Creekfront Modern in Springs, Negotiable

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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.

Wackadoodle Hamptons Houses, One Year Later

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.

Wackadoodle Hamptons Architecture

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.

Brooklyn Thrift Shop Challenge

I’m dating myself by saying this, but I remember when you could find really great stuff* in thrift shops: Bakelite radios. Art Deco vases for a quarter. Eames chairs for $15. Rya rugs. Higgins glass. Chrome cocktail sets. 1940s barkcloth. World’s Fair juice glasses. *Not all at once

The other day, I decided to find out whether you could find anything at all worth buying anymore.

p1020309I was on a mission.  I was thinking of the empty shelves of the cottage in Springs (left and below) I’m going to contract on next week.  I’ll need to furnish and kit out the place cheaply and in a great hurry, between closing April 15 – fingers crossed, God willing, Inshallah, spit spit – and Memorial Day, which I hope will be the start of my summer rental season.p10203061

So I started at one of my old haunts, the Salvation Army in Bed-Stuy (the one on Downing Street near the Broken Angel House), where, back in the day, I picked up a hand-tinted panorama of Genoa, Italy, for $7; an entire wardrobe of some lady’s super-stylish, big-shouldered 1940s cast-offs, for $20; and a great, swooping sofa a la Vladimir Kagan, upholstered in orange with glints of gold.

The place hasn’t changed a bit. It’s still dreary and depressing, with that thrift-shop smell.

But I held my breath and picked out a white melamine mixing bowl, a set of Oxo knives, and a green wire drinking-glass carrier that might be ‘old’ (total $12). Not very exciting. Then I went into the furniture department and spotted, among plaid couches and utter crap, a blonde wood armchair with webbed seats that I momentarily hoped might be Jens Risom but quickly realized was IKEA.

p1020831No matter. It was $25, in great shape, and will totally work in Springs. I bought it.

I moved on to the Goodwill on Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn, where I had an epiphany: where yesterday’s thrift shops were filled with the products of Woolworth’s and Kresge’s, today’s are filled with second-hand Target, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, IKEA, and Martha Stewart for K-Mart. Which would actually be OK, if the prices were startlingly better for those incomplete sets of dishes and silverware. But they aren’t, which begs the question: why not just go to Target, IKEA, etc. and buy the stuff new?

Still, I bought two turquoise chargers ($4) and four dessert plates with hula dancers that I recognized from Fish’s Eddy ($8, probably the same as Fish’s Eddy).

Thrift shop bonanza

Thrift shop bonanza

Then I made a final foray to the Bendel’s of thrift shops, Housing Works on Montague Street. And there I didn’t buy anything. Why? Because the abundance of well-priced, relatively tasteful stuff (white restaurant china and glasses for $1-2 apiece, a plywood media unit on casters by Blu Dot for $165, all the art and photography books I’ll need to fill those shelves) is such that, when I’m absolutely sure the cottage is mine, I may not need to go anywhere else.