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Maidstone Beach, the never, ever crowded miles-long crescent of white sand a few hundred yards from the house. The bay is so relaxing — kinder and gentler than the ocean’s pounding surf — perfect for swimming and safer, especially with kids.
WHO’S READY TO THINK ABOUT SUMMER? Everyone in the snowy Northeast, I imagine. Hard to believe at the moment, but summer will come, and with it the desire to be near water. I have just the house for you to rent: my utterly secluded 1940s 1,200-square-foot home, a five-minute walk from the beautiful Gardiner’s Bay beach, above, that is one of the Hamptons’ last and best-kept secrets.
Available Memorial Day-Labor Day, or by individual months (see below), it’s a unique house for the right people — people who dig its arty, Bohemian vibe and don’t require air conditioning or a dishwasher. This is a house that recalls Jackson Pollock’s postwar heyday, when Springs, a hamlet five miles north of the chic village of East Hampton, N.Y., was home to a slew of well-known artists associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement.
Pollock’s own home, now the Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner Study Center, is a mile away in the Springs Historic District. So is the Springs General Store, a throwback to hippie days that pretty much encapsulates what laid-back Springs is all about. The area is still home to many artists, writers and actors, some famous.
This is a house in a state of pre-renovation, and my price ($15,000 for the full MD-LD season; or $4,000 for June, $7,000 for July or August) reflects that. There’s a fully functioning (in fact, brand new) kitchen and bath. The house is clean and organized and (will soon be) fully furnished. But I just bought it a year ago, and many planned projects — a new deck, an outdoor shower, a second bathroom among them (not to mention a swimming pool) — have not yet happened.
At present there are two bedrooms, but also, for all intents and purposes, two living rooms; there’s the potential to sleep 6 or more. There’s also an outbuilding which will be converted as a separate studio by summer.
Great room, furniture yet to come.
Dining/sitting room with working fireplace
View to kitchen from dining/sitting room
One of two bedrooms, with double bed + single (there’s a second bedroom as well)
Imagine swimming every day (more than once a day!) right at the end of the block; kayaking and paddleboarding from any number of local launch points; bonfires on the beach (legal); grilling on the brick patio; visiting restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, historic houses, and ocean beaches in nearby East Hampton and Amagansett (10 minutes away) and Montauk (25 mins.), and spending time in the uber-charming town of Sag Harbor (20 mins.).
Above: Part of Maidstone Park’s two-mile loop for walking/jogging alongside the bay, an inlet leading to Three Mile Harbor, and a nature preserve. All a few minutes’ walk from the house.
For more info, contact me at email@example.com. To see my craigslist ad, go here.
Late summer sunset over Gardiner’s Bay
NEW YEARS BARGAINS ABOUND on the East End of Long Island, though how much of a bargain this 1/4-acre property in Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.) really is remains to be seen. The house may well be a teardown; the “barn-like accessory structure” looks sound, though, and no smaller than the house itself.
The main selling point here is waterfront proximity (though not water view) — it’s just a couple hundred yards to an unspoiled channel off Three Mile Harbor, top, and there’s a small beach at the foot of Folkstone Drive.
The house is on a gravel road, pitted and puddled after recent rains, but you can’t complain about traffic.
Above, the c. 1945 house at right and the newer garage/barn at left.
The door to the house was open, and I walked in. Definite smell of damp. There’s almost certainly been water damage.
It’s a project for the right person/people. I like the idea that you could live in the (unheated) barn while fixing up the house or building a new one. (The barn was locked, so i didn’t see inside, but there are photos of its interior in the linked-to Halstead listing below.) I also like that it’s cheap — down to 300K, and will probably end up selling for even less.
For photos of the house in summer and more shots of the barn (and a startling demonstration of what a sunny day and a wide-angle lens will do for a place), go here for the official listing.
I’M FEELING LIKE A BIT OF A FLOP as a flipper. My 2BR Springs cottage, above, has been listed with Corcoran for three whole weeks now and we haven’t gone to contract yet. It’s not like selling a Brooklyn brownstone; it requires a bit more patience than that.
I gave Corcoran an exclusive listing in mid-October, and the agent is working hard to sell it. Frankly, I don’t have the stomach for this. Urban rental property, yes. Selling a one-family house in this market… no.
The house is cute and comfortable as a getaway in all seasons, or as a year-round home with summer rental potential. I love the house, love the property (see 200-foot backyard with view to deck, below), love the neighborhood, love the neighbors, the outdoor shower, the easy access to magnificent Maidstone Beach. But I’m now working to fix up another house nearby, and that gives me one house too many.
WITH INDIAN SUMMER and its crazy beautiful sunsets stretching well into October, it was hard to tear myself away from the East End of Long Island. But mornings were getting chilly, as were evenings, in my unheated house — though I was more sanguine about it than I was last spring. “52 degrees!” I heard myself say, looking at the thermometer in my living room first thing in the morning. “Not bad!”
I’m back in Brooklyn, more or less, planning occasional forays to check on my two properties in Springs. I’ve given the listing on my original cottage there to Corcoran and wished them good luck.
In the last few weeks of the season, with the help of a friend, I painted the exterior of the house — and there was one other big project I needed to accomplish before letting go of summer ’13. That was repairing the 6′ stockade fence that surrounds my half-acre property and protects it again maurading deer. Or does it? Yes, they can jump six feet. But will they, if they can’t see over or through the opaque fence? My neighbor, who has a deer-control business, thinks not. We shall see. I purposely did not spray my hostas or my hydrangea, so it will be evident if they’ve trespassed.
I had Shane of The Deer Fence (highly recommended) raise the few existing 3′ and 4′ sections to a uniform 6′ all around. At the moment, I can’t afford the 3′ top extension with heavy-gauge wire mesh that would have absolutely assured the sanctity of my vegetation, but that’s OK — I haven’t planted much yet that needs protecting. And then — this is the exciting part — I had him change the configuration of the fencing at the front of the property, where the driveway was lined on both sides with stockade fence, one side of which met the corner of the house in a way that totally bugged me (see the ‘Before,’ below).
Now, below, the driveway is shorter (but still long enough for 2-3 cars), the fence is halfway down it, the house seems to have more architectural integrity, and there is the beginning of an entry courtyard that will eventually be planted and may even get some sort of central (water?) feature.
The view from inside the property toward the driveway, below, is much improved, too.
I will sleep better this winter, knowing I have a painted house with an entry courtyard to go back to in the spring.
Also, in a late-season thrift-shop triumph, I found an 8-foot-long solid oak (?) table on a chrome base, marked made in Finland, at LVIS. Very late ’60s, or perhaps ’70s. Now I’m ready for a banquet, or at least a proper dinner party. All I need are the chairs.
PART OF THE FUN OF BLOGGING is getting the occasional bead on a great subject from a reader. I met Dorothee van Mol and her husband Paul a year ago when they came to look at my East Hampton cottage as a possible year-round rental. We spent a pleasant hour chatting on my deck, but ultimately, they decided to rent in Southampton, closer to their primary home in Brooklyn. Dorothee continued to follow my blog, and when she saw the unconventional modernist house I bought in East Hampton last spring, she knew I’d be interested in seeing the sprawling complex she and Paul have been renting.
The site: now that’s a tale. As is the house itself, which began as a 1920s industrial dairy building. It’s unclear whether cows were actually housed there, but refrigerated compartments, concrete floors, a pass-through marked “Milk and Package Receiver,” and other quirky elements are clues to its origins. The acre-and-a-half spread, on the fringe of Southampton village, was owned at one time by a garden designer, some of whose landscape architecture remains, and then by three partners who began an ambitious expansion of the house with cinderblock construction and casement windows, covering many thousands of square feet, before feuding and parting ways. The property came up for rent, and that’s when Dorothee and Paul, who have two college-age kids, stepped in. They decorated resourcefully, on a shoestring, with furnishings they had in storage, items they found on the property, and a few fill-ins from IKEA. I love its casual Bohemian air.
Let’s circumnavigate the property first, and then we’ll go inside…
Walls around the gravel parking court and elsewhere on the property are made of stacked stone in wire cages called gabions.
Charcoal gray-painted trim against brown vertical clapboard siding, looks chic and ties together disparate windows and doors.
One of two kitchens — yes, that’s right — is in an extension at the front of the house.
Around the side, you sense the building’s utilitarian origins.
Old perennial beds and self-seeding annuals soften the unfinished walls of the never-completed extension.
There’s a lap pool around the back, of which I’m terribly envious, surrounded by ornamental grasses and an allee of trees.
Long gravel walks punctuated by cypress trees and lined with flagstone packed in wire cages have a classical Mediterranean feel.
A wall of glass windows and doors opens to a gravel courtyard. The parking court and entry gate are in the stone wall at left.
The long west-facing entry hall gets afternoon light. Kitchen #1, below, is down the end.
There’s a small dining area in that same kitchen, above…
and a rustic bar.
The main living space has one spectacular window and a wood ceiling.
Wire grids found around the property were pressed into service as bulletin boards.
There’s a sophisticated contemporary bathroom with a marble vanity and the world’s smallest sink, below.
Kitchen #2, below, looks out into the heart of the abandoned construction project, which, as greenery overtakes it, seems a bit like an ancient archaeological site.
Below, the enormous master bedroom.
Two additional bedrooms, one with the curious cubby-hole.
The future of the site and the couple’s tenancy is uncertain, so — though they put in a fair amount of work painting and decorating — the whole project has a casual, spur-of-the-moment feeling about it. Thanks, Dorothee, for letting us have a look.