanks for more sharing........

    Stratus Building Solutions

  3. What a gorgeous house, I love all of your houses! Maybe someday I will convince my husband to get one :-)