Hamptons (Un)Real Estate


‘I’ll trade you 450 square feet for, like, a jillion dollars.’

Even the ad was small. So small I’d missed it entirely.

I’d just passed The Dude the real estate section of the East Hampton Star and he says “Hey, look. The Little House. It’s for sale.”

“Really? How much are they asking?” (The Little House was what we called our much-beloved former ‘Hamptons home’.) Well, when he told me the price, which was as astonishingly large as the house is astoundingly small, I grabbed that section back fast. “You have got to be kidding!”

“Look!” I say, reading from the (very small) ad and snorting coffee every which way, “it says it’s ‘3 BR, 2B'”. Good grief. Are they counting the outdoor shower?

A study in studs. The Dude shows off the ‘great room’ of our then Little House In Progress

Now I’ve written about the Little House before, in a piece called ‘The Perfect House meets the Perfect Storm(s)’ , where I talk not only about how much we loved this house (which we did) but also how it was so ramshackle when we bought it that we basically had to rebuild it from scratch and how it was like living on a boat. Really like living on a boat. For one thing, it was only 450 square feet, which is tiny for a house, but pretty roomy for a boat. But mostly because you could see water in practically every direction.

Teensy. But with two, count ’em two, water views. Sometimes more

Of course, all that watery closeness came with a price. Every time a storm sailed through we’d get slammed — one, The Perfect Storm, had us dodging waves which were breaking right onto our roof. So, salty and soggy but sad, we cried ‘Uncle’ and moved on when we had the chance.

But back to that real estate ad. We’re thinking that it’s those water views (plural) that’re driving that (really big for a teensy house) asking-price train. Current hurricane season be darned, a water view in The Hamptons is still a water view in The Hamptons.

So okay, granted this house has two ‘water views’. But if it has ‘three bedrooms’ and ‘two bathrooms’, having lived there myself I honestly couldn’t figure out where they’d put them. So I clicked on the website. (The Little House has its own website! Which I’m tempted to share, but probably shouldn’t. So I won’t.) And I discovered that, bless their hearts, the current owners had finished the basement, hence the ‘third bedroom’ and ‘second bath’. (When we owned it, we never even went in that basement except to repair the fish-and-salt-water-filled storm-damaged furnace.)

Dude and Child enjoying a festive Halloween in the Little House. That boat ladder leads to the ‘second bedroom’, an attic crawl space we converted to a sleeping loft

Once we’d solved the Mystery of The Third Bedroom and Second Bath, we had some fun thinking of other features they could advertise. Like the ‘soaking tub’. Or the ‘game room’. Why, when we owned the house, it even had a pool.

The Child enjoys the amenities of our ‘second bathroom’

The ‘game room’. Which, in our day, was also the ‘music room’, the ‘screening room’ and the ‘yoga studio’

Relaxing on the ‘pool deck’. Incidentally, that’s a storm lantern next to The Dude’s chair. Just in case

The Little House did have another feature when we owned it: crickets. (I’ve written about crickets before, too, as in a chirping-crickets ringtone that confused The Dude no end on a a bike ride one day.) But these were real crickets. We thought they were rather charming at first. I’d capture the little fellers with a magazine blow-in card clapped over the end of a plastic cup and release them into The Wild. But I soon discovered that they liked to eat flip-flops (The Dude’s) and papier-mâché finger puppets (The Child’s). Seriously. Both items were covered with tiny little chomp marks. And then one Friday night I opened the front door after being gone all week to discover what looked like a carpet in our living room — a carpet that was chirping and hopping. So I sucked ’em up with the vacuum and had The Dude caulk the baseboards.

Well, maybe we could cricket-proof that Little House, but no matter what we did, we couldn’t storm-proof it. So good luck, current Little House owners. Hope you get your asking price before you need a sump pump for your ‘second bathroom’ and ‘third bedroom’.

Gosh. Too bad it’s too late for Second Brother Roger to move his treehouse to The Hamptons. He’d make a killing

New York City. September 2017

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19 thoughts on “Hamptons (Un)Real Estate

    • Good point! We saw no evidence of storms when we bought it (cut up yard, damaged bulkhead, etc.) but right after, we got nailed, and then some! Will keep an eye out, and keep you posted!

  1. I remember my parent’s house getting crickets. Certainly not a carpet of them, though! I have no idea how they would get into my 2nd floor bedroom. I do know that it’s nearly impossible to find a chirpy cricket in the dark at 2am. Love the old photos, too. Trip down memory lane (your memory, not mine 🙂 )

    • Thanks, StomperDad! Interesting fun fact for you, Cricket Division: It’s so hard to find crickets because they ‘throw their voices’ — kind of like teeny chirping ventriloquists!

  2. drallisonbrown

    I just love your stories! When we moved into our current house, which is on a (very) small lake, we inherited a bunch of Canadian geese. I loved them at first….I even fed them (horror!); something I regret now, of course. Our yard is filled with goose poop. Sometimes it looks like a geese convention out back – 40-50 of the buggers! Haven’t yet found a permanent solution, and we’ve tried a lot! (well, the permanent solution isn’t legal….)

  3. I do love little houses when they have to be cleaned. No problem except for lugging the vacuum cleaner upstairs. Wow, I can’t believe storm waves swept over the roof and the house survived! Hope you are in a watertight ship now. Our little house in Maine sat right on the corner of a road leading to the harbor. In spring, the boats would be hauled down to be put in and some were so big they dwarfed our house plus they looked like they weren’t going to make the turn and would end up in our so-called yard. We had to dig a channel in the basement for the water to come in one side of the foundation and run out the back door.

    • Wow!!! Your story sure as heck beats mine! A channel in the basement for the water to run in and out! Sheesh! As for us, the waves didn’t actually ‘sweep over’ the house, it was more like they crashed into it. Really. I had gone to sleep and woke to this thunderous crashing. When I asked The Dude what it was, he said “It’s waves breaking onto our roof; we’d better leave.”

  4. Deborah

    We have a cabin in a remote place in Northern New Mexico on a finger mesa off of a mountain, it’s only 200 sf of interior space, the whole thing is narrow, long and tall. There’s a stairway to the second floor and the roof, the stairway is really outside enclosed on the sides, open above bringing the “livable” space up to about 400sf (we call it the stairway to heaven). The cabin has a sleeping loft (the second floor) but we often sleep on the roof which allows for amazing star viewing. There are twelve 8′ tall doors that open out pretty much the entire interior space when the weather is nice. This place has no electricity and no running water (composting toilet), one step above camping. We love it, spent the whole summer there, going back and forth between our apartment in Santa Fe whenever we couldn’t stand going without a shower for another day. My husband is an architect so it’s different looking from a normal cabin, I realize it’s hard to envision from my description. Your little house sounds like you had as much fun there as we have in our cabin. The only water we can see is a river about two miles away, great views of mountains though. The other part of the year we have a small place (850sf) in Chicago where we’re right on the lake so lots of water in that view. We like small.

    • Oh! Your place sounds like a Perfect Heaven to me, including that stairway! I actually like small myself. For one thing, it only took about ten minutes — tops — to clean that Little House! But, cleaning advantages aside, I really do like ‘cozy’. Your apartment sounds wonderful too. Let me know if you ever decide to sell either place (!) And thanks for taking the time to read and comment, too. xoxo

    • Ooooh, where is your place? (That is, if you don’t mind telling.) As for being ‘priced out’, I know the feeling; after The Child grew up and moved on, we thought it would be a good idea to sell our NYC apartment. We could actually get quite a bit for it. But. We wouldn’t have enough after the taxes were paid to buy another, even smaller, place (!)

  5. Unbound Roots

    That property looks wonderful with water on both sides! But, I think I’d like it for just a vacation, as I would be nervous about those storms too. Just recently my family took a long road trip down to a tiny island on the very southeast corner of LA. Being surrounded by water was wonderful, the wildlife was amazing (especially the marine life), but I would not want to be stuck on that island in a storm. Every house, store, and school sat high on stilts, awaiting the fury of a storm. Again, fun to see and visit, but I’ll leave the living on that island to others. 🙂

  6. Cricket-carpet? No, thank you! (Although your reference to the cricket ringtone made me giggle again, thinking about it.) I can appreciate the multi-function ‘game room,’ though as I, too, have a ‘yoga studio’! 😉

    • ‘Yoga studio’, ‘screening room’, ‘media room’, ‘garden room’, ‘outdoor living room’ — these Hamptons Pads have it all (or like to say they do). But I bet we were the only ones with wall-to-wall cricket carpeting! Thanks for reading — and giggling! xo

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