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HERE’S A NEW YEAR’S GOODIE. Yep, with the turn of the calendar, it’s time to start thinking about…summer houses! The listing says this sweet and unpretentious 3BR, 2 bath (bigger than it looks at from the outside) dates from 1847, and that seems about right. The symmetry, porch columns, pilasters on either side of the front door and six-over-six windows, all say Greek Revival to me. At the same time, the front porch and picket fence say farmhouse (they’re not mutually exclusive). It’s in the village of Greenport,on Long Island’s North Fork, where nearly all the houses are of similar vintage (see more of Greenport’s architectural charms here).
The price has just been reduced by 30K. The still-upwards-of-400K ask reflects the tip-top condition of the house, the optimism of the sellers, and the market being pretty strong.
Except for the dated kitchen, the house appears immaculate — renovated perhaps to a fault (recessed lights in old houses are a particular peeve of mine).
Check out the listing, with lots more photos, here.
Anyone local have insight to share about the Main Street location?
SO OFTEN ONE SEES listings that date houses inaccurately. Sometimes the listings claim the houses are much more recent than they are, sometimes older. In the case of this former tavern in Southold, N.Y.’s historic district, I wholeheartedly believe the listing date. Based on its boxy shape, steep-pitched roof (the better to shed snow), and most of all, interior photos, the circa 1800 date seems correct.
The map shows it located at an intersection, which would make sense for a former tavern. I don’t know how busy an intersection; that would be key. It’s on 1/2 acre with several outbuildings, including a 19th century barn. The floors are wide-plank, the windows ‘correct,’ and there seem to be original doors and other woodwork. The attic photo clinches it for me; it totally looks 200+ years old.
I say this looks very intriguing, and the asking price reasonable. What say you? Does anyone know the location? The realtor’s listing is here.
I ONCE HAD A SNOBBY FRIEND who called the North Fork of Long Island “the wrong fork.” By which she meant that the South Fork, where the Hamptons are located, was the only place to be.
Well, now I’m a resident of the South Fork and if I had even a trace of a superiority complex, it’s all gone now. Yesterday I had the perfect North Fork afternoon. I envy its farmland, its vineyards, its nurseries. It’s more beautiful and more full of surprises (below) than I realized.
I met a friend who lives on Shelter Island and we took the 10-minute car ferry over to Greenport. We drove through what seemed, by South Fork standards, vast tracts of farmland, to Long Island Perennial Farm in Riverhead. The nursery, down a lane behind an old farmhouse, made me wish I had some small children in tow. There are goats and ducks in a barnyard, and roosters, guinea hens, and peacocks strutting around.
The nursery is open weekends only, and just three months a year (April 20-July 15). It has an interesting and well-priced selection of perennials, including some deer-resistant ones that aren’t easy to find. Naturally I filled a cart.
<-Photo: Debré DeMers
We stopped at a second nursery in Cutchogue, but our focus was shot; it was getting on for cocktail hour. We met up with another friend for a classic North Fork experience: a wine tasting in one of the 40+ vineyards on the North Fork. We chose Croteaux in Southold, which makes only rosé in several varieties, and sat sipping in a gravel-paved garden overlooking rows of grapes. Unlike some of the vineyards, whose parking lots can be filled with tour buses on a Saturday afternoon, Croteaux bans them in a bid to stay low-key. OK with me.
Photo: Debré DeMers
The vineyards all seem to close at 5 or 6PM, so we couldn’t linger as long as we would have liked. Nevertheless, an afternoon to remember, and to do again ASAP.
Photo: Debré DeMers
FRESH NORTH FORK PICKIN’S for someone in search of a 1910 house with nice proportions (from the front at least — the rear has additions upon additions) on a long, skinny 1.24 acres in Greenport’s “limited business” zone.
Greenport, way out on the East End of Long Island, is a bayfront village with much to recommend it (restaurants, shops, cool people). It’s made up almost exclusively of older homes, and they’re very well-priced. My guess is that Greenport has only just begun.
This brand-new-to-market 3BR, 1 Bath lacks for landscaping, to say the least. What could this property be used for? A nursery? Antiques business? Furniture making or refinishing? Bike shop?
In real estate jargon, “The possibilities are endless!” I’ve run out of ideas, though. What would you do with it, if anything?
For more info and photos (though none of the interior, I’m afraid), go here.
SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO SEE FOR YOURSELF. That was the case with the Southold Victorian on the North Fork of Long Island whose listing I blogged about a few days ago. Even though it is more than an hour’s drive and a $30 round trip ferry fare through Shelter Island from my house in Springs, I made the trek on Sunday morning to see just what was wrong with the place for it to be priced so low. I knew there had to be something.
Ah, yes… it is an intriguing situation, and an object lesson in how listing photos can lie. Head on in the photos, the place looks normal: a gabled farmhouse of the late 1800s, with a wide front porch. But there were no photos of the sides or back of the house.
Here’s why: for reasons known only to previous owners, the house had metastasized over the years, with a series of completely and utterly wrong-headed, senseless, absurdly un-designed additions and extensions. What we have here is a demolition project. The whole house doesn’t need to be taken down — just 2/3 of the existing 3,600-square-foot structure (if it can be called a structure), to bring it back to approximately its original size and shape.
There’s very little in the way of old detail, even in the original part of the house, and the rooms have been mostly chopped up with extraneous walls. There are little jigs and jogs that lead to nowhere, closets with windows, room after tiny room so confusing you can’t even tell what’s meant to be the dining room, the living room, or the master bedroom. The whole house is covered with vinyl siding, over 1950s asbestos shingle. Maybe there’s clapboard underneath, or perhaps that’s long gone.
Any bad decision that could be made has been made. There are a couple of roof decks that have no logical access (you have to climb through windows to get to them). They would provide a view of Long Island Sound, which is tantalizingly nearby — a matter of a few hundred yards — but inaccessible, because of fenced neighboring properties, except by roundabout road.
The balusters on the original staircase have been replaced with new Victorian-style ones, below. The floors are newish and mismatched.
The windows in the “best” room, below — a coffered (though low) ceilinged space in the middle of the old part of the house — were replaced with an ugly modern ‘picture window.’
One of the rear additions, below, was meant to be a rec room or family room of some sort. It is dark, water damaged, visibly moldy.
A huge disproportionate growth on the second floor, below, is a sun-flooded room with another modern picture window that should perhaps, if it’s to be anything, be a bedroom or office, has been given over to a crummy-looking Jacuzzi — someone’s idea of a good use of that space.
There are two kitchens (both awful) and 3-1/2 baths, done cheaply and horribly. There are approximately 7 bedrooms.
The only original windows are in the attic, below, reached by a ladder that folds down out of the ceiling.
On paper, the place is exactly what I was looking for when I began my search for an old house on Long Island in early 2009: a Victorian farmhouse fixer-upper in a secluded location — it’s at the end of an unpaved road, on a 1/2 acre lot with abundant sunshine — for under 300K. But the amount of money that would probably have to go into demolition and rubbish carting alone, not to mention rebuilding, makes it no bargain. As you look around, incredulous, the house even begins to seem over-priced (though it is a foreclosure, and offers are being accepted).
On the plus side, the basement looks clean, the circuit breaker panel fairly new. There are two furnaces in undetermined condition, forced-air ducts running hither and yon, and the plumbing pipes have been properly drained and winterized.
Anybody know how much demo costs? If only I owned a bulldozer.