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MAJOR PROJECT UNDERWAY HERE at my Long Island beach house, one I’ve been drawing and thinking over and consulting about for many months now. I’m replacing the old, rotting L-shaped deck (above, the “before”) with a new cedar deck, more complicated and larger. That is, Howard Kaye of East End Deck is doing it; or rather, his workmen are. This is the same builder who built the deck and shower platform at my previous house, which had what I considered a very successful outcome.

My friend Jifat Windmiller, an architect whose work I much admire, conceived the general idea on a napkin sketch last winter, and has generously consulted with me throughout (and is not responsible for any wrong-headed decisions or mistakes later made by me, of which more below).

The main change is that the long platform that ran almost the length of the house, and the brick patio, top at left, are being bridged by a new 13’x14′ platform that ‘floats’ two steps up. Other proportions are being tweaked as well. The platform at the far end is being extended out two feet beyond the end of the house, and the long platform, below, made shorter by about fifteen feet, to be replaced by a narrower walkway.

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All this past weekend, while the workers were off, I stared at the proportions of the major deck elements and liked them. 

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The situation regarding the walkway — the entry point to the new deck system — has been a design challenge, one I hope will be resolved by my latest decision. Part of the issue is that, in years to come, there will be a whole other parking area and system of paths leading to the house. The current living room and kitchen will be down the other end of the house, and the main entry will be changed as well. So the entry to the deck that leads from the presently-used driveway to the presently-used door in the middle of the long front facade is essentially a secondary one, though it still needs to be functional and welcoming.

There was a time, not too long ago, when I was considering an arched Japanese-style bridge, but I’m glad I gave that up. I now realize it would have looked like something off a miniature golf course. I went instead with a 4-1/2-foot-wide boardwalk one step up, and had them flare out the sides to create what I felt would be a sort of entry gesture, below. But after living with it framed out this past weekend, I decided it looked awkward and unwieldy.

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“The wings” are now gone and so is the step; it’s going to be just a plain wooden ramp, Fire Island-style. The change added man-hours; the builder has been totally chill about it. 

“Howard,” I said last week, when I added the ‘wings,’ “this will be the last change.” “No, it won’t,” he replied. Evidently a voice of experience.

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NOTE: This house is also available for rent through Labor Day 2014. Contact caramia447@gmail.com for info.

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A PERSON CAN ONLY LIVE in so many houses, and I find myself with one house too many.

My Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.) cottage, above and below, will be familiar to followers of this blog. I’ve owned it for four-plus years and have put an enormous amount of work, time, love, and money into both the house and the 4/10-acre property surrounding it. I’ve moved on to another project nearby, and need to cash in my chips on this one.

Here are the details, and if you can think of better adjectives than charming, sweet or adorable, please let me know.

BRIGHT AND BEACHY 2BR VINTAGE COTTAGE IN MOVE-IN CONDITION ON LANDSCAPED .41 ACRE.
SECLUDED BACKYARD BORDERED BY WOODS.
NEW PARKING COURT WITH JAPANESE-STYLE WOODEN GATE.
LIVING ROOM WITH VAULTED CEILING, SKYLIGHTS; OPEN KITCHEN/DINING WITH NEW APPLIANCES.
FRENCH DOORS LEAD TO SCREENED PORCH, HUGE DECK.
NEW COTTAGE-STYLE BATH OPENS TO SECOND DECK WITH ENORMOUS OUTDOOR SHOWER.
FULL BASEMENT WITH WASHER/DRYER.
NEW ROOF, EFFICIENT OIL FURNACE, NEW HOT WATER HEATER.
TAXES 1,700/YEAR.
WALK, BIKE TO MAIDSTONE BEACH.

Please forward to anyone you think may be interested. For more photos and info, email caramia447[at]gmail[dot]com

Come be my neighbor!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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- 2BR (one full bed, two twins), 1 bath

- High ceilings, skylights, screened porch, huge deck, best outdoor shower ever

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- 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 caramia447@gmail.com 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!

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