Two in Springs under 500K

WHEN I FIRST MOVED OUT TO SPRINGS in May of ’09, I had to revise upward my blog’s definition of “affordable real estate,” from 500 to 600K. Otherwise, I’d have had little to write about in the Hamptons, which has a deserved reputation for inflated prices, even on the meanest shacks.

Had a reputation. Three years hence, I’ve noticed, there’s plenty on the market for 500K. Even 400K. Maybe less.

The real-estate site Curbed Hamptons, once obsessed strictly with multi-million dollar properties, has noticed this too, and they’ve been doing a little bottom fishing. They’ve recently launched a new department called Under 500K. Real estate for the rest of us, in other words — part of an effort, as they put it, to “strike a balance between fantasy and reality.”

The latest post under the new slug features two houses in Springs — one a nothing house but near the water, the other further inland but more than decent.

Listing: 11 Gardiners Cove Road, Springs [above and top]
Price: $449,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms/Sq. Ft.: 2/1/700
Acreage: .72
Located next to a 26-acre nature preserve and just 100 yards from the water, this cottage may be on the small side, but boasts a rather large .72 acre parcel of privacy-loving property. Newly renovated, it features a cleared lawn, outdoor shower, and what looks to be a pretty decent kitchen. It first hit the market in November of 2011 for $469K, but just experienced its first pricechop yesterday.

Listing: 30 Fifth Street, Springs [above]
Price: $495,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms/Sq. Ft.: 3/2.5/1600
Acreage: .28
Weighing in with more than double the square footage—but a third of the acreage—is this 3-bedroom a little further down the road. The home features an open floor plan, granite kitchen, central A/C and a pretty handsome deck that seems to complement the landscaping quite nicely. You’ll also find a “separate master wing with vaulted ceiling and large ensuite bath.”

Curbed Hamptons, being cute, posits this as a “deathmatch,” asking readers to vote on which they prefer. Me, I think they’re worthy opponents.

To read the whole of the original post, go here.

The Insider: Working with Woodwork in Park Slope

WOW, 59 comments and counting on today’s Brownstoner post… granted, many of them are the same people back-and-forthing about how much the job cost (I’m hoping the architect will weigh in on that and put the matter to rest).

The project, by Neuhaus Design Architecture, interested me because it made use of virtually every bit of the existing Victorian woodwork on the parlor floor of this Park Slope brownstone, while still accommodating a functional modern kitchen.

And I love the tub, which was original to the house but which was moved into its own alcove to create a luxurious ‘bathing room.’

To take a look for yourself (and read those impassioned comments, which are a lot of fun for me in contrast to the quietude here at casaCARA), go right here.

Lazy Point ‘Grandma’ Beach Cottage 450K

I DON’T OFTEN PICK UP those glossy real estate brochures you see piles of on Main Street in East Hampton. They feature mostly multi-million dollar properties, not the sad fixer-uppers I’m interested in.

However, I did grab one the other day, and there on a back page were two side-by-side cottages in a low-key area of Amagansett that I just love: Lazy Point, where the sky is big, the vegetation is scrubby and piney, and the lapping waters of Napeague Bay are right there.

One of them appealed more than the other — the cedar-shingled one with a deck that reminds me fondly of Fire Island (asking 425K), below — and I called about it right away. Naturally it’s gone to contract.

The property next door (owned by the same family), top three photos, is still available at 450K. That one has no curb appeal whatsoever; it’s shingled with the rigid asbestos tiles that were so popular in the ’50s, and is just a box.

Still, I made the field trip yesterday, when 8″ of weekend snow had melted and been washed away by Monday’s rains. I had to see if regret was in order on cottage #1, and whether cottage #2 had possibilities. The answers are no and maybe.


I loved the drive out there, about 20 minutes from my home in Springs (and 20 minutes further from NYC), dipping through pine woods and meadows. I turned onto Mulford Lane, and drove along it toward the bay, looking for the addresses. As I got closer and closer to the water, I got excited… this is really good! Then I realized that too close to the water is not a good thing on Mulford Lane. The last two houses, below, once inhabitable, are now in the water and boarded up, and the beach at the end of the road is sand-bagged against further encroachment. These are maybe 8 or 10 houses in, which seems far enough to be safe from flooding, for my lifetime at least.

#1 (the cedar-shingled one) is smaller than it looks in the brochure — quite tiny, at 500 square feet — and I put that out of my head. #2 (the nondescript white one) is slightly larger, 700 square feet. It has nothing — nothing — to recommend it architecturally. It’s hard to see how it could be charmed up, though I daresay the editors of the late Domino magazine could do it. I didn’t see the interiors, but as the listing agent, JF Kuneth of DevlinMcNiff put it, “It’s very Grandma.” As such, it only garners about $11,000 a season in rental income — potentially $15-18,000 after those Domino editors get through with it.

No add-on building is possible, because it’s a flood zone. Not even a deck. There’s a cute old shed at the back, large enough for a guest bed.

And of course, at a 450K price point, which must seem completely nuts to those in the heartland (anywhere except perhaps California, that is), it’s top o’ the market. But then, the one next door was snapped up quickly, assuming the sale goes through.

I’m going to pass and continue my search. If you feel differently, go here for the listing, and give JR a call (631/324-6100 x 354,

To read about my discovery of Lazy Point two summers ago, and see lots of cute beach cottages, go here.

1960 Andrew Geller House in Mattituck 450K

ONE OF THE FEW HOUSES designed by maverick architect Andrew Geller that is not in the dunes of Fire Island or the Hamptons is on the market. The 2,000-square-foot, 3BR, 2.5 bath house, built in 1960 and added on to — also by Geller — in 1982, sits on a wooded .87-acre lot in the North Fork, L.I. village of Mattituck.

Photos: Erin Schultz

It’s not one of Geller’s more outrageous designs, which happened earlier in his long career. The Brooklyn-born architect, at his best, came up with these extraordinary contributions to mid-century beach house architecture:

1955 Reese House, Sagaponack, L.I., left

1958 ‘Double Diamond’ (Perlroth) House, Westhampton Beach, below

1958 Hunt House, Fire Island

1963 Levitas House, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Still, the Mattituck house is a bonafide Geller design, with angled walls, soaring ceilings, and loads of natural light. Its first and only owners were John and Auriele Stack, a painter and journalist, who lived there either part or full-time until their deaths in recent years.

The Brooklyn-born Geller, who died last month at 87, spent 35 years as principal designer and vice president at Raymond Loewy Associates, the pioneering industrial design firm, working on projects that included the World Trade Center and the Lever House.

To see more photos of the house, go here. To make an appointment to view it, or for further information, contact Nicholas Planamento, Town and Country Real Estate, 631-298-0600 x 103 or 631-948-0143,

You’ll find an appreciation of Geller by critic Alastair Gordon that appeared in the East Hampton Star right here.

And to learn still more, click here for an article by Geller’s grandson Jake Gorst, who is active in preserving his grandfather’s body of work.

Turn-of-the-Century Columbia County Farmhouse 289K

VINTAGE FARMHOUSE, check. Catskill views, check. Barn, ample grounds, big pond. Check, check, check. Two hours from NYC — check that, too.

What more do you want for 289K? To be set far back from the road? Sorry, that’s the one thing you cannot have.

But this new-to-market 1905 farmhouse in Livingston, N.Y., on a 4.4 acre hunk of land with stunning mountain vistas, has an awful lot going for it. At 1,500 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths, and reasonable taxes under $4,000/year, it drives home the point yet again that New York’s Hudson Valley offers some of the best real estate values around. From a Hamptons perspective, it’s an outrageous steal.

Good food for fantasy, too. Look at the space below, in the attic of the barn, one of several outbuildings on the property. What kind of workshop, painting or pottery studio, writer’s retreat, guest quarters could you make out of that?

A few more tantalizing details from the listing: there are wood floors, plaster walls, and original fixtures, yet the house’s innards, including the furnace and septic system, are new.

That’s not all: there’s an original smokehouse, chicken shed, garage and 3-seat outhouse. All have original clapboard siding (as does the house), and are set among lilacs and pear trees.

And you won’t even have to think up a name for the place. It’s known as Watercress Hill, for the wild watercress that thrives (even in January) in the year-round stream a few feet from the back deck of the house and the spring-fed pond.

For lots more photos of the interior and property, go here. Worth a look, wouldn’t you say?