Gorgeous Beacon House

January 19, 2012

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I photograph a range of houses. It’s tough to make some of them look good. But yesterday I had the pleasure of shooting a beautiful home and the tough part was doing it justice.

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The farmhouse plus restored barn is located in Beacon within walking distance to town and the train. The 1.7 acre property offers privacy and views of the Hudson.

The restoration is impeccable! Yes, I used that word.

One problem. You would have to have deep pockets for this baby. Ask is $745k which is not crazy for 2 homes on such a large lot. The cray-cray part is the taxes. $16k. Ouch.

But the house is sooooo prettttyy.

Flickr shots

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

August 22, 2011

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We took our dog friendly vacation in Red Hook, NY this past week. After giving up our upstate home connection last year we reckoned it would be easier to rent a place whenever we felt the need to get out of the city. Dog friendly vacation rentals are plentiful enough. We just have to worry about the extra clean up and damage that our mutts may cause.

The dogs had an awesome time, of course. Long hikes and paddles in creeks. Chasing down invisible creatures. This vacation really WAS for them. I had a nice time too. At least I think I did. The fact is that, oddly enough, after 7 years of country living, I still feel completely out of my element there. I try though. And I do enjoy it to an extent. Really!!

When we first arrived at the house in the woods we were greeted by Sari of the management company. Her truck pulled into the driveway just before us…a big pick up with an American flag on the rear window. Hubby said “That must be her.” I was like “No way. She has a 212 exchange on her cell phone.” Sure enough, it was her and sure enough the truck was just a loaner while her Jeep was in the shop. After screeching and jumping from¬† frog, Sari explained that she was a born and bred Manhattanite who had only moved up there three months ago. We spoke about city-girl-life-in-the-country and my husband worried that my words might send her packing.

Anyway, here’s what we did during the week. Click on links as they are recommendations or places to avoid….

The house was lovely. It’s actually located in Gallatin, which is how we got the wooded seclusion. A bit remote, as it’s about 10 minutes into Red Hook or Tivoli. It sits on about 4 wooded acres. There’s a bit of a landing with some seats if you wanted to hang out in the woods, but we stayed on the deck. We were able to keep the dogs confined up there so they wouldn’t run off chasing deer. There was a table and chairs and lounge chairs. And oh yeah, a hot tub!

The house is perfect for shares because the 2 bedrooms are set up on either side of the kitchen/living room and each has it’s own bathroom. The driveway is shared with other neighbors who we saw from time to time.

On the way up we stopped in Beacon for lunch and a hike. Dennings Point is where we used to take our dogs all the time (Lyme Disease warning) when we lived there. It was an easy hike in which we knew the trail and we wanted the dogs to calm down before arriving at the house. While there, we also noticed that Long Dock is finally taking shape. They’ve built a kayak rental kiosk down at the riverfront. It’s not up and running just yet but it looks like it won’t be long. Also of note is the Roundhouse at the other end of town.

Two of the better hikes we took near Red Hook were the Stissing Mountain Fire Tower and Ferncliff Forest. The Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie is definitely worth doing. The dogs had to stay on leash for that one, but the humans enjoyed it. We missed our beloved Poet’s Walk this time but we made it to Minnewaska which was pretty crowded. Hated Mills Norrie State Park in Staatsburg. Manicured lawns and paved road, but the few trails we found were not maintained and didn’t go very far. Maybe we were missing something?

The most fabulous hike was up near the Berkshires (less than an hour from the house). Bash Bish Falls can be an all day affair even though we only spent a couple of hours. The park is great for picnicking, hiking, swimming and camping. The falls are amazing and even though swimming is no longer permitted because of several deaths, people do it anyway. The deaths were caused by stupid people diving off the rocks into the water, not just swimming in the hole.

We actually had some minor difficulty renting kayaks locally during the week. The kayak companies ran tours but didn’t want to just rent them out. We ended up renting on the more laid back west side of the river. Kenco on Rt. 28 in Kingston rents kayaks for $55 apiece or $65 for a tandem. You’re on your own from there. They’ll give you a map and some suggestions but they don’t bring it down to the water for you. We ended up with a tandem because that’s all we could fit on our car. We put in on The Rondout in Kingston. It was an interesting urban trip where we saw old boat yards, shipping containers and other industrial ruins. Pretty cool. Only not so cool because shade was hard to find. My biggest complaint was the sun. There were several beaches to pull into for a picnic.

We spent our evenings more civilized like. Upstate Films has a second location in Woodstock now where we saw a great Oirish fil-im called “The Guard“. American Don Cheadle was an executive producer and supporting actor. Go see it!

Dined at some good restaurants, both old and new to us…

Terrapin in Rhinebeck. Good vegetarian selections on menu.

Luna 61 in Tivoli. Completely vegetarian and always awesome.

Rosendale Cafe. Nowhere near Red Hook, but if you’re in this neck of the woods, it’s the best vegetarian place around. The backyard is very dog friendly too!

Red Hook Curry House. Popular Indian buffet.

Red Devon. In Bengall? Met friends for dinner here. It was really good and not all that far but it seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere. It was busy enough and yes, it was worth the trip.

Portofino. Another schlep! This one in Staatsburg. You drive through a completely rural area and then all of the sudden….hello…there’s a restaurant! Family style Italian. It was good and the waitress was a hoot, but she and the kitchen gave me shit for trying to get a cheeseless eggplant dish, so I dunno.

That was the enjoyment part. Tomorrow I’ll fill you in the real estate bit.

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The Hudson Valley Is Not Brooklyn!

August 8, 2011

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The Times has done it again. Declaring the next big thing ten years after the fact. They’ve written yet another article about how the Hudson Valley and certain towns are super hip right now. The new Brooklyn, of course. I feel the need to weigh in on this since I considered and moved to Beacon after a 2004 article hyping the town.

Let me begin by clarifying that I’m not blaming The Times for my move to Beacon. I was tired of Brooklyn at the time and wanted a better quality of life. I stayed for 6 years so there had to have been something I liked about it.

Instead of picking apart the article, I’ll just fill you in on my take on the situation. My usual kvetchfest about upstate.

Yes, there are wonderful antique shops. They tend to only open up a few days per week.

The galleries lining Main Street are great! Too bad it’s the same artists over and over again.

Some great restaurants opened during the years I was living in the Hudson Valley. I’d guessimate that 3 out of 5 of them closed within a year or two.

I can go on, but you get the point. Those towns upstate are always on the verge of gentrification but they never quite arrive. Nothing wrong with that. I’m no yuppy who wants to live in a totally gentrified area. Crap, that’s the reason I left Park Slope! But I do like to have a choices.

Maybe the hubby and I had a bad attitude while living up there. We were the only ones complaining while all the other newcomers loved it. Since moving back to Brooklyn a year ago, we feel alive again. The restaurants, museums, shows, concerts are all at our fingertips. We can do whatever we want, when we want. That’s something we took for granted prior to moving to greener pastures all those years ago.

So, are Brookynites really moving up there in droves? My real estate broker says that 90% of his home buyers are coming from Brooklyn. That doesn’t mean they are from Brooklyn. They lived here briefly. I met one other native Brooklynite in the 6 years I lived in Beacon. That might explain why my feelings differ from most other folks living up there. If you grew up in the big city, it’s really hard to leave that behind. Eventually, small town living just started to suck the life out of me. People from small towns and suburbs probably feel that way about cities.

So, thinking of moving to the Hudson Valley? If you’ve been a city dweller all your life, my advice would be to keep your options open back home. I’m all about weekend places. It’s nice to get some fresh air and escape the rat race every now and then! In fact, next week we’re renting a place in Red Hook (NOT Brooklyn) so look for more upstate posts.

Thankfully, I’ll be writing them from the prospective of a weekender.

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Goodbye, Dream Home

December 14, 2010

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In a few hours we’ll be closing on the sale of our Beacon house. Don’t get me wrong, I’m elated that I’ll have one less headache. You know the saying “The more you own, the more it owns you”. We’ll take weekends off instead of working on the house and we’ll buy toys for ourselves because we won’t be paying two mortgages. It’s all good!

I can’t help but feel a bit melancholic though. This was our dream house and it took us a long while to arrive at a place where we were able to afford our perfect house. We thought we would stay forever. We stayed for six years.

So, goodbye huge backyard. Goodbye spectacular antique woodwork. And stained glass. And awesome wrap around porch. So long, pocket doors. Turret.

It’s not you that we’re leaving, House. Don’t feel bad. As of today, you’ll get a fresh blast of love from someone new. If we could transplant you to Brooklyn, we would. But alas, it isn’t to be. We needed to be back in the city at this time.

We are fortunate enough to be living in another architectural dream of ours: The Brownstone.

But between you and I, House, Queen Anne Victorian trumps narrow brownstone living any day of the week.

I’ll miss you! :(

PS: I’m keeping the logo.

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Beacon Open Houses Today!

November 7, 2010

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Two open houses today from 1-4pm in Beacon. Both cute 3 bedrooms priced at $269,900.

The one in the photo above was written up here back in June. They’ve since lowered the price. It’s worth a look, trust me. Address is 21 St. Luke’s Place.

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This 3BR home one is at Dinan and Rombout. I haven’t been inside, but it looks great from the photos.

More info @ JonCar Realty: 845-831-3331

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This House is Empty Now

October 25, 2010

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We rented a truck and some guys last Friday to move the rest of our belongings from Beacon to Brooklyn. Anything left in the house was sold off in our moving sale on Saturday. Apart from a few leftover items that will be donated or dumped, the house is sitting empty, waiting for the new owners to come and make it a home again.

The sale was called for 10am on Saturday. We woke up early to get our personal belongings out of the way. As I sat on the toilet at 9am, the bell rang. And that was it. The early birds had arrived.

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The first moving sale we had prior to putting the house on the market was in the driveway. This time, we had things from the basement all the way up to the attic and out to the garage, so we let people wander around.

My husband asked afterward if I felt violated having people rip through our stuff like that. Had we been given that extra hour to get a few more tote boxes out of the house, it would have been fine. But I had forgotten about some boxes in the attic. When I went upstairs in the afternoon, I found Alpine’s garbage scattered about the floor. I felt protective of her. There were a number of antique bottles that we took back from people. That’s a memory that stays together. Not for sale.

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Then I saw we had left a box of old tax files up there. Hopefully, we weren’t visited by an ID thief because they could have gotten our social security numbers and birth dates quite easily. Yeah, that was a big no no. More important than any other expensive possession I grabbed out of the house.

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The thing about these sales is people don’t respect your stuff. They don’t carefully go through boxes and closets. They scatter things about. I can’t imagine what it’s like to run an estate sale if you’re a child of an elderly or deceased parent, when it’s a lifetime of memories up for grabs.

I’m not saying I’m not the first one through the door at an estate sale! I love going through people’s old photos and keepsakes. It’s a way of honoring their lives.

Anyway, I don’t know what I’m going on about. We were in the house for 6 years. We were just getting rid of some old junk. I’m just getting sentimental about the house now that the transfer of property is becoming a reality.

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My Beacon Victorian: Open House Sunday!

August 6, 2010

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The realtor decided to do a last minute open house, scheduled for this Sunday, August 8th. Weird that July was dead but August is picking up as far as showings and interest. Fingers crossed! Eight is my lucky number!

Go look at it. Spread the word. Each week this home sits on the market, one of my cats will go without food. So, save the kittens and buy this lovely Beacon house!!

1189 North Avenue in Beacon (that’s route 9-D south)

1-4pm

Kelly will be hosting the open house. Her cell is 845-401-6906

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Electric Windows in Beacon

July 28, 2010

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There’s a big ole abandoned building on the east side of Main Street in Beacon. In the town’s heyday, it was the electric blanket factory. Today, each window is covered by a fabulous work of art.

This Saturday, July 31st, the street artists will converge on Beacon once again to do a live installation. They’ll create the works of art right in front of the building during “Electric Windows”. There will also be music,vendors, the works!

If you plan on spending the night in Beacon, there’s an after party at The Piggy Bank starting at 10pm.

Then you can fall in love with Beacon and go buy my house.

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Buy This House (So They Can Buy Ours)

June 21, 2010

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I shot this sweet Beacon Victorian last week for JonCar Realty, the same broker who’s listing our house. The seller and I got to chatting and it turns out they friggin adore my house but can’t put in an offer until they know theirs is going to sell.

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I like the idea of this couple getting our house for a number of reasons.

1. They’ve restored their own old home and know what it takes.

2. They appreciate the work we’ve already done because, well, see #1.

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3. They read my blog.

4. They are from Beacon, so they won’t be abandoning the house for the city after a few years (like us).

5. Our house is commercially zoned. A lovely Victorian with original detail up the road was sold to a lawyer a few years back and it was totally raped. Now it’s a vinyl sided law office. Damn shame, that is. I’d die if someone did that to my house.

6. Ok, here’s where I start tearing up. The wife said our house is her dream home. It’s always been our dream house and it still is. Just wish we could pack it and take it to Brooklyn. I want someone in there who loves it as much as we do.

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Ok, enough about our house. So, here’s the house you have to buy:

A 1910 house on a quiet street. 3 BR, 2 Bath lovely restoration. 0.08 backyard already fenced for a dog, if you have one. Oh yeah, or kids. No work to do as far as I could see. Just move in and enjoy. $284,900.

Hurry up and call JonCar @ 845-831-3331.

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Open House on Sunday!

June 4, 2010

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So, after just 4 weeks, we’ve decided to reduce the price on our Beacon house. We are motivated sellers! Although, not so motivated that we’ll go down much more because we haven’t left ourselves with wiggle room now.

A 4 BR friggin drop dead gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian for $379,900. We already hate the people who are going to buy it because they’re ripping us off. But it was our decision to make. We’ve moved on, so holding onto the house for several months just to make a few more bucks isn’t going to do us any good.

This Sunday will be the first (hopefully the only) OPEN HOUSE! So, if you’re thinking of moving to Beacon but didn’t want to bother realtors because you’re not ready yet, here’s your excuse to check it out.

I’ll even plan your day for you….

Take Metro North.

Go to DIA.

Walk up to Main Street. Lunch @ Homespun. Continue to walk through the crappy mid section of town….there’s more at the other end. Make sure you get to the waterfall on the east side of Main.

Ok, so if you’re too tired, take the loop bus back down Main because the house is back on the west side.

Hit the open house. Put in a really, really high offer because of the bidding war that will undoubtedly be going on.

Walk back to train. Feel superior to all the people in their cars because they don’t live within walking distance to public transit.

The Deets:

When: Sunday June 6th, 1-4pm

Where: 1189 North Avenue (that’s Rt. 9-D south side) Beacon, NY 12508

How: Metro North to Beacon station. Front of train (That means walk to the back at Grand Central). Walk up the hill to W. Main, take left, then left on 9-D. House is third in from corner of Tompkins. There is a 33 on the door, but no 1189. JonCar Realty sign out front and if the agent is any good, there should be balloons or something.

Driving? 9-D South from Rt 84. Park on Tompkins (beyond the house) as it’s a tight driveway for too many cars.

* Don’t forget to bring your mortgage pre-approval and check book! :)

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Beacon House on MLS

May 11, 2010

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Yay! Finished kitchen!

‘Twas a few days late, but the Beacon house finally hit the market last week. It’s listed with JonCar Realty, the bloke who’s holding my real estate license. He’s the same guy I take all the pictures for. Don’t ask me why the photos look so pixelated on his website. I’ve been over that with him. Hrmph.

Anyway, the place is looking great. It got a few showing last weekend. People seemed to spend quite a bit of time there, but no offers yet. :(

MLS # 287341. Blog page here. Go buy it. Right now. Please?

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This Is Not My Beautiful House

May 6, 2010

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After a grueling final week to get the Beacon home on the market, it’s finally listed on MLS. The house has never looked so good. Yesterday was the broker’s open house which had a really good turn out.

The open house was called for 12-2pm and so my schedule went something like this:

4:30am. Wake up. Cawfeeeee.

5:00am. Paint spot on kitchen wall that was spackled the day before. Paint some patches in the bathroom.

5:30am. Clean cat pee bathroom. Bleach the shit out of it.

6:30am. Shower.

7:00am. Oooh, I stink again! What can ya do?

7:15am. Clear tools and ladders from kitchen. Vacuum new white grout that was never sealed and will be gray grout by end of week.

8:00am. Take out screens and storm windows in preparation for the window cleaner.

8:30am. Cawfeeee break. Call broker to delegate refreshment duty to him.

9:00am. Window cleaner arrives. We discover that the top windows that are covered by the storm windows won’t open. He can only clean the bottoms.

9:30am. Discover the bathroom drain is leaking since I pushed the pedestal sink too hard while cleaning cat pee. Throw a sheet down and pray the contractor comes on time today.

10:00am. Clean the rest of the kitchen without water because it’s not hooked up.

10:30am. Ah, Dimas the contractor has arrived only a half hour late! Quick Dimas, leak! Backsplash! Shelf!

11:00am. Dust and clean the rest of the house with the help of Dimas and his assistant, John.

11:30am. Jon of JonCar Realty arrives with the desserts. Dunkin Donuts and Sam’s Club. Really?

12:05pm. Change out of painting clothes while the first realtor arrives. Must dress like an orthodox Jew on this hot day because I have paint all over my arms and haven’t shaved my legs in like a decade.

2:30pm. Discover a large pubic hair on white bathroom floor after last realtor leaves.

Flickr house photos

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Thinking of Living in Beacon?

April 27, 2010

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It’s been a long time since I wrote one of these location posts, simply because I ran out of places to review. My original Beacon post was in 2007, so it’s time to update since I’m working on a web page for my house.

Obvious disclosure here: I have to remain positive about Beacon since I want to sell my house! But I’ll be truthful. I promise.

In fact, let’s start with the negatives. Why are we leaving after six years? I’m not sure this has anything to do with Beacon itself as much as the fact that we’re just crotchety old city folk and small town living really isn’t for us. Most people we’ve met in Beacon love it there! They are really happy, whereas we never felt 100% at home.

The following factors could be positives depending on what you want out of life, but we just found it depressing. It’s too quiet. You can walk down Main Street and not run into another person for a couple of blocks. On the other hand, you can encounter the same 5 people wherever you go. See what I mean? If it’s a quiet lifestyle you want, then Beacon is your place!

Wanna hear crickets and see stars at night? Go for it! I need the horns, sirens and rumbling subway to sleep at night.

Obviously, there are people and places I’ll miss. My dinner preparation has always consisted of going through menus and making a phone call. No such beast in Beacon. Ok, maybe 1 or 2 restaurants deliver. Beacon Natural has been my own personal chef. The deli counter has a great variety of daily specials made from local, organic produce. The chef is a Millenium alumni and the food is not that pricey. The menu is emailed to me daily and I even get a phone call if they think they’ll run out of my favorite dishes. Owner Kitty has been my health consultant for years since I’m scared of doctors and her husband LT has even helped us work on our house.

I’ll also miss the local wine shop, Artisan Wine. Ok, so food and drink mean more to me than anything else. Is there a problem with that? Tim and Mae are city transplants who moved upstate to open said shop. It’s really laid back and lacks the snobbery of some of the city places. There are tastings every Friday and Saturday for bottles less than $15.

Beacon is an awesome location for people who are attracted to the great outdoors. It’s right on The Hudson. There are riverside trails and kayak and sailing docks. Even a river pool. The town is also home to some fabulous mountains. Being sandwiched between the mountain and the river…can’t find a flaw with that! Mountain Tops offers some great hiking and kayaking trips.

And now I’m bored of writing. It’s time for some lists!

PROS

1. The River. The Mountain. See above.

2. Small town living.¬† Again, not for some people (like me). But most people find this charming and quaint. Yes, the town is charming and quaint. As charming and quaint as any small town can get. Plus, it’s got the hipness factor going for it.

3. Beacon is still moving forward. In the past 6 months, since we’ve made the decision to leave, a few new interesting places have popped up on Main Street. There’s a raw cafe and The School of Jellyfish, which…well, I really don’t know what it is, but they have good hot chocolate and vegan food.

4. Metro North. Makes Beacon commutable and leave-able when you need to get away.

5. DIA. Without DIA, none of you would know where Beacon is. Admit it. That’s all I get. Me: “I live in Beacon.” Everyone else: “Oh, I know where that is! I’ve been to DIA.”

6. The Art Scene. If you’re into “the scene”, it’s a pretty cool place to get your name out there and hang with like-minded artists.

7. Good for farmy, foodie types. There are plenty of farm shares and farmer’s markets around for those who like to cook. Although Beacon is known as a haven for artists, the nutritionists and greenie people are abundant.

CONS

1. Restaurants. As in, lack of. As in, the few that there are ain’t much to write home about.

2. Main Street shop owners are screwy! I wish they would take their businesses seriously and open up decent hours, 7 days per week. The hardware store closes at 3pm on Saturday and isn’t open on Sunday. Paint store: closed on Sunday. Hello, Home Depot and big box stores! Thankfully, they are less than 10 minutes away.

3. Sidewalks. It’s the weirdest thing. On some side streets, the sidewalk just ends. It reminds me that people don’t walk much here. Forget bike lanes.

4. Art scene. Ok, did you get from my “pros” that I’m not exactly thrilled with the art scene? As much as I love the artists that the galleries show, they need to mix it up a bit. Seeing the work of the same 5 artists at every show is a bit like masturbation.

5. Mellow energy. Again, many might see this as a positive. Do your yoga, have a stress free day. These days for me, I only feel alive when I’m arguing with cabbies.

LINKS

City of Beacon website

Wanna know what the citizens think?

Rent or own in Beacon? Use this Beacon realtor!

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Hallway, Bedroom, Guest Room, Bathroom

April 26, 2010

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Got to add a few more rooms to the “finished” list over the weekend. We still have plenty of work to do, but as far as we’re concerned, the house will be ready to go on the market by next weekend! Hopefully, we’ll have something that resembles a kitchen by then.

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They Said It Couldn’t Be Done

April 19, 2010

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Four months ago we embarked on a major renovation to get our Beacon house on the market by Spring. April 30th is the target date. We went over room by room, taking up some floors and taking down some walls. Nobody thought we would be ready in time, including (especially) the broker.

“That’s a tall order!” “April?! Good luck!” “That’s impossible.”

Ha! They don’t know who they’re dealing with. We are rocking this house and kicking it’s gorgeous ass into shape! So much so, that we have to get out of here quick because it’s so museum-like that’s it’s no longer habitable by slobs like us.

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Behold the three downstairs rooms that are totally finished. Yeah, I know you’ve seen them, but I changed stuff around and took new pictures. All but one of the upstairs rooms will be finished today. It’s just a matter of me cleaning them up enough to take pictures.

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Yes, we moved the dining area to the room just off the kitchen. Makes more sense than the way we had it.

Go ahead, tell us how great we are. Pat us on the back.

Oh, and PS: Dimas the contractor? Ever since he and his assistant John read my blog post about how slow as shit he is….they picked up the pace!!

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