We Did Something. Big.


While I guess I’m a fairly talkative person, I’m not a very loud one. My regular speaking voice hovers, I’ve been told, somewhere around a loud whisper. When I’m angry or flustered, I might achieve something more like a normal “indoor voice,” but anything louder than that is more or less beyond me. Hoots and hollering at concerts or sports games are things that I lip-synch and mime, and an involuntary fear-scream comes out as something disarmingly deep and guttural—neither loud nor shrill. Which is why when I yelled “MAX, TURN OFF THE SHOWER RIGHT NOW!” a few days ago, I couldn’t help but take a split-second amidst the chaos to appreciate just how loud I can be when desperate enough. It wasn’t, evidently, loud enough for Max to hear over the sound of running water and dance music emanating from his iPad, but loud enough for a brief moment of self-congratulatory appreciation. I can scream. I am human.

The trouble was the downstairs toilet. From what I was able to piece together later, what with my limited plumbing knowledge, was that 120-year old clogged cast-iron pipes may not necessarily agree with a shower being run, a toilet being flushed, and a washing machine draining simultaneously.

It was like nothing I’ve ever seen. All at once, a 1920s toilet erupting both from the bowl and flowing from beneath the base, regurgitating what I can only describe as a poop geyser. It stopped as suddenly as it began, but not before relieving itself of somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 gallons of water, which quickly spread to much of the first floor. Soaked in this water was all manner of unspeakable things, chief among them clumps of toilet paper and human shit. After roughly 60 seconds of frenzied mopping with rags and paper towels, I ran to the second floor, where Max was washing his hair. “TURN OFF THE FUCKING SHOWER,” I yelled, drawing back the curtain dramatically. “THE DOWNSTAIRS TOILET EXPLODED.”

He instinctively recoiled in terror, fiddling with the knobs, his eyes stinging from shampoo. “What?! What should I do?”


And that’s when I ran out of the house, leaving my keys behind, and jumped in the car and made a short and frantic trip to the local hardware store to buy a Shop Vac, a purchase I’d previously seen as somewhat unnecessary. I was back in less than 15 minutes, maniacally tearing apart the cardboard box as I approached the front door. Please, I prayed, please don’t let these wood floors buckle and warp. Replacing these floors is not an option.

This—crawling around on your hands and knees in a lake of human shit in what will become your dining room—is, I’m quickly discovering, part of the joy of home ownership.


Rewinding a bit: I’ve been holding out on you, a little bit. Please forgive me. It’s been a little hectic.

Over the past several months, Max and I have been in the process of doing something that started as little more than a pipe dream and some vague flowery fantasies, and ended with us being handed the keys to a house.

We bought a house. We’re officially out of our goddamned minds.


A little practical information:

1. The house is located in Kingston, New York, which is a small city in the Hudson River Valley, about a 2 hour drive upstate from New York City. If you’re the Rain Man of my blog, you might remember that we visited Kingston back in December, where a close friend invited us to stay at a rental house for the holidays. We immediately fell head-over-heels in love with the city. Kingston dates back to 17th century Dutch settlements, was actually the first capital city of New York, and is loaded with beautiful historic architecture and general adorable small-towny-ness. It’s a city of about 25,000 people, with a bourgeoning arts community, thriving small businesses, approximately 3 regular farmer’s markets, close proximity to the water—it’s great, basically. The more time we spend in Kingston, the more we love it.

2. The house is old. The MLS listing said that it was built in 1895, and I haven’t had the time to get myself to the historical archives to try to nail down something more concrete and accurate. I’m thinking that the house was built over time with a couple additions, so it’s sort of a weird mix of styles, including Georgian, Greek Revival, and Victorian. I need to brush up on my turn-of-the-century architectural styles. That said, I don’t think it’s had very many owners. The last owners bought the house from a family member in 1973, and who knows how long they’d owned it before that. What really drew us to the house is probably an effect of that: it’s seen very few major modifications and renovations over the years, meaning that things like moldings, doors, hardware, windows, and flooring are for the most part original and very, very cool. You know I’m a sucker for stuff like that.

3. The house is currently a 2-family, which we’ll be converting back into a single family (which the home was originally). That means there’s an upstairs unit and a downstairs unit—so two kitchens and two bathrooms. We’re keeping the downstairs kitchen, and the plan is to turn the upstairs kitchen into a bedroom, and knock down the walls that separated the two units (this should be fairly simple—they definitely aren’t load-bearing, and look to just be some framing and thin sheets of 70s wood panelling). Obviously we’ll get into much more details about all of our plans and stuff as I post more!


To pre-empt some obvious questions:

1. How the hell are you affording this, you psycho??

It feels a little weird to come out and say the exact purchase price of the house, but I’ll do my best to put this in some perspective while maintaining a baseline level of privacy for the two of us. The house had been on the market for roughly two years, during which the asking price (which was already pretty low, but well out of our nearly non-existent range) had dropped significantly. When we first discovered the house back in December (while innocently trolling real estate listings in the comfort of our rental house, just because we were curious about the lay of the land), the price was over 41% higher than what we ended up buying for, and a couple months later it dropped another 15%. We offered about 25% below the reduced asking price, and after some back and forth with the estate, our offer was accepted. So we ended up buying for half the original list price, and far, far below market, even for our neighborhood, which would probably be classified as what they call “up and coming.” We were also able to fold some of our initial renovation costs into our mortgage loan, so we don’t exactly have to be flush with up-front cash in order to get the house into workable condition and make some immediate improvements on the side. Even so, our monthly mortgage payment is still about the same as a standard trip to the grocery store. So between some savings, some assets we were able to liquidate, a loan, and many long, long hours crunching numbers and doing the math, we eventually decided we were willing to pull the trigger and see where this crazy notion of ours takes us. Even though we’re young and neither of us exactly makes oodles of money right now, we’re still confident we can squeeze the added expense of owning a house into our lives.

That said, we’ve accepted that we could definitely spend the foreseeable future of our lives being pretty house-poor. I’m under no illusions that this decision won’t come with plenty of sacrifices and compromises. But if saying no to certain luxuries means we get to travel this road, I’m OK with that.

2. Wait, so you’re moving to Kingston?

Only kind of. Kingston will be our primary residence, and at least for now, we’re maintaining our Brooklyn apartment. Max and I both work in the city, and while we both have somewhat flexible schedules, we can’t commit to living full-time upstate right now. Because we have an uncharacteristically good rent in a great neighborhood and we love our apartment (and have put so much work into it!), we’re not looking to move right now, but I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility that we may move down the line to someplace even smaller and with a lower rent. Not really something we’re considering seriously right now, but I guess it could happen.

3. Then why? I mean, WTF. 

Well, there are a few answers to that. For a while now, Max and I have both been feeling the itch to dedicate more time to being creative, making things, and having the space to do it—which is nearly impossible in our apartment. We’ve tossed around the idea of renting some kind of studio space, but the idea of throwing more money at rentals (which, obviously, is money you never see again) wasn’t a super exciting or feasible option. The house is big enough to allow us this space, while also allowing us to put that money into a real estate investment rather than paying some landlord’s mortgage.

That’s where the investment side of things come in. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about this house as an investment, and in a couple of ways. Because Max and I both, in large part, professionally try to help people get the most out of their home life, I think we both look at the house as an investment in our professional development. The learning curve of owning a house is enormous, and has already helped us understand some of the challenges that our readers and clients face when they embark to solve their own home design issues, whatever they may be. Working on this house will be an incredible exercise in creativity and stretching a dollar, and I’m really excited to be able to share those skills and decisions here and when working with clients alike.

There’s also the more obvious investment, which is purely monetary. We bought this house for a truly rock-bottom price, and unless the economy completely falls to pieces or Kingston turns into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, it’s a bit hard to imagine losing money on it if and when we go to sell it. The house needs a ton of elbow grease, restoration, and general beautification, but the foundation is solid and the bones are great. I’m not approaching the house as a flip, but I do think we stand a very good chance of seeing a good return on our investment and a decent profit if, down the line, we do decide to sell.

Obviously, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this decision came first as a passion project and labor of love. This is something that I absolutely love to do, and find intensely, perversely satisfying. It’s always been a total fantasy of mine to buy an old house and fix it up, but I had no inkling I’d be in any position to do so at this point in my life. But then this house came along, and it seemed like opportunity was knocking, and it was worthwhile to explore it. What we found is that we’re really excited to have a place that we can bring our friends and loved ones to, where life is a little simpler and less stressful, and where we can explore doing what we love. We’re also incredibly excited to give Mekko a backyard to run around in—that’s honestly one of the best parts of all of this. That crazy lady has so much energy.

4. What does this mean for this blog?

Exciting things, I hope! It’s probably not too hard to figure out that after two years, our little apartment is reaching a state I could call “done,” and while there are still some projects I want to tackle, for the most part there isn’t that much left to do. I’ll still be posting about the apartment from time to time, when it makes sense. But! There is not an inch of this house that doesn’t need to be touched, and this renovation/restoration/remodeling/decorating/landscaping/gardening/crafting process is probably going to take…forever. What that means for you is much, much more frequent posts and oodles of content that I hope you’ll find fun, fresh, interesting, funny—whatever it is you come here for. We’ve already started working some, and I’m super excited to start sharing some of the things we’re in the process of tackling!

So…that’s that. Welcome to what we’re lovingly calling Gay Gardens. This should be fun.

p.s.—as you probably know, Google Reader will no longer be available after July 1st! You can now follow Manhattan Nest on Bloglovin’, here!

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

Follow me everywhere

Archives: 2010-2022

Popular Categories

This blog uses affiliate links. Sponsored posts are always identified clearly in the body of the post text and by using the “sponsored post” tag.

Leave a Comment


  1. 6.19.13
    AnnMarie said:

    Congratulations! It definitely looks like it needs a lot of love, so I’m excited to see what you guys will do with it. I can’t lie, I love reading your blog and more of it sounds like an excellent idea to me. ^_^

    • 6.26.13
      Sandy Dee said:

      Well, I must have fallen asleep at the wheel – I check in and discover our fave renovators of rental properties are now home owners! Congrats, nothing like bricks and mortar to make you feel you really own something! I agree with AnnMarie – can’t wait to see what you do with the place! I have renovated a late Victorian era house (1880’s) and a 1905 house (Edwardian) and they are a lot of work – probably no wall cavities, old wiring and other expensive horrors including decades of cheap alterations. However, they are truly solid and character filled homes and really reward your effort! You are the perfect people to take this rough diamond no one else would touch and turn it into a beautiful home that everyone is after. If that isn’t creative, I don’t know what is.

  2. 6.19.13
    Adam Pogue said:

    Yay! Congrats!

  3. 6.19.13
    Miss Alix said:

    This is so amazing. Very excited for you both (except for the plumbing bit).

  4. 6.19.13
    Samantha said:

    Holy crap, that’s awesome! Dang! I’m so excited to see the amazing stuff you two do with it!
    Now I want to buy a house…but that’s probably not a good idea for me.

  5. 6.19.13
    Lenore said:

    OMG! So excited to see what you guys do with it!

  6. 6.19.13
    Marci said:

    Congratulations!!! This is terribly exciting news. I’m not going to lie. The first thing I thought was “more decorating and home improvement posts!” And that made my heart sing a little bit!


  7. 6.19.13
    susan said:

    Well … I was saying “oh my god” all through the first part of this post. This is amazing news. I am really happy for you both! Happy and kind of terrified at the same time. I am also thrilled to be able to watch (in a non-creepy way) you fix this place up. OMG.

  8. 6.19.13
    Phoebe said:

    The entire time I was reading the poop story, I kept thinking…wait, don’t they live in a single floor apartment? You crafty cat. Leading your post that way.

    So excited for the two of you, but I am possibly, selfishly, even more excited for the plethora of projects and DIY fun in the future.

  9. 6.19.13
    Rebecca said:

    Congratulations! I mean, you totally freaked me out with Mekko looking all lonesome in the window but then I read on and realized she was just like “Ohhhno, here my dads go again.” Congrats guys. Can’t wait to see all the plans and renovations! So exciting.

  10. 6.19.13
    LP said:

    happy new house! if anyone is up to tackling this project and restoring/improving a house, it is you. I can’t wait to read all about it! hope the plumbing problem is now under control. I owned an old house and spent more money on the plumber than on anything else!

  11. 6.19.13
    Ryann said:

    Oh my gosh I am dying! Congratulations! I think this is SUCH exciting news, for you and Max of course, but also for your readers. YAY YAY YAY!

  12. 6.19.13

    I. Love. This. My husband and I are in the midst of purchasing our first home and he told me the other day how we’d need to buy a Shop-Vac. I disagreed, and now here you are, owning a home and needing a Shop-Vac. I just read this out loud to him and apologized. Congratulations to you both and can’t wait to see how the place transforms!!!

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      YES, YOU NEED ONE! Have it on hand, just in case! See, I’m learning things already!

      (and thank you!!)

  13. 6.19.13
    Kirk said:

    Whaaaat? Congrats – big step!

  14. 6.19.13
    Jamie B. said:

    Oh, shiiiii-

    No pun intended.

    This is outrageously exciting. Have fun!

  15. 6.19.13
    SarahT said:

    Good for you!!! Everyone thought I was crazy when I bought a run-down 125 year old house in my twenties. Turns out, it was the best decision I every made. You guys are going to have so much fun! Congrats!

  16. 6.19.13
    Mary said:

    Ok, I still have to ask – how do two young 20-somethings who have lived consistently in NYC for the last few years manage to have two residences, commute between the two of them AND support two dogs? I only ask because I’m clearly doing it wrong.

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      That’s a fair question, Mary, and one that I tried to go into in the post to the extent that I’m really comfortable disclosing my personal financial life on a totally public forum. While we have both lived in NYC for a few years (about 4 for me, about 7 for Max), we’ve also been working consistently for years (before and after moving to NY), have basically always had roommates (except for about 6 months when my roommate unexpectedly moved out), or lived together, and lived in places that were (and are) below market rent. Both as a couple and independently, we’ve always been careful with money and done what we can to save, invest, and live pretty modestly to the extent that we’re able to in New York. As for the dogs——we put money away in a separate account for them every month for unexpected vet visits and whatnot, so that they’re secure, and pay out of pocket for their regular expenses like food. Honestly, they don’t cost a whole lot. So that’s all part of it.

      This isn’t about doing anything right or wrong, though. I won’t speak for Max, here, but I was able to do a lot of that because I was also able to graduate college without a bunch of debt, and had a family support system capable and willing to cover some proportion of my living expenses while in school. That’s huge, and I won’t pretend it’s not. I don’t think any of that is too difficult to extrapolate from my blog, even prior to this——I probably wouldn’t be doing a lot of what I’ve done if I were swimming in student loans hustling just to make rent and eat.

      I hope that helps. Apologies if it doesn’t.

    • 6.20.13
      Joy said:

      Thanks for answering this in further detail. You’ve been equally savvy, hard-working, and blessed it seems. You’re having an amazing year; first the engagement, now the house! I couldn’t be happier for you fellas! Congrats, I can’t wait to read all about Gay Gardens in the future.

  17. 6.19.13
    Elen said:

    Congratulations!! It’s so exciting! I caÅ„’t wait to see all the improvements you will bring to your house!!!

  18. 6.19.13
    Hanna said:

    Oh, WOW! from the owner of a home built in 1847 (and not updated since the 70s) I feel your love and your pain. Don’t worry though, you’ll be feeling more love than pain. Except maybe for hte plumbing. :)

    It looks awesome — the ceiling height (after those drop ceilings come down), the molding, the proportions… amazing. You guys are going to do great things with it, and I can’t wait to watch it happen!

  19. 6.19.13
    Jill said:

    So pumped for more posts. I’m like a before/after junkie! And congrats!! :)

  20. 6.19.13
    Kate said:

    This is so exciting! I love Kingston and the rest of the Hudson Valley so, so much. (If I ever move back to the US that’s where I’ll go for sure.) Congratulations!

  21. 6.19.13
    Ginger said:

    Shop Vacs are heaven sent. Period. End of discussion. You’ll use that damn thing more than you’ll ever dream possible.

  22. 6.19.13
    Annika said:

    Wow, this is great news! You’re just throwing out big and happy news all the time lately, aren’t you! I think you did the right thing, and I think you’ll have a lots of fun. Me and my boyfriend bought a house built in 1871 last year, and even though it didn’t have a ton off issues to tackle, you definitely come across some interesting challenges every now and then… I wish you all the best and look forward to the coming posts about this paradise-to-be!

  23. 6.19.13
    Becky said:

    We had a similar plumbing issue at our cottage. We will forever refer to it as the “shit storm”. Congratulations and good luck!

  24. 6.19.13
    Jo said:

    Congratulations! I figured you guys hadn’t suddenly gotten pregnant, and I didn’t hear about a lottery win, so I figured that Mekko in the window meant House Purchase.

    You two are also out of your freakin’ minds. And I’m thrilled for you!

    If you haven’t already learned a lot about plumbing, you will. Yoooouuuu Wiiillll. (/yoda) I live in a house built just post WW2, and it’s amazing what people have done in the intervening years as far as doping different pipes together goes. Y’all have a fifty-some year head start on me.

    Owning a house–especially one that old, and in need of that much work–is a wonderful, horrible, relationship-testing, sleep-destroying, joy-making experience. You’ll end up making decisions that make you facepalm a few years later, but also ones that’ll make you happy every time you walk into a room. It’s the third-best decision I ever made, and I don’t regret a minute of it.


    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Yeah, the plumbing stuff is insane! Luckily, the plumbing in our house is pretty uncomplicated (both bathrooms and kitchens are stacked and we have hot water radiators), but still…learning a lot, real fast. Definitely some…creative modifications over the years!

      Thanks, Jo!

  25. 6.19.13
    Sabrina said:

    As soon as I saw that title I knew you bought a fucking house, and all of the questions you preempted came to mind. Congrats! Really exciting, and looking forward to seeing the process.

    If you come across any bug-related issues, though, feel free to keep that to yourself. Or at least warn us beforehand…

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      NOTED! We had a pest inspection prior to buying, so hopefully we won’t run into any major bug issues! Fingers crossed!

  26. 6.19.13
    TEM said:

    Holy sh**, this is going to be awesome!

    I am so excited to see what you guys do with that glorious old house! :-D

  27. 6.19.13
    Raven said:

    Congratulations! I just discovered your blog yesterday, and in two afternoons I’ve followed you from Manhattan to Brooklyn and now to Kingston. Your apartment tricks have been lovely, but a house brings a whole new level of potential projects. Best wishes for the house, and good luck with the poop explosion aftermath.

  28. 6.19.13
    Kristin said:

    What. Happened. To. The. Poop?

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      HA! We got it all cleaned up, then mopped the floors with Lysol about 8 times. I feel OK about it…but honestly, I’ll never look at those floors the same way again. :)

    • 6.20.13
      Kristin said:

      Good to hear.

      As the happy owner of a ca.1885 Second Empire home, I’m completely digging the door casing and baseboard. We looked at an Italianate beauty once and it had the same detail where the outer piece of the trim turned 90 degrees to form the top of the base. That’s one of those details that make me swoon. We almost bought a house that should have been condemned over that one damn detail.

  29. 6.19.13
    mia0909 said:

    Congratulations so happy for you :)

  30. 6.19.13
    Trish said:

    I’m so proud of you guys! My novio doesn’t understand how exciting this is for me, but someday he will thank you guys profusely for encouraging me to make changes around our nest. kisses.

  31. 6.19.13

    Greetings from a 1800-ish cottage just down 209 in Old Hurley – by way of Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill. Gonna be FUN! Have you been to Boitson’s yet? Also: CONGRATS!!

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Yes, we just went to Boitson’s the other night! SO VERY GOOD!! Definitely our new favorite place for a fancy meal out on the town. Also: THANK YOU!

  32. 6.19.13
    Iris Vank said:

    Congratulations! What a great purchase, I am looking forward to following your renovation-adventures. We are renovating a house too (for a few years now) and it is quite the task, but can be very rewarding.

  33. 6.19.13
    Martha said:

    SO JELUZ. And I’m glad you answered the first question, because that’s exactly what I wondered. Gay Gardens is going to be amazing! Can’t wait to follow along.

  34. 6.19.13
    frances said:

    omg!!!!!!! first you were engaged and now you bought a house…..what will the next big announcement be? congratulations to all of you! and choosing the picture of mekko looking out of the window of his new home is perfect!

  35. 6.19.13

    I’m so excited to sit back and watch what you guys do with this place!

  36. 6.19.13
    annie said:

    please tell me that wall paper is staying. at least some of it. so beautiful. can not wait!

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I know, the wallpaper is nuts! It actually isn’t wallpaper at all——it’s all painted over wallpaper, and the pattern is hand-stamped. It’s EVERYWHERE. Every room on the first floor except the kitchen, plus the whole entryway hallway, up the stairs, and the upstairs hallway!

      Unfortunately a lot of it is in really bad condition, so the vast majority of it will go. Trying to figure out a wall where it makes sense and wouldn’t look weird to keep it. I’m guessing it’s from the 60s and definitely isn’t anywhere close to original to the house, but it is…kind of awesome.

  37. 6.19.13
    Lindsay said:

    I’m completely ridiculously excited for you! Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. Congrats on being home owners!

  38. 6.19.13
    Brendan said:

    Congratulations! That’s fantastic news and I wish you both the best of luck with this huge project. I’m really looking forward to reading the posts that come about as a result. I think that the idea of a creative space is brilliant — one day, I’ll be at this point too! But, do tell, what became of your floors? You left us hanging! :P

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I think the floors are OK! I think the water would have had to sit for longer for them to really be damaged, but we got it all cleaned up within about half an hour and they seem fine. This house has been through a lot…I guess a little sewage flood wouldn’t faze it.

    • 6.21.13
      Brendan said:

      Oh good! Sewer water is just so gross. What a way to christen the new place though! Eww. Sorry about that. It was a shitty joke anyways. Ba-da-bum!

  39. 6.19.13
    Simon said:

    Ooh you sneaky fuckers!!!!
    I’ve spent the evening stripping window frames (to be re-painted later on) while my partner made supper and played with Buster. I’m not enjoying it to be honest. But whenever I see a broken down old house the potential triggers something in my fucked up middle aged brain – that’s the same as it was 20 years ago and I’m off again…. Apparently its like child birth ‘never again’ you say….

  40. 6.19.13
    elizabet said:

    So we’re neighbors now and that is AWESOME.

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Let’s play!

  41. 6.19.13
    Heather HS said:

    Congrats! I can’t wait to see what you will do!!

  42. 6.19.13
    Jack said:

    Oh wow congratulations! It looks to be a beautiful house and I’m sure the both of you will bring it justice! You know what this means (owning a home) right? You get to make any damm choice you want! You have more than five rooms to decorate! You get to have a yard and an exterior that is yours! The pair of you must be very excited! I’m sure us readers are! The name gay gardens is great!

    Ps. Those existing light fittings are awesome.

  43. 6.19.13
    Christa said:

    Congrats!!! I cannot wait to see what you two come up with for this house.

  44. 6.19.13
    Kari said:

    Oh wow! I bet Anna is beside herself! You guys aren’t that far away and pretty soon you’ll be sharing war stories about old house renovations. :)

    That’s awesome. Good for you boys. I only wish there was a down-market old house calling my name in the DC area that I can afford (Yeah, RIGHT!)

    Yay for the puppies having a yard, too! I am sure that they are soooo happy. Lots more birds/squirrels/chipmunks/etc. to chase and bark at!

    My parents once owned an old house in upstate NY that was built in 1835. Sometime in the late 1800’s someone had written their name and the date in cursive on the glass in the front window pane. It had a cast-iron stove in the kitchen, hard wood floors, a river rock fireplace, and maids quarters upstairs. I loved that house! It had so much character. :)

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I hope Anna is excited! Having her support and experience has already been invaluable. We’ve already had a nice dinner down at her place last weekend (it’s about a half-hour away), which was just so much fun. Anna’s a great cook and it’s nice to take a little break from the madness and hop over to her place, which is just so inspiring and beautiful!

      Your parents’ house sounds amazing!

    • 6.20.13

      I am very happy, Kari! On a self-serving level it’s wonderful to have more friends in the Hudson Valley, but mostly I’m just happy for Daniel and Max. This is going to be good for them in so many ways — and good for the house and their new community, too. :)

    • 6.20.13
      Kari said:

      Yay! I was surprised that no one had mentioned you, Anna, before I did in the comments section. You living close by was the first thing I thought of! It just means more chances for you to roll up your sleeves, huh? (If Daniel lets you in on the fun, of course!)

      So happy that my two favorite designers/bloggers are friends in real life! Ah, the power of the interwebs… :)

  45. 6.19.13
    rachel said:

    THIS IS HOW YOU TELL US? On a Wednesday summer afternoon? That you’ve bought a whole HOUSE??!? I have no trouble with volume, as you can see :) Those two old white doors. The wallpaper. The. Hudson River Valley. We get it.

  46. 6.19.13
    Sita said:

    Daniel! So very happy for you! Just wanted to tell you that although we are father up north from you – we are in Albany, we’re basically doing the same (minus your design genius) thing renovating a house that’s seen better days and my husband accumulated every little and big tool possible since most of the work is done by him (largely inspired by your blog when it comes to design issues). We are a little under an hour from Kingston so please if you are comfortable borrowing and we happen to have what you need, do not hesitate to let us know. You really don’t know how many times your name and your blog came up while we (he) were solving yet another problem with our house… Good luck and congratulations!

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Sita, that’s such a nice comment and such a generous offer——thank you! I’ll definitely keep it in mind! There’s so much to do…my head spins. I have a good collection of tools, but there are definitely some holes in my arsenal. Thank you!

  47. 6.19.13
    Alix said:

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to follow your house-owning adventures and file away some tips and tricks for my future house!

  48. 6.19.13
    Rachel said:

    I am so excited for this! I cannot wait for more pictures!

  49. 6.19.13
    Jennifer M. said:

    I’m excited for you and Max and also selfishly excited about the content this is going to provide!

  50. 6.19.13
    jo said:

    i’m so excited for you. i have always wanted to renovate an old house too. i look forward to following your progress from the other side of the world!

    all the best,
    jo in oz

  51. 6.19.13
    Marie said:

    I am so happy for you and for Max! Congradulation!

  52. 6.19.13
    Jay said:

    Many congratulations on the purchase of Gay Gardens. An engagement and a house in recent history – how exciting! Can’t wait to follow along – I’m certain there will be plenty of funny stories and great tips coming out of this little (big) endeavour!

  53. 6.19.13
    Rachel said:

    That’s wonderful! Congrats! I’m so looking forward to seeing y’all transform this old house into something fabulous.

  54. 6.19.13
    Sterling said:

    Congrats! I look forward to seeing you tackle this particular learning curve. Beautiful works are in the future, I predict.

  55. 6.19.13
    Bea said:

    wow, congratulations. I’m selfishly really excited because I am about a week away from buying a shitty little flat in London that needs literally everything doing to it and this means hopefully I can get inspiration from you and your wonderful style. Although I need to move into mine pronto which means builders and paying a lot for work to be done.

  56. 6.19.13
    MyLinh said:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog more than anyone else’s out there. So excited to see what you have in store! Congrats!

  57. 6.19.13
    Brad said:

    I’ve been a quiet reader of the blog for quite some time now—love it. Congrats on the new home; excited to see it transform! Also, I laughed for about ten minutes when I read “poop geyser.”

  58. 6.19.13
    Louise said:

    Congrats on the house purchase!

  59. 6.19.13
    Kate said:

    Oh man, I’m so excited as a reader of this blog, greedy, greedy, in anticipation of all the great posts to come!!! And also, congratulations!

  60. 6.19.13
    Maryse said:

    Maybe someone else mentioned this but you can also always rent it weekends if you need to. Especially in the fall. I attend the NY sheep andWool festival in rhinebeck every October and the festival attracts people from all over the country,many who look for house rentals. I imagine that it’s the same for other fairs and events. Just something to keep in mind should you need to change your plans a bit. Good luck.

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Yes, that’s something we’re definitely considering!! We need to get the house in better shape before I’d feel comfortable letting someone stay there, but definitely down the line it’s an option. :)

  61. 6.19.13
    Kristen said:

    That’s exciting news – Congrats!

  62. 6.19.13
    Kirsty said:

    This is brilliant!! You totally suprised me – I was reading the first paragraph thinking ‘second floor bathroom, WHAT THE?’ I can’t wait to read about your adventures with home ownership and renovations. Fun times ahead…

  63. 6.19.13

    Wahhhh! Congratulations guys! Go big or go home, eh? I was so confused why you wrote “second floor” but kept reading and got more and more excited for you. This is going to be epic.

  64. 6.19.13
    Kristin said:

    This is going to be f-ing AWESOME! I can’t wait to see what you do woth the house and I am so excited for more blog posts. I think you are hilarious and fresh and I love your style.

  65. 6.19.13
    S@sha said:

    Wow, exciting! And I can’t wait for the years worth of posts that it looks like it will produce. Don’t forget to make floorplans, please! When you do get around to researching your house a little you’ll really enjoy it. Its totally fun to look at Sanborn Maps and through the old phone books and census lists. Hope you share!

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Floor plans, I SWEAR. I’ll do it. Really I will.

      I’m so, so excited to do some research, and I’ll definitely share! I really hope I can dig up some old photos, that’d be so exciting.

  66. 6.19.13
    Lauren said:

    So exciting!! Looking forward to see what you can do with a place that’s actually your own. Congrats!

  67. 6.19.13
    Sarah said:

    “Gay Gardens.” I died. Congrats on a very big decision that will no doubt delight us all as we follow you through this life-changing process.

  68. 6.19.13

    CONGRATS…again! Please tell me you are getting married at your new old house.

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! I kind of wish we were, but I don’t think it’s really an option! It’s still in an urban area, so while we have a decent-sized yard, it’s not really a place you’d have a wedding in. I think we’ll be looking at larger venues, but we’d love to tie the knot in that general area of the state.

  69. 6.19.13
    Priscilla said:

    Welcome to Ulster Co.!
    Kingston is a great city and getting better every day. You guys will be a great addition to our capital.

  70. 6.19.13
    Jo said:

    ‘Clients’? Did I miss something? Are you two setting up a home business?

    Anyway, looking forward to this immensely – but will you still be ‘Manhattan Nest’?!

    • 6.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Oh, I’ve been doing freelance design work for a few years now. I don’t talk about it on the blog often, but I’d like to start writing about it more!

      And yes, I’ll still be Manhattan Nest! I haven’t lived in Manhattan for over 2 years at this point, so it seems silly to switch now! And like a huge hassle. And I think Anna would break my bones if I asked her to design another site for me! I’m a hellish client.

  71. 6.19.13
    Carls said:

    Hurray! And hurray for me, too! I can’t wait to hear all about it. Perhaps your pipes spewing fecal matter was simply an initiation prank and your house has a somewhat juvenile sense of humor.

  72. 6.19.13

    Y’all should check out the Hudson Valley Food Truck Festival tomorrow (by Fiber Flame on Rt. 28 between Saug & Woodstock https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=584257011595397&set=a.421643927856707.95244.267175513303550&type=1&theater … AND the Night Market down by the Rondout on Friday. http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2013/06/15/life/doc51bbaf5842f4c807434838.txt

    • 6.19.13

      Sorry! Rt. 212!

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Deb!! We’re planning to check out the Night Market!

  73. 6.19.13
    Shelbey said:

    Oh damn. This is probably the most excited I’ve ever been whilst reading your blog. Cannot wait to see all of the amazing improvements you guys will make!

  74. 6.20.13
    Beth said:

    Such exciting news! BUT! When did you graduate from NYU? Did you not post about it? No awkward cap and gown photos to share with us?

  75. 6.20.13
    Hunter said:

    Congrats!! Haha, after “by the way, we’ve been engaged for months” and now the “by the way, we bought a house,” I’m about half expecting a post in a few months introducing us to the 6 kids you guys have secretly adopted from around the world.

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Mekko-Linus immaculate conception.

  76. 6.20.13
    Monica said:

    Sweet! It makes the Albany booster in this former New Yorker’s heart sing every time I read about someone inching their way upstate. <3 Hudson Valley living, and can't wait to read more!

  77. 6.20.13
    jenny said:

    you are amazing. gay gardens will be”¦everything.

  78. 6.20.13
    adele said:

    someone, somewhere must have heard my call: i was just thinking the other day “i need another house reno blog à la Manhattan Nest or Young House Love to follow” — reno blogs are like my crack and there are so few smart, well written, stylish blogs that post regularly.. I’m always looking for more reno in my life. Anyway, I am so thrilled to hear about this project and can’t wait to see the results. Congratulations to you both!

    As a sidenote, I recently moved to an old apartment in Montreal and used your doorplate stripping technique on our doorplates and knobs (50+ years of paint, gone) and it was amazing. You should’ve seen the look on my partner’s face when he saw the shiny, beautiful plates. :D You da best!!

  79. 6.20.13
    kory said:

    Everybody’s moving and buying houses! What is it with you people! I just hope Anna won’t move soon, I wouldn’t be able to handle it :D

    Congratulations guys! I can’t wait for all the house renovating posts.

  80. 6.20.13
    Juliska said:

    Oooooooh! A house, a whole house! Congratulations to all four of you. Now snap us some pictures of the exterior so we know what our – I mean your – new nest looks like! Please?

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Coming up soon!

  81. 6.20.13
    Lou said:

    Congratulations, I can wait to see more.
    It’s like finding out one of my favourite non-fix authors is writing a new book.
    Good Luck, Lou

  82. 6.20.13
    Kei said:

    Wow. Congrats! My husband and I bought a fixer upper and have been renovating. I remember nearly having a mental break down when a few weeks after moving in, the garage (our temporary bedroom with all our stuff in it) partly flooded during heavy rains. We spent hours using a tiny shop vac that our neighbor kindly lent us shuttling water out to the street to keep the flooding at bay. When it was over, we used a heat gun (so much faster – and more dangerous than a blow dryer) & whatever fans we had to dry our stuff that got wet. So, while probably not as horrific as your experience, I sympathize with you. Good luck with your house, I’m excited to see your progress.

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Oh no, that’s SO much worse!! Ours might have been grosser, but none of our stuff got ruined, so it was really OK! I hope you’ve since recovered! :)

  83. 6.20.13
    Karoline said:

    Congratulations! Engaged AND buying a house – I’m so happy for you! I’m one of those readers who don’t comment very often (shame on me!), but your blog is my absolute favorite and I’m so excited I get to to follow this new renovation project. Next month I’ll be moving into my own first apartment – it doesn’t require too much fixing up, but I know I’ll be thinking WWDD (What Would Daniel Do?) when faced with hard-to-decide design issues along the way :)

  84. 6.20.13
    Michael said:

    My head is spinning with excitement…Congratulations! So – happy for both! x x

  85. 6.20.13
    AmyA said:

    Yay! What a beautifully written post, Daniel. I’m so excited for the two of you. It’s going to be a pretty awesome summer! xoxoAmy

  86. 6.20.13
    Monica said:

    This is so beyond exciting! Sending you endless congratulations, good vibes, and virtual bread and salt. All the best!!

  87. 6.20.13
    Thel said:

    That’s fantastic news! The house already looks amazing. I like those kitchen cabinets actually – they have a lot of charm.

    I’m inspired by you two – you’re both mature and responsible about the things that give you quality of life. Kingston sounds like a great town, and I really look forward to seeing what you do, not only with the house, but also with the garden . . .

    I understand your quiet voice Daniel. I have one myself. But just like you, I can shout when necessary. And that’s when people get scared. Yes they do. But it’s a lot less scary than my silent stare: minus 20 in a nano second.

    I call it temperature control.

  88. 6.20.13
    Cheryl said:

    Congrats from Oklahoma!! Can’t wait to read more about your house renovations! Love, love, love your blog!!

  89. 6.20.13
    gracie said:

    This is so fantastic, for you and for us!

  90. 6.20.13
    Cat said:

    Welcome home.

  91. 6.20.13
    Amanda said:

    So, so very happy for you. I really enjoy reading your blog so when I saw this big wall ‘o text this morning it made me so happy to hunker down with my morning cup of coffee and read it all. I wish you the best of luck with the new house and I can’t wait to read about your adventures renovating it.

  92. 6.20.13
    Amanda said:

    Also! That first photo of Mekko in the window is amazing. That shit needs to be printed and framed.

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! Max took it! :)

  93. 6.20.13
    Natalia said:

    me mueroooo!!!!!!!! muchas felicitaciones! me mata la impaciencia por ver fotos de la casa y lo que le planean hacer!

    omg, congrats! i can´t wait to see pictures of the house, before and afters pictures, i asume you have done some changes already, did you?

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      We’ve made a little headway so far, yes, but we’ve only had access to the house for about 2 weeks! Between just getting some things unpacked and making sure we can live there (and getting a working toilet, and hot water!) and allllll the prep work, I wish we’d done more, but we’ve definitely made a little progress. Much more to follow, for sure!

  94. 6.20.13
    tami said:

    awesomeness :) can’t wait to read all about your newest nest. this is so exciting for me which, i am sure, was your intent all along

  95. 6.20.13
    Lil said:

    Awesome, but I gotta say, the best thing about this whole post is that great pic of Mekko.

  96. 6.20.13
    Caitlin said:

    Yayyyy! Congrats! I also bought a house in my early 20s and it was great. I look forward to updates on the new place and wish you luck with the exploding toilet (in my Victorian it was collapsing…collapsing ceiling, collapsing chimney, etc etc.) You’re also almost in my neck of the woods (I live in far Western MA by Albany.) Hope you enjoy, if not every minute, at least the majority of home ownership.

  97. 6.20.13
    Leanna said:

    Well I legitimately spit out my coffee and laughed when you said Gay Gardens. Who’s Big Edie and who’s Little Edie?

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      I am both!

  98. 6.20.13
    Heather said:

    Congratulations! I’m looking forward to your renovation posts!

  99. 6.20.13
    Sarah said:

    SO HAPPY for you both! I LOVE your blog (just started reading a couple of months ago but I am oh-so-very-hooked!!!!)… I cannot wait to see you transform this house!

  100. 6.20.13
    Adrienne said:

    Oh wow! Congratulations you two! I am really looking forward to your renovation posts :)

  101. 6.20.13
    Lena said:

    Congratulations! I have to admit, my first thought was, are they crazy, they are soo young! But with your career plans, the house actually makes a lot of sense, it’s not just a personal investment, but also an investment into your career. Do you intend to write a shared blog about your house now? Anyway, as readers its exciting that you will hopefully blog more and have many more exciting projects ahead of you!

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Lena! I guess it’s possible Max might write a post here and there down the line (we’ve never really talked about it!), but seeing as he writes full-time for Design*Sponge and absolutely loves it, I think you’re stuck with me!

    • 6.21.13
      Lena said:

      I don’t mind being stuck with you:-)

  102. 6.20.13
    DA said:

    Congrats, you two! I’m so very excited to read about your renovation adventures.

  103. 6.20.13

    Sweet jeebs, my head just exploded. Scott and I just purchased our own huge fixer upper, and we’re on totally parallel paths – it’s a two flat that needs converting back to a single family (2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms, etc). I cannot WAIT to see your home unfold – reading this just gave me the chills about all the adventures that lie ahead for all of us! (I say that in the non-creepiest way possible!)

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      So excited for you, Kim!! I’ll be following… :)

  104. 6.20.13
    nicolezh said:

    Wow- what a news! Max and you are becommig really honorable men- soon to be married house owners. What a shift- can’t wait so see all the upcoming home improving posts!

  105. 6.20.13
    Heather said:

    Congratulations! I am incredibly excited to see what you two will do with it! My husband and I are closing on our first home July 19th. I’m kind of comforted to know you guys will be doing and feeling the same things as us. Good luck!

  106. 6.20.13
    Kirsten said:

    I have been following your blog for a while and LOVE it (I drive my family crazy quoting you and reading them posts aloud) but have never commented. I know I am not saying anything that all the people who have posted have not already said, but…this is SO great! Congratulations! I have family up there (Pine Hill) and it is a beautiful, interesting area. You will have such fun thrifting :-) I am so excited to see what you do with the house, I am sure you will make it beautiful. We, your readers, are so lucky to get to see it all happen!

  107. 6.20.13
    Margaret said:

    Ermergerd! SO excited for you. I ALWAYS look forward to reading your posts and I’m so happy there will be subject matter for years to come. Congrats. What an exciting move for both of you. xo from the big easy!

  108. 6.20.13
    Heather said:

    Congratulations! A lot more responsibility than a small NYC apartment, but sounds like it will be quite an adventure. Good luck!

  109. 6.20.13
    Joycer said:

    Congratulations! My partner and I bought our 1891 bungalow a year ago, and had a very, very similar early experience with the delicate dance of using multiple plumbing fixtures at once. There are a lot of challenges to buying an old house, but it’s been really rewarding so far. MN has been really inspiring for me over this past year, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come!

    Also, a list: Top three purchases from Year One
    1. Shop vac
    2. Sawzall (I like to call it the Nightmare Machine though)
    3. Mold/lead respirators

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Thanks! We’ve checked off #1 and #3, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the good ole Sawzall enters our lives! Everyone’s been telling me to buy one! I guess I’ll wait until I need it (or borrow from a friend), but apparently it’s a must-have!

  110. 6.20.13
    Jenny said:

    Dood! No wonder you’ve been so scarce. I look forward to many helpful blog posts. And where oh where are more photos?

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Soon and very soon! Trying to put together a decent tour, but I didn’t want to overwhelm in this post.

  111. 6.20.13
    Connor said:

    Oh man… I am so freakin’ excited to see all the projects and adventures you both will have with this place. You can already tell this place is going to look amazing.

  112. 6.20.13

    So excited! So excited! Congrats.

  113. 6.20.13
    Sam said:

    Oh my god, congratulations! That’s super exciting news. Wait a minute, the engagement, the house? Max is pregnant isn’t he! ;)

    • 6.20.13
      Daniel said:

      Busted!!! Shhhh.

    • 6.24.13
      Sam said:

      I knew it!

      Super excited to see what you do though, and Gay Gardens is just the perfect name, I laughed so hard when I read that. It was literally out loud.

  114. 6.20.13
    Nancy S said:

    OMG – contratulations!!!
    I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you guys & all of us, your followers.
    I’m ready for you to inspire us :)

  115. 6.20.13
    Thea said:

    You should really change that name, now. ;-)
    Congratulations on the jump. I know how it feels.

  116. 6.20.13
    Jenny said:

    Yay! What exciting news! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for your ‘new’ (to you) home. You always have the best ideas.

  117. 6.20.13
    Mariane said:

    Oh Daniel!
    I am so happy for you guys, what a beautifull project, you are kind of living my dream wich makes me feel like a loser, I am 34 with 2 kids and can’t afford to buy a house. Anyway kingston community is very lucky to have you now, I am sure you are going to add even more charm in there!
    Congratulations to you 4!

  118. 6.20.13
    Stef said:

    Very very excited for you, very very excited for the blog/us

    From one person who has cleaned up sewage to another, you have all my sympathy.

  119. 6.20.13
    Emily said:

    After reading the post, the photo of Mekko now has a mental caption of: “Daniel, come back! You can’t leave me here with this exploding toilet! Take me with you!!”

  120. 6.20.13
    Ann said:

    Congratulations! So happy for all of you.
    When do you start filming the home improvement show? ;) I would get cable for that!
    Good Luck.
    ps have you ever checked out build it green in queens?

  121. 6.20.13
    Sushee said:

    Congratulations!!! So happy for you both!!!
    I never post comments on blogs (unless I have a question :)).I am taking the time today because I think its absolutely wonderful what you guys have done and there is no doubt you both would rock it. Can’t wait enough for all the future blog posts!!! Yayy!!!

  122. 6.20.13
    Jennifer said:

    Congratulations! This is so exciting – I actually just randomly saw someone in a YHL comment mention that you bought a house too and I (mentally, because I’m at work) went “DANIEL BOUGHT A HOUSE??” and had to come over immediately to check, could not wait to get to it in my feed. I know you guys will do great things here – can’t wait to read about it!

  123. 6.20.13
    caitlin said:

    Ok, I’m trying to decide if christening a shop vac with human shit is a good or bad thing…..You need to come up with a good name for that thing. Excited to see what’s to come.

  124. 6.20.13
    Marita said:

    This is amazing!!! I can’t WAIT to read all about it! You are living my dream, and since I’m going back to school I’ll be living vicariously through you :) Good luck!

  125. 6.20.13
    Gillianne said:

    Design/decor blog heaven–3 of my faves all just starting on new houses: you and Max, Sherry and John from Young House Love, and Jenny from Little Green Notebook. Three very different houses, locales, families, design and writing styles. Reader joy unbounded! Big congrats to you, Max, and the pooches.

  126. 6.20.13
    Tux said:

    This is amazing!!!

    Congratulations! On all fronts!
    My boyfriend and I were just married near Kingston at the Clermont State Historic Site 3 weeks ago, and stayed in Kingston while we were up there. It’s such a beautiful town!

    We live in Brooklyn and have also been thinking about buying a house in the Hudson Valley! It’s so beautiful there! (And- you’ll be closer to Anna!)

    This is such exciting news!

    I’d highly recommend a visit to Clermont sometime when you’re up there. It’s a beautiful park, and (I don’t know if you’ve made any plans yet) also a very affordable and picturesque wedding venue. It can be difficult to hunt for wedding vendors for a same sex couple- we definitely had a few bad experiences looking for photographers- and Clermont was wonderful to work with. And the farmers market in Kingston is amazing. We bought all of our flowers, for bouquets and centerpieces, for less than $300!!!

  127. 6.20.13
    Leah said:

    wohoo, CONGRATS!!

  128. 6.20.13
    deb said:

    Congratulations! I can’t WAIT to see all of the projects you get yourself into.

  129. 6.20.13
    Steph Nelson said:

    You do some amazing things while renting so I can only imagine the awesomeness to come with something that you own!! You scared me for a minute with that pic of Mekko but so glad to hear she will now have a yard!!

    Congrats and best wishes!

  130. 6.20.13
    Diane said:

    You know the thing that I admire about you the most? Give up???

    You’re fearless when it counts.

  131. 6.20.13
    Catherine said:

    Oh my god. I love the way you write! Hilarious and delightful.

  132. 6.21.13
    Marije said:

    Only the thought of getting to read all the posts on your fab new place makes me want to jump up and dance. Congrats, we just bought our new old house a few months ago and I can only confirm that it is such a different experience than living in any other rental house I’ve been living in before!

  133. 6.21.13
    Isabelle said:

    CONGRATULATIONS! What a year full of new adventures and excitements for you and us here as well as I am soooo much looking forward to following your talented eye and hand to make this place the home for the two – aka four – of you.

    I am not envying you for all the ellbow grease (is that a word?) and time and energy it will take, but if you enjoy that, then all the best and hopefully not more of these unexpected surprises but a smooth renovation journey. Good luck! and Mazel tov!

  134. 6.21.13

    OMG I love you! You have such a way for writing.
    My first instinct was, they bought a house! And then the whole bathroom thing admittedly confused me at first lol. Congrats! I can’t wait to see the progress and transformations. It’s my dream too to someday be able to restore/remodel/decorate an old house.

  135. 6.21.13
    pve said:

    my first time here and love it. congrats on buying a real diamond in the rough.
    it will be fantastic with your tlc. come see me, pve design. love to create a sketch of your home for you.

  136. 6.21.13
    Thelma said:

    Happy new house!!!! Hope both of you spend wonderful moments in your new house, enjoy this period to the fullest and waiting for new post about how things are going

  137. 6.21.13
    Steph said:

    Ha ha Gay Gardens. Fuck yeah, I’m really excited for you dudes. I can’t wait to read about your progress, especially on developing a creative space. :)

  138. 6.21.13
    Ro1 said:

    WOW! As a long time reader of your blog – I say WELCOME to the Hudson Valley! My partner and I also purchased an old farmhouse (built in 1850ish) in Kerhonkson (approx 30 min away from Kingston) and have gone through the many challenges, tears, heartaches as well as the rewards of fixing it up! Living in the city full-time and going up there only on weekends also adds to this challenge.

    We know Kingston well as that is where the closest Home Depot / Lowes are located (Trust that you will be spending mucho $$$ in those 2 places!!).

    In any case, I say CONGRATULATIONS!! You guys went through 2 milestones – getting married and purchasing a home in such a short period of time! That is just AWESOME!

    I know this sounds “stalker-ish” but you can contact/email me if you need any tips on what to do and where to go in the area. We would love to have you guys over for coffee or drinks! We haven’t met a lot of gay couples in Hudson Valley and it’s good to see you guys moving in :)


    • 6.21.13
      Daniel said:

      Thanks so much!! Not stalkerish at all——it’s been so nice to hear from people in the area who are excited and want to be so helpful! We’ll be in touch! xx

    • 6.21.13
      Ro1 said:

      YAY! Looking forward to it :)

  139. 6.21.13
    Sarah said:

    Congratulations! I think you should do a flag dance, Little Edie style.

    • 6.21.13
      Daniel said:

      Done it! I spend some 50% of my time impersonating little Edie. Fact.

  140. 6.21.13
    Jodi said:

    eep!! so exciting!

  141. 6.23.13
    Kerrie said:

    Congratulations! I lived in “midtown” Kingston (the neighborhood tucked behind the HS) early in my career. I met some of the best people there. The old homes are beautiful, and sources for inspiration were everywhere. I still miss it. Enjoy!

    • 6.24.13
      Daniel said:

      How cool! We’re in midtown, too! Everyone’s been so wonderful to us, getting to know the neighbors has been great. <3

    • 6.25.13
      Kerrie said:

      I had a feeling you were in midtown based on the “up and coming” in your description. Is Monkey Joe’s still there? I remember when he opened. It was heaven! Before that, the only coffee game in midtown was at the diner and Stewart’s. I was on Summer Street. There is a pretty, old cemetery at the end. It was the closest thing the neighborhood had to a park. East of downtown, there used to be the ruins of an old church. It was by the old mansion on the hill. So much to see in Kingston and Ulster for that matter. I read the Design Sponge post about your Brooklyn Bike Tour. It’s a bit longer, but Kingston to Rosendale via Creeks Locks Road is a beautiful ride. Oh boy – getting a little homesick. Honestly, I could write a novel about all there is to see. You are going to love it there!

    • 6.26.13
      Coleen said:

      Hi there,
      I’ve been reading your blog some time now. What a nice surprise to find out your in my neighborhood (well my work neighborhood – I live in Mount Tremper past Woodstock). Check out Stone Soup for lunch along with Monkey Joe’s on Broadway. Keegan Ales is close by too. They have weekly music. I work for an architect firm – Scott Dutton Associates right off of Broadway. (I’m certainly not soliciting but if you need some house renov advice – Scott is an excellent source however you are most talented in this area already ha!) Welcome to the neighborhood!

    • 6.26.13
      Daniel said:

      Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll check them out!

  142. 6.23.13
    Maggie said:

    Yay for you guys!! And yay for us, exciting times ahead for Gay Gardens :) Congratulations.

  143. 6.24.13
    CindyE said:

    Just looking at the great woodwork, I know you can turn this house in to something really special. I’ve renovated 2 old houses and it is so rewarding. Looking back, I think we should of taken care of the exterior first though – roof, removal of the horrid vinyl siding, windows, etc..first. I feel I could of worked on the inside room by room. Instead, we did the inside first and lived for a decade with this horrible outside which we never got finished because we ended up moving. I mean, we painted the front porch, and it was neat and tidy…but the vinyl and the really old windows (some rotted out) really bugged me. Anyway,your new house already looks promising!

  144. 6.24.13
    Gaidig said:

    I am Soooo jealous. I am also really excited to see what you guys do with it.

  145. 6.24.13
    JC said:

    Wow, awesome. The house (from the very limited photos) looks awesome. I’d guess 1870’s just based on the style of the mouldings and doors, but you said some parts are older than others.

    I can’t wait to see more photos! :D

  146. 6.24.13
    Karen Z said:

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to see what you do with the place.

  147. 6.24.13
    gardenbre said:

    abfab marathon read – just finished this post (saw floor plans and knew I’d missed something big) read all the comments – loving it – downloaded Grey Gardens so I ‘get’ all the references from hither unto fro – now off to read the latest post – very exciting CONGRATS! … all soOo win-win for everyone – looking forward to reading about your adventures

  148. 6.25.13

    I just stumbled across your blog and absolutely love it! My partner and I are in a similar situation – we just bought our first house (also ~100 years old and in desperate need of work) and are doing massive renos to get it functional. It’s intensely scary and also exciting…sometimes you’re in love with it and sometime you feel like “WHAT DID WE DO!??!?!”. We blog about it too, so it’s so great to read about other young couples taking on the challenge and just embracing it. Solidarity!!

    Good luck with all the work, I’ll be keeping up to date with your new-homeowner adventures!

  149. 6.25.13
    Ani said:

    Congratulations! I think it’s a perfect project for you, and I am definitely looking forward to reading about your progress.

  150. 6.25.13
    Celeste said:

    Buying a house at nearly a 50% discount? does your bargain hunting know no bounds!? And I thought the super-cheap Eames chairs from Portland were a steal :p


  151. 6.25.13
    Nina said:

    Wow, I don’t read the blog in a couple of weeks and look what happens! Big congratulations to you both from a lurker. Can’t wait to read all about it.

  152. 6.25.13
    Adam said:

    Congratulations!! So excited for you both!

  153. 6.25.13
    lets said:

    congrats…we are neighbours. Well Kind of, we have a weekend home in saugerties. I love Kingston though. You have the oldest dairy there- Boice Bros dairy and keegan ales…yummm beer.

  154. 6.25.13
    Emily said:

    Just wanted to say that I have read your blog on and off for a few years – usually via a random link from Door Sixteen – but the house purchase is what made me subscribe. I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  155. 6.26.13
    Natasha said:

    This is amazing news and I’m so excited to see what you two will do to this house. It certainly has potential – and you must be in heaven with all that space! I’m a little envious and thinking I must be getting this whole life thing wrong though – I’m quite a bit older than you and I don’t have my foot on the property ladder yet. However, I do shuttle between Suffolk (UK) and Paris, but I’m basically renting a couple of rooms from my mum when in the UK, and I stay with my boyfriend when I’m in Paris. I long to have a place I can really call my own again – I did once upon a time, and it’s a good feeling. The best. I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through your blog, and keep my hopes up that one day I’ll be doing the same again. I know you’re going to make this place beautiful – my heartfelt congratulations!

  156. 6.27.13
    Sarah J said:

    Wahoo – Congrats to you guys and the dogs will love it, I bet!

  157. 6.27.13

    Omg, congrats! I am so excited to see what you do with the house in the near future.

    For the last two weekends, I’ve been leaving NYC + heading Upstate to different areas & love it. I think within the next year or so, I too, will be purchasing something that I can dedicate my weekends to fixing up and making my own!

    Congrats again to you guys!


  158. 6.28.13
    dabney said:

    congratulations you two — i’ll add to the chorus and say best of luck with your new project! i have no doubt it will be amazing in short(ish) order.

  159. 6.28.13
    Jenn said:

    Yay!! Congrats, and welcome to Kingston! I’m from Lake Katrine, so that makes us neighbors! I’m super excited to follow your progress – the house looks like it has great bones and a lot of potential. Holler if you ever need an extra set of hands! :)

    • 6.28.13
      Daniel said:

      Thank you!!

  160. 6.30.13
    Angie said:

    And I am excited to see what you do with it!!!!!!!!!!!

  161. 7.2.13
    PhillyLass said:

    Oh, the moldings. The doors. The potential! I’m so so so excited to see what you do with this gem! Congratulations and keep on posting!!!

  162. 7.2.13
    Galahad and Yvaine said:

    Ha! When I reached this line:
    “We’re officially out of our goddamned minds.”

    I nudged The Spouse, pointed to it, and we both laughed until we choked.

    When we started the process of buying land to build a house earlier this year, we kept saying “We are out of our minds.”

    The day we closed on the land, it transitioned to “We are officially out of our goddamn minds.”

    (Since that time, we’ve ditched our previous builder before signing, found a new one, and started from scratch on the whole “building the house” thing, and some …interesting… things have come up with the land itself, I think we’re absolutely on the money with that statement. Or rather, the money is slipping out from under us, but that’s the same thing, right?)

  163. 7.7.13
    Michelle said:

    You had me at “intensely, perversely satisfying”! I am a new homeowner myself, and I feel the same way. It’s my first time on your blog; I clicked over from Design Sponge. You have a new follower!

  164. 7.8.13
    Danielle said:

    Congratulations!!! I am so, so, so excited for you guys. Thanks so much for being so candid about your decision and process. What a beautiful home, rich project and full life you are creating for yourselves. Cannot wait to read about it for months and years to come. :)

  165. 7.12.13
    Jessica said:

    Welcome to the Hudson Valley! A beautiful, amazing place. I’m from New Paltz – lived here my entire life (I’m 33, I think haha). Husband and I bought a house in Wallkill (10 minutes out of NP, 15 minutes out of Newburgh) in 2011 that we have been updating. Love your blog and excited to see that you are so close. Kingston is not one of my favorite local areas, though I do enjoy the waterfront and dining, but I love that it is part of the revival that Newburgh and Beacon are also experiencing. There are so many amazing, beautiful old homes in Kingston that could use the love you are willing to give. If you need any help with names of local contractors/home repair people (for things that just can’t be DIYed), let me know: nearly everything has needed to be replaced in this house since we moved in!

  166. 7.21.13
    AVL said:

    “If you’re the Rain man of my blog…” made me laugh so hard. You are so funny!
    Congrats, so glad this means more fodder for the blog.

  167. 7.26.13
    Linda said:

    Congratulations, Daniel and Max, Mekko and Linus! Absolutely loved how you dropped this whole thing on us. I too thought “second floor”???.
    We bought an almost uninhabitable 1840’s double brick farmhouse with good bones in PA.
    Oh my, the blood, sweat and tears but what a rewarding (and ongoing) project that was/is so worth it.
    I also encourage you to do the background research on its history. Our house was built pre-civil war by a black man who married a white woman and had nine children.

    We can’t undo some of the changes that were done to the house over the years but have tried to honor its history.

    So looking forward to hearing all about it!

  168. 7.26.13
    Rissa said:

    Congrats! That’s so awesome – I live by Kingston! One of my fav bloggers kind of lives by me, I feel like I live by a celebrity. OMG!

  169. 7.27.13
    Judy said:

    Kingston is soooooooooo lucky to have you. I’m so happy for Mekko & Linus who now have their freedom. Love your writing & your vision &, well, everything!

  170. 7.27.13
    Judy said:

    Actually, I want to be your next door neighbor.

  171. 8.6.13
    Rosie said:

    Where is Linus?

  172. 8.9.13

    Aloha and Congrats!!!!!

    OMFG YOU GUYS DID IT! HOLY KAMOLEY! YAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!! My name is Allan I’m 29 from a small town in Hawaii called Kailua-Kona on the Big island with the ‘active’ volcano. Lol. Anyways I bought my first condo a year ago and totally know what YOU MEAN about the whole home buying process and just investing in general. I don’t give a rats ass what you buy a new house, a old house, an apartment or even vacant land but BUYING something NOW is huge! Why? Because this is the time to do IT! I really understand and I’m so great full to be able to have bought when I did. Let’s just say I locked in at 3.5% interest on my condo and my mortgage is hella cheap…. I’m humbled, and just great full to have bought when the market was at an all time LOW. Although I do feel the pain for those who bought in the ‘bubble’ back in 2003-2007 and now loosing their homes =( timing is just everything and me and YOU GUYS did it at the right time.

    anywho congrats on your home purchase I just cant waaaiiittttt to see this fugly home get turning into a rediculously aHHHH-mazing master piece.

    so I live in hawaii i am born and raised in hawaii and yes hawaii AND new york are suuuuuper expensive so I get your drift when it comes to the money money and more money thing. so thrifting and combing through each and every consignment store is a must for us young people living in the exp town.

    the only downfall im going through is that now that im in the damn condo i cant do much DIY crap here too. I’m thinking of dumping the condo and just getting a home now (possibly with the boyfriends income too) being that our buying power together combined would be amazing and we would be able to get a move-in-ready home with coastal line sunset views. but that would just be plain and boring right lol.

    so prior to buying and moving into my new condo i saved all this money to put down and then ended up qualifying for a USDA rural development load which includes ZERO down!!! so what happened then?

    yay new furniture!

    anyways so i was in my childhood home my entire life and the first place i moved to was a brand new condo that i BOUGHT…. am i bragging? well, kinda lol. but in a rental for 28 years ughhhh u can only imagine. my dad died in 2006 from cancer and i took over rent after that. we re-did inside of house after my dad had passed. paint, drywall, new carpet and new tile. then we wanted to do the outside of the home but said hey wait we dont OWN THIS CRAP WTH!??!? so we took our money on the road with an amazing real estate agent and found a brand new 2b/2b move-in-ready condo for cheap. after renting for 28 years when we went to drop off the keys the landlord said just leave em on the table ok byeeeeee and we were like OMFG WOW thats all we get…. then I definetly said im doing the DAMN right thing buying something. landlords can be ass holes but hey i get it…. it is their investment and some people had to give their blood, sweat and tears to get that damn investment…..moving on

    my design inspiration for the condo was of course clean and simple/young and fun/johnathan adler/hawaiian-ish/contemporary

    i did a bunch of diy’s prior to moving into new condo so that condo was pretty much set when i moved in….. now im kinda addicted to diy-ing crap and now that im in this condo its kinda hard to do anything

    anyways i could rant all day and night about my life but lets see what u bring back to life this week i cant wait

    -Allan, HI

  173. 10.1.13
    Brismod said:

    I’m late to the party, but congratulations on buying your first home! Looks like you’ve had a few busy months. xx