1. House of the Week
Antique Farmhouse Steeped In Charm
Annual property taxes: $23,825
205 McLain St, Bedford Corners
Built in 1863, this unusual find—an antique four-bedroom Colonial farmhouse—oozes vintage detail and charm: a rambling wrap-around front porch, wide-planked pine floors, high ceilings, a roomy master bedroom with a fireplace, en suite master bath with claw-foot tub and spindle-leg console sink, the original barn, and paddocks. Thanks to the landscaped design of the owner, Denise Lee (an award-winning Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County), a stone-walled “garden room” is enclosed by boxwoods and accessed through dramatic Monet arches—lined with Eden roses and wisteria—that create an inviting space for outdoor entertaining, butterflies, and rare indigenous birds. “The property has such a warm, comfortable home feel,” says listing agent Beth Silfen. “The estate property, set on more than three acres has a storybook setting, sparkling pond, an eight-bed organic vegetable garden for farm-to-table dining, along with a cozy guest cottage with skylights and a fireplace. It’s a true Bedford home.” But being vintage doesn’t mean forgoing modern comforts and convenience. In addition to skylights, other updates include an updated spacious eat-in country kitchen, built-in shelving throughout, laundry, and central air conditioning. For more information, contact Houlihan Lawrence listing agent Beth Silfen at (914) 645-4563 or visit www.bethsilfen.houlihanlawrence.com.
2. Mortgage Relief for Struggling Borrowers
Finally, there’s hope for the unemployed. Thanks to an extension of Freddie Mac’s mortgage relief program, homeowners who haven’t been able to hold onto their jobs in this fragile economy can still hold onto their homes. Beginning February 1, qualified homeowners will be able to delay their loan payments up to a year. Before this month’s announcement, unemployed borrowers were able to suspend payments for up to three months or make reduced payments for up to six months. Similarly, Fannie Mae announced that, beginning March 1, in a special consideration for some borrowers, mortgage payments can be suspended or reduced for up to a 12-month period.
3. EAMLS Elects 2012 President
Gary Leogrande, principal broker of Keller Williams NY Realty in White Plains, is poised for his third term at the helm of the Empire Access Multiple Listing Service (EAMLS) after being elected President for 2012 by the Board of Directors.
Fun fact: Leogrande, who owned his own design company before he began specializing in residential real estate 25 years ago, applies his artistic expertise to helping potential buyers visualize how a home will look post renovation.
Also elected: J. Philip Faranda of J. Philip Real Estate, Briarcliff Manor, as Vice President, Northern Westchester; Leah Caro, of Bronxville-Ley Real Estate, Bronxville, as Vice President, Southern Westchester; Eileen Barrett, of Houlihan Lawrence, Brewster, as Vice President, Putnam; Wayne Kokinda, of BHG Rand, Briarcliff Manor as Treasurer; and Louise Colonna of Coldwell Banker, White Plains, as Secretary.
The EAMLS, with 872 participating real estate offices, is owned by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors that serves the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.
4. Fate of Gedney Farm House on the Line
The pragmatists and the preservationists are squaring off, leaving the fate of the historic Gedney Farm House at 734 E Boston Post Rd in Mamaroneck in the balance. On one side, unable to continue to bear the expense of maintaining or renovating it, the Rye Neck School District, which has owned the building since 1953, is planning its demolition. The school district’s website states, “The BOE is in the final review process for the removal of the buildings at 734 E Boston Post Rd after recently receiving all the necessary State and Education Department clearances from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation. This is the culmination of a two-year review process.” On the other side of the issue are architects and residents, some of whom have formally organized as Concerned Citizens for Preserving the Gedney Farm House, who are fighting for the building’s survival, including a possible move to a new location. The farmhouse was built in 1790 by John Gedney of the Gedneys, a family synonymous with Westchester since Colonial times and one that owned a significant amount of the county’s land. The historical significance of the building is not without its own controversy. In a letter posted on the school district’s website, Kevin Durkin, an expert in historic restorations who formally evaluated the property, documents the considerable number of alterations to the original structure over the years. In his summary, Durkin states, “…there is very little left of the original 18th-century house. It has been radically altered and remodelled several times.” Ideally, a win-win solution is possible that both sides can live with and is financially viable, yet preserves a piece of Westchester history.
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5. Quote of the Week
“I think it’s very sad to remove something that was built in 1790 by a family who was very instrumental in this community and we’ve recently found out, they’re related to Theodore Roosevelt. If you move the building, you lose some of the history. You lose a lot of the value because of the location.” Maureen Foulke, Mamaroneck resident, in requesting more time to save the farmhouse during a December 2011 Rye Neck Board of Education meeting.
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