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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.
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!
I HAVE IT ON GOOD, IF THIRD-HAND, AUTHORITY — from the friend of a friend of a friend — that the 1970s modernist gem, above, on Hog Creek in Springs, N.Y. is highly, highly negotiable. I think the place is pretty fabulous in a Hamptons kind of way, harking back to the boom building years of the 1970s and ’80s.
Cube-like, cedar-sided houses with expansive decks like this one are more common near the ocean, in the former potato fields south of Montauk Highway, than they are here, five miles north of said highway, where the beaches are those of unspoiled and uncrowded Gardiner’s Bay.
So I was sitting at one of those beaches the other evening, watching the sun set and running my mouth to a friend about how I’d still love to trade in my cute ’40s cottage for either an old farmhouse or a place with some kind, any kind, of water view.
My friend said she knew of a house nearby that was still on the market after a year, and that the owner, now elderly and fed up with it all, was very eager to sell. She put in a call to her friend — the friend of the owner — who gave us the address. “It’s a square box,” he said dismissively, and we went off to look at it with low hopes.
In fact, I found the house — on 2/3 of a wooded acre, with frontage and a boat launch on Hog Creek, above, which leads into Gardiner’s Bay — very attractive. I have no objection at all to the architecture. I like its symmetry, proportions, and wraparound decks. We couldn’t access the upper deck, which would have provided a better view of the creek, but peered into the windows of the three bedrooms on the lower level.
Pay no attention to the original ask of 825K. I’m given to understand an offer of 500K would not be unreasonable under the circumstances. The house is part of the Lion’s Head neighborhood association, with its own bayfront marina and beach, a mile or so north of Maidstone.
The house is not for me, after all; I’d still rather have a 19th century farmhouse. But I can’t help fantasizing furniture from Design Within Reach (or its ilk), rya rugs, super-graphics on the walls, great modern lighting.
For those who embrace such a vision, the listing, with interior photos, is here.
Al fresco dining: one of the chief pleasures of the season. Above, the garden of Brooklyn’s Bedouin Tent restaurant on Atlantic Avenue, with a view of the Belarussian church next door
THESE DAYS, I’M BOTH a city mouse and a country mouse. I’ve been bouncing around from here to there — a few days in Brooklyn, a few days in Springs (Long Island, N.Y.), depending on what I have to do.
The newish and very welcome Botanica Garden Center on Atlantic between Third and Fourth Avenues
Look what’s behind the Botanica Garden Center, above
Out in front, impromptu green space
Row of three houses, surprisingly genteel, along gritty Ninth Street in Gowanus
Back in the country, I have a sense of purpose I didn’t have a couple of months back. An erupting garden, in need of watering, weeding, and deer-spraying, will do that.
My backyard greening up, as it looked a week ago
The scrawny magnolia I inherited is filling out, year by year
Great, deer-proof stuff: deutzia, I think it’s called
Local color, before the tree leafed out
Gardiner’s Bay, above, a short walk from my house
“Gobble it up with your eyes,” my mother used to say. Spring’s beauty is already fleeing. Trees that were in full flower a week or two ago are now all-green. Savor it while it lasts, and then — we have no choice — let it go.
THE WORD “HAMPTONS” generally conjures up a picture of oceanfront chateaux behind impenetrable hedges, or modernist cubes in the dunes with infinity pools and five-car garages.
The modest circa-1940s cottages in this post are typical of the Maidstone Park neighborhood, a short walk from the sandy beaches of Gardiner’s Bay.
They’re in the unincorporated area called Springs, 5 miles north of the picture-postcard Village of East Hampton, but very much in the Town of East Hampton, with East Hampton taxes and an East Hampton ZIP.
I enjoy fantasizing about buying and fixing up one or more of these unpretentious summer houses (some now occupied year-round).
But they rarely come on the market — they’ve been in families forever — and when they do, it’s often with unrealistic price tags.
The cottage, above, totally spiffed up and kitted out inside, sold recently for over half a million. (That wasn’t unrealistic, but I’ve occasionally seen others with asking prices of 700K and more.)
Take a walk with me down Richardson Avenue, when the stark winter landscape lays bare houses that in high season are mostly hidden behind tangles of shrubbery and brush. It’s a fine thing to do on a dreary February day.
Dusty road, Amagansett
I’VE BEEN A LITTLE LAX in the blog department lately. Maybe you’ve noticed? Blame it on the heat in this depressing summer of the oil spill, that last month was an unprecedented catastrophe and now is not so bad after all, to hear the authorities spin it. Feel better? I would, a little, if anyone could be believed.
Life is good here in Springs, the “Brooklyn of East Hampton,” as my friend Jill calls it. By that I think she means a few miles from the epicenter, lots of artists, and long stretches of beach (though ours lacks a parachute jump). I just found out that Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson bought a house last summer on Old Stone Highway. That clinches Springs for hipness.
Outside the Old Stone Market: even our delis are arty here in Springs
My garden is nothing to crow about — it looks much the same as it did in June. I haven’t planted anything new. I’m waiting for end-of-summer sales to fill in the bare spots.
“End of summer.” Saddest words in the English language? Not because I love summer more than other seasons, especially this brutal one (I finally broke down and bought an air conditioner). But the passing of any season makes me melancholy. One less summer, fall, winter, spring… life draws in.
Awesome Rose of Sharon hedge
Well, we’re not quite there yet. Let’s call it height of summer. Anyhow, by way of excuses, and for the sake of continuity, here’s what I’ve been up to:
- Watering, watering, watering, and praying for rain that never seems to come. From watering cans, I went to a hand-held hose, and now I see the wisdom of sprinklers. The process takes 1-1/2 hours any way you slice it, at least every other day. (Soaker hoses are too advanced for me.)
- Dealing with damage from a freak wind/rainstorm — some call it a tornado — about three weeks ago. The storm lasted all of 15 minutes, and left hundreds of broken trees in its wake. The roadsides are still full of debris the Town hasn’t yet picked up. A big oak in my front yard, below, broke in half; I called Eric, the Tree Man of Montauk, to take it down and cart it away. My front area is getting sunnier — not a bad thing.
- Enjoying my house guests. What would summer in the Hamptons be without them? I’m delighted so many friends and relatives want to visit. They’re getting me to the beach more than I would go otherwise. Swimming in Gardiner’s Bay on an almost-daily basis is a joy.
$25 rummage sale find: Victorian wicker dresser for the guest room (formerly owned by Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft)
- Eating (lobster, steamers, mussels — don’t tell the rabbi), drinking, spending. Favorite home-made summer beverage: sangria, a great way to enjoy cheap wine. My favorite new restaurant: The Boathouse, overlooking Three Mile Harbor, with it’s $27 prix fixe before 6:30PM.
- Speaking of early bird specials, I’ve been letting my hair go “natural” for a year, and now it’s done. No more low-lights, maintenance, choosing between Golden Ash Brown and Medium Warm Brown. It’s just whatever comes out of my scalp, and there’s a lot of…silver. I may look older, but I feel chic. (No illustration for this one. I have yet to see a photo of myself with my new look, and I’m not sure I want to.)
- A bit of writing — three articles for Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, only one of which has yet appeared — and a new assignment for Garden Design.
Rocks I covet
- Keeping my tenants happy. This apartment needs a new air conditioner, that one an exterminator for moths, here the stove ignition isn’t firing, and so it goes. All in a day’s work.
- Making plans to visit my daughter in Maui in November. It’ll be the beginning of whale season. I asked if you have to go out in a boat to see them, and she said: “No, you can probably see them from my window.” Sounds more exciting than deer from my window.
- Cruising Craigslist for a Brooklyn pied-a-terre come winter. Yes, I know I said that last year, ended up loving winter here in East Hampton and didn’t want to budge. But I am bothered that, for the first time in 32 years, we have no family base in Brooklyn. And saddened that what I still think of as the stuff of my “real life” — furniture, art, rugs, books, family pictures — is sitting in a warehouse. Will I ever see it again? Not unless I get a place to put it. I may not need an apartment in New York, but my furniture does. Something like this, perhaps? —>
- Anticipating my new deck here in Springs, set to happen next week. I had measured and staked something out for bid purposes. Then my friend Jifat, an architect, paid me a visit and said, “Oh, no no no no no.” She helped me re-measure and re-stake, and now the scheme and proportions are much improved. Jifat conceived two decks. One will be a 6′x9′ shower platform three steps up, with an enclosure to be made of half-moon gates, below, left over from a previous project. As the outdoor shower is right outside the bathroom, I’m going to have the bathroom window replaced with a glass door. The main deck will be 16′x24′ off the back porch, with one wide step all the way around. I got four estimates, and chose the contractor Jifat recommended. Looking forward to the chaos and excitement of construction.