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WHAT CAN YOU DO with an L-shaped backyard that’s only 17-and-a-half feet wide and 8 feet 8 inches deep, for the most part? What landscape architect Liz Farrell did behind one Brooklyn row house was build it out with ipe, a Brazilian hardwood, so that the entire backyard became an inviting deck. There’s room for seating, dining, and grilling, as well as arbors and planter boxes for growing things; a thick bamboo hedge provides total privacy from the neighbors.
It’s the subject today of The Outsider, my new Sunday column for the massive Brooklyn website Brownstoner.com. Take a look here.
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!
…and it is Bob of NYC.
Several of you came very close in estimating the cost of my new deck and outdoor shower, detailed in four posts below. Guy, Lisa, and BrooklynGreene all came within a few hundred dollars, but Bob’s guess of $5,995 nailed it. The actual price of the contract was $5,900 (and the contractor didn’t try to charge me for any extras – what a gentleman! – though there were some, including a railing that his foreman thought it needed, and an extra wall on the outdoor shower).
Congrats to Bob, who’ll receive a copy of a very cool vintage guidebook to East Hampton. Yay, Bob! The Price is Right!
VENTURE A GUESS on the cost of my deck project, excluding the new door, by commenting on this post (click ‘Leave a comment’ or ‘[#of] comments’ in small type above). The person who comes closest will win a copy of East Hampton: A History and Guide, a 1975 guidebook to the Town of East Hampton from Sag Harbor to Montauk. OK, yeah, the restaurant section is a bit out of date, but the history hasn’t changed.
MY NEW DECK IS ALMOST DONE, and I’m liking it a lot. The yellow cedar will weather to gray. Meanwhile, it smells good.
Above, see the difference in levels between the main deck and the separate shower platform, and the hole cut out for the new door replacing the bathroom window. Because of the construction, my visiting friend and I were forced to spend the entire day at the beach.
One more day, and there will be an enclosed shower stall between the 4×4 posts, below. I can’t tell you how exciting this is for me.
First meal on the new deck, below: grilled farmstand vegs; quinoa; a humongous heirloom tomato; and a bottle of Jamesport Sauvignon Blanc.
THINGS ARE MOVING ALONG rapidly here, deck-wise. On Friday, the builders framed out the entire main deck in all its 400-square-foot glory. That’s half the size of the house itself (excluding screened porch), but it’s in proportion to the size of the backyard and already feels inviting.
They didn’t work over the weekend, and I had to either use the front door or jump down from the back door between the new joists and hurdle. Now they’re back, and sounds of industry — sawing, drilling, hammering — fill the air. My neighbors, luckily, are very supportive. They’re thrilled I’m improving the property instead of letting it turn to shit, as was happening for years before I arrived in May ’09.
Now check out this archaeological find, below: a cast iron mortar and pestle, discovered under two original steps leading from the screened porch to the backyard. Must weigh 12 or 15 pounds. I happen to know the previous owner read tarot cards and fancied herself a witch. That’s apparently what her license plate read (a neighbor told me; don’t know if she also had the popular bumper sticker ‘My Other Car is a Broom’). Possibly she used it to mix eye of newt and toe of frog? In any event, it’s old, clearly older than the house. How and why it got there is anyone’s guess.
Usually I divulge the cost of all my home improvements, but I’m going to keep the deck price a secret for now and let whoever wants to field a guess. Hints: I got 4 estimates, three for the approximately the same price I’m paying, and one for considerably more. These are the parameters: 2 separate cedar decks with pressure treated framing — one 16′x24′, the other 6′x10′ with a shower enclosure and bench. There are four men working, and the job will take four days, so they say. Price doesn’t include installation of a new door from the bathroom to the shower deck.
The person who comes closest in the comments will win…something. Not the mortar and pestle, though.