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THE WAITING GAME continues. I’ve officially “gone to contract” on the Long Island beach house deal I’ve been patiently coddling for almost two years now. The seller has signed the contract of sale, my down payment has been delivered, the survey is completed; so is the title search. What remains before we can set a closing date: an amended Certificate of Occupancy for a 14′x18′ outbuilding — a future pool house, studio, guest cottage, workshop — with a good wood floor, skylights, a plumbed sink, and electricity. I want that building to be legal, and it’s the seller’s responsibility to make it so — a matter of closing out some paperwork, as the structure itself was built to code, with proper permits. So I wait to be informed when that is done, and have no idea how long that may take. Meanwhile, I linger in limbo while the weather here in downstate New York turns cold. The house is neither heated nor insulated, and there won’t be much I can do there through the winter months.

What I can do now is dream. I have been poring over back issues of Elle Decor, House Beautiful, and Country Home, seeking inspiration but not really finding it. That’s because the house — a long, narrow cracker-box built in the 1940s, then appended in the 1960s with a shorter wing set perpendicular to the first — has a modernist air in its simplicity, but a set of French doors added later confuses the issue. It’s not a cottage. It’s not a cabin. It’s not a ranch. It’s neither traditional nor modern. It doesn’t appear to have been designed by an architect; it just kind of happened. Soon it’s going to happen to me, and I finally feel confident enough of that to publish a few photos of the interior taken during a recent inspection with a trusted contractor. It’s still chock full of the seller’s belongings, but you’ll get the idea.

Let me clear up one misconception friends seem to have about me and this house: yes, it needs a load of work, but no, I’m not planning to “renovate.” Not right away, anyhow. I’m planning to live in it — camp in it, even — in a state of Bohemian funkiness for at least the first year [I just checked the definition of 'funky' to make sure it means what I want it to mean: modern and stylish in an unconventional or striking way, according to Merriam Webster. Exactly!] Primarily because I won’t have the money to do much else, but also because I just want to relax into being there before making any big plans. I’m looking forward to cleaning and painting immediately, and replacing appliances if need be, but things like a heating system and all new windows (the house will eventually need more than 20 of them) and a new deck and outdoor shower will have to wait. As for a new pool (the original vinyl one is merely a hole in the ground), that will have to wait a long time — five years, perhaps. Meanwhile, Gardiner’s Bay is a few hundred yards down the road.

Assuming the water runs and the lights go on, which they should, the first call I’m going to make is to an arborist. The half-acre has an excessive number of tall oak trees, and I want to open up the property and let in light — maybe even enough for a vegetable garden. Hopefully, much of that clearing can be accomplished this winter while the trees are bare.

In my low-budget decorating dreams I’m seeing a whitewash, sisal carpets, and a few pieces of mid-century furniture. What are you seeing? Dwell-magazine minimalism, or kilims and color? Thanks for your thoughts, however stray or unformed; they’ll go right into my mental files.

Above: The 14′x30′ living room in the short section of the L-shaped house has a working fireplace.

The larger of two bedrooms, above

One of two bathrooms, both needing work

The kitchen is open to…

A second living room, essentially — or dining/family room, with another working fireplace at the end of the long leg of the L (covered at present with plywood)

The outbuilding that’s causing the current delay

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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.

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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.

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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.

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For those who embrace such a vision, the listing, with interior photos, is here.

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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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 725K 699K.

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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.

H31417K

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.

H31417O

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, 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.

H31417Q

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?

15619

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 725K.

15619aa

15619jj

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.

MY IDEA OF A GREAT WINTER GETAWAY would be an architecture-themed vacation in and around Sarasota, Florida. The area has an extraordinary concentration of modernist houses, including some by Paul Rudolph, who later became dean of Yale’s architecture school, and many by his associates and proteg├ęs.

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Even better would be to rent, or own, a distinguished modern house there. This one is on the market right now for $299K, which sounds incredibly cheap from my Long Island vantage point.

It’s the 1965 Padgett House, designed by architect James Padgett for his own family and recently restored by HGTV designers Jason Champion and Jim Del Rio. It’s 2 miles from Siesta Key and its Gulf beaches, with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, terrazzo floors, clerestory windows, skylights, stacked block walls, and a two-story living room with catwalk and office.

There’s an open house this Sunday, September 13, from 10 to 2. For more information and driving directions, or to RSVP, contact Martie Lieberman, a real estate agent specializing in modernist properties in the Sarasota area (martie.lieberman@gmail.com or 941/724 1118).

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