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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Long Ass Blog Post

I hate setting myself up for coming up short by prenaming this blog post as I have, but I'm really feeling it and to be honest, a lot of shit is going on to write about. I'm in Saugerties just settling into a beer and my apartment after two meetings in Woodstock, while managing by satellite 7 homes going up in Sullivan County. Shannon Mc Nally is singing a cover of I'd Rather Go Blind and it's a bit chilly outside and now She & Him are singing You Really Got a Hold On Me (I want to leave you, dont want to spend another day, you do me wrong now, , my love is strong now, oh you really got a hold on me...)

This picture above is the sort of thing that really warms my cold downtrodden heart - a house-warming gift from wife to husband of Cottage 36, defining the entry mudroom. It's of a local bowling alley, where the pins are handset, custom framed back in Rye. Like our homes, and their homes in particular, it's in very good taste.

Thing is - I have no business having such an instinctual sense of taste and design, - there is nothing in my background or upbringing that would point to me being able to hold my own, and even compliment a pretty savvy and talented set of clients. But it's there, and it's fun to let the talent grow and bloom on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis - watered not only by constant practice but by the uber-fertilizer of collaborating with fresh client talent constantly. I mean, my clients have good taste - there is no other way to frame it - and they come to us to help them fully realize - and actually live in - the design called their home.

And the dolphin I bought for lucas in Orlando at the International Builders Show James and I attended the other week.

Interestingly, James and I were talking, and somehow we started talking about the last time we called someone 'fart face'. Neither of us could remember, but we did faintly recall it was a real good defense in certain situations. Not too vulgar to get in trouble with the 'rents, but good enough to really put some bully in his place.

I own and run a spray foam insulation business, which James and I started back in the height of the panic when the world was ending - Winter and Spring of 2009. It was like 'screw it, let's double down' so we talked to Jeff Bank who's been financing me and my ventures since 2003 (they just helped us buy another spray foam rig last month) and they gave me some debt and we here we are, still in bizness a few years later. Spray foam is the bomb, and we haven't looked back since discovering it in late 2008.

That's Mike posing for what I guess is the 'The Guys of Spray Foam' calender coming out next year. I was talking to someone today about coming out with a 'women of catskill farms' calender, but I think I better stop there before this becomes inappropriate even by my loose standards.

Yep, you see it below. That, in the flesh, is Deb's business card in Ranch III - Deb from Selling NY. In the flesh, Getting her makeup down in Cottage 35, trading gossip with Cat Greenleaf and the Director at Cottage 34.

I mean, as you all know who have been following for any amount of time, we get a fair amount of press and attention. NYTimes, NY Post, Daily News, USA Today and a lot of other pubs. But a starring role in HGTV's #1 show, a show with 3m viewers (yes, 3m, not 1.7m as earlier reported), a show with international reach, a show that showcases Manhattan's hippest and most expensive property - now, a starring role in that show, that's really saying something about who we are, where we are going, and who our clients tend to be. And there we were. Lil ole Catskill Farms.

The cast and crew at Ranch III above...

and Cottage 36 above...

and the bright and early breakfast I supplied at Cottage 35 - bagels, fruit, donuts that no one admitted eating but they disappeared nevertheless, juice, coffee, pretzels, etc... And yes, they are Oreos off to the side of the table end.

I bought all this Friday night, prior to there bright and early Saturday morning rendevous of 5 different cars at Cottage 35 - so I bought all this stuff then proceeded to break into the donuts, oreos, ice cream and pretzels, making a big bowl of awesomeness, which evolved into a stomach ache pretty quick.

But before that, I had to rush 30 minutes down the road to a zoning meeting a Lumberland Town Hall, which was moved to the local school due to all the people who were expected (ok, maybe I had something to do with that). This was the zoning changes I've been blogging about, - new land use regs that make no sense in the rural area which we reside, etc...

The absurdity of the Supervisor Nadia's tenure and leadership of this zoning never better demonstrated by the constant presence of police at these meetings. It's like 'seriously, what's really going to happen here that we need police'. The two towns up the river didn't feel the need, it was just really insulting but only par for the course. They say 'difficult times make great men/leaders' - meaning only those leaders in power during tough times end up lasting in the historical spotlight. Tough times also expose those not ready for the role, and never has this been more true than in the Town of Lumberland - a leader without the skills to navigate the seas on which she sails.

So I create stiff breeze, and blow her ship off course, and while sacrificing quite a few friends and relationships along the way, end up alerting and motivating an entire community about the threat on their respective doorsteps. And they responded enmasse. Super interesting to communicate outside the typical channels - very annoying to the powers that be, those who pretty successfully miseducate entire communities on certain issues. Local newspapers, local politicians, etc... Without alternative sources of news, very scary how agenda-motivated people with the right connections can manipulate an entire community. Of course all media have bias, but when there is no other voice, it's pretty serious.

Below are our 3 local constables, ready for action.

And the gym is full, with people who have never attended a meeting before, concerned with a basic invasion of their rights and privacy. That's James filming the whole thing - they were lying so much we just decided to tape it for the record.

So that was Saturday before 10:30 am.

Here is the Big Barn and now the Big Garage being built outside of Narrowsburg NY.

From the back deck, looking at the 3 openings that will be retractable garage doors, with the garage sitting down below politely.

Painted, trim going up , tile complete, lap pool filled, and ready for action.

The upstairs bedroom (below) is open, looking down to below. It's a big space, just what the owner wanted.

Great looking garage, for sure.

Modeled after my friend's Benoist's house.

Cottage 38 in Stillwater just turned two big corners, with the Ecotech Spray Foam Insulation being installed this past week, and that all important mortgage commitment and accompanying validating appraisal, verify not what I say the house is worth, but what the area's recent sales say the house is worth. This was the big wild card as we enter new marketplaces - yes, maybe if you are skilled enough you interest someone in your home, but at some point the bank comes in a comes up with it's own value - the biggest issue in modern day home buying.

But here we are, area after area, house after house, - getting our houses financed, getting them appraised accurately - or, simply, in a nut shell, getting it done. Getting the job done.

And Farm 18 is no joke either. This beauty is on the home stretch, with the the horses pounding and jockeys sweating and whipping.

It's a home that mirrors the homeowners. Truly unique, but within the bounds. Tech start up guy and his microsoft spouse. Like I always say, our clients are half the story.

This pics are pre floor stain phase, which by the time I write it, the floors are done, finished, polyed and ready to roll.

As the owner of the company, this pic below says one thing - get those lights lifted up before someone cracks something into them and breaks them and leaves me with the bill. James, are you hearing this?!>!?

And Ranch VI, modeled after unsold Ranch V - just a little bigger, and a little deeper in the woods, with a basement. Just enough to make it their own.

Tomorrow we start the insulation.

Dancing Queen just came on the local Saugerties pub radio where I am finishing off a quesidilla and a beer.

And Barn V rock and rolls and is preparing for a mid-May finish.

Big spaces, real live spaces.

And Lucas behind my offices, playing on a stone wall. He's such a little man now, with full sentences and a real understanding of the important things in life like cookies, toys and Momma.

It's nearly 9. one of the truths of our success to this point is I know how to work like a mule - and so does everyone who is associated with us. For the sole benefit of our clients - funny how simple it is sometimes.

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