We are putting the final touches on air and water tightness and preparing to fire up that geothermal heating system for the first time tomorrow. It has already been a long, cold, and messy winter and today is only February 3rd. My crews are more than ready to work inside with the heat on for the rest of the season and we are just about at that point. As long as winter is over by May, the home construction on Lot 7 is on track to be completed ahead of schedule!
This is one of my favorite phases of the construction process. For the first time, you can physically see the various finishes coming together – stone on the fireplace, sheetrock on the walls, interior doors and the beginning of the millwork phase – in the beautiful, fluid, harmony and style that we aspire for. Most material selections and designs have been completed by this phase except for the absolute final touches – colors, counters light fixtures and hardware – all of which are really fun to shop for!
Yes, I realize what the calendar says, but each new year for me begins with the Master Cleanse and I am finally getting started tomorrow. For at least the last seven years it has been my annual tradition and the thought of no food for 8-10 days is something I look forward to for the mental reset as much as the physical one.
I delayed my typical January 1 start for good cause. On the 6th I went to Belize with a client (and friend) for some initial research for a diving resort. We had a fantastic time diving despite the less than optimum conditions and while the Belize Barrier Reef is nothing short of spectacular, the area is generally overrun with diving operators. As one might expect from a business plan, our objective is to source a location that has world class diving AND is not well known, affording the opportunity for development with minimal competition.
Although we will likely not begin construction (or renovation as the case might be) for another 3-5 years, kicking off the research phase for the diving resort is an exciting start to 2014. This is sure to be an epic year with many, many new projects and announcements. In the spring, I will be releasing some details for a new home design that could literally revolutionize how we think of home construction. I don’t want to give too much away here, so if you are interested please call or email me directly.
The great value of our lake access lots has become increasingly apparent this year. These lots offer rights to the private beach area and access to Kenoza Lake with stunning views of Hust Pond. The average price point and taxes are less than half of the lakefront parcels we are offering! This sale marks our third such parcel sold this year, concluding 2013 on a very positive note for Kenoza Lake Estates.
The new home on Lot 7 will feature my first geothermal installation, and the second of which in Kenoza Lake Estates. I really encourage anyone out there who is thinking of building a new home (or recently started) to take a long, hard look at the option of geothermal heating and cooling. While the upfront cost might be somewhat off putting, I firmly believe it is an investment worth making. Granted, you have to be able to afford the initial outlay, but generally given the scope of constructing a new home, the percentage of increase is not that significant. My impression and experience thus far is regardless of what size home you are building, it is likely to incur at least a $25,000 additional upfront cost for the system. You do get a 30% Federal Tax Credit the following year to ease the pain. But the best news of this system is that you do not need to purchase any fuel oil or propane / natural gas for heating…EVER. Think about how much that costs you each year and imagine instead that a 4,000+ square foot home costs only $100-150 per month for ALL the electricity for the entire home! Yes, lights, heat, refrigerators, air conditioning, TVs, Stereo, Alarm Clock… without using ONE gallon of oil or gas.
The geothermal system we have just begun to install should be complete by the end of December. With the spray foam insulation being installed in the middle of the month, we will be more than ready and anxious to turn on the heat and test it out!
I took the California Broker’s Exam today, admittedly for the second time. As the proctor handed over the sealed test results while instructing me not to open it until outside the building, it felt especially nice to say “Thanks, but I passed. Sometimes you just know.” The experience was a sharp contrast to the stereotypical laid back California style. The Bureau of Real Estate knows how to administer an exam! In contrast to my one visit to the California DMV, the high security (not even allowed to bring in your own pencil) exam center was surprisingly efficient. Upon check in, the test takers are given a clearly numbered wireless mouse and directed to the corresponding numbered computer station. There, one MUST (or will be executed) have your ID placed immediately next to the number on the surface of the station. A monitor that effectively sits in your lap is immediately below the plexiglass surface while nothing of your own besides the ID is permitted on top. I have no understanding of why, but only the provided and carefully placed tablet-sized dry erase board with one marker, one tiny eraser, and one basic calculator rest on the right side of each station. Yet, not one math question. To complete the package, a squad of soft-shoed proctors pace the entire room for every minute of the exam and only the constant sound of mouse clicks fill the air. It felt tense in there, but at least the chairs were pretty comfortable!
The format of the test was incredibly simple – two sections of 100 multiple choice questions each with an allotted 2 1/2 hours of time and a one hour break in between. On break, I met two fellow test takers on the roof of the parking structure and we shared our distaste for the poorly (or trickily) worded questions. I don’t take tests that often, but it truly seemed as though I spent a disproportionate amount of time deciphering and interpreting the questions as opposed to answering them. Positive results aside, I am very pleased that there is no reason for me to take the exam a third time. As the results are settling in tonight, I am feeling extra motivated to kick off our west coast division. More on this soon.
Did I see snowflakes yesterday!?!? Progress is in full swing and it seems we are barely in time to beat the winter weather. We have devoted the last few weeks to completing all of the foundation work and underground utilities. Consistent with all other wells drilled in Kenoza Lake Estates, the new drilled well was completed at a depth of 320 feet with a yield of 15 gallons per minute. The permanent electric service has also been installed and the septic system was completed today, making our site ready for a functioning bathroom! Note I say “functioning”, as it is not necessarily private or luxurious quite yet…
According to our construction schedule and some cooperation with the weather, the home will be more or less “enclosed” (windows, doors and roof shingles installed) by November 8th.
Absolutely one of my favorite times of year to be Kenoza Lake… and here I sit watching a California sunset (in the desert). I’m in both places so often I get to appreciate all of the differences and when I look at the picture below, there is no question it is where I would like to be right now. Ask me in January however, and I’ll give you a different story! If you have the time, I HIGHLY recommend taking a drive into the Catskills this weekend to appreciate all of the color that lasts no more than two weeks per year. Enjoy!
I’m thrilled to share that we officially broke ground earlier this week on Kenoza Lake’s newest residence! This Dubrovsky designed 4-bedroom home was carefully planned to maximize the truly magnificent views looking across Hust Pond. With this in mind, I sited the home in such a way to minimize the amount of clearing and disturbance to the forest, while maintaining the best possible views from every part of the home. I am particularly looking forward to seeing my vision come to life from the Master Bedroom balcony (on the uppermost level) and will share the photos in the coming weeks. The photo of the excavated site is taken from a similar point of perspective as the sketched rendering – to provide a before and after sneak preview.
Construction of The Tree House at Kenoza Lake’s newest Common Area will begin later this month with an anticipated completion in October. I designed this playground specifically for all of us to enjoy, with or without our children. Picnic, bonfire, a candlelit dinner 12′ above the forest floor… Bring your blankets and get cozy on the expansive platform for some of the best stargazing that Earth has to offer.
The Tree House will be constructed ENTIRELY from trees found on lands of Phase II within and around this exciting new feature! Plans for additional features include a lean-to and fire pit, the schedule of which will be released in the coming months. Enjoy this sneak peek.
I am very excited to offer the first video footage of Kenoza Lake Estates thanks to my good friend Michael Alvarado. We had an amazingly successful visit to Kenoza Lake two weeks ago and as a result, Lots 12, 13 and 15 are now live (click here). Please stay tuned for additional videos showing all of our available lots within the next two weeks!