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GET READY to be blinded by the white…
They may look OK here, but trust me, they’re bad in spots, and I just couldn’t get excited about the idea of sanding and refinishing them when I can go all screaming white.
You’ll forgive me if I don’t properly credit the rest of the photos, lifted from other websites. Most of those sites didn’t give proper credit, so I don’t know the original sources. I did note that many of them seem to be of homes in London, though white-painted wood floors are very popular here in the Hamptons, too.
I’ve rented out my cottage for the last two weeks of August, and no sooner do I anticipate some extra income, I make plans to spend it.
Of the three main items remaining on my wish list (painting the floors, a new kitchen counter, and glassing in the screened porch to create a year-round room with fireplace), the last is too major to contemplate immediately, and of the first two, it’s the floors that bother me most.
So next Monday, a painter is coming to move all my furniture out to the back deck (weather permitting) or onto the screened porch (weather not), sand the sad floors down, and give them two coats of white paint for that clean, beachy look I covet.
I’m lovin’ it already. What do you think?
WANT TO RENT my bright and comfortable 1940s cedar-shingled cottage in Springs, N.Y. (5 miles north of East Hampton village) August 1-31? It’s on a landscaped half-acre with a view into peaceful woods from the back deck.
The house is half a mile – a 10 minute walk, 5 minute bike ride, or 2 minute drive –from the beautiful, unspoiled, never-crowded Maidstone Beach on Gardiner’s Bay.
- 2BR (one full bed, two twins), 1 bath
- High ceilings, skylights, screened porch, huge deck, best outdoor shower ever
- ½ mile to Maidstone Beach, 1 mile to Louse Point (another spectacular beach on Accabonac Harbor). Superb swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc.
- 5 miles to ocean beaches at East Hampton and Amagansett
-Under 1 mile to Springs Historic District, including Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner House and Springs General Store
- 10 minutes East Hampton Village, 10 minutes Amagansett, 20 minutes Sag Harbor, 25 minutes Montauk (restaurants, bars, stores, art galleries, historic houses, movies, etc.)
- 2-1/4 hours from NYC, barring traffic
- Washer-dryer in basement
- Flat-screen TV, DVD player, Wi-Fi, printer, iPod dock
- A/C in living room, ceiling fans in LR and MBR
- $7,000 August 1-31
To see more photos, go here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in renting, or for more information. Thanks!
AN ITEM ON CURBED HAMPTONS, the real estate gossip site that is the Brownstoner of the East End, caught my attention this week: a 4BR, 4 bath Amagansett house on 3/4 acre, newly on the market for $2.2 million. It looks attractive enough, with its French doors and patio, but it would not have drawn my scrutiny if the address hadn’t sounded familiar: 1 Cranberry Hole Road, near the intersection of the new and old Montauk Highways — rather too close to the intersection if you ask me <sniff>, but set well back from the road.
I remember well the long driveway, because I went to a yard sale there when I first bought my house a few miles away in ’09. Back then, the house looked like this:
The interior was dark and dreary, and I recall stressed but kind people dealing with overflowing boxes of videotapes and other junk, who gave me a rusted wrought iron bench which now sits on my front deck. I offered a few bucks, but they insisted on giving it to me, so eager were they to get rid of things. That’s why I remember the house at all.
At the time, I most definitely did not think, “Ooh, I’d love to buy this place, fix it up, and flip it for 2 million dollars!” But Katie Brown did, and did, paying $500,000 for it in March 2010, banging out a reno in a mere 15 months, and putting it right back on the market. That’s why she’s Katie Brown.
Katie Brown is a “lifestyle expert” and TV personality, a smaller-scale Martha Stewart, with long-running cooking and decorating shows that have been on Lifetime, A&E, and PBS (I’ve never seen them — as with Oprah, I know her career only through print media), several books, and a line of bedding and bath linen for Meijer, a chain of Midwest department stores. With her husband, William Corbin, a digital media exec, she’s renovated several houses on the cheap and a shade too trendily, including a Brooklyn brownstone, which I’m guessing is their primary residence; a Berkshires cabin that was written up in The New York Times; and another couple of places in the Hamptons which have been covered in sadly now-defunct decorating magazines.
Whether they originally bought the Amagansett house as a flipper is unclear. I’m guessing that was always the intention. In Katie’s own blog from the early spring of 2010, she called it a “weekend retreat” — but apparently not for her own family.
This is how I remember the house looking from the yard sale (these pictures are from Katie’s blog, with temporary furnishings– you can now see the dining table and chairs outdoors on the patio in the current real estate listing):
Here’s what Katie saw in the c.1980 ugly duckling: “Although its grey exterior might appear to be a little drab, I think its what lies inside that matters most. Decades of history embedded in dated wallpaper, beautiful wood paneling in the main living room, sliding doors galore, and a backyard that looks like extends to the depths of eastern Long Island. As the weeks progress I plan on remodeling the entire house, and transforming this place into a summer retreat.”
This is the newly whitewashed, vastly improved main living space as styled for sale:
The enterprising couple hit all the Hamptons real-estate tropes with their reno.
Set down a long private driveway…a chef’s gourmet kitchen with serious appliances…open living room, beamed ceilings with a fireplace… surrounded by French doors… garden courtyard…charming outbuildings, one an art studio…heated gunite pool… lush lawn….
Well, really, what could be bad, when you put it that way?
Former master bedroom, below
Kitchen after. I just have to go on record saying I don’t like the kitchen at all. Shiny black tiles combined with rustic wood? No! And the placement of the refrigerator looks plain wrong.
New dining room, below. I recognize the farmhouse table and graphic poster from another house.
Do I sound a little sour grapes? I don’t mean to. I’m full of admiration for clever, energetic, talented people who don’t give a damn about the received wisdom that ‘it’s not a good time’ in the real estate market, and hope they make a tidy sum.
What’s a Hamptons house without a pergola?
I just wonder whether they know anymore: What is real life and what is staging?
THIS IS AN UPDATE OF A POST that appeared almost exactly one year ago. Both houses are still on the market. Both have been reduced. Won’t somebody please buy them?
NO ONE COULD ACCUSE THESE HOUSES of being cookie-cutter. While cruising the East Hampton listings in the $600-800,000 range, these two, er, unusual houses came up. They’re not entirely out of context. The Hamptons have long been known for outrageous beach-house architecture, some of it brilliant.
But I’m not sure what to make of these two. I like their spirit, but they seem to be trying way too hard. Architect-designed during a ’60s-’70s Hamptons building boom, they’re remnants of an age whose architecture is taking an awfully long time to become fashionable again, if ever it will be.
The white cube with giant fisheye, above, was designed by Henri Gueron. It was featured in Architectural Record, and in a book called The Great Houses (McGraw Hill), below. New to market, asking
799K 710K, it’s tiny by today’s inflated standards: 2 beds, 2 baths, 950 square feet on half an acre, with a new pool, below, a fancy Italian kitchen, and a roof deck.
While the white box makes me cringe a little, the winged wood one, below, makes me laugh. Is it a nod in plywood to Saarinen’s TWA terminal or a Palm Springs gas station?
Known as the “Butterfly House,” it dates from 1964. The architect was Henry T. Howard (Google comes up short). Three bedrooms, 2 baths, 1,200 square feet, felicitously located on a wooded corner lot in Springs, not far from Accabonac Harbor and magnificent bay beaches. The interior, below, looks promising, and it was just reduced to
While I would prefer my next house to be a late 19th century shingled farmhouse with a front porch, as soothing and unchallenging as my beloved Impressionists, I would also kind of enjoy furnishing that crazy cube with classic modern furniture, rya rugs, and a nice, big Jackson Pollock.
The more I look at these two oddities, the better I like them. They’re interesting, and that’s more than can be said for most houses. They’re economically small. They’re secluded. But they’re strange. It will take a very special buyer, now and forever after, which makes these houses a pretty hard sell and a chancy investment. Maybe they’ll be highly prized in 30 years, if they don’t get torn down by then.