Someone Buy This House!

I never stop looking at real estate. It’s like a sick, addicting fetish except you don’t get in trouble at work for looking at Trulia. I often find insanely cool places, exceptional deals, or houses with tons of potential. Since I can’t buy houses as easily as I can buy shoes (luckily), I decided to at least write about these places on here.

Someone needs to buy this house! From the looks of it, it’s really amazing and so cheap! 2400+ sq feet, water access, mature landscaping, hot tub, almost 5 acres, sounds too good to be true (and maybe it is)

It’s cute from the outside, built in 1965, it’s got a little bit of a late mid-century vibe that you could play up. There’s great mature landscaping. Looks like there’s a path down to the river. The property looks quite private, which is great if it’s just off of Route 32. Plus there’s a chicken coop and a hot tub!

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The inside isn’t bad at all. The main living space looks nice and open, nice fire place, great floors. It just needs some of the overly plush furniture swapped out for clean modern lines.20151129-residential-1x0fnta-oThis bedroom looks huge! Exposed rafters and skylights give the space some architectural interest, which I’m sure is wasted on the children that get to live here. 20151129-residential-10hpiie-o-2These doors are pretty awesome. Not a big fan of the black and white floor, but you could live with it. The arched window is pretty great too, lots of interesting little details. 20151129-residential-nk3434-oHere’s another ginormous bedroom! This is is the master bedroom (based on the other pics) You could really have a nice master suite here, just have to get rid of all the baby stuff. PS- Kids ruin everything
20151129-residential-1id4v7n-oThe kitchen is definitely lacking, but really isn’t bad. The counter tops look nice, the cabinets and back splash are neutral, the appliances look upgraded, the layout and size are nice. Something just isn’t clicking though. Maybe you could paint the lower cabinets, swap out some light fixtures and make it all work for minimal effort. 20151129-residential-1xdavb-oBest for last! Check out this sun room. In my book, this is drool worthy. That hex floor tile is amazing, the view of the woods and the yard. It’s such a great space, it needs a cow hide rug and a day bed with lots of pillows and I’d live there forever. 20151129-residential-c7uisi-o

For only $200k, this house is either an insane steal and someone needs to buy it immediately, or it’s under a highway and always smells like farts. Someone needs to go check it out!


Let the Landscaping Begin!


As we wait for spring to fully reveal exactly what’s growing around The Hill House, we’ve also begun filling in some of blanks around the yard. After countless trips to Lowe’s, I think we are finally getting somewhere!

Tackling “Low Light Landscaping”

One challenge is that much of the property is shrouded by trees and we’ve had to look into low light and shade friendly plants and shrubs. Hostas, Elephant Ears and ferns seem to do best and also get along well together.


Eroding those Erosion Issues

After removing an ugly green wire fence that separated the yard from a rather steep hill leading to the woods, we had to come up with something that both provided a separation barrier as well a root network that would keep the hill, well, together. Creeping Jenny and English Ivy is what’s we went with. Let’s hope they stick. Literally.


Oh Deer!

So we live in the woods – which means anything we plant basically will become a salad for deer and bunnies. After much research we discovered that nothing is truly deer “proof” but certain plants are resistant to a point. If they are hungry, they will eat anything.

We nixed cedar – which deer love and went with evergreen and spruces for the front of the house. Weeping spruces and dwarf mugi pines added some height and much needed texture to the front porch, and also sit in one of the only full-sun spots on the property.


Azalea bushes provide a pop of color – and who knew they were actually evergreens? Euonymus and Blue Rug Juniper will also provide some year-round eye candy that will hopefully stay off of Bambi’s menu.


When it came to an herb garden (below) we chose strong smelling and tasting herbs because they apparently aren’t favorites of deer and rabbits. Thyme, cilantro, rosemary, sage, mint, lavender and catnip are what we went with. We will have to see what survives the deer taste test and what doesn’t however.


Stay tuned for updates. What worked, and what didn’t. As well as what the heck has yet to be identified – or even revealed – around the property.

8 Things You Didn’t Know About The Hill House

1. We have no idea when it was built. All papers say the 1960s but the home inspector said it was probably built in the 1940s. I guess a trip to the county clerk’s office is in order. 20140501-144905.jpg

2. It was originally a brick house. The house was sided with wood at some point. The garage on the other hand, is the opposite – a wooden structure that was covered in brick and made to look like a carriage house. Confused now?20140501-145148.jpg

3. It backs up to this creek. ‘Nuff said.20140501-145338.jpg

4. It once used to be part of St. Ann’s Church.  With the house serving as the rectory (we think). Dilapidated outbuildings dot the property, including an old chicken coop, and cellar built into the hill that used to hold the sacramental wine for the church. Super creepy.20140501-181249.jpg

5. The Master bedroom and kitchen are additions These two rooms were actually porches and turned into the rooms they were today probably around the same time the exterior brick was covered in wood (to match the additions). We think that the original kitchen was either in the small nook ( where there was once a wood stove) or in the area that now serves as the laundry room. Confused again?20140501-182108.jpg

6. It has these beautiful floors. I mean why on earth would someone cover these floors with deep pile baby blue wall to wall carpeting? That’s what we had to rip up. Which means we had to touch it. Yuck. 20140501-182310.jpg

7. The interior windows and doorways are trimmed in Red Oak. Can you say ka-ching?20140501-182120.jpg

8. There’s blue stone everywhere along the property.
The area surrounding the Sawkill Creek was known for its blue stone quarries back in the day. Looking forward to reclaiming as much of the stone as we can for outdoor borders, walkways and raised beds and maybe even a wall – or 6.20140501-182322.jpg


My Favorite Design Finds for The Hill House

This vintage cabinet was just $50 from the local Salvation Army in Kingston. Got it home somehow thanks to some borrowed ties (also from said Salvation Army) that we used to secure the trunk of the car with.


I’ve come across some really cool weekend house appopriate art at local antique dealers as well as eBay. These wooden framed prints from Hudson, N.Y. were $35 each and are perfect for the kitchen/dining area.


Having a bunch of artist friends doesn’t hurt either. Cost for these? Priceless, of course.


Came across these amazing orange pots at Lowes – they were marked down to $2 on clearance. And they’re orange. Sold.

Ikea has been our salvation – providing inexpensive and easy to incorporate pieces that work well with decor of The Hill House. This Nesna bedside table is just $14.95. And I may have bought 2-3 “just to have them.”

Ah, Craigslist. This antique chest of drawers cost us $120 – and the guy we bought it from even wound up delivering it to us since the thing was too damn big to fit in a Camry. Tarva bed frame from Ikea was $129.

This Vittsjo shelving unit from Ikea set us back $40. The units come in a variety of sizes.

Another Salvation Army treasure (although it has been deemed as a questionable purchase in an earlier post) – this rocking chair cost us $25. We’ve been lucky to get there on days where furniture is slashed 50% off and hasn’t been totally picked through. Oh,  for all of you Upstaters –  the Kingston location rules!

This Noguchi coffee table knockoff was tucked away in a corner of an antiques store in Saugerties, N.Y. Of course I snagged it. And a major deal at just $50. Grabbed the rug (also $50) from a local discount store in Kingston called Ollie’s.

This antler-adorned cuckoo clock made its way from Dan’s Brooklyn apartment to Kingston. It’s perfect for above the fire place and I think it cost something like $10 from Urban Outfitters. 20140209-155808.jpg

Anything from Restoration Ware’s Luxe faux fur collection. It’s everywhere at The Hill House – couch pillows, slippers and a super warm (maybe too warm) bedspread. Annnnd, super excited that this will soon be joining our Lux collection!20140209-155942.jpg

Mini Update

I haven’t blogged in a while, had some set backs, missed out on a weekend of work, etc, and basically haven’t had time. This weekend I had my first real guest at the house, my college friend Leyla. This was the first weekend that practically no work was done on the house. It was kinda nice to be able to relax a bit and actually enjoy. 20131112-162302.jpg

The living room is pretty much all set up now. It’s bare-bones, but getting there. 20131112-162637.jpg

We made it down the hill behind the house to Sawkill Creek.20131112-162652.jpg

We got apple-drunk. Local hard cider that I picked up a few weeks back at an orchard in Stone Ridge, which was nice and not sweet and syrupy like other hard ciders. And we also cracked into a bottle of Applejack, that was a house warming gift from some lovely friends. 20131112-162705.jpg

This was the one project we did this weekend. I trash-picked this chair in Brooklyn, brought it upstate and recovered it in a maroon velvet. This is a horrible picture, but the chair actually looks pretty great. 20131112-163116.jpg

This was the first weekend that I had a “real” fire in the fireplace. I need to start stockpiling wood for winter!20131112-164330.jpg

The back yard is filled with bluestone. It’s just waiting to be turned into landscaping. I’m going to spend all spring hauling rocks up a hill by hand. I’m going to be fit-as-fuck.20131112-164344.jpg

The guest bedroom is furnished! (sparsely) but at least it’s functional. 20131112-164407.jpg

More info and updates to come, as soon as I have the time to wrap my brain around another post. Hopefully the next will be better composed.

Ugly House: UPDATE

So…. I’m buying the Ugly House. It’s been a few weeks of inspections, appraisals, lawyers, contracts, financing, begging etc. No one told me buying a house would be so annoying. I now feel like I’m finally at a point where this one won’t fall apart, so I feel safe to say that I’m getting this house and that I can start picking out paint colors and it’s not premature. If all goes well, I should be closing in about 2 weeks.

I’m starting to plan out how to turn the inside of this ugly house into something livable in the short-term and something amazing in the long term all while using the smallest budget possible.

In all actuality, the house isn’t THAT ugly inside. All of the owner’s possessions are what really makes the interior a hideous blur. The other big issue is the horrible carpet throughout the house. Step #1 GET RID OF THE HIDEOUS FUCKING CARPETS

IMG_2612Seriously, those carpets will be gone and in piles in the garage before I spend my first night in the house. I swear to the tiny baby Jesus. According to the homeowner, there’s parquet floors under the living room and plywood sub-floors under the rest of the house. I think this is LIES. When I did the inspection, down in the basement, you can see that there’s wide plank, probably pine, subfloors under the original part of the house. The kitchen and master bedroom are both converted porches, so God only knows what’s under there. The kitchen will be tiled at some point, and if I have to have carpet in the master bedroom, I can live with that, as long as it’s not this awful stuff.

I’m hoping that I can luck out and end up with floors that look something like these, or maybe even better.

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Once that carpet is gone, the living room, bedrooms, hallway, and nook behind the fireplace are all basically blank slates. A little paint and some non-oldlady furniture and it’ll be good to go. There’s no architectural interest to these rooms, so hopefully a nice, old wood floor will do it. Otherwise I might need to add some molding, or wainscoting or something. The kitchen and bathrooms will need to be tackled pretty quickly too, but I think some paint and a few new touches will be a big improvement on those areas too. More on those later.

The Ugliest House

House hunting this weekend was great. Ulster County is like 1000X prettier and classier than Sullivan County (suck it Sullivan County, you broke-down whore!) But with my budget, I fall more into the broke-down-whore category than the classy (especially after those last two sentences)

I did meet and fall in love with the UGLIEST house there ever was…. that might be an exaggeration, but it was pretty bad. The pics below prove my point. Yes, that’s a bug zapper…. in the living room*


*there were no bugs anywhere to be seen


Okay, okay, that gold sculpture in the corner is kinda fabulous, but look at that carpet. ImageSo, the inside looks pretty bad. Honestly it’s mostly because an 80 year old little jewish woman that my Dad was hitting on lives there and she has the most hideous possessions known to man, and that really sullied the spectacular vista that was this house.

But, I am Richard Gere, and I think I could Pretty Woman the shit out of this place. It’s got great property, great location, Sawkill Creek is behind the house (and how bad-ass is the name SawKill) and frankly, the house is adorable. Plus there’s a brick two car garage that’s just waiting to be converted to something awesome.

ImageImageSo, let’s see if this one works out, or ends in frustration and heartbreak.