Archive for the ‘Interiors’ Category
Megan Oldenburger, aka Upstate Jane, is the owner of Dichotomy Interiors, an Interior Design and Style firm based in Woodstock, NY. She writes for Upstater about design, home furnishings, real estate and culture.
After taking a hiatus from posting on Upstater over the last six months to focus on increasing client work with Dichotomy Interiors, I received an invitation to an opening reception for a property I felt was too intriguing to pass by. Although the home may be out of financial reach for many, the property is worth an ooh-and-ahh eye candy read.
The invitation was not only to showcase an amazing architectural home, but the beginning of a series of homes designed by Marica McKeel of Studio MM, pllc and built by Hank Starr, Builder LLC in Kerhonkson. I happened to know the area after spending time at a clients home for the past few months, which happened to be down the corner and around the bend (so to speak).
After the jump, more about Kerhonkson, and the minimal, modern, sleek mountain home built there. Read the rest of this entry »
A little gem from the blog No Ordinary Homes, which found this storybook cottage turned into a bucolic bedroom.
Ah, there’s just so much you could do with that old barn about to collapse in the back yard…
A reader sent us this link to Country Living’s spread of an enviable pad — a Brooklyn couple escaped New York for Athens, and remodeled their farmhouse into something country chic. We wish we lived there.
I hope that everyone made it through the storm or is on the way to getting back to normal. We had it easy upstate with this storm – we lost power for a total of about 20 hours, and the creek got pretty high, but no flooding, washed out bridges or landslides like last year with Irene. Though there are areas in Ulster county where the power is still out. We ended up staying upstate through the week, me working from home online and Mr. Sticks having the week off because his office building in Manhattan hasn’t had power since the storm. A lot of our friends here ended up coming back upstate early this week either to avoid the storm, or because they didn’t have power downstate.
Since the weather has changed or has been wet in the past few weeks, we haven’t been able to do our normal outside work (scraping, painting, scraping, painting, painting) and we weren’t quite as tired a few Saturday nights ago as we usually were, so we decided to do something different: go to the local auction.
We’ve done pretty well with furniture since we combined items from two apartments into one when we bought the house, but there are a few things we’ve been looking for: a short, narrow chest of drawers or cabinet to put in the downstairs bathroom, bedside tables, and it would be great to find a cool coffee table to bring down to the apartment in Brooklyn.
We’d been to Rt 28 Exchange in Shokan once briefly, but we got there after the auction had already started, we didn’t know the process, and we hadn’t had a chance to preview what was for sale, so we left after watching for about thirty minutes. But one thing we sensed when we were there: going to the auction is one of the social and entertaining things people do around here on a Saturday evening. Rather than going to a movie, people go to the auction.
A reader has sent in a non-real estate question, this one about decorating. She’s in search of the perfect couch, one that’s luxuriously smooshy but not too big. “It has to be less than 86 inches long to get in our door,” she writes, “and I want modern, square arms but something also homey. And microfiber. And less than $2,000.”
Readers, she’s done her research. She’s combed the aisles and pages of Room and Board, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Macy’s, Raymour and Flannigan, and even Jennifer Convertibles, but she’s still come up short — apparently there’s something perfect at Restoration Hardware, except for its price. Are there upstate furniture stores she should scour? We’re plum out of ideas. You guys have any suggestions?
In some ways, we’ve been lucky with getting help with fixing and doing things around our house. In other ways, not so much. There were a few big issues we needed to get fixed right away after we closed on the house. First we needed to get a 1,000 gallon buried oil tank dug up, cleaned, certified and removed (on the very strict advice of our lawyer). Second, we needed to address a mold issue in the attic which meant getting a company to come out and treat the mold plus we had to address some venting issues in the attic so the mold wouldn’t come back.
In both cases, we went to the source that we normally go to for resources and answers: the Internet. For the oil tank, we got quotes from some local people (the guy down the road who installed the tank initially) but ended up hiring Tank Goodness (brilliant branding – how could we not hire him with a name like that?) He was great and we were really happy with the work he did. We never met the mold people, but they did a good job, and they gave us a 30 year guarantee and will come back if we need them.
For the venting, we used a local, highly recommended contractor. He was horrible to work with and did a horrible job. He never returned calls, never told us when he was going to do the work, didn’t do what we asked him to do, and obviously hired unskilled workers to do the work we thought he was going to do, and didn’t supervise them at all. It took him four months to do the work that should have taken a few days. Consequently, we still don’t have adequate ventilation in the attic, and we have a leak in the roof where he did some other work. I could go on, but I won’t.
Our lesson from all of this – don’t use local-local contractors – local-local means your neighbors who live down the road who drive past your house all the time.
I think I’ve mentioned before that we would love to have the time to do a lot of the work on the house ourselves. But since we can’t, we have to find people to do it for us. Since our experience last year, we’ve had a much harder time finding people that we trust to do work for us. In some cases it seems like it’s because we are kind of out of the way – we’re an hour from Kingston and a little bit more from Saugerties. A lot of contractors from those areas, will only go as far as Phonecia for jobs that will take more than a few days. Contractors from Delaware county (Margaretville, Delhi, Roxbury) don’t seem to be willing to come the 45 minutes to an hour to where we are. There are contractors on “the mountain top” (Hunter, Windham, Prattsville) but they are harder to locate – mainly because they have less of an online presence since Internet service is so spotty in the region. Many rural service people don’t realize how important having an online presence really is for bringing in business.
We asked friends for referrals, but not everyone we know is doing the sort of home improvement work that we are doing, or they seem to have much bigger, more flexible budgets. We tried using Angie’s List, but there weren’t any listings for contractors in our area, so it wasn’t very useful. But then, Mr. Sticks discovered Service Magic (now apparently called Home Advisor). Through this site, we found a company, KC Construction to installed Gutter Pro seamless gutters on the house. They were also great to work with, gave us a good deal on covering our eaves with aluminum fascia, and the gutters look great. The jury is still out though on how well they work and if they will stand up to winter ice and snow.
Through Service Magic we also found a contractor that we’re hiring to re-do our bathrooms upstairs. We are really excited about working with him – he seems to understand what we want, he’s been very prompt about returning calls and emails, and he made us 3-D renderings to help us decide on a layout! I’m not going to jinx it by naming him yet, but we have high hopes.
The most difficult part of all of the home improvement decisions we’ve made so far is figuring out if what you are paying someone is too much, or if the deal you are getting is too good. For example, a local tree man quoted $1,000 to trim our beautiful weeping willow in our backyard. A few phone calls later and a superb job was done by Arbor Art (a company we drive past on Rt. 28 in Shokan every Friday night and Monday morning) for only $400. For the most part, we’ve tried to get multiple bids for work, but it’s difficult comparing the guy down the road to a more established person who’s backed by a larger company that is more professional. In theory, we’d like to work with the little guy and support the local-local economy, but in practice, that hasn’t always worked out for us.
What kind of experiences have any of you had with finding people to do work for you?
This week’s desire: shelves across the kitchen window.
Don’t disparage decoupage, friends. It has a reputation as a lowbrow craft, but it’s actually an inexpensive way to reinvigorate a space, as you’ll see in the photos below.