Behind The Hedges 11.07.2020 00:23 Real Estate Roundtable: Inquiring Minds

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Real Estate Roundtable: Inquiring Minds
July 10, 2020

Questions. They are everywhere around us, and new ones keep popping up all the time. At certain moments, it can even feel that the more we know, the more answers we seek. With that in mind, we turned to real estate experts and insiders on the East End to learn what essential questions buyers and sellers need to be asking in the current market and climate.

As we work through unprecedented times, I counsel both sellers and buyers in a similar manner discussing the immediate life style needs of the family and how the potential transaction fits their overall financial portfolio. For buyers the market is still offering plenty of opportunity at every price point from Southampton to East Hampton and for sellers that have been on the sidelines the time is now to come to market.--James Peyton, The Corcoran Group

In today's world, safe and secure is on every buyer's list. The weekend/summer home is now an alternative full-time living space. Buyers and renters want to know the health status of the prior occupants. This is the first time I have heard "We want the house to be sterilized before we move in." I had to actually had to look up what sterilization meant in reference to a home. Sellers want assurance that the potential buyers are and had been COVID-19-free. It is a new world with new norms. Will we ever be the same?--Alan Schnurman, Saunders & Associates

Sellers need to be asking 1) How long will demand like this last? 2) How long will interest rates remain this low? Buyers should be asking 1) How long will interest rates remain this low and will the bank make the borrowing requirements more stringent? 2) With inventory on the North Fork so low, what am I willing to live without in the home that I eventually purchase?--Thomas McCloskey, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

With buyers looking to spend more time out east, the question they need to ask is, If the home is not everything they want, "Can I get permits to do what I want here?" Sellers should make sure their buyer is qualified and can close the transaction, because the wave we're on right now, like everything else, will eventually come to an end. Do not accept a deal with back doors out of the contract.--Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

What will the housing landscape look like in five years. Where will houses and properties appreciate, versus what fits and solves as problem right now.--Frank and Dawn Bodenchak, Sotheby's International Realty

Buyers need to ask if properties have offers currently on them, and sellers need to ask if they're priced appropriately. Homes are selling across all price points when they're within striking distance of market value.--Tim Morabito and Nicole Weiss, Compass Real Estate

Buyers should be speaking to their lender and inquiring about taking full advantage of the incredibly low interest rates. Sellers should be speaking to their brokers and inquiring about how to get the most out of their investment in this extraordinary market.--Todd Bourgard, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

The most frequently asked question by sellers is "Is this the right time to sell my house?" For the first time, in a long time, the answer is resolutely "Yes." We are not suggesting home prices are going to soar in this new market. They have been too high for too long. What we know for sure is that homes that are priced responsibly are going to get sold.--Keith Green & Ann Ciardullo, Sotheby's International Realty

Hedges Index: 100 Years
July 09, 2020

Take a journey back 100 years to see what a coming decade held...and imagine what the next 10 years may bring

Year the Village of East Hampton was incorporated: 1920

Earliest mention of the Hamptons on the silver screen (The Sheik): 1921

Year 11 mini-hamlets amalgamated under the name Hampton Bays: 1922

Year first paved highway to Montauk was built: 1923

[caption id="attachment_73910" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Edith Bouvier, "Big Edie" and her daughter, Edith Bouvier Beale, aka "Little Edie," at Grey Gardens many years after it was purchased, Photo: Courtesy Criterion Collection[/caption]

Year the Beale family acquired the Grey Gardens property: 1924

Year the Bouvier family bought the Lasata estate, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' childhood summer home: 1925

Year Carl Fisher bought 9,000 acres of Montauk in hopes of turning it into the Miami Beach of the North: 1926

[caption id="attachment_73911" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The Witch's Hat in Aquebogue, Photo: Oliver Peterson[/caption]

Year the Witch's Hat in Aquebogue was built: 1927

Year the Village of Westhampton Beach was incorporated: 1928

Grand opening of Montauk State Park: 1929

Property of the Week: 29 Cobb Isle Road, Water Mill
July 08, 2020
Imagine, if you will, a stunning waterfront home in pristine shape complete with floating dock and views to die for. Now stop imagining--29 Cobb Isle Road, Water Mill, newly listed by Pat Petrillo at Sotheby's International Realty, is a rare beauty that is very real. 29 Cobb Isle Road, the Numbers:
  • Listed at $14.995 million
  • 7 bedrooms
  • 7 full bathrooms
  • 7,000 square feet
  • 1 acre
[caption id="attachment_73899" align="aligncenter" width="600"] 29 Cobb Isle Road, Water Mill, Photo: Rise Media & Brian Renzetti for Sotheby's International Realty[/caption] "The house and grounds are beautiful and in perfect move-in condition," says Petrillo. "Add to the mix waterfront, a dock and a top-notch location and the prospective homeowner has a great investment in addition to a great place to call home."  Amenities include a large great room with fireplace and separate waterside lounge, oversized kitchen (with custom cabinetry, naturally), TV room with wet bar, staff area with en suite bedroom and laundry room, 6 en-suite bedrooms upstairs, private master suite with marble bath and more. Accessory structures include a 2.5-car garage, heated gunite pool and spacious pool house with full bathroom and kitchenette.  [caption id="attachment_73900" align="aligncenter" width="600"] 29 Cobb Isle Road, Water Mill, Photo: Rise Media & Brian Renzetti for Sotheby's International Realty[/caption] The home was designed by McDonough & Conroy with timelessness in mind. "The classic exterior design is elegant and timeless, as stylish today as it was years ago and I'm guessing in years to come," says Petrillo. "Within, the floor plan offers spacious but comfortably sized high ceiling rooms conducive to casual living or formal entertaining. Walls of windows and glass doors allow light, views of grounds, water and sky into the house, making it a very happy place."  Petrillo thinks this property is one that a prospective homeowner shouldn't pass up. "The grounds are very special," she says. "The upland side of the garden features lush lawn with tall and expertly groomed evergreen hedges, and boxwood lined lounging and dining patios. The waterside garden is very exciting, as magnificent wetland flowers grow tall and bloom throughout the summer months. The pool and pool house are sited to view both the upland garden, water and dock. The property is unique and as I said earlier--very special." [caption id="attachment_73901" align="aligncenter" width="600"] 29 Cobb Isle Road, Water Mill, Photo: Rise Media & Brian Renzetti for Sotheby's International Realty[/caption]
East End Agencies' Top Sales of 2020...So Far
July 03, 2020

Six months into 2020, there have been significant and major properties sold across the East End. From an historic inn on Shelter Island to the largest sale on record in the Hamptons since 2016, here are the biggest sales thus far in 2020, as shared with us by each real estate group.

Brown Harris Stevens 385 Great Plains Road, Southampton, $16.5 million This Southampton estate was designed by Peter Schulte and has 10 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, ornate flourishes throughout, gunite pool, tennis court, library, study, gym and more on 3.4 acres.

The Corcoran Group 24 and 28 Gin Lane, Southampton, $38 million This property features a carriage house, as well as land to develop. It was sold by Susan Breitenbach.

Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty 168 Dune Road, Quogue, $16.4 million Called the "Sand Castle," this mansion includes a strip of oceanfront, as well as bay access with 3 deeded boat slips. There's a tennis court, duneside pool with pool pavilion, and a 9-bedroom, 14,000 square foot gambrel house.

Douglas Elliman Real Estate 26 and 32 Windmill Lane, East Hampton, $45 million This property is not only the highest-sold property of the year so far, but also the largest on record in the Hamptons since 2016. The 6.7-acre oceanfront estate was built for Union Pacific Former President and later Chairman of the Board, James Evans. It comprises two parcels--including one with a 5,500-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bath main house designed by architects Zwirko & Ortmann, which is sited on 5.4 acres, and a separate nearly 1.3-acre parcel with a 4-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath guest house with pool. The parcel was co-exclusively represented by Paul Brennan and Martha Gundersen of Douglas Elliman, and Valerie Smith and Frank Newbold of Sotheby's. Gary DePersia of Corcoran brought the buyer.

Saunders & Associates 494 Hedges Lane, Sagaponack, $16.5 million This new build by Michael Davis features a stunning estate on 2.3 acres with 8 en-suite bedrooms, pool, all-weather tennis court, lush landscaping, an entry court, service entrance, and a large rear lawn and more. The property was listed by Terry Cohen.

Sotheby's International Realty/Corcoran 1050 Meadow Lane, Southampton, $42 million This property features 535 feet of ocean frontage on 3.38 acres, along with bay frontage and a private dock. The house contains 6 bedrooms, 9 full bathrooms, gunite pool, media room, wine cellar, wet bar, full covered terrace and more. It was listed by Harald Grant and Tim Davis and Gary DePersia at Corcoran.

Town & Country Real Estate 23 Grand Avenue, Shelter Island Heights, $4.95 million This historic commercial property, the Chequit Inn, was built in 1872 and has housed such guests as the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe. Over the years the Chequit has been a Shelter Island mainstay. The Chequit Inn was listed by Nicholas Planamento.

Real Estate Roundtable: Life's Greatest Lessons
July 02, 2020

As we all look for wisdom and insight great and small, East End real estate insiders share the best advice they've ever gotten, and lessons they like to share, not only from the world of real estate but the world at large.

In my early days on Wall Street, my manager pulled me aside and said to always live within your means, as you'll have good years and lean years and to always move with a sense of purpose. That got me through my first 20-year career. Starting in real estate, a veteran broker pulled me aside and said there's two things you need to do to be successful in the Hamptons: Answer your phone on the first ring and don't be an assh--e.--James Peyton, The Corcoran Group

Breathe. You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength in whatever you choose to do.--Deborah Srb, Sotheby's International Realty

I was a commodity trader for 25 years. There is always opportunity in the marketplace. If you do not see it, you are not looking hard enough.--Thomas McCloskey, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

This too shall pass, and just keep moving forward. Both were words my --father bestowed upon me that I live by today!--Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

Real estate, like all markets, fluctuates. Good locations normally increase in price over the long term. When the market is challenged and everyone is selling and there is more supply than demand, it's an excellent time to be a buyer. The reverse is also true. When there is more demand than supply and the market keeps rising, that is a good time to be a seller. My favorite quote is, "When you're crying, you should be buying." You will never buy at the bottom or sell at the top, but it's that middle range that will send your kids to college.--Alan Schnurman, Saunders & Associates

My father, who recently passed, told me, 'Don't wait.' The more I thought about it, the more I realized that that statement applies to most anything in life that you want do.--Todd Bourgard, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Keep it in perspective and take one day at a time. Consider the other party's point of view.--Hal Zwick, Town & Country Real Estate

A mentor once told me, 'What are you worried about? Do you remember what you worried about last year, let alone five years ago?--John Christopher, Sotheby's International Realty

Definitely limit the noise, focus on your business, your brand regardless move it forward and take it to the next level. The second you get distracted by the completion or others, your focus is not in the right place. Rise above all the nonsense and negativity, don't participate or engage, and always remember any set back or failure is temporary and simply a lesson learned.--Geoff Gifkins, NestSeekers International

For every problem, there is a solution. It might not be the answer you were looking for, but it's there. Keep looking.--Mary Terry, Compass Real Estate

Enjoying the silver lining of this all--slowing down, appreciating all we have and spending time with family.--Tim Morabito, Compass Real Estate

The best piece of advice I have ever gotten, that fits the environment under which we are currently living is: Live life one day at a time!--Paul Brennan, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Wildmoor: The Original Bouvier Property
July 01, 2020

When I go down to the sandy shore I can think of nothing I want more Than to live by the booming blue sea As the seagulls flutter around about me I can run about when the tide is out With the wind and the sea all about And the seagulls are swirling and diving for fish Oh--to live by the sea is my only wish --Jackie Bouvier, age 10

There is a rich history that comes with "Wildmoor." It's the original Bouvier property built in 1895, that comes complete with a legacy of glamour and art. The residence, located at 55 La Forest Lane in East Hampton, was a place where the Bouvier family would host weekend polo matches nearby and entertain friends, the home where Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis spent summers as a young child, a lifetime before she would move into the White House and an international icon of style and culture.

The former First Lady was born in 1929 at Southampton Hospital to parents American Wall Street stockbroker John "Black Jack" Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Lee Bouvier, but the Bouvier family legacy was embedded in East Hampton history well before she arrived. John was born in East Hampton in 1891. In 1926 the Bouviers joined the Maidstone Club, and John and Janet were married in 1928 at St. Philomena's Catholic Church, which is now Most Holy Trinity.

John's nickname "Black Jack" referred to his flamboyant lifestyle. It was said that he had an affinity for drinking, gambling and philandering. Soon Jackie's parent's marriage would become strained by John's alcoholism and affairs. The couple divorced in 1940.

John's sister, Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale, lived close by with her children at the notorious Grey Gardens estate in Georgica. Edith and her daughter of the same name, referred to as "Little Edie," were the subjects of the 1976 documentary Grey Gardens.

Jackie's grandfather, Major John Vernou Bouvier Jr., purchased Wildmoor in 1910. In 1925 he would purchase, with part of his inheritance, a larger estate named Lasata, located close by. Jackie's parents would use Wildmoor, which was a simpler home, during the summer.

Growing up, it is noted that Jackie idolized her father, who reportedly favored her over her sister, socialite Caroline Lee Radziwill. He would say Jackie was "the most beautiful daughter a man ever had."

As a child, Jackie was a bright student but at times misbehaved. A teacher of hers once described her as "a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil."

During her time in East Hampton, Jackie became a competitive equestrienne. The New York Times wrote in 1940 following a competition at Madison Square Garden, "Jacqueline Bouvier, an eleven-year-old equestrienne from East Hampton, Long Island, scored a double victory in the horsemanship competition. Miss Bouvier achieved a rare distinction. The occasions are few when a young rider wins both contests in the same show." Horse riding would remain a lifelong passion of hers.

[caption id="attachment_73888" align="aligncenter" width="382"] Young Jackie Bouvier, Photo: Bert Morgan/Courtesy East Hampton Historical Society[/caption]

Her favorite horse was named Danceuse. Many photographs of the two in East Hampton by famed society photographer Bert Morgan would appear in the book Young Jackie. A rare collection of these images was unveiled at Clinton Academy Museum by the East Hampton Historical Society in 2017 in a show that chronicled some of Jackie's formative years, recalling a bygone era.

Morgan, who was known for photographing the social set from Palm Beach to East Hampton, was encouraged by Janet to seek out young Jackie when she participated in East End events. He photographed her at horse shows, dog shows and fashion benefits, as she grew from a child into a young adult, according to the East Hampton Historical Society.

In 1960, the famed Abstract Expressionist Adolph Gottlieb bought Wildmoor to be by the ocean. His art studio, a converted carriage house on the property, is filled with light and surrounded by gardens.

Today, Wildmoor, which is on the market for $7.5 million (Paula Butler of Sotheby's International Realty holds the listing), has all the makings of a classic East Hampton summer home. The 4,291-square-foot home located on one acre of land offers six-bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, a gabled roof, and a wraparound porch, a stunning atrium that flows into a pergola-covered terrace. The location, right off of Apaquogue Road, is just a short walk to the ocean. Listen as the ocean breeze blows, and poetry of long ago still hangs in the air. Oh-to live by the sea is my only wish...

Legally Speaking: Legal Issues Folks are Facing in Buying/Selling/Renting this Summer
June 26, 2020
Everyone is in the Hamptons this summer. Tenants fled here in March. They are staying even after they were supposed to go back to the city at the end of their lease terms. Unfortunately, tenants have unilaterally elected to illegally holdover in their former rentals because it's not just more beautiful here, it's safer. This has caused major problems for buyers, sellers, and legitimate tenants alike. Landlords have tried to stop these holdovers to no avail. Landlords have tried threatening with no luck. Landlords have tried begging with no luck. Landlords have even tried bribing with no luck. Nothing has worked. These holdovers just won't leave our community and go home. As a result of holdover tenants, our local property owners' finances have been destroyed. Hamptons' owners have been destroyed because they are unable to deliver possession to their legitimate prime season tenants, who they typically rely upon to pay their bills. Moreover, they have been unable to sell, in a really hot market, because they can't deliver a vacant property. Yet, help is on the way. Our region's eviction courts are reopening and landlord attorneys are preparing documents today to start the eviction process and save our property owners from foreclosure, or worse. Ironically, early season tenants were initially thought to be a blessing to Hamptons' landlords. As the rich fled the city to escape COVID, they sought refuge in the Hamptons during our pre-season. They offered top dollar to landlords for the opportunity to stay at off-season rentals. Landlords jumped at this opportunity and they initially made tens of thousands of dollars in "extra" rent for the year. Yet, the initial benefits from April and May rentals have become the horrors of June, July, and August. These early season tenants just won't leave our region even when they are required to by the terms of their leases. Good news. On June 20, 2020, the statewide eviction moratorium expired. However, it's not as good as it sounds. First, eviction hearings won't happen on new filings until at least July 6, 2020. Plus, tenants who are eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under federal or state law or are otherwise facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 are prohibited from being evicted for non-payment until August 20, 2020. This financial hardship prohibition poses another major problem for landlords. How can a landlord know whether a tenant is facing such a hardship? To know, and be able to swear under oath to this knowledge, a landlord is now required to notice their tenant with a pre-commencement questionnaire about such financial hardships and provide their tenant with enough time for a responsive writing. Additionally, there are now two new legal documents that are required to bring an eviction proceeding in the State of New York. As a result, landlords' costs to evict are going up and it's just not fair that they have to pay for tenants' greed and contract breaches. Simply, if you want to enjoy our paradise - honor your lease or don't come. Now, to start an eviction proceeding, landlords are required to include a good faith affidavit. This affidavit is required to swear that the landlord has reviewed the various state and federal restrictions and qualifications on eviction proceeding and that the landlord believes, in good faith, that the proceeding is consistent with those restrictions and qualifications. Plus, landlords are required to include a notice to their tenants, in both English and Spanish, informing them that they may be eligible for an extension of time to respond to the petition in light of legal directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and directing them to a telephone number and/or website link for further information. These new documents are in addition to the prior onerous requirements to start an eviction proceeding, including the drafting and service of a notice of termination, predicate notice, petition, notice of petition, and affidavits of service. As you can see, even with the help of the courts, landlords are really being hurt by tenants who just won't leave. Yet, pain is temporary and attorneys are prepared to process all of these requirements for landlords right now. Simply, landlords should just outsource these obligations and go to the beach until it's all over. You only live once and being aggravated isn't worth it. Plus, landlords should rejoice in the fact that their attorneys can pursue money judgments against their former tenants to compensate them for their lost use and occupancy. In fact, these fees can be up to three times the amount of the prior rent. However, these multiples, for use and occupancy damages, are only available if landlords were smart enough to have such a lease requirement in their rental in the first place. Plus, landlords, who used well-drafted leases, can likely pursue attorneys' fees for the eviction because good leases include such a provision. In the end, landlords who run their vacation property like a business will survive. Landlords who planned properly, with attorney-drafted leases, and kept reserve funds for a rainy day will likely be made whole through the court system, at least in part. Karma is coming for holdover tenants. They will face their due and end up on the short end of a money judgment that can be enforced for the next twenty years. Perhaps, next time, tenants will leave when they were supposed to and honor the terms of their lease.
Andrew M. Lieb, Esq., MPH, is the managing attorney of Lieb at Law P.C. and a contributing writer for Behind the Hedges.
Hedges Index: The Roaring '20s
June 25, 2020
As we're halfway through 2020, we're taking a look at the East End through the 20s--and not just the lavish era of roaring house parties and fabulous flappers. Length of Route 27, from Brooklyn to Montauk Point: 120.58 miles Number of 20th Streets on the East End: 1 Hamlets and villages in the Town of Southampton: 23 Elevation of the Laurel hamlet: 20 feet Address of President Chester Alan Arthur's summer retreat: 20 Union Street, Sag Harbor Acreage of the smallest vineyard in the Hamptons: 28 Living space in the most expensive Hamptons home on the market: 20,000 square feet Average square footage of $20 million Hamptons homes on the market: 9,548 Average number of bedrooms in $20 million Hamptons homes on the market: 7 Average number of bathrooms in $20 million Hamptons homes on the market: 8 Inflated value of $20 million saved since 1920: $256,389,00
Master Craftsman: Ben McHugh, Hampton Photo Arts
June 24, 2020
Fine art has been called an attempt to bring order out of chaos, and a salve to the unbearable crudeness of reality, but the impact of a brilliant painting, drawing or print is often lost without a proper frame to display and safeguard it. A beautiful presentation can make even a less-than-masterful work stand out and set the mood. Ben McHugh of Hampton Photo Arts in Bridgehampton and the store's newer outpost, HPA Southampton, has perfected the art of making other people's creations and treasures look better leaving his shop than when they arrived. After years working in his family business, the framer can mount just about anything, from Pablo Picasso prints to Manny Pacquiao's boxing trunks. "I learned from the people who worked for the shop throughout the years, and I gradually started knowing more and more, and just sort of learned it all," 40-year-old McHugh says, explaining how, from a very young age, he grew up developing film, enlarging photographs, selling art supplies and anything else that needed doing at his father David McHugh's constantly evolving business. He eventually moved from the photo department to framing, though it would be some time before he was deftly finding solutions to even the most complicated jobs. [caption id="attachment_73875" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Photo: Oliver Peterson[/caption] Still, in spite of his apparent mastery of the trade, McHugh scoffs at such titles. "People who call themselves a master of anything--aren't," he says. "There's always something you can learn. It's taken me until now to feel comfortable that I can do most things and be competent." McHugh describes completing a wide range of projects, including framing all manner of two-dimensional art, sports memorabilia, jerseys, beach glass, seashells and so much more. "Everything that has a different shape is a different mount...We did a pair of Manny Pacquiao's shorts and I think the mat in it had like 16 different cuts in order to get the angles to go around this thing," he says. "It's all about solving problems and being resourceful, like a little MacGyver." McHugh is more comfortable in the workshop than he is interacting with people, but he's cultivated a keen eye for framing and often leads customers to just the right blend of frame, mat and glass during consultations. "I love the customers and I love doing it," he says, describing an innate ability to read people and find what they want. Along with his framing talent, McHugh has also added an incredible amount of creativity and innovation to Hampton Photo Arts' other offerings. Whether it's "Instaframing" Instagram photos to be shown individually or in expansive arrangements, or exhibiting customers' artwork at Ashawagh Hall each November, his ideas engage the community and keep Hampton Photo Arts relevant while the threat of online shopping looms large. "It's not just making another picture frame. We can have fun with it, like putting gift certificates to local businesses in our picture frames," McHugh says describing another smart initiative that sets his store apart from the competition. "It's sort of like a Golden Ticket, so when someone buys a readymade frame from us and assembles it at home, they might get a gift certificate to another local business," he explains. "It was just fun to do. It's local helping local, you know, to cross-pollinate." [caption id="attachment_73876" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Hampton Photo Arts, Photo: Oliver Peterson[/caption] After three decades serving the community in the Bridgehampton Commons, Hampton Photo Arts opened their second store, HPA Southampton, in 2017. "There was a glass ceiling in Bridgehampton and we just ran out of space," McHugh says. They first looked for an industrial space to manage the growing workload, but ended up with a combination workshop and retail store at 21 Windmill Lane in Southampton Village for just a little more money. "We've been able to stretch our legs here," McHugh adds, noting that the new location offers all the same services and products with the addition of classes and rotating "artist takeover" exhibitions. Together, McHugh's shops do it all, from consults with interior decorators, to home visits and art installations, pickups and delivery, custom mirrors, hanging gallery shows and even reprocessing low-resolution digital images into printable files. Readymade and custom frames are a large part of Hampton Photo Arts' bread and butter, but McHugh says photo services--making high quality, archival prints for both private and commercial customers on a variety of materials--remains the largest segment of their business. "We do printing for Sotheby's, we do printing for other commercial places, we do printing for artists, so we do a lot of printing and we do a lot of big printing," he says. "That is a fair share of what makes the store go. It can't be just framing, and the reason why we've been around for so long is we've been three-headed. If the photo end was down or we had a slow month, the art end would make up for it, or if the art end was down, the framing would make up for it," McHugh continues. "So doing the three different services in one place, you can weather any storm."
Phase 2 Reopening: East End Real Estate Agencies Weigh In
June 19, 2020
The East End is now more than a week into Phase 2 of New York Forward, the initiative to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 quarantine. As more and more businesses open up to customers and clients, real estate groups weigh in on safety practices, health concerns and more. Brown Harris Stevens Executive Managing Director Robert Nelson urges prospective buyers to exercise prudence. "We are cautiously proceeding on opening following state mandated procedures," Nelson says, which include "strict mask and sanitation policies with limited agents working in shifts and screening questions before employees, agents and the public enter an office. We encourage everyone to work remotely with phone and conference video." For Bridget Terry, Real Estate Salesperson at Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Real Estate, working remotely has proven highly successful. "I think the pandemic has changed the way we do business permanently," Terry says. "The reality is, when you are buying, you only need to actually get inside the one or two homes that make the top of your list. Every rental I did this year was done with a FaceTime tour or video. That is how I am still doing them." Terry also notes, "I was an office person before this started. I know every agent is not like that, but I was in the office every day. Now that I have been working remotely, I'm not sure how often I will go to the office." Other real estate offices emphasize the importance of safety first. "The health and safety of our agents, employees, and customers are of paramount importance," Compass said in a statement provided to Dan's Papers and Behind the Hedges. "In addition, the company is also recommending that agents pre-qualify buyers, share video tours ahead of in-person showings whenever possible, create walkthrough strategies, and properly disinfect homes after every scheduled showing."
Property of the Week: 198 Two Holes Water Road, East Hampton
June 18, 2020
The bucolic Northwest Woods seem ideal for a family looking to move to the country. Newly listed by Thomas Cavallo and Camilla Lundengard at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 198 Two Holes Water Road is a stylish modern home in the classical countryside of East Hampton. [caption id="attachment_73863" align="aligncenter" width="750"] 198 Two Holes Water Road, East Hampton, Photo: Courtesy Douglas Elliman Real Estate[/caption] 198 Two Holes Water Road, the Numbers:
  • Listed at $5.995 million
  • 7 bedrooms
  • 6 bathrooms
  • 9,000 square feet
  • 10.9 acres
  • Built in 1980
The private drive to 198 Two Holes Water Road showcases an all-weather tennis court before arriving at the recently renovated house. Inside the entry hall, a broad staircase leads to an expansive living room. Also on this level is an elegant dining room, surrounding by a wraparound deck. The kitchen features a pantry, wet bar and ice machine, double stoves, double dishwashers and more (outside there's a Traeger grill). [caption id="attachment_73864" align="aligncenter" width="750"] 198 Two Holes Water Road, East Hampton, Photo: Courtesy Douglas Elliman Real Estate[/caption] The three-story house has four skylights and custom cabinetry throughout. The master bedroom has a bathroom with steam shower, and double doors leading out to a private deck. Two of the guest suites have direct access to the backyard. An elevator connects all floors. Outside is a four-car garage and heated gunite pool. "This is such a unique property," Lundengard says. "Everything is custom-made throughout the house--privacy, location, all the amenities you need in order to live a beautiful, wonderful happy life out in the Hamptons." [caption id="attachment_73865" align="aligncenter" width="750"] 198 Two Holes Water Road, East Hampton, Photo: Courtesy Douglas Elliman Real Estate[/caption]
Master Craftsman: Brian Schopfer, Grain Surfboards
June 17, 2020
The mark of a truly accomplished artisan is the ability to pass those skills down to the next generation. Each craftsman must one day hand down his or her expertise to an apprentice, spending years shaping their chosen heir as an independent talent who can stand on their own, add innovations and one day pass the torch again. Since opening Grain Surfboards New York in Amagansett, owner Brian Schopfer has mastered the ability to teach even the most tender of tenderfoots how to build and shape fine wooden surfboards during five-day workshops using classic hand tools, often for the first time in their lives. [caption id="attachment_73858" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Grain Surfboards doesn't use toxic epoxy finishes, Photo: Oliver Peterson[/caption] "Grain started up in Maine in 2005 by Mike Lavecchia. He was a boat builder and had just finished a big boat-building project and built himself a surfboard, and people started seeing his boards, and he started doing custom boards and then started doing the workshops," Schopfer says, describing how the original Grain Surfboards was established in York, Maine, some 300 miles north of where he would eventually open his own Grain shop in Amagansett. "I was actually a customer of one of his workshops," Schopfer explains, noting that he was already doing custom furniture on Rhode Island at the time, but learning to build a surfboard was something special. He realized it would be a perfect fit in the Hamptons, an area Schopfer and his wife Aynsley got to know over 10 years of visiting her sister. "We were ready for a new adventure," he recalls. "I appreciated it because it was a lot of hand tools," Schopfer says of the Grain method that inspired this life change. "When we're building the boards, you don't need power tools, ear protection, eye protection, respirators and stuff like that." Along with the model of teaching others to make these beautiful, functional objects, Schopfer says Grain is founded on an important ethos of environmental responsibility. "Surfboard building is kind of a dirty practice, a lot of awful chemicals," he says describing the fiberglass boards most surfers ride today. "We're trying to minimize the impact of surfing on the environment." Instead of using foam and toxic materials, Grain boards are pure wood sealed in a tree sap-based epoxy that can be handled without wearing a respirator. Additionally, the shop tries to reuse, repurpose and recycle everything. "One of our rallying cries here is 'Waste no waste.' We're down to just one bag of trash a week out of the shop--one big black trash bag," Schopfer says, adding, "We reuse all the wood, all the little pieces, to make other things." Wood shavings end up in a friend's chicken coop, sawdust becomes compost and mulch, and cardboard and paper are recycled. This way of doing things has always been part of Schopfer's repertoire. He regularly makes garden swings using old wine barrels, a practice Schopfer started while rescuing wood from broken barrels at the Rhode Island winery where he used to live and work before opening Grain. These and other custom crafted items are now part of Schopfer's other business, Stick + Stone, which includes everything he builds that isn't surf or skate related, and is separate from Grain. "Our gallery stuff, the framing, the custom furniture, all the stuff I was doing besides," he says, "but when we approached Grain about opening up a shop down here, they didn't want a Grain branded cutting board." A natural entrepreneur, Schopfer is constantly thinking of new ideas and ways to expand Grain, such as adding his shorter skateboard building workshops--something they weren't doing in Maine--as well as a summer camp for kids, and creating surfboard and skateboard kits people can build at home. But board-building workshops remain at the heart of the business. Schopfer and his team have an infectious enthusiasm, and he speaks of bonding with students during the intensive workshops. "A lot of my best friends are people who came here to build boards," he says. "You spend all that time together and then we go surfing together." During a recent visit to Grain, Schopfer had students with boards in different stages of completion. One student, 15-year-old Aiden Santoro, was completing his board. "It's really, really fun--it takes a lot out of you, but it's worth it in the end," Santoro said while removing the last imperfections from his creation with a steam iron. "This is the first time I've touched most of these tools," he admitted, acknowledging a powerful sense of accomplishment. Later, after signing his name in pencil and branding the board with a red hot Grain logo, Santoro and Schopfer posed for pictures together for the shop's Instagram account. The young surfer beamed with pride while his mother and younger brother also snapped shots. Some students join Grain workshops simply to build boards for decorative purposes, but Schopfer insists that people use them. "They're a little bit heavy, like 10 to 15 percent heavier, so it's usually an extra paddle or two to get into the wave, but once you get in it, you've got more momentum," he explains. "The boards are super durable...they're never going to snap in half--they're really built to last a lifetime." [caption id="attachment_73859" align="aligncenter" width="750"] A Grain Surfboards brand completes the build, Photo: Oliver Peterson[/caption] Visit