BACK IN DECEMBER, I started this blog with a post about my search for the ‘perfect’ beach (or country) cottage, and took you along on some of my house-hunting forays to the North Fork and Hudson Valley.
In January, I saw a 1950s cedar-shingled cottage on half an acre in Springs, a hamlet a few miles north of East Hampton on Long Island’s South Fork. I went to contract on it in early March, applied for a mortgage, and while I was waiting, shared my doubts and what-ifs in another blog post. (There are a few pics of the interior on that one, and also a couple here.) I finally got mortgage approval Friday — it took more than a month — and I expect to close soon, perhaps within the week.
Now I’m told that someone is waiting in the wings to pay more if I back out for any reason, and it’s been implied (by my lawyer, no less) that the seller would like me to.
Over the winter, while the house was unoccupied, the plumbing pipes, which had not been properly drained by the owner (who is elderly and lives upstate), froze and burst. The plumber, whom the seller’s broker hired to repair them, stole the only furnishings of value from the house — an antique gate-leg table, a filigreed metal mirror, and a Victorian etched glass lighting fixture. The contract of sale stipulated that all furnishings be left in the house.
The broker called the police. The plumber confessed to having taken the items; he said he thought “everything was going in a dumpster.” The items have been returned, but the antique table is now broken.
Below: My new garage, oy
Anyway, I’m going through with it. I still love the place. When I was there on Friday with the boiler inspector and then an arborist (there are several huge dead trees that need to come down), it felt good to be there. It felt right. It felt me.
I can see myself painting there (walls, not art), decorating, gardening, listening to music. I met my next door neighbor, and he’s nice. I seem to be surrounded by middle-aged couples from Manhattan, weekenders, who bought their places 30 years ago (and are still there, a good sign). I’ll feel safe.
It was quiet. Quieter than it has been on my previous visits, maybe because it was Good Friday. Very little traffic on the road.
Best of all, the arborist pointed out all the trees and flowering shrubs on the property. It’s very early spring there; the forsythia are not even blooming, and it’s hard to tell what’s what. I have five enormous rhododendrons that my neighbor says bloom magnificently; a rose of sharon hedge; a ginormous burning bush (I always wanted a burning bush!), stands of ferns and juniper; several specimen conifers with twisty trunks and droopy needles.
Everything is heavily browsed by deer, so many trees and shrubs are bare below the four-foot mark. On the plus side, that’s because the property backs up to town land; it’s very woodsy.
I wanted a project, and now I have one.