Cottage-Hunting in Pine Neck


EVER ON THE TRAIL OF MY NEXT PROJECT, I went out the other day with my sister and  Steven Frankel of Saunders Real Estate to tour properties around the 500K mark in Pine Neck, near Sag Harbor, Long Island. If you’d like to do the same, or for more info on any of the houses in this post, contact Steve directly: 917/903-2005, He’s fun.

We had visions of a 1940s cottage with a front porch that could be ‘charmed up’ and transformed into a pleasant weekend home or used as a rental property.

Steve took us on a circuit of five houses that, by design or geography, went from bad to much better. The first was depressingly motel-like; I’ll spare you a photo of that one.

By the time we concluded our tour, house #5, below — a c. 1950 4BR, 2 bath with detached garage (artist studio!) and full basement — seemed like a substantial lot of house, a short stroll from a beautiful bay beach, top. 21 Elm Street has just been reduced to 499K, and it’s my considered pick of the bunch for value. 


Unlike most such houses, which have a warren of small rooms, this one has a living room with long sight lines, below, and skylights. The dropped ceiling could be removed to reveal a peaked ceiling, though buckets of whitewash over the dark paneling and maybe white floors would go a long way toward making the place feel more expansive.


In between, we saw 32 Birch, another 4-bedroom, below, built in 1950, that seemed overpriced at 575K. Virtually all these houses have attached sun rooms that are often the most appealing part. Here’s a link to the listing.


I thought the kitchen, below, was bigger and better than most.


Going back in time and down in price a bit, we next saw 12 Dogwood, a 1945 3-bedroom. For more photos, click here.



This last, 26 Dogwood, was built in 1938 as a summer cottage and is unheated to this day. It appealed to me for its simplicity and lower price: they’re asking 415K.



Any of these ugly ducklings can be clad with cedar shingles, dated ‘picture windows’ replaced, French doors substituted for aluminum doors, and on and on. Ya gotta have vision. And money, of course.

’40s Cottages in Pine Neck


TODAY MY SISTER AND I wandered the streets of Pine Neck, a bayfront community about three miles west of Sag Harbor, on the north shore of Long Island’s South Fork.


It should by rights be called Oak Neck for the towering trees that define the neighborhood; it’s not all that piney, but someone must have thought Pine Neck sounded better.


The area’s cottages, each unique, seem to be mostly of 1940s vintage.


With few signs of encroaching development, it looks more or less as it did in the days before rock’n’roll.


We looked last night at some real-estate listings, which confirmed that one thing has changed since the Andrews Sisters ruled the air waves: the prices. The active listings seem to start at about 400K for the smaller, non-waterfront cottages and ascend from there.



The unusually large (for the area) waterfront property in the two pictures above sold last year for $1.1million.

Most of the houses are on small lots (about one-tenth of an acre), neither derelict nor overly spiffed up. The house below is an exception.


I’m guessing many of them are still owned by the families that first bought or built them.


There are few visible ‘For Sale’ signs. The houses below are not necessarily on the market; they’re the ones that caught my eye as we rambled, for one reason or another.







The sandy beach on Noyac Bay, below, is the reason a community of summer cottages sprung up in this particular spot. None of the houses are more than a few minutes’ walk away.


Here are a few of the coveted bayfront cottages:




And some of the local denizens:


This is my sister’s adorable pea-green rental, below, recently renovated and kitted out with mid-20th century furniture.