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BUYING PROPERTY IN WINTER takes a lot of creative visualization. It’s hard to imagine lush greenery and abundant flowers when the ground is covered with snow, or plants are fifty shades of brown.

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View at rear of property into Town-owned, undeveloped woods, which seems to extend the backyard forever

That’s why I’m populating this blog post with inspiring springtime images — they inspire me, anyway, and hopefully, prospective buyers will feel the same — showing how things will look as the season progresses at my c.1940, cedar-shingled 2BR  Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.) cottage.

The house is still on the market. I rejected a few lowball offers and had two near-deals fall through. I’m tired of riding the roller coaster, and hoping the winter of my real-estate discontent is made glorious summer (apologies to William Shakespeare) by a reasonable offer from mortgage-worthy applicants.

The official Corcoran listing is here. For photos of the interior, the deck, the outdoor shower, and more nitty-gritty info, like taxes (low!), go here. And feel free to email me at caramia447@gmail.com with any questions.

Meanwhile, please scroll down to see what things will look like as the world renews itself in months to come.

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Magnolia, spring bulbs, sweet william, golden spirea

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Gravel path from front of property to rear, lined with perennial beds (i.e. all this comes back, bigger and better from year to year).

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Same path, looking back to front in early morning. Forsythia in bloom in background, boxwoods and Alberta spruce along property line at right.

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Another view of main perennial bed, with lamium, perennial geranium, ferns, barberry, hakonechloa, iris, Alberta spruce and more

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Found driftwood in a bed of lily-of-the-valley

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Fragrant olive and other flowering shrubs at front of property

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Euphorbia, above, with Korean box and golden spirea

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Doublefile viburnum, 10 feet across

Below, a few photos showing what’s to come a little later on in the season.

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Perennial geraniums and irises in flower…

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Elephant ears (these are annuals) with Korean box, hakonechloa, Japanese painted fern

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Accabonac Harbor in Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.)

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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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I COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT better myself…and that’s why I’m lifting, wholesale, a sidebar that appeared in the November 5 issue of New York Magazine to counter-balance a real estate story on brand spanking-new condos. Under the headline “Old Rules! A Contrarian’s View,” architectural conservator James Boorstein, a man after my own heart and mind, explains the enduring advantages of vintage construction. If there’s a manifesto that expresses the guiding principle behind this blog, this could be it. Bolding mine.

I’m an architectural conservator, and my firm, Traditional Line, restores interiors for museums  and homes. I own most of the building I live in, which I’m guessing is from the 1860s. Tearing it down and putting up a seventeen-story building would be a financial boon, but I don’t want to live in a new building. In most new condos, the spaces are tiny, the ceiling heights are low, the materials are poor, and things are not well made. In the old days, labor was cheap and materials were expensive. Now material is cheap and labor is expensive, so things are fabricated in factories and brought in. But labor is a big part of making something right. My building has the kind of ornate plaster molding in the hall that not even a very wealthy person would typically reproduce today.

New has become synonymous with good, which means we don’t fix things anymore. A lot of old buildings have 100-year-old wooden windows that just need to be repaired. Instead, people replace them with aluminum windows that are more like appliances than part of the architecture: When they get old, you throw them out. Everything used to be built of wood, and when you get a dent in it, you scrape it out and refinish it and it’s literally as good as new. In a lot of cases, you don’t have to do anything at all. An old wood-paneled library doesn’t require any maintenance. That woodwork just sits there and looks good for years. It’s like the food in some very expensive restaurants: The attention to detail shows, and it can be a source of deep pleasure.
As told to Justin Davidson.

THIS IS THE KIND OF HOUSE I THOUGHT I WANTED when I first started looking for a place here on the eastern end of Long Island a few years ago: a classic cedar-shingled  farmhouse with a front porch, on a good-sized lot. It’s 1.27 acres — which, as a gardener on 1/2 acre, I now realize is more than enough to be getting on with unless you have visions of commercial farming. The backyard, below, is sunny and open, too.

Like many 19th century farmhouses (the listing says 1865), it’s on what eventually became a busy road — Three Mile Harbor Road, less than a mile north of the chic Village of East Hampton with all its designer boutiques I never go into. But one could do wonders with a fence and landscaping in front and, with all that property in the rear, create plenty of privacy.

I haven’t gone to see it the inside for myself, because I’m remaining faithful to the modernist house I hope to buy very soon, but I do think it’s worth a look, and the asking price seems right. These old farmhouses are fairly rare and don’t come up often. For the official listing with a couple of interior photos and more info, click right here.

MORE OF FAR ROCKAWAY, with its stock of c.1920s beach bungalows. We start with the stylish cedar-sided, tin-roofed surfer shack, above, and visit an enclave tucked behind and a few steps above Beach 24th Street, where the houses have some actual gardening space. Bottom, the reason these onetime, sometime charmers were built here in the first place: the beach and its historic boardwalk.

See also Rainy Day Rockaway, Part I.

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