Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cribs--Sullivan County Style

Although this is another blog post that is not based on an original concept, I figured that it would interest some people. has been doing Friday Real Estate Porn for some time. (A segment where they feature upper end, high scale homes.) Well Upstater has a tendancy to stick a little further east and north.  (Although they do stray into Sullivan from time to time.) Besides, in my opinion they have recently sold out. All of the sudden they are charging for advertising and listing placements. I think it is a shame, because it was a really cool blog for a while. Oh well, everybody's gotta make a buck. They still have some good posts though, and they highlight some really nice properties.

At any rate, I have had the opportunity to see some upper end homes here in Sullivan County over the last few weeks, and decided I would post a few of them on here. Now some are only quasi for sale. They are not on the MLS, and the owners will only sell if the price is right. I have not included addresses, but feel free to drop me a line if you are interested in more info, and I can get a hold of the owners.

1)  Minimalist on 11 acres in the Chapin Estate. Gourmet kitchen and baths with all granite and marble.  Large stone patio from rear of home leads to a huge in-ground pool, pool house, indoor/outdoor kitchen with fireplace, pizza oven and state of the art appliances. A private walk leads down to your tennis court and a 4-season gated residential preserve tucked discretely amidst 2500 acres of pristine forest lands and bordering 14,000 acres of protected conservation lands. Out your back door is a 2000 acre lake. Price tag? 6.5 Million. Click on the images for a larger view.

 2) Perched above North Branch NY high on a mountain this custom built 6,200 square foot contemporary really is a cut above most homes I have seen in the area. The stone work alone cost well over 100K, and it is evident why as soon as you enter the home. Over 100 windows make this already openly designed structure feel as if you are living on the hillside. The central focus of the house is the "conversation pit". A sunken living room area with a huge stone fireplace, and all stone laid floors with radiant heat underneath. Dual oak staircases lead too the second level where the master bedroom with floor to ceiling windows looks out on the countryside. And the other stairwell leads to a fully finished basement with a wine cellar, and a media/movie theater room. A bridge over the driveway leads to a full apartment above the three bay garage, complete with two more bedrooms and a bath--perfect for entertaining.

The only drawback to this spectacular property is the driveway, which winds its way up the steep mountainside to get to the secluded meadow where the house sits. It is a real challenge if there is any sort of weather. Price tag? 1.9 Million. Click on the images for a larger view.

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3) This home was built in 1912, as part of the Singer sewing machine estate which entailed 3,000 acres with a 100 acre mountain lake. This home served as the boathouse, and the grand structure remains today. The main section of the house has retained its integrity and remains untouched complete with original stone fireplace, clay tiled floors, leaded-glass windows,and beautifully crafted walnut domed ceiling and trim. The windows open to the lagoon which flows from the 100 acre lake.

The kitchen has been redone with all new high end appliances, and the eat in nook looks out over the lagoon with a stone arch foot bridge and a waterfall. The lower level has all the original stonework. Currently it is used as a library, but could easily be converted into a another bedroom. The double doors from here lead out into the courtyard. Property sits on just over four acres. Very special property. Price tag? 649K
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Click Here for slideshow of all the images of the properties above.

There were seven properties listed as sold in the Sullivan County MLS in the last ten days. Click here for data.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Dilapidated Catskills

Bungalow Colony in Bethel

The snow less winter continues here in Sullivan County. We seem to be stuck in a perpetual November. At this point I hope it continues. We really only have another five or six weeks before real spring weather starts to hit. This is the strangest winter weather I can ever remember though. But for all you global warming pundits—we have already surpassed the snow totals of 1922, and  so far we are averaging a half a degree colder. No I think this just an aberration. Every once in a while you get a year like this. Although I feel bad for those that make their living off the weather, I certainly do not miss the nuisance of snow.

The real estate market chugs along here in Sullivan County. I am slow, but not stopped. I have heard others are busy, but February has always been a quiet month for me, and this year is no different.

My amateur photography distraction has switched over the last few months to the dilapidated. As all of us know, our region was a great draw—beginning right after the Second World War, until the mid seventies, with the peak in the sixties. The Catskills was the place to summer in. However, as the younger generation began to grow up, the allure of the mountains declined. As Max Kellerman put it "You think kids want to come with their parents and take fox-trot lessons? Trips to Europe, that's what the kids want. Twenty-two countries in three days. It feels like it's all slipping away."

And slip away it did. Now we are left with the rotting shells of that past. They dot our landcape--fascinating eyesores of a former generation.

There are many websites devoted to the decaying areas of our county—my favorite being The Vanishing Catskills. (My blog title is a thinly veiled forgery.) I really like Raymon Elozua’s style. I don’t think it is just the black and white either. He captures that strange feeling of desertion and abandonment that is left behind on these properties. Scott Haegner’s "Jennie’s Bed" is also a pretty cool picture. Was it really taken in the cottage where the matriarch of the Borsch Belt passed? Photo

And here are some shots of the Concord.

Although, using only my Coolpx 630, I don’t believe I have captured the same sensation as the other, more talented, I have included a few of my own. Click on the picture for a larger view.

Old Hardware Store in Parksville

Ed's Pharmacy in Parksville

Trailer in Livingston Manor at Sunset

And below are a few of the Paramount Hotel.

There were twenty properties reported as sold in the Sullivan County MLS. Click Here for Listings